Podcasts are like old-time radio story telling in the digital age. Formats include talk shows, call-in sports shows, audiobooks, poetry, music DJs, news, short stories, commentaries, and more. Podcasts differ from radio as a podcast is a series of audio or video files available on the Internet.
The word, podcast, is a portmanteau of the words iPod and and broadcast. (A portmanteau word is a linguistic blend of words in which parts of multiple words, or their sounds, and meanings are combined into a new word.
You can listen to a podcast over wi-fi on your computer, tablet, smartphone, iPod, or MP3 player or download it; then it becomes an MP3 file.
Podcasts offer variety and are not restricted by the FCC or "traditional" broadcast regulations. Anyone can create a podcast and share it. Podcasts offer listeners an escape from broadcast radio and commercials, although some do have commercials. There's thousands of podcasts and that number is rapidly expanding.
Video podcasts are called video casts, vidcasts or podcasts and combine the audio portion of podcasting with visual media providing a variety of video podcasters — filmmakers, artists, and vloggers (video bloggers).
In late 2014, podcasting reached a milestone when the Serial podcast investigated the 1999 murder of a Maryland high school student attracting millions of listeners, including myself.
In the past few weeks, here's some podcasts I've binged on . . .
Snap Judgment hosted by Glynn Washington mixes real stories with killer beats to produce cinematic, dramatic radio. It's often raw, musical brand of storytelling invites listeners to explore the world through the words of others. It’s similar to the popular This American Life podcast, but much edgier
Stories are only half of Snap Judgment which bills itself as “stories with a beat." It lives up to that tagline by infusing episodes with music that forms, in its host's words, “a bed to the story, that really brings out whatever the story is trying to evoke.”
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program. Each week you can test your knowledge against some panelists from the news and entertainment world while figuring out what's real news and what's not.
The show is hosted by playwright and actor Peter Sagal and is usually recorded before a live audience at Chicago's Chase Auditorium. Listeners telephone or send e-mails to nominate themselves as contestants playing various games featuring questions based on the week's news.
Here's the Thing is a public radio show and podcast interview series hosted by actor Alec Baldwin. It features interviews with those in the public eye including artists, policy makers and performers. Baldwin talks with artists, politicians and entertainers to hear their stories, learn what inspires them, what decisions changed their careers. Interviews vary from 20 minutes to an hour or more.
I'm always looking for new podcasts and in recent weeks have listened to episodes of these podcasts: A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, Stuff You Should Know, The Dinner Party Download, The Moth, Selected Shorts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, This American Life, Fresh Air, The Pixar Podcast.
Do you listen — if you do, which ones do you enjoy?