Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Podcasts & Their Apps aka Throw Away Your Radio for NPR et al Listening

I am always amazed when friends tell me that they have been able to hear only half a show on NPR because they were listening to it live on the air and something interrupted their listening. I've got one word for them: PODCASTS.

NPR makes available free all of its shows in podcast format so that all you have to do is subscribe to the podcast on any computer or mobile device. 

Ever since I put podcasts on Rebecca's iPhone (across the street senior neighbor and friend), I can barely blast her off her iPhone. Before that she had only been hearing snippets of programs as she used her radio. Since the podcasts are downloaded, when she takes her walks in the forest, she doesn't even need an internet connection because they were put on the device itself during the download process.  I could also put podcasts on my MacAir or Rebecca's Macbook Pro but we prefer listening to them in mobile format. If you own an iPhone or iPad, the simplest way to achieve this is by going to the App store and downloading the Podcast App for free, above. If you are using your computer (any brand), open iTunes and go to podcasts in iTunes.  You can access all of them that way on any computer.

I haven't forgotten about you mobile Android users. Go to either Google Play or Amazon and get this free App, shown left.

I've taken image captures of the ones I listen to on my iPad mini and combined them here to show you as suggested programming, shown right. There are podcasts done by entities other than NPR but NPR tends to have the best ones because they pull them right off their radio shows. The podcast app contains top charts of the most popular podcasts, kind of like Billboard does with music.

Some podcasts have been so successful that they have made apps which you can buy in the app stores.  These contain not only the current programs but archives of past programs.  The apps are not all free but many of them are.  My This American Life app, shown upper left, cost me $5 but I now have every episode of that show instantly available for downloading or listening. It was the best $5 I ever spent.

NPR Music app is totally free and it has every scrap of NPR music NPR. You could be lost for months listening to this music or to the extensive archives of these podcast apps.

If you work on art, hobbies or crafts, I have discovered that these podcasts and apps are ideal listening while working with your hands.  I tend to pick the audio ones for this purpose instead of the video ones so that I can concentrate on my project visually. Rebecca uses her podcasts for her walks and while she is cooking. Others swear they are perfect for listening to while doing household chores.

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