Since I announced that I would be adding a podcast to my lineup of media options here at Words Matter, I’ve had a few questions about that news.

The most common question was, “What exactly is a podcast?” and that was followed, quickly, by the question: So how do I listen to such a thing?

The standard way to listen to a podcast is through a podcast application on a mobile device. Below, I’ll give you information on a few of those options.

A podcast app will allow you to “subscribe” to a podcast, automatically download new episodes to your mobile device, and delete old episodes from your device once you have listened. Once you have subscribed, then, the whole thing becomes pretty automated: your device (tablet, phone, music player) will keep track of what you have and haven’t listened to, and the un-heard episodes will be available for you to consume on the go. (I listen to podcasts when I am mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, or on a bike or car ride.) Because it is automated, using a mobile-device app is a great way to listen to podcasts.

There is another way, though…

Desktop Computer

If you are a regular reader of this blog (and are subscribed to the email version) you will have the ability to listen to the podcast right from your computer.

Each week (or so) when a new podcast is made available, there will also be a blog post published and that post will have an embedded link to the new content. What’s that mean? Well, on most web browsers, that means there will be a little “play” button which you can click on and the podcast will play through your computer speakers. This should also be true in most email applications: if you get the email version of the blog, the “play” link should be active there, as well. That way, you don’t need a smart phone, tablet, or music player, you can just listen right from your computer.

There is also a handy tab in the menu bar at the top of the website that is called, simply, Podcast. That tab will take you to a page that lists all of the current episodes and other podcast-related content.

More Stories, the creative writing podcast focused on craft, process, and great literature, will debut in August, hosted by Eric Sheridan Wyatt.
More Stories, the creative writing podcast focused on craft, process, and great literature, will debut in August, hosted by Eric Sheridan Wyatt.

Apple/iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad)

If you have an Apple portable device, the easiest (and FREE-est) way to listen to podcasts is the Apple app called: Podcasts. (Creative, huh?) Very simple to use, Podcasts does what you expect a podcast app to do: it allows the user to subscribe, download, listen, and delete podcasts from their mobile device. These things happen automatically. This is also synchronized between devices, so if I listen to PART of a podcast on my iPhone while driving, and then want to listen to the rest on my iPad while having coffee on the couch with my beagle, the devices talk to each other and the iPad knows right where to resume playing.

iCatcher, Instacast, Downcast, PodWrangler, and Stitcher are a few of the other apps available. These range in (one time) cost from $2.99 to $4.99. The other apps will also allow the user to subscribe and manage podcasts. Almost any app you purchase will have some instructional information (even a YouTube video on use) if you just Google something like: “How do I use iCatcher?”

Some folks find they like one option over the other because of various functions. I tend to use the standard Apple podcast app that is both free and relatively simple to use. I have read some complaints that high-end podcast users find fault with the “too simple” functionality, but I am, apparently, not a high-end podcast listener. (I tend to listen to three to five podcasts a week. Some people apparently treat podcasts more like a self-directed, all-day/every-day radio station, and need many more features than I do.)

Android Phones, Tablets, Devices

As an iOS (Apple) user, I can only report to you a few of the recommendations that other Windows Phone users have published. They seem to gravitate toward the following Android apps: PocketCasts, Stitcher Radio, Pod Kicker, and DoggCatcher. These apps range in price from FREE to $4.99. Like the iOS versions, they each have slightly different features, but should work pretty much the same.

Another Option in the Works

A fourth option, currently in development, will be a dedicated mobile application that will be focused specifically on the More Stories podcast, and will also feature blog posts, news, and other information directly from me. I don’t have all of the details yet, but basically, there will be both an Apple/iOS and an Android app that will be the More Stories with Eric Sheridan Wyatt app. You’ll be able to open the app and get to the podcasts and other content right on your phone or tablet. It will be like carrying me with you, everywhere you go! (If that doesn’t startle you, it should…)

The More Stories App will be released around the same time the podcast kicks off, here in the next few weeks. The cost will likely be $2.99. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, the easiest way to find a podcast app is to go to the App Store (or Google Play) and search for “podcast player”. Read some reviews and take one for a spin. There are (literally) thousands of great podcasts out there to listen to, and you can try a few. You can always unsubscribe if you find you aren’t interested. (Except my More Stories podcast…you can’t ever unsubscribe from it…haha.)

How Do I Listen to a Podcast?
Tagged on: