How and Why Podcasts for front pageThere are so many podcasts out there, it can be hard to decide which ones to subscribe to. Since I listen to so many, other people might find it useful to see a list of my favourite podcasts. To help you beat the problem of over-information, I have created a page where you can find my 3 favourite podcasts organized by category. I plan to update this page as my playlists change.

Why Do You Listen to So Many Podcasts?

I know, I know! It is obvious that I may be addicted! Some people say I listen to way too many, but this is my favourite way to spend spare time. This is what I call my teaching superpower. Learning while I do the dishes or mow the lawn allows me to regularly remain a student of over 30 different teachers! I value getting a variety of inputs, because as Tim Keller says:

“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.” 1)Tim Keller, “Doing Justice”, Lecture at Resurgence Conference, resource removed from internet.

How do You Find the Time?

  1. Although there are over 30 podcasts on my playlist, they don’t all publish every week. Some our daily, like news podcasts, and others release new episodes every other week. Also, I don’t listen to every single episode! If a podcast episode doesn’t interest me, I just delete it! Why torture yourself?
  2. To get through episodes I actually want to listen to, I listen at 2-3x the speed. Some people find this funny, but your brain can process audio at a much faster speed than you expect, and you can train yourself by starting at 1.25x, and slowly working your way up. Many blind people have done just this, and can listen to audio at a speed that is faster than most people can read 2)“Most people who speak rapidly tend to verbalize at about 6 syllables per second. A professional radio talk show host trained for enunciation and clarity can speak about 10 syllables per second, the upper limit of comprehension for those with sight. Blind people, however, have the ability to comprehend speech blistering at the rate of 25 syllables per second—well past the point at which humans can talk, but not too fast for a digitized computer that synthesizes speech patterns. This is why most sighted people unfamiliar with screen readers are shocked at how fast the device ‘speaks.'” K. Smith, Digital Outcasts: Moving Technology Forward without Leaving People Behind (Elsevier Science, 2013), 237. If you want to start listening at a faster speed, I wrote a post about how to do this at my old blog: Listen to Audio at a Faster Pace with Your iPhone.
  3. I create playlists so that when one episode ends, the next one starts. This way you aren’t deciding what to listen to next, and you also don’t have to pull the device out of your pocket as often.

What Tools do You Use?

Headphones: I have tried a variety of headphones, but my favourite setup is Apple’s Air Pods.

Apps: A decent podcast app is a must, and is definitely worth paying for if you are already listening to a lot of podcasts. I can’t find a podcast app for iOS for free with all of the features I need. I paid $2.99 for one that includes playlists, and the ability to send podcast episodes to friends or Evernote without leaving the app. The app I like is for iOS and is called Downcast. I have been using Downcast for about three years and I am very happy with the support and the quality and number of updates. When I have a device that can run iOS 8, I am eager to try Overcast, which includes some awesome features:

  • Volume Boost to equalize voices when the EQ isn’t set well.
  • Smart Speed eliminates silences without speeding up the talking.

I am not an Android person, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt, but you can check out Podcast Addict if you are new to podcasting and want to get started.

What about you, what are some of your favourite podcasts?

How (and Why) I Listen to 30+ Podcasts

References   [ + ]

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