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Listening to Podcasts

What are podcasts? How can you find ones you'll like? You'll be surprised how much entertainment and information is available through podcasts. Podcast republic is an app to help you find, manage and listen to podcasts.

Just what are Podcasts?

Anyone who imagines they have something to say, can make and upload podcasts. They are audio files. Normally the authors (podcasters) produce them weekly but sometimes more or less often. They may contain advertisements. With our current technology, it is surprisingly easy to make quality podcasts. There are also many companies that formed podcasting networks. They help produce quality podcasts, get advertising for them, edit them and maintain quality. These generally seem like they are professionally done.

Along with millions of podcasts, come many podcast player programs to help you find, download and play them. I use Podcast Republic, which has both iOS and Android versions. It connects you to over one million different podcasts containing over 500 million episodes. Podcast episodes normally last from 10 minutes to one hour.

Who does them?

  • Journalists and politicians talking about current issues.
  • Scientists and economists talk about the latest discoveries and articles.
  • Comedians tell stories.
  • Actors read classic science fiction or mystery stories and interviewing writers and actors.
  • Swamis, ministers and skeptics explaining how to live your life.
  • Anyone who wants to focus on some aspect of life.

Remember, they are competing for an audience. Given there are over 1 million different podcasts, there are plenty that are both entertaining and informative, often with an emphasis on one or the other.

The Market

I don't know what a good podcast can make, but The Joe Rogan Experience is probably the biggest and most lucrative. According to Wikipedia it has 12.8 million subscribers. The 2021 Nielsen ratings showed it had 11 million people listening per episode. To compare that to other news shows, Hannity has 2.94 million, Rachel Maddow 2.2 million and CNN Primetime 0.82 million. Chicago Med was the 10th most watched show of the week of November 7-13, 2022 at 5.9 million or less than half the Joe Rogan Show. However, Sunday night football beat him with 15.8 million.

Clearly, with that large an audience, there are a lot of opportunities for income. Spotify paid him $200 million for a multi-year agreement. If you are good enough, you can make a good income.

Who makes them?

Though anyone can make them, many of the best ones are produced by professionals and are very high quality. Some podcast publishers include:
  • BBC (British Broadcasting Company)
  • NPR
  • WNYC
  • Scientific American
  • Various famous scientists and journalists
  • Congress people
  • Educators
  • NASA
  • Many non-profit educational organizations sponsor some podcasts

Some Categories of podcasts

  • Arts, Business, Comedy, Education, Fiction
  • Government, Health & Fitness, History
  • Kids & Family, Leisure, Music, News
  • Religion & Spirituality, Science, Society & Culture, Sports
  • TV & Film, Technology, True crime

This should give you an idea of the diversity available.

What I do

I currently subscribe to 13 podcasts. To subscribe I find it on Podcast Republic's search and click the subscribe button. Then when I'm ready to download some podcasts, I open each one and read about their recent episodes. I get a detailed description of the topics covered and people being interviewed. For example, Steven Pinker does a podcast each week. I looked through the descriptions of 8 and chose 3 that seemed like they'd be interesting. Then downloaded those. I repeat that process for each of the podcasts I subscribe to. After I've moved through my list, and downloaded about 15-20 hours of podcasts, I sort the downloads by date with oldest first and start to play them. When one finishes, then the next one begins. My player has buttons to jump forward and back or pause. When I close it, the app reopens to the same spot and I continue listening.

To find new podcasts to listen to, I do an Internet search with terms like:
  • Best Podcasts of 2022
  • Skeptical podcasts
  • Podcasts about Vedanta
  • Best political podcasts
  • Funniest podcasts
  • Sci-fi podcasts

These normally produce lots of articles with titles like "The 16 Funniest Podcasts of 2022". Some will seem interesting.

My Favorite Podcasts

These three are my favorites. I listen to every Security Now episode and probably half of the EconTalk and Crenshaw episodes. I used to listen to all of EconTalk, but after about 10 years, I'm getting pickier.

  • Security Now: This is Steve Gibson's Twit Network podcast about issues in computer security and I listen to every episode. They are about 2 hours each. I play them at 1.5 times normal speed because Steve talks too slow and this works for me. I also tend to jump through advertisements since Podcast Republic has a jump forward x seconds. You can set the x as you like. I set mine to 45 seconds and have a 15 second jump back button as well.
  • EconTalk: Russ Roberts is the host. He is a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institute, president of Shalem College in Jerusalem and author of a few books. He began his podcast in 2006 and is well known and respected. He has always read the book or article the interviewee wrote and interviews someone each week. He is able to get many Nobel Prize winners and other amazing people who have done fascinating research. Though there are many episodes that focus on various branches of economics, he also has many episodes on education, psychology, sociology and epistemology. Here's a list of his over 500 podcast episode categories. Check it out. You'll find some fascinating episodes.
  • We hold these truths with Dan Crenshaw: The congressman interviews interesting people in an open free exchange. As a congressman, he is able to get knowledgeable people in a variety of fields. He's on the energy committee, so energy issues tend to be high on his list, but other issues as well. This is political and Crenshaw is center-right.

Other Podcasts I'm Checking Out

I haven't decided I like these and most will probably be discarded fairly quickly. I check out a lot of podcasts, but usually abandon them after a few episodes. Some, I only listen occasionally. Perhaps one will rise into my favorites category. But even if it does, I'll likely only listen to half or fewer of the episodes.

  • Candace Owens Show
  • Grammar Girl
  • Honestly with Bari Weiss
  • Real Talk with Zuby
  • Science VS
  • The Ben Shapiro Show: So far I've found only a couple of interesting episodes
  • The Life of the Mind by Steven Pinker
  • The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast: I don't find many of these interesting, but always seem to find one or two I want to listen to.
  • The Tulsi Gabbard Show: I haven't heard any of these yet, but will have by the time you read this.
  • Bhagavad Gita - The Essence of Vedanta: Lectures given by Swami Tattwamayananda head of the San Francisco Ramakrishna Vedanta Society.

Some Other Popular Ones

  • Joe Rogan Experience: Rogan discusses current events, comedy, politics, philosophy, science, and hobbies with a variety of guests. The podcast science figures like Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Professor Brian Cox, Steven Pinker, and Sir Roger Penrose. He also discussed events with other interesting people like Edward Snowden and Elon Musk.
  • The Daily: Interviews with NY Times reporters on the day's hottest stories.
  • Stuff you should know: for example, How Police Interrogation Works, How Money Laundering Works, How Schizophrenia Works
  • POD Save America: Left-leaning news show. Three Obama staffers talk politics.
  • The Ben Shapiro Show: Right-leaning news show with Ben Shapiro.
  • Smartless: Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett interview a celebrity each month


Date: November 2022

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