How to listen and subscribe to a podcast

Have you always wanted to start listening to podcasts, but weren’t exactly sure how?  Maybe you do know how to listen; only you’re a little unsure on the whole subscribing part of it.  Perhaps you think you know everything there is to know about podcasts, but you’re also curious about new technology.  Well, this blog is for all of the above!

Before we go any further, let’s clear up a misconception.  Unlike magazines, or even media streaming services, when it comes to podcasts, the word “subscribe,” doesn’t mean you have to pay a fee!

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RSS Feed

Before you can understand the concept of “subscribing” to a podcast, it helps to know what an RSS feed is.

Actually, you don’t have to understand what it is, but here’s an explanation anyway.

Simply put an RSS feed is…

“A special page on podcast website that tells your mobile app, or desktop software, the web address, which it’ll read, download the latest episode, and push new ones to you as they’re released.”

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The software and apps

Most people listen to podcasts on their smartphone or tablet, so you’ll need a mobile app.  When it comes to Apple and Android though, one platform has an advantage over the other.

That’s because iPhones and iPads come with their own podcast listening app, which is just called Podcasts.  But, that doesn’t mean you have to use that one, or in the case of Android devices, that there isn’t any software to play podcasts.  There are plenty of third party apps that do the same thing as Apple Podcasts, if not more, and better, for both platforms!

Are just a few of them, but HERE is a long list of the top free and paid podcast apps for both Apple and Android.

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Listening and subscribing

Now that you have the right app, the next step is to find something to listen to.

  • Find the search bar
  • Type in the name of a show, or keyword for the subject of podcast you’re looking for.

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Once you find a podcast, tap play on an episode you would like to hear, or subscribe to the podcast.

Now, every time a new episode becomes available it will automatically show up in your app.  For those worried about podcasts taking up too much space on their device, you can choose in the settings how many episodes are downloaded at one time, or make it so they’ll have to be downloaded manually.

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Desktop

If you don’t want to add another app to your mobile device, or are  more old school and would prefer to listen on your computer, there are options for that too.

For almost all operating systems there’s the original iTunes program.  The best part about using that is that the program is also great for managing your music.  To listen and subscribe to podcasts in the iTunes desktop software you pretty much do all the same steps you went through when using a mobile app.

  • Search
  • Subscribe
  • Listen

Internet browser

The easiest and fastest way to listen to a podcast, if you don’t want to go through all the work of downloading and installing software is to just play it through your web browser.

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Do a Google search for the podcast, or if you know the web address, type it in.  Most times though the show will usually share a link to their social media accounts.  When that’s the case and you follow them, just click on the link.

On the next page you’ll see what’s called a web player, which you then just have to click the play button to hear the podcast.

Smart speakers

The last few years has seen a tremendous growth in popularity of smart speakers,; like the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple Home Pod, but did you know that you can play podcasts on them?

If you have one of these devices, try asking them to play a podcast!  The Amazon Echo uses TuneIn as their default player, but there are also third party apps you can install which will also play podcasts.  This is super convenient if you’re doing house work or doing some cooking.  The only drawback is the fact that you can’t subscribe to a podcast through smart speakers.

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Google it

Believe it, or not, there is one more way to play podcasts, and it’s using the search function on your Android phone.  Just type the name of the show you’re looking for into Google and the first result should be an info card that lets you immediately play recent episodes by tapping on the play icon.

One more thing

Just like the late Steve Jobs used to do at the big Apple announcements, there is, “one more thing,” or one more “way to listen to podcasts.” Music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer now offer podcasts alongside their vast selection of Tunes.

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What to listen to

I would never tell you what podcast to start listening to, but Corus Entertainment has a few to choose from, including The Ongoing History of New Music from Alan Cross, Off the Mic from boom 99.7 in Ottawa, The Daily Derringer Podcast, Merbear and the Maiden, and a few produced by Global News.

© 2018 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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