Confessions of a Podcast Junkie

One of my my most trusted curators is Michael Schechter of He says I need to have an app; I get that app. He says I need to read a blog; I read that blog. And recently, he said I needed to listen to a podcast. Podcasts? That’s so 2008, that’s so 2000 and late. Sure, back in the day, I was a big books-on-tape listener and when podcasts first hit the scene, I was an early adopter and I listened to a few of them, but when YouTube came on the scene, audio-only media died for me.

But here’s the thing…

Audio podcasting didn’t die, it grew a lot stronger. The technology improved both on the recording side and the listening side. The topics became more specialized and defined. Many subject matter experts saw this as a great way to share their content and build communities. Today, there are many, many, many fantastic podcasts available.

In fact, awareness of podcasting has doubled since 2006, and so has the number of adults who have listened to a podcast (The Current State of Podcasting - Edison Research). I got distracted by other shiny objects and I missed the podcast evolution, and that was a BIG miss on my part because I am an information junkie and podcasts are an excellent way to consume information during other non-thinking activities:

  • Driving in my car
  • Walking the dog
  • Washing dishes
  • Waiting for a flight

Once I got my podcast workflow worked out, I found an extra 6–14 hours of content consumption a week. So excited! I started asking everyone, “So do you listen to any podcasts?” And while everyone seems to know what a podcast is, I am amazed at how few of my friends actually listen to them on a regular basis. Apparently, I’m not the only one who missed the evolution.

So, here is my attempt to evangelize the virtues of LISTENING TO PODCASTS by sharing my simple podcast workflow.

1. GET THE RIGHT TOOLS The major benefit of podcasts is they're mobile. According to Edison Research, “Two-thirds of podcast consumers have listened to digital audio files in their vehicles by connecting an iPod or other MP3 player to their car audio system.” Get an app for your phone that is easy and that you love to use. iTunes works well, but Instacast is my app of choice. I like the way it manages subscriptions and really appreciate the bookmarking feature on the pro version. Whatever tool you use, make sure you subscribe to the podcasts. Subscriptions make the habit effortless when episodes appear automatically.

Personally, I had to install an adapter for my 10-year-old car because it was not MP3 ready. A little bit a research, $75, and 3 hours of work on the weekend, and I was wired. Haven’t listened to my radio since.

2. RANK ORDER I subscribe to more podcasts than I can typically listen to within a week, so I rank order them for fast selection on which one to listen to next. I start at the top of the list and scan down until I find the first unplayed podcast. If one at the bottom starts to accumulate too many unplayed episodes, I unsubscribe. If I find myself skipping over one on the list to listen to something else, it moves down the list.

3. LISTEN AT A FASTER SPEED My friend Jerry Hofman taught me this trick. Listen to the podcasts at double speed to listen to twice as many. Now that gets to be a little too Mickey Mouse sounding for me, so I only crank it up to 1.5 times. It’s easy to adjust the playback speed with the Instacast settings.

4. EXPLORE I test drive a new Podcast every week. I generally browse within Instacast, but I keep my eyes and ears open for recommendations. Every once in while I find one that stays on the list and bumps something else off.

If you’re not currently subscribing to podcasts and are looking for ways to learn more each day, you gotta give them a listen. Here’s my current rank ordered list:

Rank Order of a Podcast Junkie

If you are listening to podcasts, which shows do you subscribe to? Leave me your recommendations and your podcast workflow in the comments section.