Podcasts will Make You 10% Happier

How to Access the Wonderful World of Podcasts

If you were born after the advent of television or maybe you were very young when that technology took over the planet, you might have never depended on your ears for entertainment. Oddly enough, in this highly technological age, listening is back, and it’s all free

People are too busy to sit down and watch a show or read a book. They need to be multitasking. Doing dishes while there’s a podcast in the background can help us stay up to date on the news. Listening to your favorite comedian while you make a bed or fold laundry turns it into something you look forward to, instead of something you dread.

Listening as a “second task” is enjoyed in many different ways. Some like to listen to sports experts while they do something else. Some people listen to politics and news. Others like a good crime drama or a how-to podcast. Everyone has a podcast these days. Oprah has a podcast. NPR has about a dozen podcasts. Even Rudi Guilani and Joe Biden have podcasts.

But how do you access this wonderful world of listening? It can seem like it’s another world, if you’ve never done it. Here is a guide to accessing podcasts.

How to Access Podcasts: Step-By-Step

  1. Choose your device. You can use a smartphone or a computer. All of these links work on both. If you use your smartphone, you will be more mobile. Identify if you have an Android or an Apple phone. On a computer, do you have a Mac or a PC?
  2. The simplest app option is right on your smartphone. You have a “Podcast” app, whether it’s Apple or Android. You can Search your phone for that app. On Android, you can also use Google Play Music. There are other apps that you can use on your computer or smartphone: 
    • Stitcher
    • Spotify
    • Pocket Casts
    • Overcast
    • Podcast Addict
  3. Within that app there is a Search function. Look for a podcast that sounds interesting, and you’re off to the races. You can “Subscribe” or just listen to one episode. Unsubscribe anytime.
  4. One note of caution: if you find that the memory on your phone begins to fill up quickly, don’t be alarmed. Delete podcast episodes you know you won’t have time for or make sure to unsubscribe from any podcasts you no longer listen to. This will free up memory for other things.

Some Podcasts We Love

This list will take you to a website, and the website will take you to the Podcast app on your phone to listen to the podcast. Warning: if you prefer not to hear the occasional expletive, make sure you check closely for “Explicit Content” ratings in the Podcast app before you listen.

  1. NPR has all of your favorites for you whenever you want. Did you miss the first 10 minutes of Terry Gross? No more planning your weekend around Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. In fact, This American Life has won Peabody and Polk Awards. These are the winning episodes.
  2. Politics and news are big topics for podcasts. Some are from NPR and all of them feature great personalities that you will grow to love.
  3. Mysteries are also popular options. One of the most popular podcasts ever is called S-Town about a small town Alabama eccentric who thinks someone in his town got away with murder, and then someone ends up dead. It’s amazing that it was even recorded. Other mysteries include: 
    • Serial – High schooler, Hae Min Lee, has been murdered and her boyfriend, Adnan Syed, is the prime suspect. Did he do it? This is a series of 12 episodes, but there are three seasons, each dealing with a different crime.
    • My Favorite Murder – This “true crime comedy podcast” features the best murders ever committed, with great commentary from two women who are rockstars in the podcast world, with sold out tours all over the world. The beautiful thing about podcasts like this is that they are always adding new content. You can go back to the beginning and listen to a trove of great, timeless content, whenever you have time. 
  4. History podcasts are enriching. Public radio produces great content, but they come from every corner of the internet.
    • Making Oprah is from right here in Chicago by WBEZ’s former star, Jenn White. She followed that up with Making Obama and Making Beyonce. These are amazing gems. (The webpage says “Making Beyonce” at the top, but all three podcasts are on this page.)
    • Malcolm Gladwell is a well-known author of great books like Outliers, Blink and The Tipping Point. His podcast, Revisionist History, goes “back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.”
  5. Comedy podcasts can introduce some badly needed endorphins to your body. Podcasts are such a trove for great humor, from big stars to little-known prodigies.
  6. Sports are normally fun to follow on podcasts. Get the breakdown of NFL, MLB, NBA games. Figure out who to draft for your fantasy teams. Find out how to play Fantasy Sports. It’s also fun to hear about the game you just saw from a new perspective or with a comedic twist. A favorite website for sports (and pop culture fans) is TheRinger.com.
  7. And of course, we cannot forget the podcast that inspired this blog post, 10% Happier by reporter Dan Harris.

If you have questions about podcasts, please reach out info@forwardchicago.org

There are 2 comments

  1. dianagroth

    Thanks for the comment. Since the link to 10% Happier was in the email, I didn’t think to add it here, but it’s there now.


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