5 Rules for Managing Your New Podcast Obsession

So, you know the problem with podcasts, right? Similarly to a TV show, unless I’m rewatching/re-listening, I can’t do more than one thing. Sure, there are a number of things I can do while watching a new show. I just carry my iPad from room-to-room if I’m trying to accomplish a lot that day, but I can’t watch TV and read a book or listen to music.

With books, I can do both. I can listen to an audiobook if I’m driving or doing chores. I can listen to music snuggled up in my bed with my book. They are more versatile. I can’t listen to a podcast and read something. Since I personally have decided that I would rather read than listen to people, I’ve been pretty set against podcasts in the past. I’m not going to start listening to them 24/7 but I found some good ones that I want to share with my fellow book peeps who might suffer from this problem.

You gotta start with what you love

 Okay, when I first dove into a podcast I was on Spotify but my regular playlist wasn’t new enough. I was at work looking for something interesting, and I didn’t have time to curate music. I saw an ad for a podcast by David Tennant, looked at the guests and gave the first one a try. It was a nice format for work since it was interview style with stories, so it was just like listening to music (although occasionally I did laugh out loud and get some looks). David Tennant does a podcast that is pretty special and I highly recommend.

You can’t be afraid to skip

I’m not just talking about skipping episodes you don’t like or aren’t interested in. You have to take advantage of that 30-second skip button guys. It’s there for more than skipping ads and intro music. A work friend told me about this podcast she was addicted to, The POPcast. It’s hosted by Knox and Jamie and it’s all about pop culture. There are so many references I didn’t want to miss anything, but I had a way to go to catch up so I started skipping some episodes and occasionally skipping content. They are hilarious, but if they are talking about something I never watched or just didn’t care about, I used that skip forward option.

You don’t have to go in order (but you should)

 Yeah, podcasts are meant to be tiny bites of culture that can be consumed individually, with the exception of serialized stories, but you don’t have to follow the rules. You can break them anytime. I started listening to The First Draft podcast with Sarah Enni. These interviews were so much fun to listen to since they were basically just the life stories of authors; how they started reading, what books they loved, and how they became published. There were some 200+ episodes when I found it, so I just went through and picked the ones from authors I liked. Sometimes this leads me to listen to the authors I didn’t know, but it was nice to jump from person-to-person and know I wasn’t going to miss anything.

You can be entertained with non-fiction

 I know for a lot of you this is not a revolutionary concept, but for me, non-fiction was for research papers and actual newspapers as conversation topics. When I started listening to Book Riot’s Annotated podcast I got so swept up in it. For one thing, the episodes were rarely more than 30 minutes*, and the topics were so varied and interesting, but all book-related, even tangentially. The hosts laid out all the backstory, framed in a way that made it intriguing in a bite-sized package.

*If you love this format you should also check out the Vox show, Explained, on Netflix which does a remarkable job of bite-sized packages for important topics without drawing a final conclusion.

Searching is hard, having friends is easier

 I don’t know if this is a common problem in searching for podcasts but I find it incredibly overwhelming. Asking for recommendations on podcasts is like asking someone to open the floodgates, and you’re back where you started. That being said, having someone whose opinion you trust to pre-listen for you is the best. I am hooked on Slate’s Slow Burn podcast, which takes a whole season to tackle one topic. Season one is Watergate and for someone who couldn’t have told you what exactly was involved, it was eye-opening. When you ask your friends for recommendations make sure you tell them what you are looking for and then ask them what their top podcast is this week, and ask for a specific episode to listen to.

Liking podcasts isn’t new information. It seems like everyone these days has or is about to start a podcast. Finding the one for you is where it’s hard, but you can definitely find one or 100 podcasts that talk about things you love. There is absolutely something for everyone.

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