We’re glad you’re interested in listening to “Can the Church be Saved?”, our church’s new podcast. You might have heard about podcasts, but have never tried to listen to one. We hope this short primer will help; it’s really very easy, even for those who are not technically inclined. In this article, we will not only encourage you to subscribe to our podcast but also introduce you to the world of podcasts in general. There’s a lot of great content out there.
If you own an Apple device, such as an iPhone or an iPad, you already have a podcast listening app built in. The purple app icon simply says “Podcasts.” Apple Podcasts was recently spun off from iTunes and Apple has spent significant resources revamping its app to be more user-friendly and feature-rich.
If you have an Android phone, you probably already have a podcast listening app, such as Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, or iHeartRadio. Google Podcasts, another built-in app, may be available on newer devices.
If you do not have any of these apps, go to your device’s app store and download one (usually free.) Podcast listening apps are sometimes referred to as “pod catchers.” When looking for a podcast app, you’ll come across names like Podcast Republic, Overcast, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher, just to name a few. Each podcast app has advantages and disadvantages, as well as features and settings. Some of the basic functions will be the same across all apps, so (in the opinion of this podcast listener), it’s more important to pick one, download it, and start listening to podcasts than it is to weigh all of the pros and cons of each app. If you don’t like your first choice, you can always try another.
Listening to podcasts on our website has some disadvantages, but can certainly be done! Among the disadvantages are 1) new episodes don’t automatically download to your device (see below), and 2) they might not be very portable if you’re using your computer to listen. You might, though, find this method the most familiar one. New podcasts will be listed below and on the home page; just click and start listening.
When you start listening to podcasts, you will undoubtedly hear the word “subscribe.” One of the benefits of subscribing to a podcast is that any new episode of the show will automatically download to your device in your podcast app. That means you’ll receive new content minutes after the podcast creator publishes it. Of course, a subscription to a podcast is not required to listen to the show, but if it’s a program you regularly enjoy, subscribing eliminates the step of manual download. In addition, podcast creators want people to subscribe to a show because subscribers can help a show’s rankings and popularity. To subscribe, look for the “subscribe” button, which is usually located in the show description area. You can always unsubscribe from a show if it isn’t your cup of tea.
Some people think of “subscribe” as a paid service. The vast majority of podcasts are free to listen to—subscribing refers to the automatic download of new content, as described above.
Even if podcast creators want you to subscribe, keep in mind that podcasts are on-demand audio. You can listen to shows on a sporadic basis, or you can listen to one episode of a show because someone you like was a guest, or you can listen to one episode of a show because a specific topic is covered. Here are some expert recommendations: Seasonal podcasts have grown in popularity in recent years, and seasonal shows are frequently required to be consumed sequentially (where every episode is like a chapter that builds on the previous chapter.) If you’re listening to an episodic seasonal podcast, listen in episode order. If you’re listening to an ongoing show (one that airs weekly, multiple times a week, or daily), start with the most recent episode and then go back through the archives. The reason for this is that the most recent episode will contain any timely announcements from the show that you, as a new fan, may be interested in learning about.
As you start listening to podcasts, you’ll notice that some shows lend themselves to “binge listening,” while others require you to space out your listening. If you hear a show that resonates with you, consider sharing it on social media—podcast listeners are thought to be an engaged audience, and it is beneficial for listeners to spread the word, especially for independent podcast creators.