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Introduction to Podcasts

Hello, citizens of St. Charles Parish! I’m Devin and I work at the Norco Branch of the library. I'm starting a podcast review blog, available right here.

Podcasting has certainly been on the rise in the last few years -- as of this month there are over 1,500,000 shows on iTunes and over 34 million episodes. With so much content out there spanning tons of genres, now’s a great time to jump in and see if podcasts are for you! (If you already like audiobooks, they probably are for you!)

If you have a hobby there is most likely already a podcast about it. Personally, my favorite part about podcasts is their accessibility. Anyone with a smartphone can listen to them anywhere, anytime, for free. They’re perfect for putting on in the background while driving or doing chores.

Interested in podcasts but not sure where to start?
This guide’s got you covered. Here I’ll go over what exactly podcasts are and how to enjoy them.

What are podcasts?
Podcasts are basically like internet radio shows. Anyone can create and release one online. They exist across all genres, from morning talk shows to fictional thrillers. They can be accessed online or through podcast apps on a smartphone.

How do I access them?
One way to listen to podcasts is to stream them directly from the website they’re hosted on. For example, you can listen to Serial, an award-winning documentary podcast, right here.

Another way to listen to podcasts is to use specific podcast-streaming apps. You can use the default podcast app on your phone (Apple Podcasts for iPhone and Google Podcasts for Android) or download one from the app store that you like better. If you already use Spotify for music, you can also use it to search for podcasts. For the sake of this tutorial we’ll be using Apple Podcasts, but here’s a video explaining how to use Google Podcasts.

  1. If you have an iPhone, the Apple Podcasts app should have come pre-loaded onto it, but you might have deleted it. In that case you’ll need to search for it in the App Store and re-download it.
  2. Open the app and go to the “Search” tab if you’ve already got a podcast in mind you want to listen to. You can also search by genre, like “Horror” or “True Crime.” The “Browse” tab also has popular podcasts listed in categories for easy browsing.

  3. Select a podcast and press “Subscribe.”
  4. Any podcast you’ve subscribed to will now appear in the “Library” tab. You can now select it and play whichever episode you’d like.


Some podcasts can be listened to in any episode order (like talk shows), and some need to be listened to in chronological order (like long-form fiction podcasts and documentaries). You can think of most fiction podcast episodes like audiobook chapters. It’s important to pay attention to the order they were released in! Most podcasts have the episode numbers in the titles so they’re easy to keep track of.

Happy podcast listening!