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Podcasts: What They Are, Why They’re Popular, How to Start Your Own

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular. One recent study said that over 20% of U.S. residents age 12 and older listen to podcasts regularly, and around 36% had listened to a podcast at some point. While those numbers keep growing, there are still many people who hear the word podcast and think…huh?

Let’s go over the basics. The word is a portmanteau of the once-ubiquitous Apple iPod and the word broadcast. Essentially, podcasts are episodic series of digital media files–usually audio–that are released over the internet regularly. They are released in such a way that users can subscribe and new episodes will automatically appear on their digital devices (like an iPod, smartphone, or computer). You can listen on individual show websites, in music applications like iTunes or Spotify, or on smartphone apps like Stitcher, Google Play, or Apple’s Podcasts app. We are happy to help you get started at the Adult Services desk.

This American Life logo 1Many popular radio shows, like This American Life or Radiolab, release episodes in podcast format so subscribers never miss the latest episode. But, as with blogging, the ubiquity of technology means almost anyone can start their own podcast on any subject or premise. If there is a subject you’re interested in–whether it’s  true crime, modern dating, or Hollywood history–chances are someone has made a podcast about it. Formats abound from classic interview shows to sports and political roundtables to absurdist storytelling and comedy shows.

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own podcast, but don’t know where to begin, we are here to help! Sign up for our How to Start Your Podcast class on Thursday April 27 at 7 p.m., and learn how to plan, record, and publish a podcast and leave with some tips on keeping listeners coming back for more. Adults and teens are welcome!

Many times, podcasts attract dedicated followings and can be really useful in sharing your passion or expertise with a larger audience. Podcasting has also become big business with many advertisers jumping at the chance to reach the most niche of niche markets.

PODCAST 2Here at the Library, our podcast attracts people with a connection to our town. We will soon be releasing our fourth episode of the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, where we interview local people who shape our community–political and business leaders, artists, volunteers, and more. Learn more about our podcast here.

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