Podcast Listening 101: The Guide to Stop Saying How Do I Watch It

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To everyone who ever said to me "I missed your podcast episode"... this one is for YOU! 

"What time can I watch it?"

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This is just one of several really crazy questions that I get when I explain to people that I have a podcast (Go SUBSCRIBE).  A part of me gets it, because I joined the wave of listeners less than two years ago. Yet another part of me screams (inside, of course), what are you doing with your life? Podcasts are life! As podcasts continue to become a larger part of our media offering, there is still a large learning curve for the world to understand how and why you should even listen to podcasts.

Today I want to share how the world of podcasts singlehandedly changed my life. Let's begin...

WHAT exactly is a podcast? 

The most basic way to explain a podcast in my own words is.... Podcasts are not live shows like the radio. You subscribe to a show. It downloads. You listen to it. Anytime. Anywhere. You have full listening control. It's free. 

Again, I have a podcast. (Go SUBSCRIBE) But before I got behind the microphone officially on October 5, 2016, I also had to go through what I call the podcast indoctrination. It wasn't easy, but I made it! Like many, my journey began with the recommendations of everyone's favorite blackity black podcasts-- The Read,  The Friendzone and Myleik Teele's #MyTaughtYou (my big sister in my head). Those three are the essentials for every YMP if you've never really been exposed to podcasts. (Equally important as having watched Friday, Crooklyn and Color Purple- your card can get snatched).

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Now WHEN should I technically listen to a podcast?

The beauty of a podcast is you absolutely control when and where you listen to them! You just have to find what works best for you. It personally took me a while to dedicate to listening.  There are only 24 hours in a day so how does this fit in with everything else I'm already over committed to wasting my time on? 

I, myself, am a dedicated music head. I listen to music when I wake up, before I go to bed and I'm definitely performing musicals and concerts in my dreams. So learning where podcasts fit into my schedule was a major task. I typically listen to podcasts when I am preparing for work and typically go on listening sprees at work on Tuesday. For some, their commute or during exercise works best! Just think of a time that you already do something that you don't have to think about. Before you know it, you'll be listening to 4-5 podcasts a day! 

The best part is most phones have a podcast app that you can open and just click play! iPhone? That purple preloaded "Podcast" app is your best friend and is certainly my personal preference. If you have an Android (*barfs* #teamiPhone), then you have an app that say "Play Music" and if you search, let's say... NEW GEECHEE for example (Go SUBSCRIBE) you will be able to click play and start your indoctrination! I host my podcasts on Soundcloud, so you can also visit there (Go FOLLOW) and listen to them there! There are tons of other listening apps like Stitcher that you can also listen to podcasts and the other 100 I knew nothing about (listed below) but maybe you do. Find one that works best for you and join the podcast listening gang! 

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You've heard me say SUBSCRIBE a few times, but the reason it is important is because (life hack alert) you won't have to go searching for the latest episode when it drops!  All you have to do is go to your app and it will be there! With notifications set, you'll know exactly when as well! Having a download, you now have the flexibility to listen whenever, stop, take the trash out, come back, hit play and never lose your place! Even when you decide to be in airplane mode or live in the country with no service. Oh, missed something? You can rewind. Going too slow? On some apps you adjust the playback speed! SUPER CLUTCH ! 

So what can I expect to GAIN from podcasts?

Let's talk about their VALUE. There are over hundreds of thousands of podcasts available, and I promise you there is SOMETHING for you. Again, I have a podcast (Go SUBSCRIBE). The podcasts I have listened to have provided so much value to my life in a number of ways. When I graduated from college like most YMPs, I felt like I stopped learning for a while. We all know we should NEVER STOP LEARNING so podcasts keep my brain fresh because "WHO THE HELL WANTS A MUSTY BRAIN?" (The FriendZone listeners know what I'm talking about)

Although podcasts are similar to radio shows, they are different because they typically exclude music segments and lengthy commercials. Straight to the point--- well, most of them! LOL Think about the value your favorite radio hosts gave you as they talked about their perspective on issues on air? Or the wisdom you would gain from interviews with celebrities? Well, listening to podcasts is that experience on steroids! Podcasts topics range from comedy, inspiration, serial killer stories, world news so you can literally get your fix of anything your mind can think of.  Let's just say you noticed there is not a topic available or you have an idea? You could literally start a show with very minimal work! Holla at me and I can help you get started! 

You said these podcasts changed your life... how sway? 

Being a podcaster (and I'm sure all my independent- home grown- started from the bottom podcasters will agree)  has changed my view on the world and what I am truly capable of. I have a show that people all over the planet have access to. It blows my mind when I read my stats and see someone in a country I've never visited has listened to my show! It has shown me the impact that technology has and with its proper use, I could spread my positive messages and change the world, which has always been my vision.

 My face when somebody in Wakanda listens to New Geechee

My face when somebody in Wakanda listens to New Geechee

My podcast (don't forget- GO SUBSCRIBE) is a collection of solo and interview episodes that capture the very essence of young melanated professional (#YMP) life... our struggles, our success, our similarities, our differences and with that I am able to listen to my "art"  over and over again and be reminded that life is such a beautiful experience. Especially since the world does a fantastic job with the black narrative in media! No different from a journal, I am capturing the journey of the YMP life and this information can help change the lives of several generations to come! This whole thing is wayyyyyyyy bigger than me! 

In closing....

So when you see someone tell you to subscribe to their podcast, it is perhaps the easiest yet impactful task you can do! Even if you never listen, you've also helped them to gain downloads. And we thank you! 

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It is equally as important to podcasters to have your rating on iTunes who posts several ranking lists based on these statistics. That exposure leads to more listeners and before you know it little Keke from back home is on the front cover of Essence magazine because of her booming podcast (we SPEAK these things into existence). So help a sister or brother out and be sure to leave an honest review! Your honesty helps us transform our shows and keep you coming back! 

The number one problem with many of our podcasts, is people don't know we have them or how to listen to them! SHARE THIS WITH THEM! For all of my independent podcasters, keep grinding and telling everybody to GO SUBSCRIBE! For all of my podcast listeners, thank you for supporting our craft.  Be sure to always share a podcast with a friend. 

If you're reading and you haven't listened to a podcast, its not too late!  I challenge you to get started today!