Lots of people have started to listen to podcasts, the radio-style shows you can enjoy as and when you want to.
If you like the idea of listening to comedy while you do chores around the house, enjoying a drama while you’re gardening, or curling up on the couch to delve into history, podcasts are for you.
Podcasts give you the intimate connection you get with radio, but you are in charge of what you want to listen to, and when.
There are thousands of different podcasts available online, with subjects ranging from the news and how-to guides to plays and comedy. Find out how you can listen to podcasts, and discover the best podcasts out there just now.
How to Listen to Podcasts
You can listen to podcasts on your computer, tablet, smart phone and MP3 players.
On computers, iTunes is by far the most popular and easiest way to find and download Podcast programmes. When you open iTunes, you’ll see that there’s a button on the top menu for ‘iTunes Store’. Just click on this to be taken to a digital storefront for thousands of podcasts. Here you can search for podcasts you’ve heard about, get recommendations, and find new things to listen to.
If you have an iPad or iPhone you can get podcasts in the ‘Podcasts’ app which will already be installed on your device. If you have another tablet, use the app stores like the Amazon App Store and Google Play to search for a podcast app.
To subscribe to a podcast just click the name of the podcast and then click ‘Subscribe’. You’ll find that your podcast program automatically downloads new episodes of any podcasts you’ve subscribed to, and you can just press play to enjoy.
If you’re not sure how to download iTunes or need more help downloading podcasts, take a look at the Which? information on podcasts for help.
Once you are ready to listen to a podcast, the big question is – what should you listen to?
Drama and Fiction
- The BBC have an excellent range of podcasts available to subscribe to for free.
- One of the most popular BBC podcasts is the Archers Essential podcast, which lets you listen to the latest episodes of this beloved radio drama at your convenience.
- The BBC Drama of the Week podcast is a great way to hear the best new dramas from Radio 4 or Radio 3, when it suits you.
- Listen to authors and actors read some of the best short stories in the world in the fantastic Selected Shorts podcast.
- Keep up to date with the latest news in the world of fiction and poetry with the Guardian Books Podcast, which has author interviews, readings, discussions and a monthly book club.
- If you’re interested in history, The BBC Witness podcast gives personal perspectives on historic events through the stories of people who lived through them.
- The Oxford Biographies series is an excellent podcast if you want to find out more about individual people in history, from legendary heroes and celebrities to everyday men and women.
- Stuff You Missed in History Class is an entertaining way to find out more about the lesser known events or inventions from history.
- The popular ‘In Our Time with Melvin Bragg’ podcast series looks at the history of ideas and explores subjects in science, religion, philosophy and culture.
Lifestyle and Entertainment Podcasts
- Comedy fans will love the Friday Night Comedy podcast from BBC Radio 4, in which Sandi Toksvig and guests take a satirical look at the week’s news.
- If you like classical music, then make sure you subscribe to the Classic FM Podcast, which looks at the week’s stories in classical music and has interviews with classical music stars.
- Another great podcast from Classic FM is Charlotte Green’s Culture Club, which has news and reviews from the arts, and special guest interviews.
- Fans of architecture and design should subscribe to the 99% Invisible show, which is all about design, architecture and the invisible activity that shapes our world.
- If you like gardening and the outdoors, then try the RHS Gardening Podcast which gives seasonal advice, inspiration and solutions for gardeners.
Have you listened to a podcast yet? Tell us your favourites in the comments below!