The platform of podcasting has been around for a number of years, the term ‘podcast’ being invented by a journalist in early 2004. I first heard that there was such a thing when the Ricky Gervais podcast exploded into popularity many years ago, I didn’t listen to it at the time but have since heard many clips and watched the animated series that spawned from it. Up until about eight months ago I never really paid attention to the world of podcasts but since August 2017 I have been addicted. I realise that I am very late to the party but then I usually am, I’m okay with that. I get there in the end.
These days of course we do not just have to make do with purely audio as platforms such as YouTube and Twitch allow the visual side of the podcast to be broadcast live as well, and if you miss the live show the audio is available for free download, forever. Most people are fully prepared to pay full price for entertainment but the fact that the majority of podcasts are available free is surely a driving force behind their ever climbing popularity. The entertainment value is only one reason to tune in, there are many factual podcasts where you can learn all manner of things as well as specialised sports podcasts that keep listeners up to date on the latest goings on.
The uncrowned king of podcasting is the UFC commentator and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan whose JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE podcast has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube and is downloaded from his website between 100-120 million times per episode. Far from being the knucklehead republican MMA commentator that many people assume he is, Joe is a very intelligent, reasonable and open minded guy. Both his guests and his subject matters are very diverse from MMA, comedy, science and innovation, psychology, sociology to just people who have led very extraordinary lives. Most of the topics covered would never be okay’d by the board members of a big T.V. company, a fact mister Rogan is well aware of. There is no mandate or agenda, he has guests that he wants to talk to and covers subjects that are either of interest to him or that he wants to learn more about. Many of his episodes are far more educational than many of the shows on the documentary channels, others are just plain enjoyable which is what makes the podcast so popular.
Such is the high esteem that Joe Rogan holds the podcast format that when he has an interesting guest on his show he often advises them to start their own podcast, something many of those guests have gone on to do. Former U.S. Navy Seal and all round motivational badass Jocko Willink is one such guest who now hosts the Jocko podcast that cannot fail to motivate you into doing something worthwhile with your time as well as highlighting the stories of many unsung war heroes from past and present. Another service Jocko provides is detailing how effective good leadership can be and also how devastating poor leadership can be. Three of his episodes cover the Japanese destruction of Nanking, the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam and the actions of a group of German policemen detailed in the book Ordinary men, gut wrenching and heart breaking stuff to say the least.
Other guests, some of whom also went on to host their own podcasts and were very interesting were Russell Brand (surprisingly), clinical psychologist and free speech advocate Jordan Peterson, Mycologist Paul Stamets, journalist, author and filmaker Sebastian Junger, psychologist Stephen Pinker, former 6 time Mr Olympia Dorian Yates and saviour of the oceans Boyan Slat. Super interesting and educational podcasts I urge you to go check them out as well as Professor Brian cox’s INFINITE MONKEY CAGE and STARTALK from Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Podcast’s don’t have to boast thousands of followers or millions of downloads to justify your time and some of the smaller ones are well worth an hour or two. Many start out with a theme or a subject but as the conversations progress the chat turns to life in general, something that is relevant to us all.
If you are into gaming or streaming of any kind I recommend you check out the HITCHING POST podcast which is a couple of guys chatting about the stuff that interests them such as retro gaming, streaming on twitch and of course life in general. It is a really humorous podcast that is free from agenda’s or the pressure from advertisers. There are personal bias of course, such as a disdain of Sony and an unnatural love of all things SHENMUE but then we all have things we love and things we hate, that’s just being human.
Whatever you happen to be interested in there will be a podcast out there waiting for you, it’s all there if you just go and look for it. You won’t be sorry. I have over 900 songs saved in my phone but in work during the days I always listen to podcasts and I have learned so much from them in the process. Even if you’re not into learning, just listening to people chat about what interests them is enjoyable and can spur you into taking up a new hobby or into changing your life for the better. That’s got to be worth listening to, surely.