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There’s a good chance that you know someone who is hooked on a podcast.  An estimated 46 million Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.  Still wondering how to listen?  Here’s a quick guide on how to get started.

What is a Podcast?
Developed in 2004 by Adam Curry, a former MTV video jockey, and Dave Winer, a software developer, a podcast is simply a digital file that is available over the Internet for downloading to your mobile device or computer.  In most cases, podcasts are original audio recordings. However, they can also be recorded broadcasts of a lecture, performance, or television or radio program.  You listen to podcasts on-demand and can start, stop and finish on your own time.  You also subscribe to podcasts.  This allows the newest podcast episodes to be pushed to your mobile device or computer making it easy to listen to the most recent shows.

Whether you are stuck in traffic or walking around town, you can listen to podcasts everywhere you go.

During your working out.  Cleaning the house.  Doing your grocery shopping. And there’s no need to carry around a book or continuously fold/unfold a newspaper or magazine.

How to Find and Subscribe to a Podcast on iOS (Apple desktops and laptops) on Your PC
iOS users can simply go to the iTunes store to access the podcast directory. If you find a podcast you are interested in, click “Subscribe” on that podcast’s page.  When you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes will automatically check for new episodes every day. If you want to listen to an individual episode of a podcast, click on the episode number in the episode list.

How to Find and Subscribe to a Podcast on iOS on Your Mobile Device (iPhone and iPad)
The easiest way to access podcasts is through the Podcasts app.  When you are ready to play a podcast, tap on the episode.  You can go to My Podcasts to manage your subscriptions and play podcast episodes.  To play podcast episodes, you have downloaded or manage your subscriptions, simply head to the Podcasts section of your iTunes library.

How to Find and Subscribe to a Podcast on Android
The best way to download, subscribe, and listen to podcasts on an Android device is by using a third-party app, such as Podcast Republic or Podcast Addict, from Google Play.

There is a second option, mass storage. This requires that you download the podcast from the website onto your computer. (It will be stored in your Downloads folder.) Using a USB cable, connect your phone to your PC. A prompt will appear. Select Mass Storage. Drag the podcast episodes you want to listen to over to the Android icon on your desktop. This copies the podcast to your mobile device’s internal storage. Disconnect. You can access the podcast though your Android’s default music player.

Ready to start listening?

Here is a list of podcasts that might interest you:

Great for Midlifers:

Midlife Schmidlife:  Midlife Schmidlife is a podcast hosted by Liz Applegate, a Midlife Empowerment Coach, multi-passionate midlifer and empty nester. Join Liz as she interviews people over the age of 40 who are redefining midlife, discovering new passions and going after their dreams.

The Experience 50: The Experience 50 is hosted by Mary Rogers who, in 2015, decided to make a mission of helping other around midlife.

Women of a Certain Age: This podcast covers the societal norms of aging and what comes with it. It discusses how getting older is often associated with becoming “invisible.”

Fit ‘n Fifty Plus:  Hosted by Jennifer Gale, this podcast features health and fitness information for women over 50 Learn everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask – about being fit and healthy after 50. Not your usual women’s health and fitness podcast.

Magnificent Menopause and Beyond: Carrie Pierce hosts this podcast each week with the mission of helping Midlife women AND men embrace the many gifts, challenges, and mysteries of this exciting time of life.

Boomer Broads Podcast:  This is a podcast for baby boomer women over 50 who aren’t ready to be called seniors, want to stay healthy and have fun well into their 90’s and beyond. Join Dr. Sharone Rosen and Rebecca Forstadt-Olkowski as they raucously chat with others in the Baby Boomer demographic who are making it happen in the world. Shows include authors, midlife experts, and just plain interesting people who discuss subjects ranging from health, nutrition, travel, aging gracefully, re-invention, body image menopause and more.

A few of my favorite podcasts (descriptions from iTunes):

The Moth – Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of true stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. Moth storytellers stand alone, under a spotlight, with only a microphone and a roomful of strangers. The storyteller and the audience embark on a high-wire act of shared experience which is both terrifying and exhilarating.

Nocturne – There are 24 hours in a day. Seems pretty straightforward. But what do you really know about the hours between say, 11pm-6am. From graveyard shift jobs to “secret identities”, who we are and what we do at night is often less fully perceived by others, whether by choice or by circumstance. Peering into the dusty corners of the night, Nocturne explores these often overlooked and undisclosed slices of life. Under cover of darkness, our thoughts and feelings can take on strange new shapes, sometimes barely recognizable as our own. And the pulse of the world seems to alter too, sort of creating a curtain of privacy around our behaviors and even our appearance. Do I truly know you if I only know the daytime you? Find out in Nocturne.

Serial – Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won’t know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings.

Snap Judgement –  (my favorite) Snap Judgment (Storytelling, with a BEAT) mixes real stories with killer beats to produce cinematic, dramatic, kick-ass radio. Snap’s raw, musical brand of storytelling dares listeners to see the world through the eyes of another. WNYC studios is the producer of leading podcasts including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, Note To Self, Here’s The Thing With Alec Baldwin, and more.

Do you listen to a podcast you enjoy?  Please share by leaving a comment!