What is a podcast?
According to the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, a podcast is “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” The word “podcast” itself is a portmanteau of the words “iPod” and “broadcast.”
According to Merriam-Webster, once again, a portmanteau is “a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog).” So, now you know, and knowing is half the battle. I’m not looking up “morpheme.”
I apologize if this is all old news to you. Until quite recently, I was only peripherally aware of podcasts, and could not have defined it for you on a dare. I’m not talking down to anyone. Rather, I’m hoping that there are still a few people who coast through life as ignorant as I am about a multitude of subjects.
I’m sure I heard the word “podcast” several years ago and mentally filed it away the way I do everything that doesn’t immediately interest me. I knew what an iPod was, even though I didn’t have one until ten years after everyone else. Gradually, the idea of a podcast was being communicated to me through various media. Chris Hardwick, the host of The Talking Dead and @midnight, to name two things, talked about his website Nerdist.com and his podcast. The reality television show Comic Book Men was revealed to be the direct descendant of the Smodco podcast Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave. While watching the television show Maron on Netflix, I saw that comedian Marc Maron was earning a living as a podcaster in his own garage. So, a mental image of what a podcast might be began to emerge in my mind. Internet radio, is the concise category I came up with in my own technologically-challenged, simple way. Like Sirius, that thing that stole Howard Stern from me, but as an on-demand thing.
Even armed with this knowledge, I did nothing with it until I suddenly found myself with an iPhone 6. One of the apps built into the device was about podcasts. Playing around with it, I first stumbled upon the Comic Book Men podcast, starring Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen, and I downloaded a few episodes. It was like talk radio, with the time convenience of DVR, that innovation that made me begin watching television again. I enjoyed listening to the initial episode and eventually branched out to other smodcast.com shows, such as Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave, Fatman on Batman, Smodcast, and others. Then, as way leads to way, I explored Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist empire, which included his Nerdist podcast and other favorites such as You Made It Weird, starring Pete Holmes, and Chewin’ It, starring those guys from the Broken Lizard comedies (Super Troopers, Beerfest) Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme. There are lots of others, too, some of which I listen to once, testing the waters, and never again. Others which are keepers include Maron’s WTF podcast and Comedy Bang Bang (which I first saw as television episodes on Netflix). My tastes seem to lean towards things that make me laugh. I like to laugh.
I’m certain there are podcasts that focus on music as well, but the talk-radio format seems to be my preference at the moment.
I made a huge mistake initially by downloading episodes regardless of my location. This ended up costing me about $60 in data overage fees during the first month. I tinkered with my phone so that the episodes only download off of my home wi-fi now, and these charges disappeared. Please learn from my mistakes.
I am a clerk for the US Postal Service, and I spend a lot of time working alone, especially in the evenings, sorting parcels or working dispatch. This is when I listen to my podcast episodes. They help pass the time and keep me entertained.
I have become a pod(cast) person.