What is a podcast: everything you need to know

Global podcast listening has been growing steadily since 2013 and podcasting in the region is seeing a dramatic rise

Podcasts have been growing steadily since 2013.
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There is growing interest in podcasts, but for those who don't know what the fuss is about, or even understand what the term means, here is a simple guide.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio programme a bit like a radio show that you can listen to whenever it suits you. Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular and listening figures have been steadily climbing globally for the last five years. About 1.3 million adults regularly listen to podcasts in the UAE and the audience and number of podcasts produced in the region are both growing. You can listen to a podcast online, or you can download the podcast on your phone with one easy click and listen to it later.

Tell me more.

Podcasts differ from radio shows in that they are not live, they are pre-recorded and often sophisticated productions. They can be based on broad topics, or very niche and appeal to followers of a very particular subject matter. Podcasts can be an ongoing series, a short series, documentary style or one-offs. Most major media outlets have podcasts and you will be hard pressed to find a subject that does not have a podcast about it. From hard-hitting current affairs journalism to lighthearted comedy, stories for children and drama serials, they appeal to almost any age and demographic. For instance, there are well over forty Star Trek-related podcasts. No I haven’t listened to them (not all of them anyway).

Why should I listen to a podcast?

Well, that's different for every individual. Like any form of media, podcasts can inform, entertain and inspire. I listen to podcasts for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, to gain bizarre knowledge in order to unexpectedly amaze my husband who believes he knows everything about me. Try this one over the dinner table: "Hey, did you know pigeons delivered the results of the first Olympic Games?" How impressive is that? So if you want to wow your friends with your knowledge of locusts or UAE debt law or what inspires a crime writer here's your chance.

How can I listen to a podcast?

You can listen to a podcast on your phone or any device connected to the internet. Best of all? They’re usually free. However, some podcasts charge for their content or for access to their archives - but these are not the norm.

On your phone, to make life easier, you’ll want to download a podcast app. Most phones already come with a podcasting app; Apple Podcasts for iPhones and Google Podcasts for Android phones. Otherwise, Podbean and Castbox are available for download on both Android and Apple phones and are popular choices.

Once you find a podcast you love you can click the subsribe button in one of these apps and all the latest episodes will be delivered to your phone.

You can also listen to podcasts online on your computer. Just find the name of the podcast you want to listen to and a quick google search will take you to their website. There, you can click and listen to an episode of your choice.

Another popular option is to listen on a music streaming service such as Spotify and Anghami.

How do I know what to listen to?

We have a list of regional podcasts to get you started. If none of these suit your tastes just pick a topic you're interested in, put it into a search engine and add the word "podcasts".

Did I mention how many Star Trek-related podcasts there are?

star trek podcasts
star trek podcasts