Simple Living Works!

The Joy of Podcasts

Posted on: July 6, 2013


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(from Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art – 4. Peace & Justice)

I don’t like to exercise, so I use podcasts as an incentive. While jogging and biking, I’ve been listening to my favorites on my little player for the last several years. With podcasts, we can listen at a time that suits us.

Many of my friends don’t use podcasts, don’t know how to access them, don’t want to know.

My change came when I received a hand-me-up from my son, an old iPod. There are many MP3 players, the iPod probably the best known. Having worked in radio for almost two decades and being a professional musician for 25 years, the podcast is a natural for me.

Technical Info

MP3 is a digital format for sound. To understand some basic differences, for “analog” think phonograph records (LPs), for “digital” think CDs or flash drives. MP3 sound files have “mp3” at the end of their title, such as “tcg-039.mp3,” i.e., The Common Good episode #39.

MP3 players can store thousands of songs or hundreds of podcasts. It’s like having hundreds of LPs on a devise the size of my thumb! They’re quite inexpensive and small. They run on battery power and are easily recharged. I use lightweight, inexpensive headphones when I exercise. When doing other chores, like the laundry, I plug my iPod into a pair of small computer speakers.

Some podcasts are video. They require a video player, such as an IPad or “tablet.” Their titles end MP4.


Podcasts have several program formats. Some radio and TV programs are issued as podcasts, such as Living on Earth, a popular public radio environmental program. Some podcasts are issued solely as podcasts. Most listeners are familiar with radio and TV programs, whether news, public affairs, talk, advice, comedy, even infomercials. “Pure” podcasts also have diverse formats, including a mix of interviews, call-ins, conversations, rants, editorials, solo, DIY, etc.

There are thousands of podcasts series. iTunes categorizes them, such as religion, education, etc. If you know the actual name of the podcast you want to hear, key that name into the search box at the upper right of the iTune Store page. [Don’t be confused or distracted by the other media offered by iTunes, such as songs for sale.]


I have a dozen favorite podcast series, some monthly, most weekly, some 30 minutes, most an hour. I’ve subscribed to them so that they’re automatically downloaded into my computer. Then I simply plug my iPod into my computer and easily transfer them into my iPod for listening. I can also listen on my computer. Some podcast listeners “sync” their computers and iPods, so that the two have the same content. I prefer to transfer them manually and selectively. Likewise, I remove podcasts from my iPod easily via my computer after I’ve listened to them. My computer has a lot more storage space than my iPod.

I use iTunes to subscribe to podcasts, though there are several podcast services, such as Think of iTunes as a newspaper carrier, delivering a podcast from the publisher to you. iTunes can be used on PCs or Macs. It’s no more complicated than your browser for your email. SmartPhones also have apps to listen to podcasts.

I co-host and produce a monthly podcast with, called Recent topics include:  A Senator Who Speaks Out About Climate Crisis |  Green Business Is Better Business  |  Standing Up for the Small Family Farmer. And we have really interesting folks lined up for this fall.

I plan to start Simple Living Works! podcast in August, probably bi-weekly. I hope you will try some podcasts now so that when my new series appears, you’ll be comfortable accessing them, fitting them into your life and feeling their benefits.

Peace, Gerald

6 Responses to "The Joy of Podcasts"

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