The other day I received a notice in the mail that my subscription for SiriusXM Radio was coming up and I needed to make the decision of whether or not to renew it. I must admit, I've been a loyal listener of Satellite Radio for the greater part of 10 years, but with the lack of reliable programing and hundreds of channels that I have no interest in, does it really make sense for me to spend more money for content that I don't care about?
As someone who spends most of his time recording and editing podcasts, I actually rarely have time to sit back and enjoy listening to them. To tell you the truth, I should probably do it more while I'm driving back and forth to see my baby in the hospital. Did you know there are almost 500,000 podcasts on iTunes to choose from? It's True! If you have a subject or topic that you care about… I bet there is a podcast out there for you. If not… you should be the on to make it yourself! (This is topic for another blog post)
So, how do you go about listening to podcasts?
There are several great ways to listen to podcasts. I have at least 3 different ways to listen to the TeacherCast Podcasts on this very website alone. If you are in your car on your smart phone, and you are on a website that is set up to properly stream audio or video (such as this web site) it's as easy as plugging in your phone into your car and hitting play from the website itself. But… what are some good apps out there that play podcasts?
Here is a list of my current favorite apps for consuming on demand audio AND video.
Apple Podcasts (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podcasts/id525463029?mt=8)
Love it or hate it, in my opinion, Apple has created a pretty decent podcasting app. Why do I say this? Because it allows you to search through your entire iTunes library and all of your subscriptions are then synced across your devices. Few podcasting apps can say this. This app allows the playing of both audio and video podcasts across all mobile devices AND it also allows you to play them on your AppleTV. Right now the app is a free download from the Apple App store, however, with the addition soon of iOS8 it will soon be one of Apple's native apps that you don't need to download. Be sure to check out our shows on the Apple Podcasts app by visiting http://www.TeacherCast.net/iTunes
Rated as one of the Top 50 Apps by TIME Magazine, Stitcher Radio is one of the go-to apps on any mobile device. It has several great features for your podcasting considerations. While you are driving around in your Land Rover or Jaguar, simply connect your mobile device to your car and Stitcher Radio will broadcast in beautiful crystal clear sound as you sip your sports drink of choice. Once you have your shows connected, one great feature of Stitcher is called “Listen Later.” Have you ever been channel flipping and wanted to save a show for a later date? If so, this feature is for you!
Although not a free app, PodCruncher ($2.99) does provide many great features. PodCruncher allows you to both Stream and Download shows, create playlists, and best of all, it is VERY fast to navigate through. Users have the ability to stream over both WIFI and Cellular and it responds to basic swiping gestures. This feature is very useful when listening to podcasts while driving.
OverCast is natively a free app that offers many great features after a $4.99 in-app purchase. The full version of app alows users to listen to each episode in variable speeds, create playlists and alert you to new episodes through push notifications. One neat feature of OverCast is a sleep timer. This feature has been handy when rocking my babies to sleep at night.
TeacherCast Mobile App (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teachercast-pro/id460774278?mt=8)
While not out yet at the time of this blog post, TeacherCast Labs has been hard at work creating a brand new podcasting listening experience for you. We have recently teamed up with our friends at Libsyn to create the ultimate professional development platform. Listen to all of your favorite TeacherCast shows such as the TechEducator Podcast, PrincipalCast, the TeacherCast Podcast or the TeacherCast App Spotlight right from your dedicated audio player. The App is FREE, available now and will be updated in the very very near future to have these enhancements.
These certainly aren't the only podcasting apps. These aren't even the only ones on my iPhone and iPad. I challenge and welcome you to share your favorite in the comments section below. No matter how you listen to your professional development audio, have fun with it. It's just like the rule of 2 feet. If you don't like the show you are listening to, change the channel… there are 500,000 of them.