Podcasts are taking the entertainment world by storm. They are streamable and downloadable audio entertainment, easy for on-the-go listening. Simply put, they are internet radio shows on demand.
The first podcast launched in 2004 with a computer program that could download internet radio shows to iPod MP3 players. Today, podcasting is increasing in popularity as an entertainment- and information-sharing platform. Podcast topics range from narratives to news, cooking and murder mysteries to informative talks on almost every topic imaginable.
Podcasts are usually released as a series with new episodes available at regular intervals, similar to how episodes of TV shows are broadcast on a schedule. Episodes vary in length and there is no standard time for a podcast. Most series tend to keep episodes to similar lengths, but running time is up to the creator.
The VA Podcast Network focuses on informative, news-related, and interview-style shows. The Network currently includes seven podcasts:
- Borne the Battle
- Vets First
- Fresh Focus
- My Life, My Story
- Delivering More Together
- TAC Talks
- RMIRECC Short Takes on Suicide Prevention
Same content, new format
The podcast community includes both new and old content. Some radio networks, such as National Public Radio (NPR), publish their content in podcast form as well as radio broadcasts. Podcasts reimagine traditional radio-style broadcasts to optimize them for convenience and accessibility in an increasingly digital world.
How to find and watch podcasts
You can are stream and download a podcast from multiple websites and apps. Some podcast platforms are available on computers, smart devices or both. Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts are free apps and services. Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRadio are currently free with advertisements but offer ad-free, paid subscriptions.
The easiest way to find a podcast is to search for it by name on a search engine, or within a website or mobile app. If you want to browse a podcast library, search the internet for one of the services by name or click one of the links below. If you are using a mobile device, such as an Android or iPhone, they should already have the Google Podcasts or Apple Podcasts app installed. Search the device for ‘podcast,’ click on the app and browse the available podcast offerings. You can also search for specific shows in those apps.
Podcasts produced by the VA Podcast Network are available on all the listed services. They are also accessible through the VAntage Point Blog and Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
The major podcast platforms are:
- Apple Podcasts
- The Apple Podcast app is available on Apple devices, such as iPads and iPhones. Apple Podcasts can also be accessed through iTunes on Macs and PCs.
- Spotify is a music and podcast streaming service that is available on the website, computer app and mobile apps.
- Google Podcasts
- Google Podcasts is also available on the website and mobile app. The app is available from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
- Stitcher is a podcast player that is available on their website and mobile app. It can be accessed from a computer via the website and on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets on the Stitcher app.
- iHeartRadio is a music, radio and podcast streaming service that is available on the iHeartRadio website and mobile app. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Jana Jenkins is a podcast intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is an undergraduate student at the College of Saint Benedict studying Communication.