When I was ten (well before the internet age) I would secretly stay up late at night listening to my scratchy AM radio and tune into the adventures of Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho, as he battled windmills and musketeers. Today I don’t even own a radio, but the spirit of Don Quixote lives on in podcasts.

Podcasting (not to be confused with podracing) is according to statistics a familiar term to 55% of Americans. It hails back from the early days of the internet in the 1980s, when it was first called “audioblogging.”  Is was not until the mid 2000’s the delivery of podcasts took off with the advent of the iPod and other similar portable media playback devices.

Where is podcasting today, and why are we talking about it?  Today 57 million Americans listen monthly to podcasts (up 23% year to year) with an estimated 3.3 + billion downloads last year. With the ability to listen to podcasts on any computer, smartphone, or tablet anywhere at anytime, podcasts are bounding forward.

For the 45% of you that are still wondering, “What is this podcast magic?” here’s a breakdown.  Just as you can find any type of video you may be interested in on Youtube, and just like you can find information on any type of subject matter you want from Google, you can find and listen to any type of subject matter imaginable that peaks your interest via a podcast.  A podcast is an audio file that you can listen to on any device, and you can subscribe to podcasts to auto receive the newest release automatically.

There are podcasts for humor, tech, general news, religion, self help and sports. There are serial stories and short stories. For an example, here are a few I listen to on a regular basis (links to the podcast download):

I used to think think that I didn’t really have time to listen to podcasts, but then I realized that hour round trip to Coos Bay was a great time to listen to them, as well as those 3 hours scooting around on the riding lawn mower each week. Plus the hours each month listening while I fix the lawn mower… maybe I should listen to a mower preventive maintenance podcast.

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