April 23, 2017 Tony Morgan

Still Not Listening to Podcasts? Here’s What You’re Missing (And How to Get Started)

Edison Research recently released a study about digital media consumer behavior in America. I found two statistics on podcasts particularly interesting:

  • Only 1 in 5 Americans consistently listen to at least one podcast every month.
  • Only around one third of Americans report having ever listened to a podcast.

Personally, I have found podcasts to be a valuable tool, especially for church leaders, as they can be such an engaging way to learn from high-level leaders even while you’re on-the-go. I was surprised that 4 out of 5 people aren’t taking advantage of this free tool.

I’m sure there are many reasons for those statistics, but I started to wonder if at the most basic level, the majority of people still don’t know exactly what a podcast is or how they could benefit from taking the time to figure it out. So, I wanted to provide a basic rundown of what podcasts are and hopefully answer some questions you may have:

Podcasts 101

A podcast is similar to a radio show, except you listen via the Internet on your computer or smartphone, and you can listen to an episode whenever you want. Podcasts can cover any topic and can be made by anyone. Imagine it sort of like a blog post, except listened to instead of read.

Do they cost?

Podcasts are almost always free. In rare cases, you may find some podcasters who charge for extra episodes or bonus resources. But generally they won’t cost you anything. Church leaders like Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel and Carey Nieuwhof publish new episodes regularly, and they’re free.

What does it mean to “subscribe” to a podcast?

It’s very similar to subscribing to a blog and receiving new posts by email. When you subscribe to a particular podcast, new episodes will automatically be downloaded to your listening device so you don’t have to keep checking for new episodes. It streamlines the process for you.

How do you subscribe?

The most common way people subscribe and listen to podcasts is through iTunes. If you are on your desktop, you can:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Go to the iTunes store
  3. Search for the podcast you are interested in
  4. Click on the podcast artwork
  5. Click the “Subscribe” button

You can also listen/subscribe on your mobile phone through the Podcasts app if you have an iPhone or the Google Play app if you have an Android device. On these apps, you can:

  1. Click the search tab (iPhone) or search icon (Google Play) and type in what you’re looking for
  2. Click on the podcast artwork
  3. Click the “Subscribe” button

If you’d rather listen online, most podcasts also have their own website where you can listen to each episode and sign up to be notified of new episodes via email.

What podcasts should you listen to?

I recently asked my team at The Unstuck Group to share podcasts they think pastors should be listening to and why. If you’re new to podcasts, or just looking for some fresh voices to follow, here are some of our top picks.

I also host my own show, The Leadership Unstuck Podcast, where I share practical steps on a variety of topics to get your church unstuck. If you’re interested, you can listen online or download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher.

I highly recommend that you add a podcast to your weekly or monthly schedule, if you haven’t already. Start off with one of the podcasts I mentioned. They are a great way to consistently grow your leadership and improve your strategy as a church leader.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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