The Podcast-ical Journey: Since 2004

Aditya Madan
GDSC VIT Vellore
Published in
8 min readFeb 13, 2020

There was a time when every car on the road had people listening and enjoying to the radio. Those old melodies and less frequent ads made radio a haven for listeners. Furthermore, radios were a source of great insights and stories that were brewing around the world, narrated by hosts that passionately pursued them. But now this format has been replaced by prank shows with longer and more frequent advertisements.

Do you miss those great audio that just made one’s commute light and breezy?

Try listening to podcasts.

Podcasts are a series of digital audio files that are available for download on the internet. They don’t have a fixed length, format, production level or anything else. They are completely based on the creator’s thinking and interests.

Think of podcasts as an audio-only TV show, with its genres varying from Comedy to Tech.

Basically, if you can Google it, there is a podcast about it.

Each Podcast is a series of episodes, released in seasons or in continuity. These episodes are released according to the creator’s desires. Podcasts are becoming extremely popular as they are easy to produce, help creators to connect with an audience with similar interests and are free to listen anywhere in the world on any device. Almost every podcast is submitted to all the major podcast streaming platforms using a Podcast RSS feed.

An RSS(Really Simple Syndication) feed is an XML extension file that presents real-time updatable information. When this information consists of audio files, it is known as a Podcast RSS feed.

There are a lot of apps available in the market for listening to podcasts, but I will list the best two that I recommend every podcast listener to start with.

1. PocketCasts

Source: The Verge
  • Platform: Android/iOS/Web
  • Price: Free
  • Best Features: Trim Silence, Volume Boost, Sleep Timer

This is the most used and the most appreciated app in the podcast community as it brings all the features under one roof. It has a great User Interface and is highly customizable. There are things I can customize on this app that I wish I could on other non-podcast apps. You can even make the app icon darker. The only thing that needs improvement is the Discover algorithm. The algorithm has an above-average ranking system which results in inaccurate top charts and unrelated recommendations. It is still the best app in the market for iOS users.

2. Spotify

Source: CNN
  • Platform: Android/iOS/Web
  • Price: Free
  • Best Features: Great Recommendations, Sleep Timer

To supplement a user base of more than 200 million all over the world, Spotify spent $400-$500 million promoting podcasts on its platform. With the best podcast search optimization algorithm and a great recommendation section offered by the app, it checks out all the boxes. The best thing about Spotify is that it offers seamlessness like never before. One can easily switch between devices and even the format. Spotify even has its Creator Program for Podcasts creators so that they can directly publish while monitoring their user base and inserting ads in real-time using their targeted ad technology named Streaming Ad Insertion(SAI). It misses out on features like “Trim Silence”, but screens it up with its green-black UI that music enthusiasts already love.

You’ve got the app and you’ve got your headphones. Now which podcasts to listen to?

Here are some of the podcasts that we at DSC-VIT listen to:

The ones for the Tech Enthusiasts

  1. Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast

If you follow Tech on YouTube, then you must be familiar with Marques Brownlee. He started on Youtube in 2009 and since then he has grown to earn 10 million subscribers on Youtube. He started his own podcast in August of 2019. The podcast features everything that isn’t on his channel. It follows a modern intro and outro, with interviews, collaborations, and Behind-the-Scenes stories packed in between. Rants and rumors do get mentioned here and there in the episodes of Waveform. The thing that makes this podcast different from Marques’s YouTube channel is the brainstorming that he and his co-producer Andrew do to spice things up a bit.

2. VergeCast

There are many podcasts out there from media publications, but this is among the best of them. Nilay Patel, Dieter Bohn, and Paul Miller sit down on Fridays, taking a break from the weekly docket and giving you the week’s tech news. They come back again on Tuesdays, to review and interview. Imagine three editors at a major tech publication, just chatting about tech to start their weekend and give you a daily dose on this week’s tech. Off-the-rail and deeply-nerdy conversations make this podcast, a Tech Joyride.

3. Darknet Diaries

You have only seen the brighter side of the Internet. Embark on this ride with Jack Rhysider, to experience the darker side. The chilling adventures of cyber-criminals and stories of data breaches are all this podcast is about. Using a great story-driven audio experience, this podcast shows that those evil geniuses are just as vulnerable as we are.

4. Lew Later

Do you love Unbox Therapy? Do you love the taunting and ranting between Lew and Willy Du? If you do, then this podcast is your next obsession. In an era of greatly researched, fast-paced podcasts, this is just an easy-going conversation that doesn’t carry the weight to be revolutionary. It is both an audio as well as a video podcast that one can watch on YouTube.

The ones with the stories

  1. Carrier

The brainchild of Dan Blank and QCODE, this is an original scripted thriller that starts with a truck driver carrying a loaded trailer down a dark and lonely highway. With Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner Cyntia Erivo as the main lead, the podcast is a seven-episode series. It uses the dual-channel audio tech to embark the listener on a three-dimensional immersive experience. Do use your headphones to listen to this, though.

2. WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

The founders of WeWork thought they were on the verge of making history. The company was valued at $47 billion, ready for an IPO, so what went wrong? It was all just a vision far from reality, from WeWork’s CEO Adam Neumann, who sold it to the savviest investors to get the wheel turning. A six-part series hosted by David Brown(Business Wars) describing the biggest business blunder of the decade. It’s Wolf of Wall Street all over again!

The ones that don’t make it up to the charts

  1. The Unmade Podcast

Just a podcast with Tim Hein and Brady Haran discussing some utterly baffling, crazy and creative ideas for podcasts they will never make. If briefly described, it is a brainstorming session that happens every month that plays with your mind leaving you amazed.

2. Character Count

Skip those courses on Twitter Marketing and just listen to this podcast. Get world-class marketing inspiration from brands that have creative, baffling and effective Twitter Ad Campaigns. Also featuring Q&As from the Social media Coordinators at Twitter, this is a one-stop-shop for Twitter and marketing in general.

3. I Survived

This podcast is simply the audio taken from the episodes of the Lifetime series “I Survived”. A series that tells the real-life stories from people in their own words about life-threatening experiences and how they overcame them. It features stories of great courage and survival, that makes it a must-listen for students.

The ones that are different

  1. On Purpose with Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty is a motivational speaker and an Internet sensation. With this podcast, his goal is to make wisdom go viral. He converses with great and inspiring personalities like Jordan Belfort and Robin Sharma on this podcast, extracting wisdom from their life stories and experiences. One of his great series includes “Interviews with The Dearly Departed” where he interviews dead people. It is basically a deep-dive into the great lives of those great people that are now dead. Even those who aren’t looking for inspiration will find get inspired by listening to this podcast.

2. Business Wars

Business is all about crushing the competition. It’s war, whether it is Nike vs. Adidas or Ford vs. Chevrolet. Hosted and narrated by David Brown, Business Wars is a story-driven recap of those downfalls, tribulations and miraculous comebacks that have driven the world to where it is now. Some of the best episodes include Red Bull vs. Monster, Netflix vs. Blockbuster.

3. The Joe Rogan Experience

Joe Rogan, an American comedian, television host, occasional actor, and a podcast host since December 2009 for the Joe Rogan Experience. Think of this audio-video podcast as an explicit Ellen DeGeneres show. But unlike those press interviews, these feel more natural and relaxed.

Variety reports that Apple Podcasts hosts more than 500,000 podcasts in 10 languages, and with this ever-growing list, it is hard to keep track of every podcast. So feel free to add your favourite podcasts in the comments and guide those novice listeners who have commenced their podcast-ical journey!