What's a podcast and how do I listen?

A podcast is like a radio program that is distributed online instead of via traditional, terrestrial radio. Podcasts typically release new episodes on a regular schedule (The Distance, for example, comes out every other Tuesday). One nice thing about podcasts is that you can subscribe to shows and listen to them whenever you want, rather than needing to tune in at a certain hour like you do with radio. And the vast majority of podcasts, including The Distance, are available for free—no subscription fee required. Podcasts make great companions for commutes, household chores and long walks on the beach and elsewhere!

You can listen to podcasts via their websites. For example, you can visit https://thedistance.com and click the Play button on the episode of your choice.

If you'd like to listen to a podcast on the go, you can use any number of mobile apps to subscribe to podcasts. This means you sign up to automatically get new episodes of a particular show whenever they're available. The app downloads new episodes to your device and saves them to your smartphone or tablet so you can listen at any time.

For iPhone or iPad owners, the easiest podcast app to use is Apple's Podcasts app, which comes preloaded on newer devices. (If you don't have it, you can download it from the App Store for free.) Click the "Search" button in the bottom right corner and type in the name of the podcast. When you get to the show's page, click the purple "Subscribe" button.

Another popular app for the iPhone and iPad is Overcast, which is free. To search for and subscribe to a podcast in Overcast, click the Plus (+) sign in the top right corner.

If you're an Android user, you can check out Stitcher (for a free option) or Pocket Casts (which costs $3.99). In Stitcher, click the magnifying glass in the top right corner to search for a show, then click the Plus (+) sign to add it to your Favorites. Subscribing works similarly in Pocket Casts: Search with the magnifying glass in the top right corner and click the Plus (+) sign.

Happy listening!