Tetmeyer: How to properly listen to podcasts


Courtesy of Will Francis via Unsplash

Columnist Grant Tetmeyer teaches us how to listen to podcasts. 

Grant Tetmeyer

This article has been long overdue. With podcasts becoming a major form of mass media, we need to have a talk about the different types, how to listen to them and what you need to remember when picking your next podcast.

What makes me an authority? Nothing. I’m just a guy who really enjoys podcasts and has helped to edit and produce podcasts at the Daily, but I feel I have enough experience to give some advice.

First off, all podcasts are, at their very core, a form of entertainment. From the Joe Rogan Experience, Hardcore History, the Pat McAfee Show, Nerd Poker to This American Life, it is all in the name of entertainment, and you have to keep that in mind while listening to them.

Even the name of a podcast is used as a way to grab your attention and entertain you enough to make you want to listen to it. I didn’t listen to Call Her Daddy because I wanted to learn about how to improve sex with my partner or learn about modern feminism and female empowerment. It’s because the title was funny, and I thought there would be a crap ton of dirty jokes. And I got all of that in spades that I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for the entertaining title.

Next, take everything with a grain of salt. A lot of the podcasts that I mentioned are long-form podcasts that feature interviews, and that is one of the most popular forms of podcasting, so it is important to have this in your head when listening to these types of podcasts. Anyone can claim to be an expert, and anyone’s claim can gain traction on a platform like this, so always follow up on major claims made by these people. I’m not saying don’t trust your favorite podcast host or media personality, but words can be construed, and things can be misremembered or misrepresented. So if there is something that you really question, just look it up. If you can eat McDonald’s while driving and talking to your mom, you can take two minutes to Google something.

Third, not everything is equal. I don’t just mean in the production value, but in creating a podcast itself. If you are interested in starting a fantasy podcast or a fiction podcast, you are going to need to think about a lot more than a freeform or conversation-based podcast. You have to think about sound effects, actors, ambient noise, music and any other sounds that would help set the mood, even if it’s just a Dungeons and Dragons podcast. If you want to make a news or murder mystery podcast, you have to do the research, have interviews and check your facts, as well as the production issues of scene-setting that fiction has. And not even all episodes are made the same. Anyone who has listened to a podcast for a while, you know what are some of your favorite episodes and what ones they don’t like.

Finally, small doesn’t mean bad. Yes, we all like to watch big-budget movies and TV shows, watch complicated TikTok videos and listen to majorly produced podcasts, but don’t shy away from the smaller podcasts. I say this as a podcaster as well as a podcast fan; small podcasts can be just as fun and engaging as the big names. Plus, if you go small enough, you can avoid ads or at least an ungodly amount of them that you might get with the bigger names that thrive off of their ad revenue. This isn’t a campaign against big names either. It’s simply advising you to broaden your podcast horizons.

Podcasts are one of the best mediums because really anyone can do it with very minimal setup if you want to, but with that comes a lot of crazy stuff thrown out into the void of the internet. Trust me; I did a podcast where we talked and joked about history stuff. So it’s important that everyone is mindful when picking and listening to your next podcast because it’s easy to get lost in the words of some stranger on the internet. We do it in movie theaters all the time.