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Beginner's Guide to Podcasts

A Beginner's Guide To Podcasts
Not sure how the whole podcast thing works? We're here to help!

If you have some form of technology in your life — a smartphone, a tablet, a personal computer or even smart speakers — it's easy to podcast your favorite shows from 90.7 WMFE and NPR and discover new shows that you won't catch on the air.

Plus, the vast majority of podcasts are totally free, whether you want to listen to an individual episode or subscribe to a show so you never miss the latest.

Get started with this guide, adapted from Vermont Public Radio's A Beginner's Guide To Podcasts, and find more information, useful links and a FAQ below. Happy listening!


Ready to get started?
Follow these simple steps to listen and subscribe to WMFE’s flagship podcasts. The links below work for both mobile & PC navigation.

On your Apple device:
1. Tap or click the links below to open your podcast of choice right in your Apple Podcasts app:

2. Once you have the show open in the app, tap the “Subscribe” button to have new episodes delivered to your device as soon as they’re available. Subscribing is totally free.

3. Or, if you’d prefer not to receive every episode automatically, simply tap the name of an episode that interests you. You can stream the episode using your WiFi/data, or tap the plus sign and then the download icon to save the episode to your device for offline listening. This post has more helpful guidance.

On your Android device
1. Tap the links below to open your podcast of choice right in your Google Play Music app.

2. Once you have the show open in the app, tap the “Subscribe” button to have new episodes delivered to your device as soon as they’re available. Subscribing is totally free.

3. In the dialog box that opens, you can also check a box to receive a notification whenever a new episode downloads to your device. This post has more helpful guidance.

With your Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomePod

You can ask your smart speaker to play a WMFE podcast or play a stream of the station.

Try NPR One

NPR One is a smartphone app that connects you to a stream of public radio news, stories — and, you guessed it, podcasts! — from around the world and your own backyard. Learn more, and download the app to your device.

Frequently asked questions

I'm an avid WMFE listener. Why should I branch out to podcasts?

WMFE’s program schedule is carefully crafted to be the best possible public service to our more than 260,000 weekly listeners. But no matter what we do, we’ll never find a lineup that’s perfect for every listener in every way. Podcasts are the solution. They allow you to personalize your listening experience and listen to your favorite programs "on demand" — pausing, rewinding and restarting as you please.

You could also think of podcasts as a new art medium ripe for exploration. Most podcasts combine interviews, narration, music and natural sound to create a diverse terrain of audio. The sensational soundscapes can create an enriching and intimate experience.

I still don't get the difference between subscribing, streaming and downloading.

Think of subscribing to a podcast like subscribing to a magazine, but for free: The newest episodes will be delivered right to your device when they're available.

If you prefer to listen to individual episodes of a bunch of different podcasts, you can pick and choose episodes based on your interests. If you're at home or somewhere with a good wireless connection or cell service, you can stream your episode of choice — like watching a show on Netflix.

If you're going to be commuting, traveling or just heading outside for some fresh air, it probably makes more sense for you to download the episode to your device ahead of time, like borrowing a book from the library. Once the episode is downloaded on your device, you can listen on-the-go without being connected to the internet.

Where can I find podcasts of my favorite NPR programs?

Many of the NPR shows you hear on WMFE are available in NPR's Podcast Directory. If your schedule doesn't always allow you to catch Fresh Air, On Point or BBC’s Newshour on WMFE, the podcasts are a great way to keep up. You can also check out Up First, NPR's new daily news podcast.

What other podcasts should I listen to?

You know what public radio programs you like, but may need help finding podcasts. This can be tricky, considering there are over 250,000 podcasts to choose from! RadioPublic is an app that allows you to input your interests and receive personalized suggestions. Another helpful resource is The Big Listen, which is a podcast all about discovering podcasts.

So why is it called a podcast?

Podcasts began gaining popularity more than 10 years ago, as iPods grew in popularity. The word "podcast" is combination of "iPod" and "broadcast," which reflects the way listeners would download these broadcasts from the web and listen to them on a mobile device.

Questions? Suggestions? Drop us a line

A Beginner's Guide To Podcasts was created by Vermont Public Radio and adapted with permission for WMFE's audience.