Whether when commuting, exercising or simply relaxing, increasing numbers of people are putting books to one side in favour of headphones and listening to podcasts rather than their favourite music. What is this trend that is slowly taking over from books? This article answers all these questions and recommends podcasts for every taste.
What exactly are podcasts?
Podcasts are informative or entertaining episodic series of audio files that can be subscribed to via the Internet. As podcasts are now mainly listened to on smartphones or tablets, they are widely distributed for free on platforms such as Apple iTunes and the streaming service Spotify. Podcasts can be seen as broadcasts that are released in the form of episodes that are either consecutive or separate and self-contained. They are often funded by native advertising in the form of sponsored content in the intros that precede the actual episodes.
The enormous popularity of individual podcasts from the English-speaking world in 2015 has led to the format becoming increasingly popular as each year passes and is slowly but surely ceasing to be a niche interest. There are currently no reliable figures on the number of listeners who regularly consume podcasts in Switzerland, but it may be assumed that US podcasts and those from Switzerland’s neighbours are popular with Swiss audiences. The range of domestic podcasts on offer is currently relatively modest, with the best-known being radio broadcasts from SRF/RTS/RSI and private providers who subsequently produce podcasts from live broadcasts. This new audio format allows listening to be individualised in line with the on-demand principle: You can play podcasts anywhere, whenever you want, and you can listen to them entirely at your own pace.
This audio trend has become an established part of the media landscape and has also been picked up on by Swiss personalities and publishers: The cabaret artist and presenter Viktor Giacobbo recently joined the ranks of the podcasters with his "Giacobbodcast", in which he talks with fascinating personalities from among his circle of friends and the worlds of politics and culture. The Zurich office of the NZZ also recently launched its first podcast, "9 Zürcher, 9 Chreis" (“9 natives of Zurich, 9 constituencies”), which portrays nine fascinating personalities from Zurich’s nine electoral constituencies. To date, the majority of Swiss podcasts can be categorised as reportage, talk show or knowledge, but the international range of podcasts is considerably more extensive.
Podcasts for every taste
An almost inexhaustible selection of podcasts is available. From useful and informative to entertaining, you will find a podcast on every topic you can think of, whether it’s a satirical weekly review, a language course or personal growth and career tips: You are spoilt for choice. To help you get started, we have put together some recommendations that cover various categories.
Career: "Baloise JobCast": What is the correct way to apply for a job? What does the day-to-day work of particular occupations entail? Discussions are regularly held with Baloise employees about their areas of expertise on the Baloise JobCast – the podcast on the Baloise Jobs Blog.
Personal development, motivation and success: "The Tony Robbins Podcast" and "The Tim Ferris Show". Why live a normal life when you can lead an extraordinary life? True to this motto, these English-language podcasts are designed for anyone who wants to take their life in their own hands. Use these podcasts to discover what makes truly successful people stand out and how you can employ their strategies and tactics.
Meditation & spirituality: US hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton offers short English-language meditations in her “Meditation Minis Podcast”. Overcome fears and blockages, learn techniques to increase your self-confidence and tackle your negative thoughts. In only 15 minutes or even less you will feel considerably more relaxed. Note: This podcast should not be listened to while driving.
“Happy, Holy & Confident” by the German Life Coach Laura Malina Seiler is intended “for the heart and the mind”. This podcast, which consists of a mixture of coaching tips, interviews with experts and real-life stories, has already been downloaded over five million times.
Crime thriller: Probably the world’s most successful podcast of all time, “Serial” is something of a sensation. Each episode of this US podcast deals with different aspects of a real, unexplained crime at a high school that took place in 1999. Crime thriller fans and amateur detectives shouldn’t miss this podcast, which has played a significant part in the global podcast trend.
Psychology: In her English-language podcast, “Savvy Psychologist”, Dr Ellen Hendriksen examines life’s challenges based on evidence-based research in a sympathetic, non-judgemental manner. The episodes, which are 10-20 minutes long, will teach you about the human psyche and, most importantly, how to live a happier and healthier life.
Stories: The most successful German-language podcast on the music streaming service Spotify is “Fest & Flauschig” (“Firm & Fluffy”). It began as a radio programme called “Sanft & Sorgfältig” (“Soft & Thorough”) and has been continued as a podcast by Olli Schulz and Jan Böhmermann since May 2016. It is an award-winning podcast about God and the world.
Once you have found a podcast that you love, it will enrich your everyday life informative, funny or profound. Here’s betting that you’ll start looking forward to commuting or cleaning! Put your headphones on and tune the world out.
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