Each week, 62 million Americans tune into podcasts. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital, this is an increase from 19 million listeners in 2013. iTunes began carrying podcasts in June of 2005. Now, you can access podcasts through other platforms such as Google Podcasts and Spotify. While software developer Dave Warner invented the podcast, MTV disc jockey Adam Curry popularized the form of media. His show, Daily Source Code, is considered a pioneer for podcasting, and Curry holds the (cheesy) nickname of "The Podfather.”  

What's the secret to their rise of stardom? Podcasts have appeal because of their versatility and inclusivity. They cover just about any topic you can imagine. As long as you have your phone (which, let's be honest, is all the time), you can listen anywhere at any time. Whether you are in the car on a road trip or in the kitchen cooking dinner, you have millions of episodes at the click of a button. 

In our society, many people spend their days staring at screens. Podcasts are a great way to relax -- providing a hands-free experience that gives your eyes a break. Another perk is that podcasts are free entertainment. They follow a more conversational style that is laid-back and easy to follow. Storytelling can also take the stage in a way that allows us to use our imagination and visualize the narratives we're listening to. Podcasts are time efficient in the sense that you get information in a condensed amount of time. 

Education, comedy, sports, and politics are just a few of the numerous podcast genres. You can gain insight from outside perspectives or catch up with your favorite celebrities. Whatever your taste, there’s a show out there for you. Here are five to help you get started:

The Daily

Put in headphones during your daily workout or listen during your morning commute. Host Micheal Barbaro focuses on a relevant news topic in each episode. The Daily breaks down information into a digestible format that keeps listeners engaged and leaving more knowledgeable. 

Serial

Serial is an award-winning podcast, including the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast. The show focuses on one true story over the course of their season. The disappearance of a high schooler, a runaway army man, and a bar fight are just snippets of what the first three seasons cover. These compelling stories are sure to have you hooked from the first episode.  

Chicks in the Office

Pop culture lovers, this is for you. Chicks in the Office covers the biggest stories from TV recaps to celebrity breakups. They also answer fan-submitted questions and have guest celebrity interviews. Chicks in the Office is a podcast that's like People Magazine for your ears. 

ESPN Daily 

Monday through Friday, ESPN Daily provides top sports stories and in-depth storytelling. No matter the sports fan, top reporters and insiders cover it all with different topic episodes each weekday. ESPN Daily will tell you what's going on in the sports world in 45 minutes or less. 

Dear Hank & John 

From Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) to Snoop Dogg to Paula Dean, celebrities left and right host podcasts these days. Listeners' questions are answered in this show by author John Green and Crash Course Youtube host Hank Green. The brothers offer funny yet genuine advice while addressing life's questions. 


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@juliana.colant