Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Tech Talk

Podcast kills the radio


Road trips are a hard prospect for the tech addicted. With a digital world of friends and information only a few smartphone clicks away, it’s difficult to resist the temptations of distracted driving. Most of us have peaked at a text or checked a Facebook notification behind the wheel, but if you’re currently in the throes of a text-and-driving fixation, know that there is a way out. Just as smokers kick their habit with nicotine gum or e-cigarettes, the easiest way to keep your eyes on the road is to replace one distraction with another. My personal treatment is podcasts.

Distracted driving is nothing new. When car stereos were first introduced in the 1930s, many decried drivers fiddling with their radio dials instead of keeping their hands at 10-and-two. Over the years, eight-tracks, cassette tapes, CDs and mp3s all augmented the way drivers enjoy audio on the road, but few have truly replaced the original AM/FM radio establishment quite the way podcasts have.

Put simply, podcasts are radio shows delivered digitally through Internet download and available wherever you can carry an mp3 player and a set of headphones. Services such as iTunes provide a download site where listeners can find podcasting content on virtually anything imaginable — everything from sports and music to quilting and gun-cleaning. Plus, the lion’s share is free. Chances are, the mega websites people visit every day already produce a podcast, and users are simply missing out: TMZ, ESPN, NPR, FOX News, even local radio shows such as 1460 KXNO’s Murph and Andy have a podcast.

Besides providing enough content to keep hands from idling and eyes on the road, podcasts are extremely easy to download. Smartphone apps, such as iTunes and BeyondPod, allow users to search and subscribe to individual shows and automatically check for new episodes.

Podcasts may not be the distracted driving antidote for everyone, but they can easily make a four-hour drive feel like two. CV

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Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.                 

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