What is a Podcast?: and a Favorite Recommended

I probably subscribe to far too many podcasts. Even so, I have deleted dozens. There are just so many choices! Good, quality choices.

Podcasts are audio (or video) programs that you can download and listen to on your portable device.

Some of them are professionally made programs which originally go out on-air as featured radio or television programing, just wrapped in a podcast way so that you can listen on-demand (whenever it suits you).

Other podcasts are made by enthusiastic amateur folks exploring an interest. If you have a hobby, and interest or a passion ….chances are there will be a podcast dedicated to your line of thinking. There are simply thousands of podcasts available.

I listen to podcasts every day. They accompany me on walks, errands, car rides and housework.

Over time, I’ll be focusing on some of the ones that I enjoy the most.

Today I am highlighting one of my very favorites, “A Way with Words”.

A Way with Words is an example of a professionally-assembled radio program that is also made available through podcast (listen-on-demand) format.

Hosts Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette answer questions from callers about language. This podcast is entertaining, enjoyable and educational. I can’t improve on their description of the program, so I am pasting it here, directly from their website:

A Way with Words is an upbeat and lively hour-long public radio show about language examined through history, culture, and family. Cohosts Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette talk with callers from around the world about slang, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well. They settle disputes, play word quizzes, and discuss language news and controversies. The show is heard by more than a quarter-million listeners each week over the air and by podcast.

Here are a few examples of topics explored in the program:

******** If we’re talking about the whole lot of something, we call it the whole kit and kaboodle. But what’s a kaboodle? In Dutch, a “kit en boedel” refer to a house and everything in it. For the sake of the English idiom, we just slapped the “k” in front.

******** Grant and Martha share some more terms that make a person sound old-fashioned these days. Ever get a blank stare when you mention the icebox?

******** How do you pronounce garage? Does it rhyme with “barrage,” or do you say it like the British so it rhymes with “carriage”? The variations abound, and they all work.

I especially enjoy it when they discuss the origin of words. One in particular stuck in my brain: I learned that the word “dreary” originates from an old medieval word (sounds like “drehrig”) that was the gooey stuff that remained on a sword when it was used in battle. Awful, huh? But how fascinating to learn that something so yuchy has evolved into the word “dreary” of today! It makes a lot of sense.

Each episode is approximately 50 minutes.

A Way with Words is actually originally sent out as a broadcast radio program. There are several ways you can listen.

* You can listen to it in the traditional radio way if the time and station both work for you in your area. Stations are listed on their website.

* You can also listen by visiting the A Way With Words website. All of their programing is available on-line. Just browse yourself to an episode and hit the “play” button.

* And finally, (my choice) you can download episodes to your portable audio device through your Podcast App. (You can find my post about the new Podcast app here.) Just search for A Way with Words, download any episodes you choose, or subscribe and have them delivered to your device automatically.

A Way With Words. You will find their website here.


20 thoughts on “What is a Podcast?: and a Favorite Recommended

  1. The podcast about words and their origins sounds fascinating. We often end up chatting about what does this mean or where did that originate from, I love place names as well and have a plac ename dictoinary for the UK, a dictionary, in book form, how old hat is that ?!

    • A Way with Words is truly an excellent show. If you give it a listen, I guarantee that you will keep on as a ‘regular’. It’s informative AND entertaining. Enjoy!!

  2. I love words! So, of course the first thing I did was go to the Way with Words website and was tickled pink to read that stray plastic bags are known there as witches’ knickers. Despite a law that was introduced some years ago that requires store owners to charge for these plastic bags, the witches’ knickers litter our land and are a huge nuisance. Some folk have got very creative in making them into all sorts of things which turn out to be very pretty. Thanks for directing us to a great site.

  3. I’m actually listening to a podcast right now! I’ve been a podcast listener since 2006 and it does make the time go by a little faster – especially at work. I’ll need to check out the one you listed above – am not familiar with it.

      • I have a few regulars I listen to… NPR’s All Songs Considered, This American Life, Daytime Confidential (I’m a bit of a soap fan, mostly General Hospital), Doug Loves Movies, Stuff You Should Know, and Mysterious Universe to name a few. Sometimes I’ll listen to pod-casts about TV shows. Just whatever I’m in the mood for. Over the years I’ve discovered and then stopped listening to some podcasts for whatever reason.

        I love listening to podcasts while I do yardwork.

        • This American Life and Mysterious Universe are both on my list, too! Love that Benjamin Grundy. I think I listened to Stuff You Should Know for a while, along with All Songs Considered. I’ll be sure to check out Doug Loves Movies. I’m afraid my General Hospital days ended when Luke and Laura originally got married (dating myself again 🙂 )

  4. Alice says:

    This sounds like something I would really enjoy–I love words. Thanks for introducing this. I love all the NPR mentions too.

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