The Growth and Benefits of Listening to Podcasts


Photo Credit: Mr. Brown on CreativeCommons

Anna Salinas, OwlFeed Lifestyle Editor

From learning about true crime to dying of laughter (not literally), podcasts across the internet cover many topics. Podcasts have managed to exponentially increase in popularity throughout the years on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Podcast, and many more. 

While it may seem like you’re just listening to people talking for a whole hour, podcasts are actually really beneficial.

Podcasts began to gain popularity in the last couple of years as people’s favorite celebrities, Youtubers, and other prominent people started to create podcasts of their own. But podcasts’ first popularity growth was in 2004, a few years after the debut of the first iPod, which allowed radio broadcasts to save their files, which then could be transferred to iPods. 

This then resulted in people being able to listen to radio broadcasts on the go with the well-known portable player. And it even gave it a perfect name of ‘podcast’ as the name is the mix of the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast.’ 

The word ‘podcast’ soon became a worldwide phenomenon as the years went by. Many reasons podcasts have grown are because they are very beneficial for various reasons, to the people who listen to podcasts and the people who create podcasts. 

Podcasts can help companies increase their brand awareness. According to Jared Atchinson, a member of, “Research by The Infinite Dial found that there are 51 million podcast listeners in the U.S. This type of media isn’t going anywhere and continues to be a popular method to speak to audiences about different niche and industry topics.”

Aside from using them for business, podcasts are also great for giving and receiving information. Reading information can sometimes get boring and feel lackluster as sometimes you have to ask yourself if you actually remember what you read (and usually you don’t). With podcasts, you’re having someone tell you directly. 

Not only are podcasts informational, but they’re also great just for entertainment. There are so many different podcasts from so many different people. According to Ying Lin from, there are over 850,000 podcasts and 30 million podcast episodes ranging from comedy to true crime, and even meditation. 

I personally love to listen to all sorts of podcasts, usually when I’m cleaning or playing my NintendoSwitch.

One of my favorite comedy podcasts at the moment is ‘Sweet Boys’ by Garrett Watts and Andrew Siwicki, who are mostly known for their career on Youtube. Their conversations are both relatable in a way that they are wholesome yet chaotic.

According to Hannah Malach, our brain’s response to comedy podcasts is usually positive, as “Your frontal lobe is what ‘decodes’ the joke to determine whether it’s funny or not. When you think something is funny, your frontal lobe sends that message to your cerebral cortex, which is what triggers things like laughter, surprise, and delight. Humor also lowers levels of cortisol, meaning that it’s ideal for stress reduction.”

Another one of my favorite podcasts is ‘You’re Wrong About’ by journalist Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall. Their podcast touches on stories mainly from the past. Every week they reconsider a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination. 

One of my favorite episodes from them is where they talk about the full history of  Princess Diana. As someone who didn’t know much about her, it was very educational and well talked about. 

If you are someone who is interested in the science of everything, I highly recommend you listen to ‘Ologies with Alie Ward.’ In every episode, humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward discusses different fields of studies, from animals to even food, with various experts and scientists in those fields of studies.

And lastly, yes I do listen to true crime podcasts and I recommend listening to Karen Kilgraff and Georgia Hardstarks’ ‘My Favorite Murder.’ Almost every week Karen and Georgia go back and forth discussing their favorite true crime stories and even talk about tales from their hometowns, from friends and fans. 

Your brain interprets particularly suspenseful information through the medulla oblongata, which produces adrenaline,” Malach said when discussing what happens to the brain when you listen to true crime podcasts. “This stress-inducing chemical triggers your ‘fight or flight’ response. The rush you might get from listening to true crime also activates your pituitary gland, releasing endorphins. Endorphins affect your brain similarly to opioids, meaning they can be slightly addictive.” 

True crime podcasts release a production of dopamine and serotonin which results in people wanting to come back for more.

If anyone is interested in the podcasts I listed above, they are all on Spotify, alongside millions more.