I am always surprised at how many of my colleagues and friends don’t listen to podcasts. There seems to be some sort of misconception that they are frivolous or reserved only for the realm of Geeks and Nerds.
Perhaps it is the name?
I have been into Audiobooks since I was a kid. I used to love listening to stories on long drives. Once I started work as a teenager stacking shelves and then delivering furniture, the only way I could get through a shift was listening to a book. One headphone in the walkman with cargo pockets full of cassettes from the library. As soon as MP3 players became portable (iRiver H340) I was downloading news and special interest shows off the ABC and BBC to listen to at work or driving.
Somewhere between then and podcasts have taken off in a major way. With the affordability of digital tools and the rapid spread of the internet and portable media devices, podcasts have become easy to create and consume. If you take a look on the iTunes store there are an infinite amount ranging from 12 year old girls discussing school yard politics to highly polished editorials.
I use them for a majority of reasons, but mostly it is to learn. To find out about the world around me, new trends and ideas.I learn way more listening to ‘slice of life’ human interest stories than whatever is making up the daily news cyclone.
Rather than rattle on about why I like them, here is a very small list of Podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis. Do yourself a favour and check some out, they will make your drive to work much more enjoyable and give you something other than Sports or House of Cards to discuss at the pub on Friday!
Radiolab – www.radiolab.org
Radiolab is the mecca of podcasts. The stories they pick and the quality of reporting and production sits above almost everything else. If you think audio storytelling is boring, listen to one of these and tell me if you still do!
The Joe Rogan Experience – www.podcasts.joerogan.net
Rogan is probably not for everyone, but if you are into interesting people discussing everything from drugs and stand up comedy to politics and everything in between then it is well worth investing in. Joe has a great knack of coaxing stories and information out of guests in a casual and natural way.
This American Life – www.thisamericanlife.org
Ira Glass has been running the show since long before the word podcast even existed. Without TAL Radiolab would not exist. Great little snippets of life told with imaginative reporting and great detail.
Dan Carlins Hardcore History – www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-series
Carlin is a machine.. How he researches his shows I have no idea. I just finished his World War 1 series (over 15 hours worth) and it was incredible. If you think history is dull, listen to Dan Carlin. He brings history to life through the stereo in 3D.
Star Talk Radio – www.startalkradio.net
My wife and I are a sucker for Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He is a legend. If you are interested in science and technology and love space then he is your man!
The Big Web Show – www.5by5.tv/bigwebshow
Zeldman is the godfather of the modern web. If you are a web professional then this is a mandatory series to listen to. Keep one step ahead of the game as Zelman interviews the brightest minds in the world of the web.
Serial – www.serialpodcast.org
Serial was perhaps the biggest breakthrough into mainstream culture in the world of podcasting. If you loved Making A Murderer on Netflix then you would also devour season 1 of Serial. True Crime has never been better (in any format).
Freakonomics – www.freakonomics.com
Steven Levett and Stephen Dubner have written several books under the Freakonomics titles. Their weekly podcast follows in the same light, telling slice of life stories with an economic bent. I great source of interesting Trivia with world class journalism at its core.
Reply All – www.gimletmedia.com/show/reply-all
Reply All tackles subjects around the Internet. The Reply All team are hilarious as we join them as they learn about all the nooks and crannies of life on the web. A great 30 minute show released once a week.
WTF – with Marc Maron – www.wtfpod.com
One the original standup comedy podcasts. WTF has been running for years. If you don’t know Marc Maron he comedy (and TV show) is well worth checking out. His WTF series is a great insight into the minds of comics and celebrities. His very famous interview with Louis CK has been hailed as ‘The greatest Podcast of all time’.
Smodcast – www.smodcast.com
Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats etc) has started an empire with his Smodcast network. They talk about everything from comic books to politics. Smith is hilarious and his series with Jason Mewes is a must listen (Jay and Silent Bob get old)
Heres the Thing – with Alec Baldwin – www.wnyc.org/shows/heresthething
I have fond this recently. Alec Baldwin (and his deep voice) interviews his friends. There is some great insight into the lives of actors, artists and people doing interesting things in the world. Hi recent episode with Mickey Rourke is a great listen.
Longform Podcast – www.longform.org/podcast
Longform interviews journalists from around the world, with a focus on foreign correspondents. It is probably my main source for current world news. I really interesting insight into the minds behind the stories of the world’s leading news outlets.
Bon Apetit – Foodcast – www.bonappetit.com
I had to put one food centered podcast on here. Bon Apetit is probably the most approachable. They interview Chefs, Foodies and wine experts. A great listen if you are seriously into food and wine and like to hear the stories behind the kitchen door.