If you’re not listening to podcasts – and apparently most of you aren’t – you are missing out.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there on every subject, and some of them are really fabulous.
If, like me, you’ve been a CBC or NPR junkie for most of your adult life, podcasts are like manna from heaven. They let you curate your own list of audio shows to listen to whenever you want. It has definitely improved my attitude towards laundry and other domestic endeavours.
So, what’s holding you back? Podasting is not rocket science – although if you are interested in rocket science I’m sure there numerous podcasts on that exact subject. Seriously, following, downloading and listening to podcasts is only marginally more complicated than searching, loading and watching your latest Netflix binge. You can even subscribe to podcasts you like and then new episodes are downloaded automatically.
You only need two things to get started:
- A podcast player app. I use Overcast, but if you have an iPhone you already have a podcast app on your phone. If you’re confused, ask anyone under 25 for help and just ignore the eye rolls.
- Some podcasts to listen to. On this second point, I can help by sharing some classics and my current playlist.
No list of starter podcasts would be complete without Serial – the top-ranking investigative journalism podcast hosted by This American Life’s Sarah Koenig. It probes the murder of an 18-year-old Baltimore high school girl and the ensuing (and questionable) conviction of her ex-boyfriend. Serial’s latest spin-off podcast, S-Town, provides a spellbinding look into the eccentric life of antique-clock loving, acerbic Alabaman, John B. McLemore.
This award-winning public radio show hosted by Ira Glass has been broadcasting investigative journalistic stories in a series of acts centered around a weekly theme since 1995. Topics range from pirates to politics and from regrets to coincidences.
The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro hosts this 15-minute in-depth look at one or two topics trending in the news every weekday. It’s become my morning ritual.
“True Stories Told Live” is the tagline for The Moth Radio Hour. Launched in 1997, The Moth podcasts feature real people telling their own, often emotional and sometimes hilarious stories to live audiences in venues around the world (but mostly in the U.S.). Warning: on more than one occasion I have had to pull over my car while listening to The Moth because my tears were impeding my vision.
Here’s where I first learned about CRISPR, the surrogate market for Israeli gay couples and the losing war on microbes. Accurately self-styled as a show that “illuminates ideas, and the boundaries that blur between science, philosophy and human experience.” Its sister podcast More Perfect presents a fascinating and profound examination of how the U.S. Supreme Court – an elite group of nine people – has shaped America.
This is a show for people who love to collect a small amount of detailed knowledge about a lot of quirky things. Ostensibly it’s about architecture and design, but you can learn fascinating tidbits like how to establish your own nation state, who decides what colours are “in” and the thinking behind some of the world’s most iconic logos. Most episodes clock in at around 30 minutes, making them a perfect length for most commutes or gym cardio sessions.
My latest podcast find is a guilty pleasure. Anna Sale is an endearing host who effectively and sensitively probes her guests on topics often considered taboo. Listening makes me feel like a voyeur to a personal therapy session. DSM is not to be missed for anyone who has to fight the urge to sneak a peak into someone else’s medicine cabinet.
I realize from this list it may appear that I’m spending a lot of time listening to podcasts. Guilty. However, the payoff has been an extremely tidy house. So, if the dust bunnies are piling up at your place, or if you just have to get through a long commute, what are you waiting for? Tune in today.