I love, love podcasts.
There was a time in my life when I would never be without a book and used any extra time I had to devour books. As a mom to a very active five year old, my own baking business and a part time job, lately I have found very little time to read. In fact the only time that I even start a book is on family beach vacations. It is the only time that my daughter is happy playing in the pool with my husband giving me a few free hours to focus on a novel. I am also a bit of a news junkie which has made me an avid NPR listener – my poor kid has been listening to NPR in the car for years and recognizes some of the hosts by voice. (mom, why is her name Terry Gross?) In addition to news, NPR introduced me to some great radio programming such as This American Life, Fresh Air and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. I was becoming hooked on many of these shows and finally discovered podcasts several years ago.
A podcast is basically digital media consisting of digital radio or series that you subscribe to, and download to your computer or mobile device. Podcast allow me to keep up with news programming and stay up to date on current affairs based on my schedule. I am able to listen in the car when I am running errands or making deliveries, I listen when I am doing house chores like cleaning or laundry, and since my job does not involve phone work or much interaction with others, I am even able to listen at work on occasion. I use a podcast App on my phone to subscribe to my favorite programs and the App automatically downloads the latest episodes daily.
Here are some of my favorites:
- APM: Marketplace – I start my day with this podcast. This half hour daily business news show on public radio is entertaining and informative. The host, Kai Ryssdall is witty and funny and the reporting team does a great job of squeezing a lot of news and relevant information in a relatively short period of time.
- Planet Money – This podcast was launched in September 2008 to cover the global financial crisis of 2008. One of its original goals was to explain the financial crisis in terms that the average person could understand. The episodes are short (about 15 minutes) and they do a great job of explaining complex financial concepts in a really fun and entertaining way.
- On Point with Tom Ashbrook – I have a hard time keeping up with every episode of this show. On Point produces two hourly informative shows every day tackling hard hitting global topics like the refugee crisis in the Middle East, the Chinese stock market, energy, college affordability, politics, etc. I usually look at the day’s episodes to see if the subject really interests me. On Saturdays I love listening to the Week in the News hour that airs on Fridays.
- Death, Sex and Money – This is a newer show produced by WNYC and hosted by Anna Sale. Anna skillfully interviews celebrities and regular people and talks to them about big questions and hard choices that not part of ‘polite’ conversation. This is a great show for binge listening if you have a solo long drive coming up. One of my favorite episodes is “This Senator Saved my Love Life”.
- This American Life – A classic all time favorite. I was hooked on this show long before I was regularly listening to podcasts. This American Life is mostly a journalistic non-fiction program that also features essays, memoirs and short fiction. The last few years this program has been nothing short of amazing. It tackles really important issues and is able to deliver the stories in a captivating way.
- The Moth – True stories, told by normal people told live on state without notes. If you are not familiar with the Moth, you don’t know what you are missing.
- Serial – If you don’t know about Serial, you have been under a rock for the last year. It is the fasted downloaded podcast in Itunes history and is one of the most captivating radio shows I have ever encountered. Host Sarah Koenig unfolds a true story over the course of the first season and not unlike a captivating book each chapter follows the plot and characters through many surprising twists and turns. Excellent candidate for binge listening, especially before season 2 premieres next spring.
- Start up – As a small business owner and a news junkie, I found the premise of this show very interesting. It’s an honest, behind the scenes of what it is like getting a business off the ground. Season 1, followed Alex Blumberg, a public radio veteran on his quest to start a podcasting business. As a huge fan of Alex Blumberg (nerd alert), I love the first season. Season 2 followed a dating company started by two women. I am curious to hear what they have in store for season 3.
- Mystery Show – The host of this show, Starlee Kine, is public radio royalty. Her work can be found on This American Life and Marketplace. She is entertaining, thoughtful,quirky and engaging. In each episode Starlee, tries to solve a mystery that is not easy solved.
- Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie – With the presidential election a little more than a year away, Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie can be your one stop shop for political news and commentary. He is witty and funny and delivers what can be very boring political news in a fresh, interesting way.
Do you listen to podcasts? Which are your favorite?