One of the things I do with my commute time is listen to podcasts. I have sampled dozens of podcasts, but these are the ones that I look forward to the most, and that are pretty much a permanent part of my podcast diet. In no particular order:
This American Life
A staple of public radio. You have probably heard about this show, or heard it on the radio, or seen a TV version of it. You have almost certainly heard people talking about the stories. This podcast consistently tells stories that are funny, touching, poignant, and sometimes incredibly sad.
Another public radio gem. The show touches on many subjects, and the interplay of the hosts, Had Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, is a thing of beauty.
Once upon a time, Roman Mars started a podcast about design. And the world became a better place. Have you ever been curious about the origins of those flappy arm inflatable dancing men? Or what it takes to bring the sound of sports to you? Or what makes a good flag? There is a reason this show has had three very successful Kickstarter campaigns. I suggest you just start at Episode 1 and start listening. You will want to hear them all. More than once.
A podcast about crime. But not what you think. As they describe it, “Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” There are only twelve episodes currently, but look forward to more coming soon.
This podcast from WBEZ in Chicago answers questions submitted by the people of Chicago. Why do busses bunch up? What’s up with the people filling up jugs from that old water pump? Why does Chicago have two Chinatowns? This podcast makes me want to move to Chicago and explore the city myself. Also, why does San Francisco not have something similar, and who wants to help me start one up?
A spinoff of This American Life, Serial tells one story – a true story – each season. They are currently part way through Season One. The story is the story of a murdered student and the 17-year old boyfriend accused of her murder. Every bit as good as the best detective story you have ever read. Start at Episode 1 and become immersed.
Poetry Off the Shelf
This podcast is all over the map, in a good way. They might examine current events through the lens of a poet, they may interview a contemporary poet or play an interview from 60 years ago. While you may not always like every poem they select, you will likely come to appreciate something about the writing or the writing during the episode.
What are your favorite podcasts? Leave a comment!