7 Podcasts to Listen to Starting Today!
Firstly, excuse the giant photo of me giving a thumbs up about podcasts. I'm in the Zanzibar Airport and I'm finishing this post, and I needed a thumbnail for the post. Well, there it is, for better or for worse. At least I've got a bit of a tan (burn), right?
So, I’m not sure if people who blog about travel are supposed to blog about other things such as media and technology, but then again, I suppose I don’t particularly care. Travel and exploration is one of the great passions in my life, but it isn’t my only passion. I follow a lot of other travel writers and photographers and you’d swear they’ve been travelling 24/7 for eight and a half years. In truth, they’re more than likely just better than I am at recycling the content they’ve amassed from previous trips. Or, if they are actually travelling 24/7, then I want their job, and I want it now.
What I’ll be writing about today is another of my great passions – podcasts (and, by association, radio.) I’ve always loved multi-tasking, and podcasts have filled this void for me in allowing me to satisfy my needs for constant progress, while enjoying other time-consuming activities. Take, for example, the fact that I listen to podcasts at the gym, or on the bus on the way to work. In my head, this is now time even more well spent. Bri can attest to the fact that our house is quite rarely silent, an attestation to the fact that my mind is always on the go, and, her patience in accepting that about me is something I’m well aware of, and very grateful for!
Podcasts are something I’m confident that I know well, and have an ear for so to speak. I have indeed written a post about podcasts before for Yabangee, and it was well received and heavily trafficked (you'll understand that pun if you click on the link)! And, so I'm going write up a little piece for my own blog. Why not, right? It's not like I've got an editor who is shutting down my pitches.
I probably listen to 35 podcasts semi-regularly and 15 semi-religiously. In 2016, I can imagine that I checked out about 100 podcasts trying to scout out the cream of the crop. And so, in the interest of a fresh, productive and informative 2017, here are 7 podcasts I would recommend you listen to make that vision a reality!
Please note, I'm not including the heavy hitters that everyone knows about already like Radiolab, This American Life, Serial, Freakanomics, Invisibilia and so on and so forth. Indeed, I wrote about those before - if you want to know more about them, then check the link above which I've linked to the text! I'm trying to include relatively new, interesting podcasts that I think will directly positively impact your 2017, but you may not have heard of if you aren't big into podcasts.
Though, if you are into podcasts, you'll likely have heard something about these podcasts, but perhaps this can be the incentive for you to finally go and check them out. Here's to hoping! So let's get started:
I can't count the number of podcasts whose aim is to "read between the lines," societally speaking. That is, there are a ton of podcasts who are essentially trying to play the role of the enlightened sociologist. However, "Hidden Brain" does this better than most. Where Invisibilia (which I adore, by the way) takes the approach of exploration through a grand narrative, I find Hidden Brain to be a bit shorter and more direct and succinct for those busy sorts of days when you don't want something too heavy. They're usually quick to the point, have interesting guests, and include just the right mixture of science and human interest.
Start with: Episode 53: Embrace the Chaos
I'm surprised even in myself that it took me so long to lock onto Fresh Air. It's truly one of the best podcasts running, and that's largely because of the mastery of the host, Terry Gross. Her voice has become a mainstay in my brain, and I'm thankful for that. The show itself is essentially interviews with guests from popular culture. But, not only does she get on some top notch guests (the late Carrie Fisher, Jeff Bridges, Francis Ford Coppola, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephen Colbert and on and on and on), but she has a way of really getting people to open up. Personally, I would give her full credit with that because she does her research about the guests and asks insightful questions which force guests to take a pause. If you don't listen to this, start now, as it's a must listen in my books.
Start with: Trevor Noah (Dec.17)
As far as crime podcasts go (and there are many), I'd have to say this is pretty top-notch. Each season follows one city and its "culture of crime." Season 1, which is still currently in progress, sets its sights on Providence, Rhode Island. It focuses on the power of the infamous Patriarca crime family and their effect on politics, policing, and daily life there. They've got first hand accounts from notable members of the mafia, and its timeline is constructed in a clear, enticing way. I'll tell you one thing, I'm already ready for season 2.
Start with: Chapter 1: Divine Providence
This one has really grown on me. Basically, artists come on and take apart their songs piece by piece and give the story behind it. I like this podcast because the host is merely a facilitator, and it's really just the artists doing the talking. Not shockingly, what we think we know about particular songs tends to be totally off basis. It's a beautiful look into the creative process of artists and how groups of musicians work together to complete something they're proud of. It's short, so it serves as a nice break if you've just listened to a lengthy podcast, or have 15 minutes to kill.
Start with: Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (Sep.21)
How I Built This
Of the bunch, this to me would be the "absolute must." I purposely didn't rank the seven podcasts I've mentioned, as I think each podcast has a lot of merit and it really depends on your tastes, but if you pushed me far enough, this would be the one I'd put in front, at least at the moment. The concept is simple - the host, Guy Raz, invites on the top entrepreneurs of our day and asks them how they "made it". However, the guests are all very different (compare someone like Virgin's Richard Branson to Patgonia's Yvon Chouinard and tell me I'm wrong), and that makes for one intriguing podcast. It's fantastic work, like most of what NPR tends to do.
Start with: Southwest Airlines - Herb Kelleher
The Bill Simmon's Podcast (BS Podcast)
This one is for the sports lovers out there, as isn't necessarily "off the radar" by any means. Truthfully, it's one of the most popular sports podcasts around. However, especially in regards to sports, I think the market is flooded with content and it's hard to know what actually worth your while to listen to. In my opinion, the BS podcast definitely is, and I'll tell you why. Firstly, Bill Simmons is very much himself on the air and doesn't pretend to be a sports guru, and same with Cousin Sal, a regular on the show. Secondly, they pump out a ton of content which keeps things exciting. Thirdly, it's the perfect balance between banter and information. If you're a sports person and you didn't know there might be a podcast with your name on it, start here.
Start with: the most recent episode (sports news tends to be rather time sensitive, after all)
I can't recall a season of podcast episodes I've enjoyed more than season one of Malcolm Gladwell's "Revisionist History." Like his books and really anything he touches, it's exceptional in every sense of the word. The podcast looks back at historical events or ideas and takes a closer look at whether we understand it as well as we should. In essence, the broad scope of the program allows Gladwell free reign to re-examine that which we think we know, which is what he does best. I've got it on good information that season two is well in the works, and I cannot wait. Listen to season one if you haven't yet, then get excited for more content to come.
Start with: The Lady Vanishes
I thought I'd include a quick paragraph at the end to include a few podcasts, or at least podcast episodes, that I'd recommend giving a listen to in 2017. Firstly, check out Reply All's (a podcast about the internet) series called "Inside Out" (Ep. 64-67). It follows a blogger from prison, and then the story gets a whole heck of a lot deeper. If you're into history, you've got to check out show 50-55 of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - it's a 23 hour behemoth entitled "Blueprint for Armageddon," and it's the most in-depth account of WWI I've yet to hear. For a daily dose of current events with a twist, subscribe to BBC's "The Documentary." Although it's not being renewed for a second season, "Undone" is a pretty quality podcast about how historical events have played themselves out in the modern day. If you're into music, "Sound Opinions," might tickle your fancy, and if you're into law you might like, "Radiolab Presents: More Perfect."
I've got plenty more recommendations, but I think this post is long enough for one day. Please feel free to comment on my FB page with what you agree with or think I'm missing, or if you'd like to see a part 2 to this podcast! If you liked this, feel free to share it across the wild world of social media.
Thanks for stopping by for a read, and I'll be seeing you folks soon!