I’m a big fan of all things audio. I used to pay for Pandora and now I pay for Spotify. I’m always listening to something. So when I heard of this thing called a “podcast” and that it was free, I thought I’d give it a go. My commute is more than an hour each day and I might as well learn, right? It’s been more than a year since my first podcast episode and I thought it was due time to share my favorites. Without further ado, let’s round ’em up!
(each title of the podcast is linked to their respective site if you’re interested)
Let’s start with the podcast I’ve listened to the most of: Stuff You Should Know, from the HowStuffWorks.com group. Josh Clark & Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant make my heart smile and my brain grow. This podcast is all about random things that you’d probably never research on your own and putting them in a way that is relevant, interesting, endearing, and thought-provoking. It’s approachable and likely the place where I learned about pacifism, soylent, elastic, or flea circuses if I happen to bring them up in conversation. This podcast is something I honestly look forward to.
Examples of titles: Is computer addition a thing? Hibernation: Not a Snooze. Jellyfish: Even Cooler than Octopi? Who Gets to Name Continents?
As of Jan 31 at 19:39, there are 849 episodes of The Nerdist podcast. I guess you could say it’s good.
The thing I like about this podcast is that the hosts are comedians who are introspective and bring these two things together beautifully. I’ve always been a bit envious of the quick wits of comedians but I’ll always chuckle along and somehow that’s better while alone in my car driving home from a long day at work.
In addition to the incredible guests (some of which are listed below), there are “host-ful” episodes where the three hosts (Matt Mira, Chris Hardwick, and Jonah Ray) sit together and just chat about the things happening in their lives. Who knew that Matt’s bike getting stolen could turn into a debate about moral codes and that I’d still continue to laugh along?
Notable guests: Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Gates, Bill Nye, Dakota Fanning, Grace Helbig, J.J. Abrams.
Filler is a podcast for creatives. I can’t say that I’m a creative by trade but I can say that I enjoy this podcast because of its range of guests, ranging from photographers to bloggers to filmmakers to designers and beyond.
It’s recorded in a coffee shop in London (called Notes) and you can often hear cups clinking and it makes it feel like you’re in the room with them (if you use your imagination). They talk about design decisions and taking risks and “making it the industry” and no matter what I’m always interested.
And it doesn’t hurt that one of the hosts is British.
Notable guests: Rosa Park (editor of Cereal Magazine), Esteé Lalonde (blogger and vlogger), Blaise DePersia (designer at Facebook)
Man, this podcast brings back the memories in waves. Hearing from the creators, writers, animators, and more from my favorite Nickelodeon shows couldn’t make me happier because they mean so much to me still today. Much like Filler, I love this glimpse into the creative industry and hearing, “what is your first memory of animation,” asked at the beginning of each podcast.
Hector (the host) goes into the specific profession, journey, stories, and remembrance of the hit shows that molded my childhood and I will never not fangirl when Butch Hartman is mentioned.
Notable guests: Butch Hartman (my boy, the creator of The Fairly Oddparents), Arlene Klasky (as in Klasky Csupo), John Davis (creator of Jimmy Neutron)
If you haven’t heard of Serial by now, I’m a bit curious about the type of rock you’re living under.
Okay but really this podcast goes weekly into an investigation with Sarah Koenig & Julie Snyder and their quest to get answers. The first season, a murder case with a man serving life in prison that no one had heard about until this show. The second season, a popular case of Bowe Bergdahl and his run-in with the Taliban. The third, TBD.
I actually got to hear Sarah & Julie when they came to TCU earlier this year and it was what dreams are made of. This was truly my first podcast (I binged it during my road trip to San Antonio for TCU’s bowl game (#tbt) and I was hooked with a capital H.
Sarah records the podcast as she’s finding out the information so you really get her opinions and hear the information real-time. In the case of Adnan (season 1), apparently people with information got in touch with her during the first few episodes and you get to hear about it because of the timeline. So cool.
This is a new podcast I’ve been listening to, but it’s definitely one of the more thought-provoking. This author (of Blink, David & Goliath, and the Outliers) is inviting his listeners to revisit pieces of history and examine if they truly are the way we “remember” them to be. He takes on social issues and history, in general, to show that the history we think we know or the social structures we think are working within are only figments of our imagination. Listening to how, for example, one painting by Elizabeth Thompson inadvertently shows us systemic classism, racism, and sexism, is not something I expected.
This podcast takes on crimes (big or small, well-known or not) and discusses them. The selection of topics here is really what gets me. They pick a topic and interview someone involved so you get the facts and the personal take and it definitely makes it more conversational and well-rounded.
Notable topics: Shell games, assisted suicide companion volunteers, pot brownie empires, hacking, venus fly traps and more.
Last but not least, a podcast about history. This podcast was put out by the British Museum and took specific objects from their displays to literally explain the history of the world. I was a bit skeptical about listening to a whole podcast about a “Victorian tea set,” for example, but I found that I’m game for a look into this era’s aristocracy and class struggles. I thought I’d give an episode or two a listen and I was quickly hooked because it turned out to be crazy-interesting.
If you’ve made it this far, you deserve to hear some honorable mentions:
- Welcome to Nightvale
- EW’s Binge (the Harry Potter season)
- Hollywood & Crime – new but definitely enjoying it so far.
- Stuff You Missed in History Class