My Favorite Podcasts
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
And that's because years ago, I found podcasts.
I'm pretty obsessed.
Podcasts are these little gems that sneak onto my computer at night, ready and waiting for me to plug in my headphones any time I want. They're essentially awesome radio and news shows with no commercials! Can't ever seem to figure out when TAL is on your local radio station? Hellooo my NPR obsession, on demand. Now I can become informed, be entertained, etc while making dinner, walking the dog, or sitting next to the creepy man on the train. Blam. Distraction provided.
So now that I'm sure I've totally enticed you to join the revolution, I wanted to share some of my favorites that I listen to weekly. If you've got some time, check them out, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll love it. I promise.
*All of these podcasts can be downloaded via iTunes or streamed through the website.
1. This American Life
"Hi, It's This American Life, I'm Ira Glass." are essentially my favorite words ever. For those of you who haven't joined the fan-dom of TAL, please crawl out of under the rock you have been hiding and listen. Immediately. In TAL, Ira and friends pick a theme and share stories about that theme over the hour. It's touching, it's enlightening, it's funny, it's sad...I could go on. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the train and laughed out loud or shed a tear...they're just so good.
Favorite Episode: Return to the Scene of the Crime
2. Slate XX Gabfest, Culture Gabfest, and Political Gabfest
I've been a pretty avid reader of the online news publication of Slate Magazine for years now, and am absolutely addicted to these three "gabfests". In each gabfest they choose three discussion topics, (often things that are in recent news/publications,) and a board of Slate writers/editors (and the occasional special guest,) discuss them at length. The XX gabfest focuses on all things the XX chromosome (i.e. WOMEN,) and the culture and political gabfests discuss culture and politics. (Duh, right?)
Radiolab is kind of like This American Life's cool younger sibling who's obsessed with science, philosophy and the human experience. It literally BLOWS MY MIND on a weekly basis.
Favorite Episode: Words
4. Pop Culture Happy Hour (NPR)
This podcast puts a smile on my face every day, it's probably one of the ones I'm most excited to listen to on my morning commute. It's a very similar format as that of the Slate gabfests, but is comprised of most of the NPR culture editors, (i.e. books, television, theatre, music, etc.) They're always turning me on to new things and I love the What's Making Us Happy segment (it's where I got the idea for my Friday posts!)
Favorite Current Episode: Oscar Nominations and Liking What's Popular
All Songs Considered
I'm a little obsessed with music, so naturally, I'm a little obsessed with All Songs Considered. Hosted by Bob Boilen and producer Robin Hilton, All Songs Considered is my go-to place to hear about GOOD music that I'm not necessarily going to find on MTV. (Okay, you're never going to find music on MTV anymore, but that's beside the point.) I also love that they focus on music from all genres and not just whatever is cool to be listening to. (Though you're likely to get cooler by listening to what they suggest. Personal opinion.) I'm always crossing my fingers to run into Bob at a show!
Favorite Episode: Songs that Make You Feel Good
6. Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!
If you like comedy and the news this show is guaranteed to tickle your funnybone. Guaranteed. Hosted by comedian and writer Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell WWDTM is made up of a panel of comedians, writers, and generally funny people to discuss the week's news in a game show format. Listeners can call in and play, and if they win, they get Carl Kasell's voice on their home answering machine. (I'm dying to win. DYING.) They just plain crack me up.
Favorite Episodes: ALL OF THEM
Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed In History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You
These podcasts all serve as a kind of extention of the HowStuffWorks website, which literally has an answer for any question you may have. Stuff You Should Know focuses on general questions (one of my favorites was about the Bremuda Triangle,) while Stuff You Missed in History Class focuses on historical questions, (my favorite: Boston Molasses Flood,) and Stuff Mom Never Told You discusses questions about womanly things, (favorite: Chick Lit)
8. Savage Love
Hosted by sex columnist Dan Savage, (of It Gets Better fame,) Savage Love is essentially an extension of his weekly column. He focuses on relationships, love, sex, and everything involved, answering reader's questions live. It get EXPLICIT, so be forewarned, it's not for the faint of heart.