Note: if you are already into podcasting and just want some new podcasts to listen to, skip to the list.
March has been declared #trypod by the podcasting community; asking all of us devoted listeners to share podcast recommendations as well as help people who are unfamiliar with the medium get on board. Since I’m recently addicted to podcasts, I thought I’d share the love.
If you are not familiar with podcasts, or are not already at the cool kid’s table, don’t worry. While podcasting has been around for quite a while, we’re currently experiencing a renaissance of programming, so it’s a great time to jump on board.
I’ve admired podcasts from afar for a long time. Two of my close friends have podcasts see their work here and here (I’m in this one!), and I’ve wanted to listen to them. Sadly, since I’m not an iPhone person, there was always a bit of a technology barrier. While iTunes has a podcast section that you can easily browse, Andriod users have to find an app that will give them access to the podcasting universe. For me, after much trial and error, I found Podcast Republic which allows me not only to search for podcasts I hear about, but also allows me to browse popular ones. The app allows you to automatically download certain subscriptions as well identify how much of your phone’s memory you want to devote to them. If you need help downloading or adding podcasts, here is a little tutorial for iPhone and Android.
Once you conquer the technology barrier, it can seem like getting into podcasting is like trying to sip from a firehose. Shows range from well produced, professional podcasts from mainstream outlets, to low end hobbyists who are experimenting with all kinds of interesting formats. Audible, Google Play and others have also jumped on the Podcasting bandwagon offering and are producing podcasts for their members. As a result, there are podcasts for all kinds of folks and while most of my recommendations below are non-fiction, there are a ton of great fictional podcasts waiting to be discovered. With the exception of my last recommendation, I suggest starting with shows that don’t require you to go back and listen from the beginning. Otherwise, you can find yourself overwhelmed with back episodes.
Some of my favorites:
Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me– This is actually a radio show that airs weekly on NPR, like much of NPR’s content, it is available on the NPR One app as well as in podcast form. The show features comedians who answer questions on the week’s news.
Pop Culture Happy Hour– This is a NPR podcast, so the production values are high, and the talent is drawn from across the NPR family. Many of the panel members are raging geeks, so they frequently review geeky things. They end every show with a “what’s making me happy” segment where I’ve gotten tons of amazing recommendations. They also produced a Best Podcast of 2016 show that puts this little listicle to shame!
Radiolab– This is another public media show with some of the best production values in the business. They can make almost any topic from gene editing to an in-depth exploration of Bernie Madoff engaging and interesting.
Snap Judgement and The Moth– These are both podcasts and are carried as weekly shows on some public media stations. Both highlight personal stories from amazing, everyday people from the two friends who because accidental arms dealers, to an activist who made her need for prosthetic legs into a world record for track.
Reply All– This is an Internet and technology podcast that is a lot of fun. The podcast covers everything from video games to obscure prank phone call artists.
Myths and Legends and Lore– These podcasts should theoretically be pretty boring as they features just one guy, telling stories from myth, urban legend, and folklore. However, the hosts make the stories fun and compelling, especially if you are a story nerd like me.
Code Switch– Yet another podcast from the world of public media. This podcast navigates issues surrounding race and social justice. Some topics include Puerto Rican identity, representation of diversity in media, and much more!
Welcome to Night Vale– This podcast is the only one on the list that should probably be listened to in order, so it’s an investment of time. However, it’s entirely worth it! Night Vale tells the story of a small town where the weird is commonplace. The story is told through weekly radio shows from the town’s stalwart community radio host. That means that it takes about four episodes to get into the groove. Night Vale presents also has a few other deliciously weird fiction podcasts that you can enjoy.
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our very own podcast here at SHE, check that one out as well!
So, what are your favorite podcasts? Comment, share on our Facebook and Twitter, and make sure to #trypod if you do! Happy listening!
Lisa Pavia-Higel is a St. Louis based writer, educator and performer. By day, she’s a mild mannered Communication and Media professor at a local community college and runs her own small jewelry company, Geekery Gal. By night, she’s a stage combat fighting, comic reading, critique writing, productivity advice giving mama. She loves trying things that she’s really not very good at, like sewing, painting and writing succinct biographies. She is indulged by her little geeklet Sofia and intrepid feminist, geeky husband Matthew. She’s too long winded for Twitter, but you can tweet to her at @geekerygal