I’m not sure if I believe that there’s someone out there for everyone. What I do believe is that there is a very special podcast out there for every person. There are so many different voices telling different stories that everyone is bound to find something they love. Even better, these things teach you really cool stuff. Be their intention educational or otherwise, they all impart some sort of really cool knowledge. They’re addictive and you can listen (or half listen) while doing practically anything- cooking, cleaning, studying, avoiding studying, falling asleep. It’s a super easy way to expand your mind. But there are so many fish in the sea that it can get overwhelming and difficult to pick out a couple to take for a test drive. Luckily, I’ve been using podcasts as my psuedo-professors this year, so I’ve weeded through the masses and found a number of gems. Just call me your podcast matchmaker.
For the future detective
If you love detective shows, law, mysteries, or puzzles, this is for you. Serial lays out the details of the 1999 murder of Baltimore teen Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of the murder and is currently serving a life sentence in prison. Simple, right? Not even close. There are holes in everyone’s story- Adnan’s, the state’s, the witnesses’. The case was (and is) a mess. Host Sarah Koenig spent months and months painstakingly researching every angle of the case. This This American Life spin-off is almost like a really good TV show- it’s engaging, it’s addicting, it has endless twists and turns, the players are multi-dimensional- but it’s so real.
If you need inspiration
Women are awesome! They do stellar things with cool people and have incredible stories to tell. Oh Boy! is produced by Man Repeller, the fashion/lifestyle website created by Leandra Medine, a badass lady in her own right. Every week, host Jay Buim talks with an accomplished woman about her life and work. Past guests have included Stacy London (of What Not to Wear fame) and Kiran Ghandi (the free-bleeding marathon runner and drummer for M.I.A.). Make sure you have a solid hour free after you listen to one of these, because you will be majorly inspired to plan out your entire life.
To stay informed
All of the Things
I don’t know about you, but I regularly find myself getting the majority of my news from Facebook. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes I feel like I’m missing something. Enter Jenny Churchill and Funmi Akinyode, the dynamic duo that wraps up all the news from the past week with a slightly edgy, decidedly left-of-center, 30 minute long bow. It’s jam packed with briefings, so you won’t know all the finest details of the newest Planned Parenthood developments, but you will know that someone said something dumb about it. These ladies are funny and informed, and when you listen to them you’ll be more informed and (at least try to be) funnier too.
For the dabbler
Everything is cool. Hosts Adam Davidson and Adam McKay totally get this and spend a half-hour each week talking about how typical things are, well, surprisingly awesome. It’s fun and will give you random knowledge to impress (or annoy) your friends with. The two episodes released so far cover free throws and mold. It’s kind of like two really smart little boys got a hold of a microphone and a computer and went wild- what’s not to love?
For the irritated political junkie
The Trail Tapes
Another new one, The Trail Tapes tells the stories of people who are atypically connected to the 2016 presidential campaign. Politics can be frustrating, especially with the colorful candidates this time around, so this is a nice, refreshing take on the typical campaign coverage. These real people- impersonators, drivers, bartenders- are all more or less ordinary with the small catch of being linked to one of the potential future leaders of the free world. While kind of ridiculous, The Trail Tapes also makes the election feel more grounded and accessible. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather listen to a Donald Trump impersonator than the actual Donald Trump any day.
This American Life
Does This American Life even need a descriptor? It’s quintessential American charm has banked on the fact that people love to hear stories about other normal people who have done interesting things or whose lives have thought-provoking side plots. There is something so comforting about knowing that people just like you have extraordinary, radio/podcast worthy lives. It rocks.
For the insomniac
Sleep With Me
What is Sleep With Me about? I have no idea. I put it on sometimes when I have trouble falling back asleep in the middle of the night, and I’m out like a baby within ten minutes. What I do know is that the host’s voice is a beautiful, eyelid dropping drone, the introduction lasts something like 30 minutes, and that at some point, there is some sort of story that gets told. It’s incredible and it will put you to sleep. And if you somehow stay conscious enough to figure out what the heck they’re talking about, then you’ll have learned something too.