First, an update: We’ve got a couple great giveaways coming up on Thursday so make sure to swing back by the blog and check it out. Now, onto the blog post for today!
The podcast was kind of dead, to me at least. I had a shameful “ah-ha” moment when I realized the podcast I was listening to the most had an overwhelming amount of ads trying to convince me to take viagra. When you learn a thing or two about marketing, you realize that consistent messaging about viagra is probably a good indicator that the target demographic for said podcast isn’t you but a version of you 50 years older.
And then Serial came along. And it upended everything. And obviously I am not alone on this, as Serial became the most downloaded podcast EVER in no time. And now that season one is over, among the questions of “is he guilty or not?” and “oh man, did you see the SNL and Funny or Die spoofs?”
another questions comes to the forefront: Now what do I listen to? Serial was a boost of adrenaline to the podcast community, and just because it’s over, doesn’t mean your exploration of podcasts should be over. I’ve spent close to 75 hours on planes in the last 5 weeks, and podcasts are a big way I’ve gotten through that hectic travel. So what should you download right away? I’m glad you asked!
The Moth is what first got me into the podcast world. Launched in 1997, the premise is simple: True stories, told in front of live audiences around the world with no notes. If you ever go to a Moth storytelling session, there’s a theme for the night and prospective storytellers get chosen at random. Some stories are touching, others are heartbreaking, and many will have you laughing in that “I can’t help but snort like a pig” kind of laugh.
Some of our favorite episodes? For a good mix of what The Moth is all about, listen to Sleepwalk With Me (hilarious) by Mike Birbiglia. Listen to the powerful testimony of Sirdeaner Walker in My Son Carl as she talks about her son who committed suicide after being bullied, and listen to Dan Savage’s touching and funny story Not That Kind of Gay. Once you’ve laughed, cried, and been inspired, I am sure you’ll be hooked on this great storytelling podcast. And if you like it, there are Moth Storytelling events throughout the USA as well as London and Dublin!
When it comes to NPR, people usually go straight to something like “This American Life” or “Fresh Air” and that’s fine and good. But our addiction is a quirky economic show called Planet Money. “Is the NCAA an Illegal Cartel?“, “Can Mezcal Save a Village?” and “Doing Business Like a Refugee” are just a few titles we’ve enjoyed lately. Any student will love and hate “Why College Textbook Prices keep rising“. Stories are about 10-16 minutes and are often as comical as they are intriguing.
Remember when I confessed to loving a show where the main marketing seems to be focused on selling its audience viagra? Marketing be damned, 60 minutes is informative and often as provocative as an elderly man’s libido on viagra. Too much? Jokes aside, 60 minutes has 15 minute story segments, 3 in a pocast as the podcast is just an audio reproduction of the show that ran on CBS on Sunday. You can also splurge for video.
Ted Radio Hour
Most people know about TED Talks and know how easy they are to download as a podcast. But few people know about Ted Radio Hour, a show based on the talks TED is known for that focus on common themes. Some of the most recent themes: A discussion about our generation with the juicy title “The Next Greatest Generation?” and another show all about the power of making mistakes.
Working with David Plotz
Ever wondered what a typical day in the life of say, a porn star or a Google coder is like? David Platz interviews people with interesting jobs. Everyone from a flight paramedic to Stephen Colbert will be certain to perk your curiosity.
Pop Culture Happy Hour
I remember vividly the moment in 2007 when I discovered Angelina Jolie was a mom. Not really a significant life event for most people, but I was harassed endlessly by friends who wondered how such common knowledge evaded me for years longer than my peers. I was also the guy quoting the Hang Over about 9 months after it was fashionable, since it took me that long to see it. Enter Pop Culture Happy Hour to rescue me, as the hour podcast covers books, movies, and whatever else is happening in the world of pop culture. The show is a roundtable style digest, and allows me to hold my own in conversations with friends and co-workers about topics I am often clueless on!
Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel Podcast
These guys bill themselves as the Rick Steves of a new generation, and I have to say, the show isn’t bad! They’ve got interviews with big names in travel, and they also have shows that are informative about travel destinations and how to save money in getting to said destinations! So check out Extra Pack of Peanuts!
Should the US merge with Mexico? What can vampires teach us about economics? And how the hell can tiny Norway buy so many damn Teslas? Questions I know we’ve all had from time to time, and Stephen Dubner has come to our rescue with with Freakonomics Radio podcasts to dive in depth into curious topics like these and more! Those are our favorite 8 podcasts after Serial, what are yours?