By Crystal Zhao
Podcasts are the Swiss Army Knives of digital mediums. They can be entertaining, informative, persuasive, or all three at once. Though audio media is largely unknown to millennials, it has recently been spreading through the smashing success of Serial, hosted by reporter Sarah Koening. As someone who has been an avid podcast listener for three years now, I am delighted by the publicity this underrated corner of web is finally getting. The following guide will hopefully open your eyes to the world of podcasting. These suggestions are my personal favorites in each category.
First, how to access podcasts:
On Apple products there is a built-in app. The icon is purple with a white letter “i”. For anyone with an Android, the Google play store has a number of options. I personally like the Podcast Addict app. The icon is orange.
Arts and Music:
The New Yorker – Fiction
Hosted by: Miscellaneous authors
Overview: Great authors reading beautiful short fiction pieces. Expect those telltale “heart clenches” from hearing stunningly crafted works.
This American Life
Hosted by: Ira Glass
Overview: Features amazing journalistic non-fiction as well as some essays and memoirs. In-depth reporting at its very best. Just recently, they covered the controversial topic of policing and race in the two-part “Cops See It Differently”. It’s highly recommended!
Hosted by: Dan Kennedy
Overview: True life stories shared by regular people. Get ready for tears – whether from laughter, joy, or sadness.
KEXP Live Performances Podcast
Hosted by: miscellaneous DJs
Overview: Based in Seattle, a city with a booming music scene. You’ll catch the next best thing before anyone else quite often on this podcast.
Hosted by: Chris Hardwick
Overview: A weekly interview show featuring entertainers and comedians from popular “nerd culture.” In the past, the podcast has hosted cast and crew from Doctor Who, Between Two Ferns, and Big Bang Theory.
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
Hosted by: Peter Sagal
Overview: This is a news and current events podcast in game show format. If humor can be found in dry politics, Wait Wait is where it is revealed.
Welcome to Night Vale
Hosted by: Cecil Baldwin
Overview: Updates on a fictional town and its strange occurrences.
Science, Medicine, and Technology:
Hosted by: Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich
Overview: Takes everyday things such as blame, natural symmetry, and empathy and explains them in an engaging, highly entertaining way.
Hosted by: Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel
Overview: Studies things that can’t be seen, like fear, gender dysphoria, and categorization. Prepare yourself for dark and fascinating topics.
TED Radio Hour
Hosted by: Guy Raz
Overview: TED talks altered to be auditory experiences, but certainly not any less stimulating.
Hosted by: Sarah Koening
Overview: In-depth investigation on one puzzling murder case. It is technically unraveling a murder mystery, but really everyone can appreciate this amazing reporting.
This is where my personal experiences end, but certainly not where the podcasting world stops. On both Android and Apple apps, there are tops charts for users to browse. Examples of other popular topics would be sports, religion and spirituality, and pop culture. Please try listening to some – you won’t regret it!
Image Source: Google Images