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So what’s the deal with podcasts?
If you’re like me, you may have had an iPhone for the past few years and wondered, “Does anyone ever really use that podcast app that Apple installs on the phone?”
Historically, I’ve really only used the Podcasts app on my iPhone to listen to sermons of various pastors, but recently, I’ve dipped my toes into the pool of the podcast world. I’m not the only one, either. Podcasts are skyrocketing in popularity.
When I do chores around the house or am in the car by myself, I usually listen to music. But in the summer, I was getting bored with music and podcast sermons, so I decided to try a couple of the top podcasts on iTunes.
Soon enough, I was listening to podcasts as I was doing the dishes, folding the laundry, and driving to my local greenway for my afternoon workout.
Podcasts are really fun. If you like learning or keeping up with culture, but don’t have the time or patience to sit down and read the news online or watch CNN, listening to podcasts are a great way to redeem downtime in the car or make doing chores more enjoyable.
I loved listening to podcasts so much, a friend and I have even started trying to do one ourselves!
The problem most people have with listening to podcasts is that they have no idea where to start. And it’s an honest problem—there’s SO much out there. I mean if a bum like me can get a podcast on iTunes, anyone can.
I thought I’d share a list of a few of my favorite podcasts with you so that you have a bit of a starting point if you aren’t sure what you want to listen to.
One note, however: you may notice that no “Christian-specific” podcasts such as RELEVANT’s podcast, Phil Vischer’s podcast, or the like, do not make it on the list below.
That’s primarily because I read a TON of Christian-specific stuff online for work everyday, so when I listen to podcasts, I need something in different stream of thought.
So, without further ado, here are my five favorite podcasts (excluding sermons) that I listen to with some regularity:
If you’ve never heard of Serial, I want to ask you two questions. First: Do you live under a rock? If yes, then I understand. If no, then question two: Do you talk with anyone under the age of 28? If no, then I understand. If yes, then I’m confused.
Serial is a podcast produced by the staff of This American Life (see below) that tells a single story over the course of a number of weeks (“serially,” hence the name). The first season of Serial started in the fall and quickly became the most popular podcast of all time, as it re-investigated the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the culpability of the charged murderer, Adnan Syed.
I have written on Serial, as have many others. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast. Season one is now over, but you can still listen. Season two is due to start no earlier than the summer or fall, is my guess.
I try not to be a hipster in just about every way that I can (sorry hipsters), but this is without a doubt the most hipster activity in which I participate. This American Life is a weekly radio show produced by Chicago Public Radio that has a single theme each week and tells anywhere from a single to a few real-life stories of American people having to do with the weekly theme.
This American Life is all about “story,” which Millennials and young people generally are OBSESSED with nowadays. Even in the Christian community—look at Bob Goff’s Love Does and Donald Miller’s Storyline. Millennials EAT THIS STUFF UP because we’re obsessed with ourselves, and if a Christian dude will tell us our cloaked obsession with ourselves is really part of some sort of “divine self-discovery,” we’re all in.
All of that to say: This American Life is all about stories and telling them well. It’s a good podcast. I recommend it.
I love this podcast. Nearly every episode is titled something like “How _________ works.” It’s everything from “How Gravity Works” to “How Chess Works” to “How Play-Doh Works” to “How Anxiety Works.”
I love this podcast both because the content is interesting, and the hosts make it really fun and goofy. It’s not dry or boring at all, really.
This is also a great podcast, produced by the same folks that produce Stuff You Should Know. I love history, and what this podcast does is explain obscure events or people in history you most certainly did not learn about in your history classes.
I’ve actually only ever listened to two episodes of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! But I am starting to listen to it more lately. This podcast is a radio show, produced by the same folks as This American Life. Basically, this is a “game show” sort of podcast in which panelists and guests are asked questions dealing with current events in the news.
The podcast lets you in on what’s going on in the world if you don’t already know, becomes a fun game if you do know what’s going on in the world, and is a lot of fun and good for laughs at the same time. This is a fun one.