Podcasts: Part 2

If you haven’t checked out my first post about podcasts I recommend you check it out now. Podcasts are one of my favorite ways to pass time. Whenever I have some mindless task like cleaning the house or data entry it keeps my mind busy.  They can also be a great tool to learn new information and have a deep dive into certain topics. It seems as if I have a never ending list of podcasts that I would recommend to people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken my no phone rule on dates to open my favorite podcast player app (Overcast) and list off all of my favorites :).

In no particular order here are my next 5 recommendations for podcasts to check out:

Spontaneanation- It is no mystery that I love Paul F. Tompkins. This podcast, without fail always makes me laugh. The top of the show is a random rant by PFT, which to be fair is not everyone’s cup of tea. I really enjoy it because I think we have the same sense of humor, but you can always fast forward through that part. Then there is a free form interview with a special guest interviewed by PFT (He is one of my favorite interviewers ever). They round out the show with one continuous improve story with PFT and three other improve comedians, with a location provided by the special guest.  This is just an all-around fun podcast and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good improv podcast. This podcast is released once a week on Mondays.

The Rachel Maddow Show- This is an audio recording of the actual show on MSNBC, but if you don’t have cable it is a good way to stay informed. I don’t like watching the news I find it to be incredibly depressing and sensationalist. I usually read New York Times articles, but sometimes when life gets busy it is hard to keep up and I end up drowning in articles. I decided in the new political climate that it is my civic duty to stay up to date on the latest information. I like the way Rachel presents topics clearly and concisely while giving some historical context for the events. She asks tough questions of both sides. It definitely has a liberal slant, but she does present all the information in the most truthful way she can, which is something I appreciate. They release a new episode every day and it’s about 45 minutes long. For me this has been an easy way to keep up with the never ending onslaught of horrifying events happening in America.

Judge John Hodgman- This podcast is about a fake internet judge settling disputes for people. John Hodgman is another hilarious comedian/writer/actor/all around entertainer. The disputes are usually trivial, but he makes them hilarious. He has no problem calling the litigants dumb, which I appreciate. The judge also has a way of bringing out the best in people, and doesn’t let people buzz market big brand names on the show. Opting instead for local shops and products from wherever the litigants are from. It is pretty silly, but definitely deserves a spot on your podcast playlist. It is released weekly on Thursdays.

Ask Me Another-  Ophira Eisenberg hosts this hilarious quiz show put on by NPR. She has on some amazing guests like Leslie Odom Jr (the original Aaron Burr in Hamilton) and Tim Gunn. They have pun related quizzes about mostly pop culture things. They always have a song quiz, where the resident musician Jonathan Colton plays along to music they have changed the words to create a fun puzzle. I always enjoy listening to Ask Me Another because I can usually answer the questions which makes me feel very smart :).  Ask Me Another is another weekly podcast that comes out on Fridays.

TED Radio Hour- This is an NPR produced podcast based on the wildly phenomenal TED Talks. Full disclosure I usually pick and choose the ones that sound the most interesting to me. They have a very wide range of topics and I always learn something new. If you are looking to expand your horizons and gain a deeper understanding of your favorite topics, I highly recommend this podcast.

I have also found that podcasts have some of the best interviews. I mean President Barack Obama even did a podcast interview. If you have a favorite entertainer, you should do a quick google search to see if they have been interviewed on any podcasts. It is a fun way to learn more about your favorite entertainers and possible even find another favorite podcasts. I always try to listen to any interviews the PFT and Lin Manuel Miranda do.

I hope you enjoy these podcasts as much as I do, and please share your favorites in the comments below!

Podcasts Part I

I find that people typically fall into one of two camps: those who listen to a lot of podcasts and those who don’t listen to any at all. I have yet to find a casual podcast listener. Personally I think it is a shame that not everyone listens to podcasts. There are so many out there and they are mostly free.  Podcasts are great to listen to when you’re on a road trip, on the bus, doing mindless data entry, cleaning, etc.  They are also a great way to continue learning. There are so many podcasts out there for whatever your interest is, you will be able to find a podcast to match it.  In my personal opinion the biggest thing we owe ourselves is to constantly be learning . At this point in my life I may never be able to play an instrument or learn all the languages I want, much to my chagrin. However, I can learn about the world around me and hear other people’s experiences through podcasts.  

A quick note about where to listen to podcasts. I find the preloaded Apple Podcast app to be less than stellar. it’s not very intuitive and I find the user interface clunky. Just like there are a million podcasts, there are a ton of podcast player apps. I like overcast because it’s easy to use and free (there is also a premium version). The search function is great and it’s easy to manage all of my podcast subscriptions. 

So without further ado: Betsy’s top 5 podcast recommendations (in no particular order). 

99% Invisible- This podcast is about design that interacts with our everyday lives that we don’t notice. The host Roman Mars has my favorite voice in podcasting. They take these interesting topics and tell the most wonderful stories, giving us a greater understanding of the world around us. This podcast releases every week and is usually around 20 minutes in length.  It’s an excellent short podcast to get you thinking about the world in a different way. 

The Dead Authors Podcast- It’s no mystery that I love Paul F Tompkins (PFT), and this podcast is what made me fall in love with him. PFT is the host and he pretends to be H.G. Wells, with a time traveling machine. He travels through time and space to interview other dead authors from every era (hence the name, Dead Authors Podcast). The kicker is that his comedian friends play these other authors from the past, and usually the most research they’ve done is a quick Wikipedia search. Hilarity ensues. Some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever heard has come out of this podcast. There is an episode with E. Gary Gygax, one of the creators of Dungeons & Dragons, and it is riotously funny. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. Unfortunately there are no more new episodes, but they have a back catalog of 50 interviews. They are all a delight and are about 1 hour in length. If you ever need to laugh go check out this podcast.  

Savage Lovecast- Dan Savage is the host of this delightful and sometimes raunchy podcast. Fair warning this is definitely NSFW.  Dan Savage has been an advice columnist and podcaster for a long time. He gives some of the best loveand sex advice around because it is hilarious, thoughtful, and informative . Every week he does a top of the show rant about current events that is incredibly informative and eye opening. If politics aren’t your thing then skip the intro and go to the questions and advice section. While this podcast is often times hilarious and light hearted, Dan also does an excellent job covering important topics in a thoughtful, enlightening, and heart wrenching way. I’ve definitely shed a tear or two from laughter and sadness listening to the Savage Lovecast. It is released weekly and is about an hour in length. 

Lady to Lady- This is a hilarious podcast with three comedians from LA. Tess Barker, Brandie Posey, and Barbara Gray get together every week and invite a guest to talk about current events, movies, books, comedy, the industry, and other topics. These three ladies are always entertaining and give a wittytake on being a woman today. At the end of their show they address a lady problem and give some pretty awesome advice for life’s trickiest questions. They release an episode every week and it is about an hour in length. 

Radiolab- This podcast is definitely one of the highest quality podcasts around. They tackle topics that span the range of science, philosophy, and human experience. This podcast is another great one for learning. It’s like science class on steroids, like if your favorite science teacher was able to teach you everything they were truly passionate about without any curriculum. It definitely makes you think about the world around you. The episodes are released weekly and are about an hour in length. 

Are you a longtime podcast listener or just getting started? Tell me about your favorite podcasts!