In Inspiration on
May 8, 2017

do you have a fave pod?

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a junior in college.

(This is like the fall of 2014)

I still thought I was going to be a news reporter, but had my sneaking suspicions that maybe I wasn’t so good at it (#honesty).

And that’s when I first heard about a “podcast,” and that “podcast,” was Serial. Full confession: I still haven’t listened to all of Serial. I’m a little nervous to go whole-hog on it, to be honest, given that I have so many friends who swear it’s one of the best things they’ve listened to. I tend to treat podcasts like radio shows – perfect for filling empty airwaves while I’m cooking, cleaning, commuting or getting ready for work.

I knew just how addictive and well-produced This American Life was but assumed for a long time that, in the same vein as Serial, I just didn’t have time to follow a podcast.

Long story short: I was wrong.

Here are five of my favorite podcasts. Tell me yours? Then we can all read the comments and bask in the glory of good storytelling, sound editing, and content production:

  • Pod Save the World: I fully recognize how self-serving it is to listen to three white guys discuss whatever Donald Trump has done this week, and while I love Pod Save America for purely indulgent reasons, Pod Save the World does an excellent job interviewing various players on the global diplomactic stage. Tommy Vietor gets access on access thanks to an old gig at the NSC, and the interviews are substantial enough (they can get soft, of course, too). One you can’t miss? His interview with The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald about Snowden. They disagree, and it’s so good. 
  • Dear Sugar: This is chicken soup for the soul, and also a really good way to talk back to your phone (#guilty). Cheryl Strayed (yes, of Wild fame) and Steve Almond give good advice to people who write into the show. I know what you’re thinking (“I don’t want to listen to a Dear Peggy podcast.”) and it’s not that. It’s empathetic with a dose of #realtalk. Just give it a shot. I promise, it doesn’t suck.
  • The Daily: For seven months while I was working the morning shift at a digital news hub, I was a morning person. I got up at 5AM and went to bed at 10PM, sharp. That time in my life has passed, and while I miss the productivity I used to have early in the morning (and the discipline to stick to an early bedtime), I use podcasts to feel productive. The Daily isn’t a comprehensive news podcast – instead, it’s what you really need to know, and why.
  • Up First: All right, so look: I’m a hardcore Morning Edition addict. If The Daily is curated news, this is an overview of the news – what you need to know, and a little bit of why. It’s perfect if you want everything newsworthy for the day in around 12 minutes.
  • On Being: I stumbled upon On Being when they interviewed Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets. The talk is long and in-depth – these can be heavy listens, but the storytelling is lush and deep.

What are your favorite podcasts? Tell me in the comments!

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