I Heart Podcasts

Do you guys listen to podcasts? I'm somewhat a newcomer to the podcast world. In fact, let's back up a second. I used to be the kind of person who hated listening to people talking on the radio; in fact, I've never really been a big fan of being read to either. I like reading and hearing stories in my own voice, and I like learning information via reading because I feel like I absorb and remember it better that way. Reading has always been a huge part of my life (as if the fact that I'm getting my MFA in creative writing didn't give that away) and I've never really had a place in my life for non musical audio.

Fast forward to grad school, where I a) have a boyfriend who loves listening to short stories, and b) have to read so much for classes and for teaching and for things related to what I'm writing (not to mention the fact that I decided to start blogging and read a lot of blogs and the news and whatever). I started listening to short story podcasts with Andy and I kind of liked it, and then I got an Audible subscription and started listening almost exclusively to novels. And then I didn't have a novel queued up, and I started listening to a bunch of podcasts. And it was awesome. In the past few months, I have developed a serious love for podcasts, and I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you!


NPR's Fresh Air: I like listening to this show when it's on the radio, but I'm not often able to catch it. This show is deals with "contemporary arts and issues" and has some really great, interesting interviews. It's really interesting to hear these people speak, and you often get to learn really interesting stuff from behind the scenes, some content of the book, etc.

WTF with Marc Maron: This is my most recent love. Marc Maron is a comedian (you may also have caught his show called Maron on IFC), and in his podcast he does interviews with all kinds of people--for example, in his two most recent episodes he interviews Barry Crimmins, a political comic and activist, and CM Punk, a wrestler. Maron is funny and smart, has great questions, and keeps shit real.

New Music Discovery

NPR's All Songs Considered: I am pretty much obsessed with this show. I love listening to this while getting ready in the morning. You get to listen to these two music-obsessed guys talk about a variety of music--and they really do cover a lot of different types of music--and give you interesting factoids about the musicians, their interactions with the musicians, compare sounds of albums, etc. It's also nice because it's not all talk; they go back and forth between talking about songs and playing songs.


This American Life: Each episode is centered around a theme, like "Getting Away With It" or "Kid Logic," and is divided into acts. Within each act, a different story is told exploring different facets of that topic. Some of these stories are told through interview format, sometimes it's a radio personality reading someone else's story, sometimes it's a person reading their own story, sometimes it's a story that's part of a memoir, sometimes it's someone telling a story for the first time.

Selected Shorts: In each episode you hear usually three, but sometimes more or less, short stories. Each story is read by a different actor on a public stage with a live audience. The performances are wonderful, the stories come to life, and they are introduced briefly.

The Moth: This is a shorter podcast, usually only 15 minutes or less. In each podcast a person tells a crafted true story. It's pretty much that simple.

Learning Stuff

Radiolab from WNYC: Radiolab is kind of like This American Life except that each episode centers around something sciency. You get stories, you get exploration of a topic, you get a little scientific explanation. The science is kept pretty simple and is explained in simple terms for us non-sciency listeners.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day: In less than 3 minutes you get the pronunciation and spelling of a word, its brief etymology, and a good explanation of its meaning and an example of the word being used in a sentence. This podcast doesn't do anything super special, but it's a great little way to improve your vocabulary and keep you thinking about English and language.


Joy the Baker Podcast: It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Joy the Baker. I love her writing, I love her photographs, I love her recipes. I don't know why it took me so long to check out her podcast. Each week, she and Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean talk about a subject, like irrational fears or therapies or shame hangovers. It's not a podcast I listen to expecting to learn from (though usually when you listen to smart people talk, you learn something), but it's nice to listen to if you just want to hear some friendly people talk about some stuff. It's conversational and fun.

Breakfast for Dinner: My friend Nicole and her boyfriend Dago started this podcast not too long ago, and it's been really fun to listen to. Part of that is probably knowing the people in it, which is so weird, but part of it is learning sports terms and getting some weekly news headlines and hearing them talk about a new song each week. There's also usually some kind of shenanigan, like singing fake Madonna songs or writing new product jingles.

Woah, I just realized that was ten podcasts and I totally didn't plan that. Awesome. There are other podcasts I do listen to sometimes, but these are the ten that I find myself listening to the most and looking forward to. I don't keep up with all of these 100 percent of the time (Fresh Air updates five days a week, so that alone is a lot), but I like to listen in the car or while I'm getting ready in the morning or putting away laundry or whatever, and many of these only update once a week. What are your favorite podcasts?

Yours Truly, Jen

1 comment

  1. thanks for the shout out! i'm going to have to start listening to more podcasts (you know, in all that spare time i have!). excited for a list of pods to refer to!

    xo nicole


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