I’ve listened on and off to podcasts since my first year of college. It was very hard for me to stay consistent with anything because I have to concentrate very hard to actually comprehend and remember whatever people are saying. It’s far too easy for me to just drift off and end up missing everything being said. In most cases, I would choose then to watch a show so I at least have a visual aspect to follow and hold my attention.
Recently, however, I really haven’t watched any shows whatsoever, something I’m not used to. I remember last year, the summer alone, binging through many different series. Now they just don’t pique my interest. But I have stumbled again upon podcasts and figured I would give them a try again.
Let me tell you, I’m hooked. The two series up for Serial? Listened to them both over a weekend. This American Life’s new series S-Town? Finished that in two days. Both of which I highly recommend if you haven’t checked them out yet.
I do have some original podcasts that I began with and still refer back to. A classic, Stuff You Should Know. If you enjoy learning deeply about really random topics, this is great. I’ve also picked up Freakonomics which is a similar setup. And, of course, we all know how I feel about TED Talks, so the TED Radio Hour is just an extension of that, but I probably use that more as a means of finding new TED Talks to watch that I might not have found otherwise. Less informative and more enjoyable for Harry Potter fans, if you haven’t listened to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, you should.
Admittedly, podcasts that are strictly interviews can end up boring me. Those are the shows I put on if I need some background noise to fall asleep to. One that I’ve truly enjoyed, however, is On Being with Krista Tippett. As a lover of all things spiritual, I love hearing from other great minds about their beliefs and views on the world. Another spiritually based one is the Bible Project. The two fellows running the podcast also have a great YouTube channel, both platforms which end up going very in-depth into what the Bible actually is and means. It’s much more about the text itself and no preachy beliefs, but I love having a stronger foundation into what this book actually is. (They probably call that a Bible study, don’t they? I wouldn’t know.)
I also haven’t dived too much into any comedic, but there’s one that truly makes me laugh out loud, and that is My Dad Wrote a Porno. It’s as literal as it sounds.
I have some names written down of new podcasts to try since diving head-first into this endeavor. I have NPR’s Hidden Brain in my queue since I really enjoy psychology. I’m expecting Criminal to be a branch off of the Serial tree. And I want to try more story-based podcasts like Alice Isn’t Dead (it’s from the creators of Welcome to Nightvale, a show I never really got into) and Homecoming. I really do wish I could be more into the informative shows so I could pull new random facts off the top of my head, but that’s not in my repertoire.
My most recent find and obsession? Lore. I LOVE THIS ONE. It’s creepy, it’s dark, I probably shouldn’t be listening to it right before I go to bed, but it’s beyond interesting. It’s historical, but it’s told like a story that sucks you in.
I have especially enjoyed the time I spend away from constantly staring at a screen, giving my eyes and break, and just listening. My nightly routine has now consisted of turning off my computer fairly early in the evening and winding down with a podcast. I can’t report back on ground-breaking improvements, but I do find myself enjoying a darkened room with a story to keep my mind from racing too much on my anxiety.
Whether you are interested in podcasts or not, I highly recommend taking less time in general just staring out your phone and mindlessly scrolling through social media. With podcasts, I don’t find myself going to bed and waking up every morning with a need to check every app for updates. I have some space to breathe. And honestly? Even if I’m not learning anything relevant, I feel good thinking I’m being more productive with my time. Maybe it’s an illusion, but I’ll take that over consciously knowing this isn’t a great habit to rely on any day.
Podcasts are a modern version of the family gathering around the radio for an evening show when televisions were nonexistent. I think the medium will only grow from here. At least I hope it does because I don’t have many people to discuss them with. But if you have a favorite podcast I haven’t mentioned, let me know, I’d love to hear some new suggestions. Maybe I can suck you into this world, too. If so, happy listening.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie