Seemingly out of nowhere, people are all about podcasts (watch this hilarious video on the zombie-like mentality of people when they talk about podcasts). When did this even begin?? I’m sure I could find you the answer online but that was a rhetorical question.

Personally, I like them because I spend a fair amount of time in transit between places and I get to absorb content along the way from point A to point B.

Are podcasts for you? Maybe. Maybe not. I think the trick is to find what content you want to be listening to. I’ve put together a list of my favourite podcasts so if you need to kill a few hours a day, give some of these a try and get back to me on what you thought. Or if you have some preferred ones of your own, let me know that too because I’m always down to find new ones.

Keep reading below for some of my recommendations!

(Possibly Useful/less) Information

1. Surprisingly Awesome – the premise is that one of the podcast’s two hosts try to convince the other that a boring topic is not that boring. Definitely don’t need to listen to these in order, and there’s only been 12 episodes so far. My recommendation is to start with #8 – Frequent Flyer Miles. Trust me, this was a really excellent one and honestly funny.

2. Dinner Party Download – don’t know what you feel like listening to? DPD promises an hour with a little bit of everything, the arts and culture section of public radio. They talk to a lot of famous and interesting people, and then you learn new jokes/facts/history mixed with booze! What can go wrong??? Maybe you’ll start hosting dinner parties yourself.

3. Stuff You Should Know – do you sometimes get sucked into those HowStuffWorks videos on YouTube? Kind of like at 2AM when you’re somehow still awake and you’re wondering why the heck you’re even still up? That might just be me – but if you ever wanted to learn about how random things work, like WitSec or the Bermuda Triangle this would be a good one to check out! I found this list about the top episodes of SYSK, and I definitely recommend starting with one of the ones on the list.

4. Canadaland – a nice mix of in-depth analyses/criticisms or journalism and media, and some current events and news.

These two next podcast recommendations actually come from my boyfriend because he’s more into useful and current information than I am. I actually called him right before he went to bed and bullied him into giving me soundbites on why he liked these. Sorry Mike.

5. The Agenda – has a good mix of local (Toronto), domestic, and international news and events

6. BBC Newshour – gold standard for quality journalism, covers daily news twice a day – good for if you need to catch up on what happened in that day but honestly are we not just getting back into the realm of radio now? Sorry, the last part was my thoughts bleeding back in.

Fictional / Fun / Spooky?

This group of podcasts isn’t so much a digest of world news, or interesting facts but rather the storybook section of the podcast universe.

1. Welcome to Night Vale – a fake radio broadcast of a fictional town somewhere (I want to say the Midwest), where you think everything is normal until it’s not. I personally love spooky and regularly subject myself to things like r/shortscarystories  and in fact, I use old episodes of this podcast to fall asleep to (Jill can attest to this). This one requires a little more time commitment because I would say you need to start at the beginning otherwise the story makes even less sense than it already does.

2. Alice isn’t Dead – created by the same people as WTNV, a woman drives around the country looking for Alice and finding out that she isn’t really dead. Also finding out some other spooky stuff. This one has only just started with only 5 episodes under its belt at the time of me writing this post, but I also know that Joseph Fink tweeted something about new episodes so my content might already be outdated by the time this is published. Wow, what a world we live in.

3. Black List Table Reads – marketing themselves as “movies for your ears” it basically is just that. These are all standalone episodes, or rather – movies. This one was introduced to me courtesy of Jill – thanks Jill. Little bit like an audiobook, but it’s a reading of a screenplay so there are more nuances that are articulated. Recommendations: out of the handful that I’ve listened to (they’re movie length so maybe save these for long commutes!), #208 – The Hitch and #202 Celeritas were both excellent. 

Bonus – Apps

Another app blog post will be coming at you guys soon, but at least to go with this (long!) blog post on podcasts, podcast apps – primarily for Android because Google owns my life.

Podcast & Radio Addict – Free on Android

This is a solid podcast manager with minimal fuss – I used this for a while for my podcasts but I’m also someone who really likes pretty design so I caved and purchases Pocket Casts. Functionally, Podcast Addict will do everything you need it to, like set up a sleep timer for those bedtime podcasts.

Pocket Casts – $3.99 on Android and $5.99 on iOS 

This app looks very very clean and fits in the the Material design employed by phones these days. Functionally I think the advantage that a lot of people love is the sync between the mobile and the web app (additional $9). If that’s something that interests you, then Pocket Casts might be the standout winner. If you’re just like me and you like your things to be pretty, Pocket Casts might still be the winner, but honestly if you’re just starting out with podcasts, Podcast & Radio Addict is a solid choice.

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