If you live on the planet Earth, you know that podcasts are hot. It seems like a new hit show comes out every week! Whether you’re looking to laugh, cry, learn, or just spice up your commute, there is a podcast out there for you.
Here are a few of my must-listen favorites:
1. Planet Money
The hubs, who is both an NPR nerd and an econ nerd (soul mate), introduced me to this fabulous podcast on all things money. As of today Planet Money has pumped out more than six hundred episodes, ranging from the cerebral (Ep. 411: Don’t Believe the Hype) to the inspiring (Ep. 610: The Prisoner’s Solution) to the whimsical (Ep. 600: The People Inside Your Machine). I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a bad episode. And I guarantee you will learn something every single time.
This is the most lighthearted podcast on the list, but that’s not to say you won’t learn something here, too. In this “podcast for long distance besties everywhere,” real life long distance besties Aminatou Sow (New York) and Ann Friedman (Los Angeles) spend about 40 minutes every week talking about topics as asinine as celebrity ridiculousness and period sex and as serious as abortion, The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Shine Theory. (Dear God, Shine Theory! My lifeblood!) Bonus: After every episode, you’ll want nothing more than to catch up with your beautiful, brilliant, long distance besties (California).
The website says it best: “99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” The humble description belies a show that is endlessly varied and entertaining: episodes explain the long forgotten Los Angeles streetcar system, the science of the buzzer-beater, why Penn Station is the worst, and China’s knock-off cities. New York Times design columnist Allison Arieff called show creator Roman Mars “the Ira Glass of design.” And Ira Glass called the show “completely wonderful and entertaining and beautifully produced.” That’s proof enough for me. You won’t be disappointed.
Honorable Mention: Serial
You’ve probably heard of Serial, the podcast from the folks at This American Life that attempts to determine the guilt of Adnan Syed, a man sentenced to life without parole at age seventeen for allegedly murdering his ex-girlfriend. This podcast is undeniably addictive, although — spoiler alert — the last episode left a bit to be desired. But don’t let that stop you; Serial weaves a fascinating, complicated story and you’ll find yourself playing detective right alongside creator and narrator Sarah Koenig. It’s been renewed for a second season, and Serial fans everywhere can’t wait for what comes next.
Okay friends, those are my top four! What are yours?