Hi, my name is Amy, and I'm a podcast addict. When I'm sewing, I can't watch shows or movies that are new because I'm not actually watching the TV. So, I tend to watch favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime that I've already seen, or I listen to podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts.
I generally like story-centric podcasts. Bonus points for teaching me some obscure facts or giving me something to noodle about. Here's an alphabetical list of some of my favorites in case you want to listen along with me. It's a long list. And it's not even all of the podcasts that I listen to! I'll include a link to each show in the title, and some links to favorite episodes.
I particularly love 99% Invisible. It's tells fascinating stories about the things we don’t pay much attention to — "the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world". Things like curb cuts, wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men, basketball uniforms, flag design, why the Chicago River flows the wrong way, Sears homes, and more. Plus the host, Roman Mars, has a voice that just puts me in a trance. I would listen to him read the back of a bag of potato chips.
Criminal tells fresh compelling stories, without devolving into monster stories or gory details. Some good episodes are: The It Girl, Money Tree, Pappy
Have you seen a lot of “exciting opportunities” posted on Facebook that will allow you to work from home, spend more time with your family, and take luxury vacations? If you have, than you're probably familiar with multi-level marketing or "direct sales" companies. The Dream is an eye-opening look into how these companies operate and how they reach all the way to the White House.
This podcast focuses on and expands on stories that are posted on Reddit.com. Some good episodes are: In Memoriam, That Old Chestnut, The Vault
Host Jonathan Goldstein moderates engaging stories and helps guide people through some event or thorny moment from the past that has filled them with regret or emotional burden. I'm making it sound way more intense and depressing than it is. It's hard to describe accurately, but you should just go listen. "Gregor" is a particularly great episode. Goldstein has a dry sense of humor that I can only describe as hilarious gloom.
This is a psychological fiction thriller with excellent storytelling. This has recently been made into a show on Amazon Prime starring Julia Roberts, and directed by Sam Esmail, the creator of the show Mr. Robot. I haven't watched the new show on Amazon yet, but I'm hoping that it stays true to the podcast.
The Memory Palace
The Memory Palace is a storytelling podcast about the past. Each story is a like an audio poem that tells a bite of the past. They're very short - less than 15 minutes. Host Nate DiMeo presents history in a way that makes you feel like you are remembering it yourself. And he has another voice that I can listen to for ages. Some good episodes are: A Brief Eulogy for a Commercial Radio Station, Amok, Under Our Feet.
The Moth is people telling true stories to a live audience, centered around a theme for each episode.
Mortified is similar to The Moth, in that it's a story-telling event in front of a live audience. The twist is that people are reading aloud from their middle school and high school diaries. Cringingly funny.
Mystery Show had a criminally short 5 episode run. The host solved weird mysteries for people that weren't easily google-able. They were ridiculous, but fun. Her storytelling reminds me a lot of Jonathon Goldstein's Heavyweight.
An podcast about economics that's actually fun and engaging. Episodes are usually short, so it's easily bingeable. Some good episodes: Chicken Tax, The Bottom of the Well, The Fondue Conspiracy, The Town That Loves Death.
Radiolab makes science super interesting and explores one particular idea or concept each show. Some good episodes to get you started: CRISPR, From Tree to Shining Tree, Henrietta Lacks, Patient Zero, and Rippin' the Rainbow an Even Newer One,
This podcast will take you down some of the strangest online rabbit holes that you never knew existed. Some of my favorite episodes have a segment where their middle-aged boss asks them the meaning of a tweet riddled with memes and internet shorthand, and they walk him through how to interpret it all. One of the best episodes (actually in two parts) is where a scammer made a terrible mistake by calling one of the hosts of the show. The episode takes twists and turns and goes all the way to India. Some good episodes: Hello?, Is Facebook Spying on You?, Long Distance Part 1 & Part 2, Trust the Process.
Serial is from the producers of This American Life. The first season followed a murder mystery story in Baltimore in 2000. That season was amazeballs, and is probably what made podcasts cool again, and thrust them into the light, and eventually made everyone and their brother think that they can make a podcast. The second season was about Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his army post in Afghanistan in 2009. I thought season 2 was meh & didn't even finish listening to it. The third season just wrapped, and instead of following one case throughout the entire season, each episode focused on ordinary court cases in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and examined successes and failures of the legal process.
Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. It's interesting to hear the ideas that go into writing and recording the songs. Some favorites: Go Your Own Way, Stranger Things, Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori
This is very similar to Serial, and is from the producers of This American Life, S-town is a bizarre story about an Alabama man named John B. McLemore, who approached a journalist to investigate an alleged crime and widespread corruption in his town. They got a very different story about a complex man.
TED Radio Hour
I mentioned this podcast in my last blog post. TED Talks are videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. These talks are given at conferences all over the world, and the topics have huge variety. This podcast takes 3-4 of those talks centered around a common theme and explores them.
Terrible, Thanks for Asking
Host Nora McInerny had a miscarriage, lost her husband to brain cancer, and lost her father to cancer, all within 6 weeks of each other. "Terrible, Thanks for Asking" is how she wants to respond when people ask her how she's doing. Her storytelling is compelling, heartwarming, and blunt. The podcast is a sad, funny, and uncomfortable look into talking about pain.
This American Life
This American Life is the granddaddy of podcasting. These are weekly short stories that are based on one theme. The show has been running for 22 years! If you look it up on your favorite podcast app like Stitcher or iTunes, you'll only see 3 or 4 episodes there. You can find all of the 22 years of archived episodes at their website.
Thrilling Adventure Hour
This podcast is a parody of old-timey radio plays that was recorded live on stage. It's a series of comedy skits that were performed live monthly with a lot of people that you’ve probably seen in other shows somewhere. They had some great regular stars & even better guest stars. It was a fun show. My favorite regular skits was "Beyond Belief", starring Paul F. Thompkins and Paget Brewster as Frank and Sadie Doyle, a fast talking, high society married couple who drink lots of martinis, can talk to ghosts, and inadvertently solve paranormal mysteries. This show ended in 2016, but it's still worth a listen.
I've tried to listen to creative entrepreneur or small business leaning podcasts, but I think that in order to absorb anything they're saying, I really need to pay attention. I need more entertainment-focused podcasts when I 'm sewing or driving, so I've given up on most of the business once I used to listen to.
An honorable mention goes out to quilting related podcasts. Most of these are interview-type podcasts, which don't seem to hold my interest as much as the story-driven podcasts. So I listen to these a little sporadically. Several that I listen to are Crafty Planner, Just Wanna Quilt, American Patchwork and Quilting (Pat Sloan's Show), and While She Naps. And bonus - I was in a podcast once! Go listen to my interview on the Just Wanna Quilt podcast!