During commuting or sports I often listen to podcasts. As I’m always glad about new podcast recommendations from friends and colleagues I decided to make a list of some podcast I particularly enjoy these days. Maybe something for your summer?
This American Life
NPR’s This American Life produces an episode every week, typically about an hour long. The mothership of podcasts has aired its first episode in 1995. This American Life usually explores a theme in a series of ‘acts’ that highlight a different perspective onto the subject at hand. Ira Glass and his team are brilliant at discovering particular people, gripping stories, and great insights. I cannot recommend this podcast more highly.
Reply All on Gimlet Media and hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman is centered on the internet and how it interacts with culture and ourselves. Recently for example, the hosts talked to Ethan Zuckerman (currently at MIT) who invented the pop-up ad. Reply All also features the segment Yes-Yes-No, where the two hosts talk to their senior producer about something obscure he has found on the internet. Typically, the two hosts can connect the dots and know the explanation behind for example a cryptic, meme-laden tweet (Yes-Yes), while the producer does not (No) but eventually pieces the solution together from the clues. Overall, the tone of Reply All is funny and silly at times, but not without featuring some really interesting stories.
Produced for NPR by Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller, and Hanna Rosin, this podcast focuses – as the name suggests – on invisible things, namely the “intangible forces that shape human behavior—things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions”. It turns out this is a pretty wide topical frame and Invisibilia thrives in it. For me, a particularly memorable episode was Our Computers, Ourselves, in which Invisibilia investigated the interactions of computer technology and humanity.
Home of the Brave
Home of the Brave is produced by Scott Carrier who is also a contributor to This American Life. It feels really grounded with its intimate stories and close-up conversations with people. The topics are often more a bit more serious than the ones of This American Life. Most recently, Scott Carrier has dedicated episodes to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump supporters, refugees in Greece and the Balkan, Mormons in Utah, and a tour of several churches that burned after the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The podcast partly relies on crowdfunding and there’s a new episode every few weeks.
What are some of your podcast recommendations?