I recently read an article in Sports Illustrated about the famous St. Louis radio station KMOX. The article lamented the good old days of talk radio (no link since SI doesn’t publish their stories online). While reading it I kept thinking: sure terrestrial radio probably isn’t thriving right now, but audio as an entertainment medium seems to be undergoing a revival. I myself listen to more podcasts and streaming audio now than I ever listened to traditional radio.
Audio is an unbelievably underrated from of entertainment. Unlike reading or watching TV, it doesn’t require your full attention but can still be totally immersive. I can listen to a podcast while driving, mowing the lawn, cooking, doing the dishes, or folding laundry. It makes those tasks more tolerable, and I can free up some time by ingesting information I’d otherwise read, such as tech news.
What about music? Music is great but it doesn’t require your attention, so I tend to have music playing in the background all day long while I work. ~8 hours of music is enough for me. When I’m doing something that allows me the freedom to immerse, I’d rather throw on a podcast.
The phone is the big enabler here. It’s the one thing that’s always available. Years ago you’d have to carry around a radio, or have a radio in different rooms, or sync podcasts to an iPod. That takes a conscious effort, whereas the phone is always there ready to play a podcast when you have 5 minutes of unplanned downtime.
In addition to the phone and headphones, I use the following tools depending on the situation:
- Antenna Pod (free!) – my favorite podcasting app for Android
- Anker SoundBuds Slim Wireless Headphones ($25) – my go-to anytime I’m doing chores or cooking
- Bluetooth car kit ($30) – if you’re like me and your car is old enough that it doesn’t have bluetooth built in
- Bluetooth shower speaker ($30) – hey, sometimes showers are boring
What I Subscribe To
I break my subscriptions up in to several categories depending upon how much I like the show and how important it is to listen to it in a timely manner. I know good podcasts are hard to come by so if you’re a podcast listener hopefully you’ll find something new to try. If I’m missing something good please let me know in the comments!
Every episode, as soon as it comes out
These have effectively replaced the majority of the tech news reading that I used to do.
Every episode, no time frame
- Planet Money (and The Indicator From Planet Money)
- Note to Self
- Hardcore History
- Four Finger Discount
- Masters of Scale
Select episodes, only if they sound interesting to me
- Part-Time Genius
- How I Built This
- The Tim Ferriss Show (and Tribe of Mentors)
- The Upgrade by Lifehacker
- Ben Greenfield Fitness
- This American Life
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
- Stuff You Should Know
- 30 for 30 Podcasts
- The Kevin Rose Show
I’m trying to update this regularly with any new podcasts I like. It was last updated on 12/27/2017