Radio’s Revival? Why Audio is My Favorite Entertainment Medium & What Podcasts I Listen To

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.

Why Audio?

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 Tools

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:

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

Select episodes, only if they sound interesting to me

I’m trying to update this regularly with any new podcasts I like. It was last updated on 12/27/2017

4 comments on Radio’s Revival? Why Audio is My Favorite Entertainment Medium & What Podcasts I Listen To

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for sharing your list!

    Have you tried the Sonos speaker system? you can do some pretty neat things in terms of sending music around the house, from various devices, apps, streaming etc.

    What’s on a typical work playlist? I know some people like classical while others work better to trance. Personally I like the Spotify radio stations based on my listening history, or streams made in the same way.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      You know, I’m curious about Sonos but haven’t seriously looked in to getting one. We’ve got this really good wireless speaker set (unavailable now, was $170 when we bought it) and that kind of has become the “good enough” solution. We have an old iPod touch with Pandora tethered to it, with speakers around the house, and turn it on when we’re cooking, doing chores, have company over, etc. My wife doesn’t like any of my podcasts so if I listen to those around the house I’m usually using headphones lol.

      I’m like you for a work playlist. I like the simplicity of Pandora, although I may get into Spotify. We have an account for the warehouse and I’m becoming a fan. I’m all over the map when it comes to genres. The guys at the warehouse like EDM, which wasn’t my cup of tea in the past but it’s kind of growing on me and I feel like the pace helps me work faster. I’ve been dabbling in that recently. It’s great for a coding sprint! Otherwise I like a lot of 90’s / 00’s rock and rap that I kind of just rotate through. I’ve tried to get into the classical thing but it never quite seems to stick. I’ll listen occasionally for a few days but then sometimes it’s a few months before I listen again.

      • Rob says:

        That looks like a good system. The advantage of the Sonos is you can have your music/podcasts where you are without it going throughout the house and without having to use headphones. Speakers can be controlled individually or grouped into sets, zones, stereo pairs etc.

        In terms of podcasts – I listen to some of the ones on your list and also dip in and out of:

        The James Altucher Show / Ask Altucher
        My Wife Quit Her Job

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