I love podcasts… which is funny because I never thought podcasts would last. I scoffed at them. “What’s the point?!” I wanted to know.

Now, I’m an avid podcast listener. I didn’t realize back then that I would become sucked into the world and culture of NPR. I didn’t realize that a 50 year old guy from Chicago would become one of my all-time favorite people in the world. (Ira Glass of This American Life fame). I didn’t realize that I would listen to people on podcasts that I would want to know, and would want to write, and would be elated when they wrote back.

I am going to introduce you to my favorite podcasts and also tell you some stories about how podcasts have affected my life.

All time favorite:

This American Life. Really, it is the best thing on radio. In popular culture. I love it. Each week, Ira takes a topic and dissects it through 1-5 stories from different contributors. Writers, comedians, news reporters, regular folk… It is so entertaining and informative! And when you meet a fellow TAL listener, it’s like an automatic goldmine of topics of conversation. “Do you remember the one with the girl that worked at FAO Schwartz? What about the one where the women were switched at birth? Can you believe that?!”

I met Ira Glass. It was wonderful. He is wonderful. He is quirky and smart and witty. He spoke in Nashville over the summer and I went and stood in line to get a book he edited signed. I told him that I interview people for a living and asked if he had a favorite interview question. I explained hearitfirst.com to him and he thought for a minute and gave me some interview ideas.. all of which I’ve asked before. BUT, it was cool for just that minute to think that Ira Glass thought he was helping me break ground. Love him. 🙂

New favorite:

The Moth Podcast. People tell stories without notes in front of a live audience. The range of stories is so vast and so interesting. There’s a new story every week and they’re usually about 10-15 minutes long. They are awesome.

The one I downloaded today “The Funny One” by Elna Baker was awesome. I wanted to hear more, so I visited ElnaBaker.com and she has MORE stories there! She is absolutely hilarious – she is a mormon writer living (and trying to date) in New York City. She is really open about her faith and her values and her struggles.. all while making you laugh hysterically. Check out the video below (it’s not vulgar but it does mention anatomy…. so um… watch at your own risk. ha).

So, I wrote Elna today. I told her I loved her stories and that I admire her conviction and her candor about her values and that it was refreshing to hear someone my age and in my stage of life on podcasts and on NPR (she contributes to This American Life) that shares my (core) values etc. She wrote me back pretty quickly and was very nice. I love how the internet makes the world smaller and everyone more accessible!

Other new favorite:

Radio Lab from WNYC. They also take a topic and dissect it, but in a more scientific manner. They use psychology studies to shed light on a topic and they are really innovative in their editing and the layers of sounds they broadcast… It draws you in and then keeps you hooked!

Standards:

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. A quiz show about the news featuring comedians as the contestants. Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone are on it. Very entertaining!


Car Talk.
The funniest show on the radio happens to be about car repair! I don’t care about cars but I could listen to Tom and Ray all day long!

If you’re driving around the holidays, subscribe to these podcasts, throw them on your iPod and enjoy. You’ll thank me later for these hours (and even years) of enjoyment that are sure to follow!!!!

Any others you’d recommend?? Any fun stories about podcasts? Leave ’em in the comments. 🙂

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