This past March was 'Podcast Awareness Month' apparently. It was a concerted effort by leading podcast publishers to expand their audience. Most podcasts I listened to asked their listeners to share their podcast recommendations with the hashtag trypod on social media. So I too shared my podcast recommendations here. I thought, in addition to the tweet, I could also expand a little more and talk about what about these podcasts I like.
NPR Ask Me Another
The show describes itself as "NPR's hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia" and that's what it is. The show usually has 4 contestants who compete in pairs. They each play 2 games and the 2 winners of play in a final round to determine the grand winner. The games are based on trivia and involve a lot of puns and usually will also have a music round. It's hosted by Ophira Eisenberg and the music is provided "One-man-house-band" Jonathan Coulton. They are both hilarious and play well off of each other. The show also has a VIP (Very Important Puzzler) guest each episode.
NPR Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
This is NPR's weekly news quiz. The show has 3 panelists and call-in participants. The panelists are quizzed about the week's news and have a lightning final round with quick fire questions. The call-in participants play for a voice mail recorded by Carl Kasell. There are 3 games for call-in participants, each with a different participant. The show is hosted by Peter Sagal who is hilarious.
This is my go to news podcast. The show analyzes the news and breaks down various news stories and explains it in some detail. This show is mainly focused on US politics, of course. The show is hosted by Tamara Keith, Scott Detrow, Domenico Montenaro and others. They are all politics nerds who talk about all the minute and obscure details about various policies and of course, Star Wars and Star Trek and other pop-culture nerdy stuff.
Welcome to Nightvale
I can't even begin to describe this show. All I can say is that the school board president of the Nightvale school is a glow cloud (All hail the mighty Glow Cloud, all hail). Also, the weekly weather report is particularly recommended.
Serial has been one of the most popular podcasts and it broke all kinds of download records when it debuted in 2014. It is a podcast that explores true crime stories through investigative journalism. The first season was about a murder of a girl in Baltimore, MD and the subsequent trial and conviction of Adnan Syed. The second season was about Bowe Bergdahl an American soldier who was captured by Taliban and held for five years and later charged with desertion.
This show explores the invisible forces that shape our world. The show talks explores things like how a town in Belgium dealt with mental illness or how the personality of people is not a constant, predictable thing but a lot more fluid than previously thought.
I started listening to this podcast very recently, thanks to Shantanu's recommendation. It's a show hosted by Malcolm Gladwell. It describes itself as a show that "goes back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.". The show explores concepts such as moral licensing, capitalization and the education system in the US, and so on. It is one of the best podcasts I have listened to and I can't recommend it enough.
This is also a podcast that I have started listening to recently. It "explores the unconscious patterns in human behavior". It's hosted by Shankar Vedantham and he presents research about human behavior in an interesting and engaging form.