Ten Best Podcasts
I love listening to experts in almost any field share their passion for the thing that drives them. It is inspiring to feel their excitement, hear their enthusiasm, and understand their commitment. Their fire can be contagious.
Podcasts provide the opportunity to listen and learn from the inventors and the innovators. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 115,000 English-language podcasts available on the internet. Therefore, whatever your interests, you are sure to find something appealing.
To get you started we’ve listed our ten favorite podcasts in no particular order.
This American Life
Hosted by Ira Glass, this weekly show is primarily first person non-fiction, but there are occasional essays and short stories, too. In addition to a talented stable of reporters, This American Life frequently invites guest storytellers and commentators. These guests, with their own successful careers, are now some of my favorite contemporary authors, actors and producers: David Rakoff, Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, and Starlee Kine. Visit the website.
The Moth Radio Hour
“True stories told live without notes.” The original host of this show George Dawes Green wanted to recreate the feeling of summer storytelling on his front porch in Georgia. Moth Story Slams and Story Competitions take place throughout the year, across the country. The show is a combination of their Main Stage program, along with the best stories from the competitions. Visit the website.
You may already be familiar with Serial, a spin-off of This American Life. Serial ran for two seasons, with each season investigating a single case. The show was well done, dramatic and engrossing. It was a huge hit. What I want to talk about is Mystery Show, alsoan investigative podcast, but it is delightfully different, lighter, more humorous, wittier and more fun. Instead of taking an entire season to investigate a single question, Mystery Show addresses a new “mystery” each week. Sadly, the show was on for a single season, but you can still listen.
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
The NPR News Quiz. A panel of three comedians, humorists and writers answer questions about the week’s news. Like any good game show, the audience tries to answer the questions along with the panel, but the real fun comes in listening to the clever banter and outrageously spontaneous wit. Visit the website.
The Thomas Jefferson Hour
This weekly show features Clay S. Jenkinson as Thomas Jefferson answering questions about historical and contemporary subjects. What was Alexander Hamilton really like? Did Lewis & Clark get along? What would Jefferson say about today’s digital culture? Visit the website.
For each episode non-fiction writer and journalist Malcolm Gladwell revisits and explains a forgotten or misunderstood event, person, or idea. Visit the website.
Short, one-on-one interviews between two people who know each other. Visit the website.
For over 40 years Terri Gross has hosted this interview program. Actors, authors, musicians, and politicians are the most frequent guests. Her questions are low-key and friendly, but also probing and insightful. Visit the website.
Host Kevin Allison describes his show as “a place where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.” Unlike the stories told on The Moth or even Snap Judgement, the stories on this program are often bizarre, graphic and sexually explicit. Visit the website.
Stories told on this show are similar to those told on The Moth, however it is not recorded in front of a live audience. Visit the website.