In traveling from my home to the store, I spend at least an hour a day in the car. I find that one of the best ways to make the time go by fast is to enjoy a podcast. If you have a smart phone, you can download them easily and free. Here’s a look at some of my favorites:
This is my very favorite podcast. Professional and amateur storytellers get up before a live audience and tell true stories. Most of these stories are extremely well told. Sometimes they are so good that you’ll stay in your car even after you’ve reached your destination, because you are so spellbound.
Each episode delves into some phenomenon. It’s usually a societal issue, or a scientific question. They skip all around in search of an answer. They mix sounds and music with the narrative, and it can mesmerize the listener. It’s really thought provoking and well done.
This American Life
This show is the father of all great podcasts. Each week is a fascinating one-hour morality play. Like Radio Lab, they mix in voices, various sounds and music. It’s very rarely less than fascinating.
Most people are probably familiar with Ted Talks. These are lively lectures, featuring leading innovators and ground-breaking ideas. Usually they are quite interesting.
History of World War II
I’m a World War 2 history buff, but there is still an awful lot that I do not fully understand about the conflict. This podcast is filling in a lot of the blanks for me. So far there have been a hundred episodes, and they have not yet gotten to the invasion of Russia, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which prompted the US to get into the war.
The speaker and sole creator of the podcast, Ray Harris Jr. is not a polished speaker. He does not have a good radio voice, and he puts the emphasis on the wrong words. Despite this deficit, you soon overlook the verbal quirkiness, because the material is so interesting, and his research is so thorough. It takes him forever to put up new episodes, but this won’t be a handicap to you as a new listener, until you catch up with the 100 episodes he’s put up already. Hopefully me, and Ray will live long enough to get to the end.
Real Time With Bill MaherI watch Real Time each week, so why do I listen to the Podcast? Well, the podcast contains extra features. First there’s “2 Minute Maher” which broadcasts previously unheard outtakes from the opening monologue of each week’s show. Then they play the whole episode. I usually skip that since I’ve already watched it at home. But if I missed some or all of it, it’s a good was to hear it. After that, they have “Overtime”. All the guests stick around for a few more minutes to answer questions from the audience. This is all very entertaining and lively for Real Time fans.