The month of March was #trypod, that great time of year when you recommend your favorite podcasts to friends, family, and coworkers. So that’s what I’m doing right now, on April 2nd (classic Hillary).
My relationship with podcasts is a long and storied one.
What you first need to know is that in college, I worked a VERY boring data entry job at my school. My duties also included stuffing envelopes for mass mailings to prospective students. While stuffing envelopes, I often would listen to audiobooks (specifically Harry Potter, which I’ve probably listened to all the way through at least 10 times), since such repetitive work is so mind-numbing that you absolutely need something entertaining to not die of boredom.
When I got tired of audiobooks (even nerds like me need a break from Harry Potter), I went in search of other forms of auditory entertainment. This was around 2008, when podcasts were really starting to gain some popularity, and there were a few on the iTunes store that caught my eye.
The first podcast I ever listened to was This American Life, of which I had first heard bits of episodes broadcast on the radio on NPR in high school. If you’ve never listened to it, you’re missing out hugely. When I ran out of episodes of This American Life, like any junkie, I had to find more great non-fiction stories or educational pieces to fill my head.
Since that very first podcast and over the past nine years, I’ve streamed hundreds, if not thousands, of podcasts to fill my time and entertain myself. It feels like I’ve always had a commute that was 30 minutes or longer, so podcasts were (and still are) my highway companion to and from work. I also listen to them while putting on makeup, folding laundry, cleaning my house, shaving my legs (so boring, right?), and they’re often the thing that helps me get to sleep.
Here are seven podcasts that I LOVE and that you should go listen to right now! (Warning: the first three podcasts have very similar format…I’m realizing I have pretty specific taste!)
Limetown is a documentary-style, fictional (plays like it’s a real story, though) podcast that follows a young journalist investigating the disappearance of over a hundred people in the span of one night. The people, inhabitants of a small village called Limetown, disappeared without a trace.
The journalist, Lia Haddock, finds herself more entangled in the mystery as she digs deeper and get closer to the truth.
Limetown is just one season of six episodes, and I blew through all six in just one day. The story was that good.
The Black Tapes
Another faux-documentary podcast written and presented in a similar format to Serial the podcast, The Black Tapes is the story of a journalist, Alex Regan, on the quest for truth as it relates to supposed “paranormal events”. She employs the help of Dr. Richard Strand, who has made it his life mission to investigate and debunk any paranormal happenings.
However, Dr. Strand has several cases which remain unsolved due, according to him, to a lack of advanced technology to be able to fully disprove any paranormal causes. All of these cases are documented and stored on…you guessed it, black VHS tapes.
Throughout her investigation, Alex discovers a common thread in all of Dr. Strand’s black tapes. Things get very muddled and complicated for her as she finds herself more deeply engrossed in the investigation.
Okay, so this yet another fictional docudrama podcast… I promise, it’s the last one on this list. Rabbits is the story of one journalist’s quest to find her missing friend.
The journalist, Carly Parker, notices some very strange behavior in her best friend Yumiko a few weeks before she vanishes. Carly suspects that Yumiko’s disappearance could be caused by a mysterious underground game, a game that has possibly been played for centuries (or more).
There’s so little evidence to support the existence of the game, but there are hints on the deep web that this game is indeed still being played, with so much to be won and/or lost by those who play.
Only three episodes of Rabbits are out so far, so you can’t binge listen. Which is….pretty maddening.
Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know has enjoyed a reign on the Top Charts for several years now. I’d honestly be shocked if you are a podcast-listener and haven’t yet listened to it. It’s exactly what the title states it is: an explanation of stuff that you should know. Ha. Haha.
But really, that’s pretty much it. The two hosts, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, choose a topic and go over the basics (sometime the grittier details) of said topic.
Some of my favorite podcasts from them have been on such subjects like: How LSD Works; How Sleep Paralysis Works, or the Worst Thing that Can Happen to You While Sleeping (which I suffer from on occasion… it is as terrifying as they describe it!); and True Stories of Survival Cannibalism!
I highly recommend Stuff You Should Know. I’ve been listening to their stuff for going on eight years now, and there have only been a few duds… I think that’s quite an achievement for them.
True Crime Garage
I love true crime. I used to DVR Dateline, binge-watch documentary series like Jinx and The Staircase, and have read several true crime books, my favorite being In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
At the recommendation of my co-worker, I recently started listening to True Crime Garage, which is a great LOCAL podcast that covers some more mysterious, high-profile cases, including the Lauren Spierer disappearance, the Brandon Lawson 911 call, and the Jacob Wetterling disappearance (and recently solved murder).
The two hosts, Nic and the Captain, are from Columbus! This is so exciting to me, and I feel like we have a couple local celebrities in our backyard. Go subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast streaming app so that you can support these local rockstars.
Again, I’m a girl of specific tastes. Criminal is another true crime podcast, but unlike several other popular podcasts of the same genre, this one focuses on crime of all kinds, from misdemeanors to felonies.
Some of my favorite stories have been about a regular guy who decided to rob a bank, just to prove that he can; a family whose mail keeps disappearing (way more interesting than this, but I don’t want to spoil it for you!); and black-market adoptions in the U.S.
While I love my murder mysteries (if you can’t tell), sometimes it’s nice to hear some stories with a little more levity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some bad people and sad stories featured in Criminal, but there are some episodes with crimes so ridiculous that you have to laugh.
And last but certainly not least, we have Snap Judgment! I always equate Snap Judgment! with This American Life, but slightly edgier. Each episode, like TAL, follows a theme. The stories are usually family friendly…well, every once in a while, they do have a sexier or more expletive-ridden story, but they always give a great disclaimer at the beginning of the episode.
The overall feel of the podcast is this: you’re at dinner with your best friends, all sharing these amazing, hilarious, sometimes sad, but always moving stories. Some of the stories are true, some of the stories are just…stories.
When Matt and I were a month into our marriage, he lived in Chicago for two months for a special course for work. Six out of the eight weeks he was there, I made the six hour drive to see him, and Snap Judgment! was my road companion. It made the stretch on I-65 so much more enjoyable.
If nothing else, this article was an insight into how obsessed I am with podcasts. But I hope that you do check out one or more of these podcasts and enjoy what you hear.
What are your favorite podcasts??? I’m always on the prowl for something new and interesting to listen to! Comment below to let me know what you’re listening to lately.
As always, thanks for reading. Don’t forget to like this post and if you really enjoyed it, SUBSCRIBE!