Podcasts: Your New Gym Jam
A few weeks ago I lost my prized pair of headphones. I never left home without them. I don't think I have a picture of me without them in the three years I've owned them. I had them on 24/7 but not for music, which was always a surprise to everyone.
What did I listen to so often?
A portmanteau of “iPod” and “broadcasts” a “podcast” has its roots in the 1980s but didn't gain traction until the mid 2000s. Essentially Internet talk radio, podcasts cover a wide range of topics from history to occult from sports to Indian folk music.
In 2005 Apple released the ITunes 4.9 update adding the ability to subscribe, download, and listen to podcasts from rss feeds directly to their computers and eventually their iPods/iPhones. This opened the door to many new listeners to embrace this alternative to talk radio.
In recent years podcasting has become a massive industry. Many celebrities and Internet personalities run their own podcasts (a few examples include Adam Carolla, Anderson Cooper, Anna Farris, even Snoop Dogg).
Anyone with a microphone and an Internet connection can hit the airwaves and create whatever they feel would get a listen.
I personally love listening to podcasts, it's an amazing way to kill time as they're usually longer than your average music track and are (most of the time) worth the listen.
In the spirit of the Trypod movement I will be recommending some great examples of podcasts I listen to…
The Adventure Zone:
I recently caught up to the latest episode of The Adventure Zone, it was well-worth letting my backlog build up.
The Adventure Zone is a Dungeons And Dragons podcast hosted by veteran podcast host and senior founding editor of Polygon, Griffin McElroy. Griffin takes his players (two siblings of his and their father) on a number of different quests all of which are original creations from his noggin.
The more I tell you about their stories the more hilarious scenarios I spoil so i’ll leave you with my recommendation.
The Adventure Zone is a great addition to your podcast library if you enjoy strong narratives, improvised comedies and are a fan of role-playing games. I advise starting from the first episode, as you won’t be able to just pop in anywhere.
The Rooster Teeth Podcast:
From the team that brought you Achievement Hunter, Red Vs. Blue and RWBY comes a podcast about none of that at all.
The Rooster Teeth Podcast from Rooster Teeth is the first podcast the company has produced and has been running since 2008, almost a decade long and they are still producing episodes on a weekly basis. The podcast revolves around the conversations of around 4 employees of the company as they just… talk.
Aimed for Rooster Teeth fans or just anyone who wants to listen to trivial conversation from four friends, the show is recorded live for anyone with a paid membership to the rooster teeth site so if you want to join in on the conversation via twitter you have that option.
Unlike The Adventure Zone you can start anywhere you wish with The Rooster Teeth podcast and you’d only miss a few inside jokes here and there.
LifeAfter is the more recent of the two projects by GE Podcast Theater but I’m also including The Message as I feel they are stronger together than apart.
The Message is a podcast about a cypher group trying to decypher the first definitive alien message the world has ever seen and the ramifications of it.
LifeAfter revolves around a FBI office worker in mourning after the death of his wife and what happens when her ghost seems to have taken possession of his phone.
Separately, these narratives take no time to catch up to at all but I do believe they belong together. Recommended to those who love a good suspenseful mystery.
The Nerdist Podcast:
Chris Hardwick has been called the king of the nerds time and time again, whether you agree with this sentiment or not he’s definitely one of the most successful ones.
At Nerdist Headquarters, Chris Hardwick sits down and talks with a wide range of celebrities, anyone from Benedict Cumberbatch to Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark). Every “interview” is a free form, no obligations chat between the two or more participants.
They tell stories from their past, and talk about their work, or even future goals. The Nerdist Podcast is a welcome alternative to the massive PR interviews you normally hear these public figures speak at.
The Nerdist Podcast can be started at any episode so start with your favorite celeb if you want.
Dedicated to making sure you don’t sleep at night, the Lore podcast is all about the scary Folk stories you’d hear around the campfire and their (sometimes more) frightening sources.
Changelings, doppelgangers, even old witch hunts are all covered. There’s not much else to say about this podcast. If you like feeling spooked feel free to jump in anywhere you like and let the soothing voice Aaron Mahnke lull you to a nightmare filled sleep.
Welcome To Nightvale:
Night Vale is weird. Taking place in a weird fictional town, from a weird radio show, from a weird host, weird is really the only word that accurately describes this show.
Cecil Baldwin reports on the town’s multiple oddities, like the Glow Cloud that is head of the PTA, or the mountains that don’t exist, or the Dog park we aren’t allowed to go to.
If you like weird, Night Vale is weird. You can just hop in wherever but I suggest listening from the beginning to find out if this is your type of weird.
Yeah, whether you’re tired of hearing about it or not, Serial deserves to be on this list. Season 1 of Serial follows Sarah Koenig during her reporting on the case study of real life murder suspect Adnan Syed.
Season 2 is admittedly weaker than its first season but the show is still amazing to listen to and follow. You definitely have to listen from the beginning to understand the case stories Koenig follows, it’s a show well deserving of the awards it has won.
These are only a few of the podcasts I listen to and only a small percentage of the thousands still waiting to be discovered.
To get started listening you can download a Podcast app from the app store or google play marketplace.
I personally use Podcast Addict on android but Stitcher is also a fine podcast reader and the one most people use. So get out there and give something new a listen to.