My obsession with podcasts began on Christmas Eve of 2015. I listened to Serial after a YouTuber suggested it in her videos. I didn’t know what Serial was about but I decided to listen because Serial’s website was aesthetically pleasing. Yes, I fell in love with the looks of the website before falling madly and deeply in love with the podcast’s content and strong narrative. Soon after, I immediately downloaded a podcast app and googled “Best Podcasts”. I subscribed to many different podcasts with a focus on science and culture. Then I became a walking Podcast Enthusiast. You can catch me starting conversations with “I was listening to this podcast called…” and I would insert what I learned into the conversation. Many have asked me for podcast suggestions so here they are.
There are many podcasts out there but I believe it’s the storytelling that elevates one podcast from the other. Here are some of the podcasts I listen to. Rather than listing them in a particular order, I have summarized who they would appeal to and why I gravitated to them.
Start Up – for innovators
Start Up is a Gimlet Media podcast about start-up companies and how they get their business off the ground. Although the later seasons no longer focus on the Gimlet alone, Season 1 allowed its listeners to follow Alex Blumberg start his own company: Gimlet Media. He shares his challenges, successes, and moments of impeccable grit with a transparency throughout Start Up’s first season. Frankly, I am extremely happy that Gimlet Media worked out because they produce high quality podcasts.
Hearing Blumberg’s journey in making Gimlet Media compels you to go out and create your own business. If you can’t create your business, that’s fine too. Start Up will help you appreciate business owners who have created something out of nothing.
Favorite Episode: All of Season 1. You must listen to at least Season 1.
Millennial – for… millennials, the coming of age at 20s
Megan Tan began Millennial in her closet. Tan is a recent grad with a passion for radio. She began Millennial to capture and share her struggle as a “new adult” and to also create something out of her love for radio. She is filled with passion, excitement, fears, doubts, and possibly any other ingredient that young adults share.
She’s like the big sister I never had. She shares her triumphs and challenges as she maneuvers her 20s. She discusses many topics – job searching, pursuing her passion and relationships to name a few. Her amazing support system and her ability to be so transparent in times of serious decision making allows her listeners to receive a little bit of relief and wisdom in every episode.
Favorite Episode: Season 1, episode 8: Let the Games Begin. But once again, I’d rather have you start in Season 1, episode 1.
Radiolab – for lovers of knowledge
Radiolab is a legend in the podcast industry. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have mastered their storytelling and exquisite audio editing. Radiolab mostly cover scientific topics, however, I recommend this podcast for lovers of knowledge. You will always learn something new with Radiolab.
Abumrad and Krulwich take turns in telling stories and their curiosity has trained me to be curious about anything around me. They admit that they know very little about the topics they cover but their ability to ask questions helps you understand the topic at hand. If you love cool facts, questions, and thinking, listen to Radiolab.
Favorite Episode: 23 Weeks, 6 days (Updated version)
The Read – for my Beyoncé lovers
The Read is not only about Beyoncé. Hosts Kid Fury and Crissle can are opinionated, hilarious and their love for Queen Bey is something I share. It’s hard to find die-hard Beyoncé fans so I appreciate having their thoughts and opinions about the latest Beyoncé news. They also cover hip hop and pop culture without shame but lots of shade.
I love The Read because they make me laugh out loud. I like to play this in the car while I drive and I have caught drivers stare at me as I hysterically laughed with Kid Fury and Crissle. I get pretty sad when I get home before the podcast finishes. When I was still in school, I listened to them in the bus and it was so hard to keep my laughter in that my body vibrating with laughter.
Favorite episode: BEYmergency: Formation
Modern Love – for lovers of love
Modern Love is where reader-submitted personal essays from the New York Times Modern Love section are read by actors, comedians, or other celebrities. I fell in love with this podcast because of the beautiful and moving narratives these authors are able to write. Each remarkable story has its own tone, voice and unique experience with love.
From stories about motherhood to unexpected romances, Modern Love gives me enough butterflies in my stomach and goosebumps to last for a long time. These stories remind you that life is lovely and love is wonderful.
Favorite episode: The Plunge
99% Invisible – for design admirers
99% Invisible is obviously for designers since host Roman Mars encourages listeners to appreciate the story and purpose of design. Mars is able to teach you the history of particular cities, objects, or architecture and his captivating storytelling enables you to see your surroundings in a new way. This podcast doesn’t critique design rather it tells you the how things were designed. It allows you to appreciate water fountains, credit cards or fortune cookies. Plus, his deep voice is lovely to listen to.
Favorite episode: The Yin and Yang of Basketball
My list will never end
Although I have only listed six podcasts here, be aware that I actually subscribe to more than 30 podcasts. Podcasts have accompanied me during drives, late night work sessions, or long commutes. They help me stay awake and stay curious. Thanks to the popularity of podcasts such as Serial, audio storytelling is reaching a new (yet still unknown) popularity. This growth is promising and this means my podcast list will only grow.
If you have podcasts or podcasts episodes to recommend, let me know!