If you have a commute (and most likely you do), you’re probably tired of the radio stations that are always playing the same thing. Maybe you listen to the news, but this still can get old after a while. If your commute is more than 10 minutes, you should be spending that time doing something useful. Maybe you’ve heard of podcasts, maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t, you’re in for something special. If you have, I hope we can introduce you to some new shows.
Here are 9 podcasts to help make that commute, time at the gym, or moments spent cooking, cleaning, or doing chores, more enjoyable.
- This American Life
This American Life is one of the most popular, and likely longest running podcasts out there. Host Ira Glass and fellow contributors bring together stories around a weekly topic. These range from Hurricane Katrina to Crybabies to Iraq.
Recommendation: 129 Cars – About a Long Island Jeep dealership looking to make their monthly sales goal of 129 cars.
Radiolab is hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich who make a great duo. The show is about curiosity. Like This American Life they often discuss stories centered around a theme. Others focus on just one story in-depth. One recent episode “The Cold War” followed a dispute between two ice cream truck owners.
Recommendation: Fu-Go – The amazing story of something that happened in the US during WWII that nobody talks about.
This show comes from NPR, and hosts Lulu Miller and Aliz Spiegel talk about “the hidden forces that control human behavior”.
Recommendation: How to Become Batman – A man who uses echolocation to “see” despite being bling
- Planet Money
This is the show for the finance, economics, and just plain curious person can learn some new things about the economy. In one series, they followed the creation of a t-shirt from the farm to the factory. The show started as an attempt to explain the financial crisis, and soon became all about explaining interesting things in the economy.
Recommendation: Anatomy of a Scam – The story of what happens if you respond to one of those “Work from home, get rich” ads.
Each week, Stephen Dubner, one of the authors of the popular economics books Freakonomics, explores “the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature – from cheating and crime to parenting and sports.”
Recommendation: Show and Yell – “Is booing an act of verbal vandalism or the last true expression of democracy? And: when you drive a Prius, are you guilty of “conspicuous conservation”?”
- TED Radio Hour
The popular TED Talks come to you in the form of podcasts. Host Guy Raz takes a certain theme and brings on previous TED speakers to discuss. Topics include death, sins, courage, and more.
Recommendation: 7 Deadly Sins
- Hardcore History
If you love history, you need to listen to Dan Carlin talk about it. Even if you don’t like history, you’ll probably still like this podcast.
Recommendation: Wrathe of the Khans
Serial is considered the podcast that really brought the medium to the mainstream. Season 1 discussed an old murder case about a young high school girl who was murdered. Her boyfriend, Adnand Sayed, was convicted and serving in prison. Host Sarah Koenig does some detective work and looks into the case. It’s gripping! Season 2 follows the story of Bowe Bergdahl, the army private who left his post and was captured by the Taliban.
Recommendation: All of season 1
- 99% Invisible
99% Invisible uncovers the hidden pieces of design in our everyday lives. This can be the history of the first credit card to the strange architectural phenomenon of buildings that used to be Pizza Huts and are now some other business.
Recommendation: Atmospherians – About the extras that appear in movies and TV shows.