The golden age of radio was not the 1920s (or whenever) when families would huddle around giant wooden transistors listening to fake stores about aliens. The golden age of radio is happening today in your pocket. Stop missing out on podcasts.
If you’re not listening to podcasts you are missing some of the most profound, funny, enlightening, tragic, and dramatic content available in any medium today. And if you’re a commuter like me, podcasts are infinitely better to fill those hours in high-speed metal tubes better than anything else I’ve heard.
Here are my top five podcasts, plus a couple:
- This American Life – Consistently ranked the number one podcast on iTunes. Each episode of This American Life has a theme and a few mostly true stories to go along with the theme. Last week’s episode wrecked me. I was literally sobbing in my car. The show was about captain’s logs and the story that got me was about a girl scout troop that found itself in a Japanese concentration camp during WW2. The reporting here is second to none.
- Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – My favorite podcast ever. I don’t care if you don’t like history, you have to listen to this podcast. It’s not about history, it’s about humanity. The series on WW1 called Blueprint for Armageddon was immersive, exciting, devastating, and outright beautiful. The episode called Logical Insanity is a great place to start, and the series on the Eastern Front of WW2 was equally unforgettable. Carlin’s other podcast Common Sense is also GREAT.
- Mystery Show – Each week Starlee Kine attempts to solve a mystery that cannot be solved online. In episode 3 Starlee attempts to find the long lost owner of a belt buckle found 20-something years ago by her friend when he was a little boy. Starlee digs up the resonating beauty in everyday stories from everyday people. Two other podcasts from Gimlet Media are also awesome: Start Up and Reply All.
- The Fighter and the Kid – Comedian Bryan Callen and UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaubb team up for 90 minutes of solid guy talk twice each week. This show’s almost never about UFC, and almost always about women, genitals, other sports, dumb stuff, and embarrassing stories. I’m also a fan of the Joe Rogan Experience. If you like Joe you’ll love TFATK.
- The Tim Ferriss Show – Each week best selling author Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Workweek) deconstructs the daily habits and rituals of top performers. Some of his guests include Rick Rubin, General Stanley McChrystal and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tim gets super detailed, like asking exactly what the guest does in the first hour of their day or asking questions like “what advice would you give to the you of ten years ago?” This is a great show for type-As like me who like experimenting with new techniques to increase general life performance. If you like Tim you can also check out the podcast called TED Radio Hour for other great ideas.