I am guessing almost everyone has at least a few podcasts they listen to regularly, if not, you are really missing out. There are some many wonderful podcasts out there to entertain, to learn, to grow, to motivate… really any topic you might be interested in I bet there is a podcast!
I adore podcasts and listen to them all the time. I love audio books too, as you guys know, and I intersperse podcasts in between books. Podcasts usually don’t require as much concentration for me and they are often a quick listen on walks or short drives in the car.
I thought I would put together a handful of my favorite podcasts that you might also enjoy and I would love to hear any recommendations you might have!
If you have never listened to podcasts before, they are totally free and the easiest way to listen is to click on the purple podcast icon that is on any iphone.
Click that and browse for the podcast you want to listen too- browse by subject or by name. Once you find it, you can click on it, see a handful of the recent episodes or scroll down just a bit to the purple “available episodes link” to see everything. I do this when I am interested in a new podcast and then I can scroll through to see what topics I am interested in. I give a few episodes a shot and see if I want to subscribe or move on.
If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to it and then all the new episodes will automatically save to your phone and you can listen at your leisure.
A few little tips for podcasts:
*You always want to leave reviews on podcasts you love. Just like blogging, podcasting can be lonely. You put something out there and have no idea if it was useful, stupid, enjoyed, hated… radio silence from your audience is the worst! Imagine giving a speech you spent hours and hours preparing for and the crowd has no reaction at all. No clapping, no hands raised, no smiles, no reaction whatsoever. That is what it is like to put out blog posts or podcasts and get absolutely nothing back from an audience. So please take a second and leave a review, it helps the podcaster stay motivated, understand their audience and attracts sponsors which are very important to keeping the content free for you. Win, win! (Almost all podcasters will practically beg you to do this on each episode too…)
*Almost every podcast will have a website available with transcripts of the conversation, additional links or resources etc.. Don’t panic about trying to take notes or concentrate too carefully- just relax and enjoy!
*A tip from Gretchen Rubin, if you find something in a podcast you want to come back to later or listen to again or whatever, simply take a screenshot of the exact second (say 10 minutes 32 seconds) so you can continue listening but you have a bookmark to easily go right back to that exact subject later on.
And now some of my favorite podcasts:
True Crime is a major genre for podcasts and there are tons and tons to choose from. Some are a little dark or upsetting to me and some are just not super interesting or the hosts are annoying and just drag out every minuscule detail… I have listened to a bunch and my favorite is BREAKDOWN by Bill Rankin.
There are five seasons to Breakdown with each season taking you step by step through an interesting court case. Season 2 was my favorite and focused on a Father that left his toddler strapped into a car seat all day long on a hot day and the toddler died. The case is so complicated as the Father is deeply flawed as a person but does that mean he should be convicted of murdering his son? Bill Rankin walks you through the trial, the evidence and the verdict episode by episode.
(If you like this type of thing you really need to start your podcasting journey with Serial. It is the podcast that put podcasts on the map. Once you finish both seasons of Serial, move on to S-Town. I can’t describe it. Creepy, odd, fascinating… I also like In The Dark, Detective, Accused and Wrongful Conviction.)
Embedded by NPR is another favorite of mine. This one is true crime and politics, really anything on the news that is a current hot topic, they take a deep dive into for the podcast. I find the host, Kelly McEvers, to have such a great voice for radio (trust me this is crazy important) and some of the topics are so fascinating. There are tons of episodes on things like a random opioid epidemic in a small town (the host goes to the town, interviews addicts, shadows them for a day and then zooms out to look at what created this issue in this specific place), following athletes on a journey through the D-League of basketball and most recently there was a series of episodes focusing on various topics of the Trump administration starting with the beginning of the Apprentice and taking you through some issues with charity donations that were controversial, issues with the Trump Golf Courses and most recently a deep dive into the coal mining region that was a very divisive issue in the elections. I didn’t find the episodes to be terribly biased in nature but then again I do have a Facebook account and I know how passionate people feel about politics and especially our current President. If this is a major hot button issue for you, you might skip over the series on Trump. I personally found them interesting but my Dad would go on a tirade about fake news three seconds into this podcast so to each his own.
For the Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker – Jen is a very well known Christian author and speaker and has a great podcast that chooses a specific topic and has several episodes under that topic- such as food, friendships, faith and so on. I do really like Jen Hatmaker- I listen to all her books on audio because she is just so warm and fun. (Of Mess and Moxie is my favorite) I enjoy the podcast but I have to say Jen tends to really ramble on and repeat herself. I find myself fast forwarding here and there in her episodes but overall I rarely skip an episode of For the Love. If you want something light and encouraging that doesn’t require tremendous concentration, this is for you.
Oprah SuperSoul Conversations. Ok I really like this podcast. You can listen to the full interview on the podcast and catch snippets of it on her website to actually see the person’s face etc… I skip around to the topics I am interested in but she is trying to get you to live your best life by providing conversations with people that have a lesson to teach or story to share. One of my favorite recent episodes was a two part series with Tom Brady. Let me make it super clear I could not give one flying flip about American Football and I don’t care for Tom Brady or Gisele as celebrity figures at all. This podcast made Tom Brady likable to me and if you are a sports mom in particular, this is a good story to listen to. I might even pick up his book. 😉
Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Overall this isn’t my favorite podcast. I hate to be picky but Gretchen’s voice makes me nuts and I often listen to this one and think.. hmmm.. I didn’t really get anything at all from that episode. I keep thinking I am wrong though and I keep trying to love this podcast as it is about little things and lessons here and there that you can do to be a happier person. She does full episodes with her sister and then tiny little episodes (called little) that are just one small thing and about 2 minutes in length. Give it a shot and see what you think. After all, who doesn’t want to be a happier person? This is such a popular podcast that I felt like I should at least mention it and let you decide for yourself.
I adore the History Chicks podcast. I love history and these two ladies focus on one important female figure from history and spend roughly an hour covering everything about her life. From Coco Chanel to Zelda Fitzgerald to Mary Queen of Scots and so on. This is a long show- Mary Todd Lincoln for example was two episodes totaling 2 hours and 30 minutes so if you aren’t super interested in historical figures and just want the Cliff Notes, I would suggest listening to Stuff You Missed in History Class. It is a shorter podcast that focuses on all sorts of people and events and I find it is a quicker listen. The History Chicks always start out by dropping the person into history to give you a frame of reference for their life- I love this part of the show. Mary Todd Lincoln for example was born in 1818, Frankenstein was first published, Congress decided on 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars for the US flag, the Christmas Carol Silent Night was written and performed, Paul Revere died and so on. They provide a zoom out on the person and then a zoom in to really understand their life. The History Chicks hosts are chatty and engaging and share opinions on the person they are covering, antidotes and do tons and tons of research.
Parenting Beyond Discipline.This is a newer podcast to me but I am really devouring a lot of the episodes. She covers all sorts of topics and spends a lot of episodes just answering questions from people. Erin Royer-Asrilant is a child psychologist that tackles topics like lying, sibling fights, self esteem, handling tantrums and so on. She also has courses on various topics that cost money and you can purchase if you really want to dive into a specific topic but the podcast offers a lot of practical advice and tips to navigate parenting for free. I get a lot from her podcast and I believe she comes from a place of fairness to both the parent and the child.
And I would love to hear what podcasts you love!
If you need even more recommendations- a few more that I enjoy are Young House Love, The Life Coach School, Her Money with Jean Chatzky, Criminal and Awesome with Alison (another podcast I can only take in small increments but I do have a takeaway from each episode).