I have a long commute every day to my job in the suburbs. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get there and about an hour and 15 minutes to two hours to get home.
Happily, I have my podcasts. Lots of them. I have 10 podcasts that I listen to every episode of – a testament to the amount of time I spend on the road each week.
The following five podcasts are my favorite of the bunch. All of them can be downloaded through iTunes or by clicking on the individual links.
1. This American Life – The godfather of all podcasts and for good reason. Just about every week, this NPR podcast (and radio show) provides fantastic stories – both of the fiction and non-fiction variety. Host Ira Glass has become one of my favorite people ever.
2. Stuff You Should Know – Ah, Josh and Chuckers. How I love to listen to you both ramble on about subjects. I've listened to every SYSK podcast and there are a ton of them. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, have great teamwork and it's more like listening to two friends talk than being lectured to. The range of subjects is extensive from criminal records to the Cold War to Murphy's Law. If you'd like to learn you some knowledge while being entertained, I can't think of a better podcast.
3. The Grantland Network – Even though it's technically a separate podcast, we're going to include ESPN's Bill Simmons' The B.S. Report with this. Simmons can grate on some, but I love listening to him talk about sports. And the crew he and his Grantland team assembled for the other podcasts is solid, especially Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald with the Hollwood Prospectus podcast – which is about pop culture – and Michael Davies and Roger Bennett with the Men in Blazers podcast – which is about soccer. Men in Blazers is especially well done because I could listen to Michael and Roger talk all day about soccer, even though I'd consider myself only adequately knowledgeable about the sport. The only host I don't like is David Jacoby, who has terrible chemistry with Jalen Rose on Rose's podcast.
4. WNYC's Radiolab – It's sort of a more cerebral "This American Life." It doesn't update every week, but the podcasts tend to be more heady, while "This American Life" tends to focus on the storytelling. I've rarely been disappointed by a podcast.
5. Stuff You Missed in History Class – I love history. It was essentially my minor in college, and if I didn't love writing so much, I would have become a history teacher. Hosts Sarah and Deblina are wonderful, though recently they've been relying a bit too much on "update" podcasts in which they play an older podcast and then update it with new information for about five minutes or so afterward. But even those are worth a listen. (UPDATED: Just learned that Deblina recently had a baby, which would explain the frequency of the "update" podcasts. A very good reason, indeed.)
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