This was originally posted about three years ago on my original personal blog that I didn’t really maintain. I liked this post though, so I decide to transfer it over. Now that I am commuting to school, it’s nice to listen to podcasts or books on CD. I listen to books on CD a lot more now though, because I still need my GPS to get to school without getting lost. Running podcasts and GPS at the same time take up a lot of battery life! Anyways, now I sound like Maron going on an on about my boring life. I love Marc Maron’s podcast!! But, when I recommend it, I always tell people that it’s okay to skip through the beginning and just get to the interview. I’m sorry Maron, I hope that doesn’t offend too much. Enjoy this really old post.
I commute about two hours, three days a week. With a part time job just on the other side of the Tappan Zee Bridge, I have a lot of time to kill. I’ve been doing this for a year, and I love driving so it hasn’t gotten to me yet. The only problem I’ve run into is that listening to the radio for that amount of time is incredibly boring. Changing between channels constantly to avoid commercials, repetitive top 20 songs, or depressing world news broadcasting is distracting, but it gets old. So, for a couple of months now I’ve kept my phone full of podcasts. They are perfect, because many of them are about 45 minutes long, and they are stories that you can get lost in. I switch between NPR’s many programs like RadioLab, This American Life, Freakonomics, The Moth and RadioDiaries. Also, for some humor I listen to Comedy Bang! Bang! and my favorite interviewer Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. Terry Gross also holds a special place in my heart (I know I’m not alone on that one).
If you haven’t tried out podcasts yet, here’s a list of my favorite ones to start with:
1. Marc Maron’s tribute to Robin Williams:
I’m not going to weigh in on Robin William’s untimely death, other than to say that it has touched many people. I listened to Terry Gross’ tribute, read The Rolling Stone’s obituary (which is very good), and a couple of other articles, but I don’t think anyone really opens up Robing Williams like Marc Maron. I would go so far as to say that I don’t think anyone makes people feel comfortable enough to talk about their dark shit like Marc Maron does. He is an incredible interviewer, and his intelligence and ability to really pay attention to someone comes through in his interviews. Maron lets people run off on tangents while always gracefully pulling them back to the original point. If I could study under this guy, I would.
2. This American Life’s Episode 199: House on Loon Lake:
This story is so spooky and well told. Ira Glass steps aside and allows Adam Beckman to tell the haunting tale of breaking into an abandoned house with his pals as a kid. Any curious person will be able to identify with this guy, and appreciate the fact that he’s kept his imagination running for long enough that he could revisit this tale after childhood.
3. Radio Diaries’s Josh 16 Years Later:
I just started listening to Radio Diaries, and this was probably the fifth one I’ve listened to. The reason I love Josh so much is because he is someone that I could see myself being friends with. He is funny and hurt, and he is honest. What sucks though is sometimes he can’t control being honest. The moment when his mom asks him if she’s done a good job with him, and his answer is a tick is such a strong moment. The biggest reason I love Josh so much, though, is because he is a fantastic prank caller. I was laughing out loud in my car listening to his prank calls.
4. RadioLab’s Patient Zero:
The story of Typhoid Mary is fascinating and a good beginning to this episode, but my favorite part is the different stories of the beginning of AIDS. Just listen, RadioLab is fantastic journalism and the way they deliver it is musical.
5. Comedy Bang! Bang!’s A Spiritual Journey:
This episode is one of the first episode’s with my favorite character from Comedy Bang! Bang!’s podcast, Traci Reardon, played by Lauren Lapkus. This podcast and the show on IFC are not for everyone, but give it a try. Also, not all of the episodes are funny, because they are trying something new each time, so before you judge make sure you listen to a couple.