Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Invasion of the Pod(cast) People

Image result for podcastBack in the days before television--and definitely before my time--families used to gather around the old wireless radio for their nightly entertainment. From Little Orphan Annie to the Metropolitan Opera to the infamous War of the Worlds, there was something for everyone. Today, in the digital age, we can stream television content anywhere, anytime. And we do. But apparently we still love to listen to great stories, because podcasts are huge.

As of June of this year, the running total of podcasts is 750,000 and climbing, which adds up to more than 30 million individual episodes. Wow. And I thought finding something to watch on Netflix was hard.

Even though I sort of failed at audio books a few weeks ago, I wanted to give daily podcasts a whirl. I've dabbled in podcasts before, but not on a regular basis. So this week I dipped my toe into the Amazon River-sized stream of audio content and discovered variety that puts even the golden age of radio to shame. Despite that vast quantity of podcasts, it didn't take me long to narrow down my preferences:

Sports: No thanks. I don't mind watching, but listening to people talk about sports? No, no, a thousand times no.

Humor: It depends. Something clever (without an abundance of casual profanity), or the always funny Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, definitely. A couple of guys riffing about beards or whatnot--I'll pass.

Politics: Nope. I get quite enough of that by watching the news.

Science/Nature: Yes, please.

Psychology/Social Science: Another yes. History, too.

True Crime: This is a big one, because they are apparently very popular. I enjoy a good mystery, but if I start to feel like someone might be creeping around in the bushes outside, then that's not the podcast for me.

In general, the best podcasts follow the rules for good storytelling: they draw the listener in quickly, they build suspense and/or interest, and they don't waste time with a lot of extraneous details. It is not as easy as it might seem, but there are plenty of podcasts doing it very well. This week is a Take It, and if you have any podcasts to recommend, please leave me a comment! Happy listening!

Image result for podcast
Get your ears ready!


  1. The only podcasts I've listened to lately have been those from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. If you scroll back far enough, you'll even find me being interviewed.

    1. Thank you for the heads up, Pat! I will definitely give them a listen!