Podcasts to Listen To

While music is great, sometimes you can get tired of the same old songs you listen to nearly every day and need a break. That’s where podcasts come in. Never listened to a podcast before? They’re little radio shows available on your phone or computer, and range anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours and cover a broad variety of topics. I’ve listed some podcasts I’ve found interesting or helpful, but know that there are many more out there, helping you to discover new music, opinions and interests. I go into detail on four in particular, but have listed some more at the bottom of each category (learning or just for fun). Yes, I will warn you that a lot of theseokay, most of theseare from National Public Radio. I was raised on it and therefore am a huge fan.

For Learning Something New:

Coffee Break Languages from RadioLingua:

Coffee Break Language podcasts are a great way to go if you want to study a language but don’t have the time to take a full course. You can listen to it on your drive to school or work, while working out, or even right before you fall asleep! The languages offered are French, Spanish, German, Italian and Chinese. The courses are hosted by both a native speaker as well as an English-speaking host learning the language along with you. One thing: don’t be afraid to talk out loud and repeat phrases! Listening to a language is awesome, but you also need to practice it yourself.

Coffee Break German podcast screenshot, courtesy of Maria Brandt

Stuff You Missed in History Class from HowStuffWorks:

These relatively short podcasts aren’t your grandma’s history lessons. The podcast discusses topics all over the board; a personal favorite of mine was the episode about the Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 (yes, this is real. Yes, you should definitely look it up). My one qualm about this podcast is that sometimes the recording quality isn’t great. Yet I’d still give it a chance, even if you think history isn’t your thing!

Code Switch from NPR:

This podcast fills a gap that has long needed to be filled. Hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji, both of whom are journalists of color, Code Switch first started as an NPR blog in 2013 before becoming a podcast in 2016. It tackles the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and culture and daily life in America. It challenges biases and prejudice and proposes sometimes unsettling topics. 10 out of 10, would definitely recommend for everyone.

More recommendations:

  • This American Life

  • Planet Money

  • Fresh Air

  • Love Lingo

Just For Fun:

Ask Me Another from NPR:

Need a laugh? Hosted by Ophira Eisenberg, AMA is basically a comedy game show that has a guest every week and includes aspects of trivia, riddles, and music. Beware that it can sometimes be a little raunchy, but they often add a warning. Past guests (or “Very Important Puzzlers”) have included George Takei, Leslie Odom Jr., R.L. Stine, and Julia Stiles.

NPR’s Ask Me Another podcast screenshot, courtesy of Maria Brandt

The Moth Podcast:

If you’re looking for something that’s often a little more serious, I’d recommend The Moth Podcast. The Moth is a non-profit that encourages live storytelling. Episodes are typically 30 minutes to an hour long and feature two-four different storytellers recorded in front of a live audience. Stories range from somber to hilarious, and each episode is tied together by a common theme.

The Moth Radio Hour podcast screenshot, courtesy of Maria Brandt

More recommendations:

  • Snap Judgement

  • Serial

  • Stuff Mom Never Told You

  • Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

Now that you know about the wonderful world of Podcasts, you can go out and learn more with the ease of listening to an entertaining show.