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The Return of Radio: 4 Podcasts To Download Right Now

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McGill chapter.

Not too long ago, a little show called Serial got a lot of traction in the media for its explosive finale. All of a sudden, everyone was interested in podcasts—the underrated genre of iTunes. Having never listened to a podcast before, I decided to do some research, and realized just how popular the world of podcasts is. It seems like not everyone is glued to their TVs, as critics of our generation sometimes claim—instead many people choose to get their entertainment solely through their ears. I set out to sample a few popular podcasts, and was pleasantly surprised. Here are a few to get you started if you are interested in becoming a podcast-listener yourself!

1. The Dinner Party Download

This was by far my favorite. It is set up to be sort of like a dinner party—it starts with a funny icebreaker joke, then moves into tidbits of history tied into information about a cocktail. There are also etiquette questions, music suggestions, short readings, and casual interviews with well-known celebrities, like architect Frank Gehry or actress Marion Cotillard. It’s just so much fun to listen to, since it feels informative, entertaining, and relaxing all at once. According to DPD’s website, it is “an hour-long celebration of culture, food, and conversation with hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam designed to help you dazzle your friends at this weekend’s get-together.” DPD is the perfect podcast to listen to while walking to class or to a party, it’ll get you in the mood to do anything – eat, talk, eat, drink, read, listen to music, and more!

2. TEDTalks Audio Podcast

Everyone’s seen a TED YouTube video at some point, and some of us even enjoy watching them obsessively. When I discovered TED was also available on podcasts, I jumped at the chance to listen, and was not disappointed. It’s basically the audio taken from various TEDTalks, which means that you don’t get the powerful visuals that sometimes go along with successful presentations, but I found that this wasn’t a huge problem. The expert speakers are always great, and the information they present is fascinating. 

3. This American Life

Probably the most famous radio show of all time, “This American Life” has been on the air since 1995 and is considered a classic. Its defining feature is the high quality of journalism that goes into the making of every episode. The episodes are usually structurd so as to present a couple real human interest stories all related to the same theme. Each story is investigated thoroughly and presented beautifully. This particular podcast deserves your attention at least for a little bit if you want to call yourself a true podcast connoisseur.

4. Radiolab

“Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience,” according to the website. It’s hard to describe what Radiolab is like, but it definitely is enjoyable. It’s similar to This American Life in that it focuses on human interest stories, but it tends to use these as a jumping-off point to discuss broader social, philosophical, medical or ethical issues. It may seem all over the place but it’s actually quite grounded and thematically structured for each episode. Like most other podcasts on this list, it’s informative and interesting.


My taste in podcasts has clearly veered towards the informative, but if you’re more interested in entertainment like Serial, or any other genre of podcast, there are plenty more to be discovered. Happy listening!


Information obtained from:

http://www.dinnerpartydownload.org/, http://www.radiolab.org/about/

Images obtained from:




Katrina served as the Campus Correspondent of Her Campus McGill from 2013-2015.  With a love of writing, fashion, and fitness, she spent a lot of her time exploring Montréal to find great things around campus and in the city to share with the Her Campus readers. Twitter @KatrinaKairys.Awarded 1st place for "On Campus Publicity" for My Campus Chapter Awards 2014Awarded Her Campus "Gold Chapter Level" 2013Awarded Her Campus "Platinum Chapter Level" 2014