Since its debut in October 2014, Serial has brought podcasts into the mainstream of media and entertainment. As Serial continues to grow in popularity, countless articles have been written debating the murder and has even sparked an SNL parody. However, podcasts are hardly a new medium. With a history over ten years old, podcasts have been slowly gaining cult audiences. Podcasting was developed when Adam Curry, former MTV video jockey, wrote a program that allowed him to download radio to his iPod. As of today, not only has there been development of podcast networks, but traditional media outlets have also created their own podcasts including The New Yorker, BBC, and CBC.
Personally, I listen to mostly comedy and pop-culture related podcasts. They make my commute infinitely more enjoyable, and I’ve listened to some episodes so many times that I’ll have them on in the background while I’m doing work. Most episodes are between half an hour to an hour and a half in length and are released weekly, making episodes available on demand and for free.
I tried to listen to Serial once, but it couldn’t hold my interest (crazy, I know!). My taste in podcasts are much more light-hearted, and I suggest you check a few of them out.
I’ve been listening to Comedy Bang! Bang! for about four years and it’s definitely my favourite from the list. The first time I tuned in, I was surprised I had never heard anything like it before. Hosted by Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang! combines interviews with comedians, occasionally musicians, improv, games and sometimes music. Comedians also play recurring characters or do impersonations of celebrities. There’s even a show, Comedy Bang! Bang!, based on the podcast series that is currently in its fourth season. I can’t do CBB justice by describing it, so listen to the Best of 2014 episodes to get an idea of what it’s about.
This is the newest series I’ve been listening to – like only two weeks of listening new – but I have become obsessed. If you’re a fellow Book & Media Studies student or are interested in the inner-workings of Canadian media, you will devour this podcast hosted by media critic Jesse Brown. I’m slowly making my way through the archive of episodes from 2013 and have heard amazing and candid discussions on the institutions that run our media, the decisions they make and the future of media in Canada. One episode I recently listened that I found to particularly relevant was a discussion on the problem of unpaid internships.
Within his Internet “court room” John Hodgman acts as a “judge” on this comedy podcast where he hears a dispute from two people (who call-in), interviews them, and at the end announces his verdict. Hard-hitting cases include whether a toddler should get their hair cut, if a sister should give more rides to her brother and what time a married couple should set their alarm for. This is the only podcast I’ve listed that contains “regular” people, but that’s what makes it great. Hearing people try to defend themselves when talking about their weird or silly problems is the best.
I started watching Youtuber, Tyler Oakley, towards the end of last year and I have already grown to love him. He is such a positive and delightful person to watch, so when he announced he was doing a podcast with his best friend Korey Kuhl, I knew it would be just as delightful. This podcast is described as “a half hour of unfiltered gossip sessions, pop culture scrutiny, and stories never told before.” Oakley and Kuhl also interview fellow Youtubers and answer questions submitted by the audience.
As you can see from the types of podcasts I’ve listed, the medium of podcasts allows for experimentation and long-form discussions as well as entertainment or education information. Keep in mind these are only a few that I’ve been listening to recently, and they are based on my own interests. There are so many series of podcasts out there that cover politics, history, science and everything in between. You can find more by Googling “popular podcasts” or by coming across them in articles. So stop reading and get listening!