I didn’t listen to podcasts until the start of 2020, and I wish that I knew about this exciting yet comforting form of entertainment sooner. Last year was when I moved to the United States and started to call an unfamiliar place home. On my solo city exploring trips, not only did I find a friend to ease the long commutes to downtown Seattle, but I also learned a lot of interesting stuff from podcasts of different genres.
When the pandemic hit, I started listening to podcasts more frequently. Most of the time, actually. I had podcasts playing in the background when I cooked, did assignments, slept, and showered. There was something soothing about hearing strangers talk, especially in times of isolation. I have a long list of favorite podcasts, but here are four popular ones from different genres that I would recommend to both podcast enthusiasts and those who are not familiar with them.
- Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd
The interview-style podcast hosted by Dax Shepherd (yes, the actor!) and Monica Padman is probably one of the most popular ones out there, and there’s a reason why. Featuring a famous guest in each episode, the hosts take listeners on an intellectual, captivating, and vulnerable journey as we explore the guest’s perspectives and personal stories, from Hillary Clinton’s philosophy of raising children to Yuval Noah Harari’s take on biometric surveillance. Although the topics may sound serious, conversations between hosts and guests are always comfortable, entertaining, yet thought-provoking. Sometimes I had to stop and take notes during the episodes because there were so many interesting takeaways!
- Stuff You Should Know
As the name suggests, this podcast is about stuff you should know! Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, Stuff You Should Know was launched in April 2008 and has been educating listeners on a variety of topics in science, pop culture, politics, history, and more. Tackling a topic in each episode, the host duo explains knowledge in a fun, approachable, and relatable way. They sound just like two friends having small talks with each other. I love how the podcasts give me in-depth information on a simple topic like how tea works. Yes, they have a 57-minute long episode about tea!
- Terrible, Thanks For Asking
How are you really doing? What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you? The podcast is an honest and vulnerable answer from ordinary people in the form of stories. Nora McInerny, the host, walks guests and listeners through funny, tragic, and relatable conversations and narratives with such a genuine hosting style that it makes the listening experience feel like an intimate, shared one. Although there are some heartbreaking episodes that make me tear up, I always find inspiration in the strength of people who have been through the worst and gotten back up on their feet.
- Office Ladies
I am a big fan of The Office, so when I heard that Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played Pam and Angela, were doing a rewatch podcast, I had to add it to my list. Friends love to sit together and relive old times, and this podcast is exactly like that. Each podcast episode is about one The Office episode, and the “office ladies” break down the details, talk about behind-the-scenes stories, answer fan questions and sometimes even invite The Office cast and crew as guests. I love how they add their personal memories into the storyline. It’s like rewatching the episodes but from the eyes of the ones who produced and acted in it!
If you’re also a lover of podcasts, I would love to know your top favorite ones! If you have never listened to podcasts, check out my recommendations or scroll through Spotify and Apple Podcasts to see which one taps into your interest. Who knows, maybe you’ll have some fun, learn something interesting, or even find a friend in those digital recordings like I did.