Since the start of the year, I’ve become a major podcast listener…well, as “major” of a listener as it’s possible to become in just one month.
I’m not totally sure why I suddenly decided that now was the time to finally get on board with this trend (if something that’s been around for years and doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere can be called a “trend”). I know lots of people who listen to podcasts on the regular. My flatmate, Louise, has been telling me for months that I should get into them as a way to entertain myself on my walk to work.
For whatever reason, the idea just never gripped me until the start of January. Then one day, I just decided I was going to start listening to them, so I downloaded the iPhone app. I spent an afternoon reading various “Top Ten” and “Recommended” podcasts lists, perusing the Charts, reading summaries and reviews. I subscribed to 7 or 8 that first afternoon and started listening to different ones on different days to figure out which ones I actually really liked.
I tried to subscribe to a good mix of programs with a range of topics – news, comedy, entertainment, culture, books, politics – as well as a good mix of British and American programs so that I got the view from both sides of the Atlantic. I had great visions of listening to news- and current-affairs-oriented programs that would enlighten me and make me both well-informed and more intelligent. I could see myself becoming a fascinating, intellectual being who was confident discussing a wide-range of topics and ideas. Surely this was the start of a new era and the first step to a new me!
Instead, I ended up subscribing to a ton of entertainment/pop culture/comedy focused podcasts; and lots of general human interest, story-telling style podcasts. And they are almost all American. So much for that balanced, well-informed, both-sides-of-the-Atlantic view of things. Instead, I listen to all the pop culture/human interest podcasts first, then I might take some time to check in on the current affairs/politics/news stories, but those are always a last resort…and to be honest, there are so many of the more fun ones to listen to, that I rarely find myself falling back on the “real” news programs.
But actually, I don’t really care. I love pop culture, and I love a random human interest story. I’m definitely becoming one of those people who starts stories with, “So I was listening to this podcast…” I’ve already been one of those people with longform articles in the past. [Like for serious: I read more than my fair share at work during the slow summer months last year and then proceeded to tell anyone who would listen all about them. I learned about a fake serial killer, a super weird random bone disease, and a pair of twins who stood to inherit billions but were living in squalor.] And the power of a good story-telling voice over the airwaves cannot be overstated.
I’m constantly popping my earphones in these days to listen to another episode or finish up one that I started earlier in the day. It does mean that I am a little more clueless while walking down the street. I really have to pause and make sure there aren’t any cars coming when crossing the streets these days. I’m constantly bumping into people or jumping when they come up quickly behind me simply because I can’t hear them or I’m lost in the world of the latest story. And I’m afraid I look like a 100% crazy person more often than not these days – laughing at a really funny story or even crying at a touching one. People are starting to give me a wider berth on buses and sidewalks.
The long and short of it is: I love my podcasts. So much so that I am going to use them as a recurring post theme. I’ll be updating you all periodically with my favorite podcasts or specific episodes. I might even warn you to stay away from some bad ones (I’ve discovered a couple of those, too). So stay tuned to hear all about what I’ve been listening to and the interesting things I’ve learned!
What about you? Are you a podcast listener? What’s your favorite program? I’m sooooo open to recommendations!