The pod people: casting light on a growing medium

Although radio was once thought to be dead because of the rise of television, the recent popularity of podcasts may mean new life for the medium.

People listen to podcasts for a variety of reasons: some like entertainment, while others listen to podcasts that keep them up-to-date on news and politics or shows that educate them.

The convenience of podcasts is definitely part of their appeal – it’s easy to put on a podcast and go about other activities, like making dinner or cleaning. They also make walks and commutes much more enjoyable.

However, with a smorgasbord of podcasts to choose from, it can be hard to decide what to listen to. With that in mind some of the staff from The Weal shared their must-listen podcasts.

For Andrew Bardsley, some of the podcasts he listens to are a way to stay connected to his hobby of playing video games. Some of his favourites are Bombcast, The Comedy Button, The Giant Beastcast and Weird Heat.

Personally, I’m fond of podcasts that deliver thrills and chills, such as Lore by Aaron Mahnke. Every week, Mahkne explores the origins behind myths and legends, laying out the facts and letting listeners come to their own conclusions about the supernatural.

Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories is also fantastic for true-crime aficionados who like to delve deep into the details. Part radio show, part analysis, Unsolved Murders has something for everyone.

I also enjoy podcasts with storylines, such as King Falls AM and Welcome to Night Vale, which both purport to be small-town radio stations in towns where the borders between reality and the otherworldly are blurred.

Sean Feagan is a fan of No Agenda, a twice-weekly podcast created by Adam “The Podfather” Curry and PC-Magazine columnist John C. Dvorak. Both entertaining and insightful, this podcast deconstructs media in three-hour episodes filled with jingles. Unlike some podcasts which fizzle out after a few years, No Agenda has been going strong for almost 10.

Some people use podcasts as inspiration for aspects of their own lives. For Carmen Cundy, her inspiration comes from the podcast The Minimalists, which focuses on the art of minimalism and ways to incorporate it into your life. The podcast is presented by two former businessmen who realized that the affluence of their lives wasn’t making them happy.

“Maybe that’s the way to find fulfillment, by collecting experiences instead of material things,” said Cundy.

For those who are interested, Netflix also has a documentary on this called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.

No matter why you enjoy podcasts or what your interests are, new podcasts are being created every day. Finding the ones you’re interested in just takes some digging.

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