We’re not sure we saw this coming, but it looks like there’s an exciting trend on the horizon: ideas are taking back media.
Or so we hope.
While reality TV and Buzzfeed have been threatening to rob us all of intelligent creative writing and journalism, there may be hope in an unsuspecting place: podcasts.
In fact, a whole new crop of listeners are putting on their headphones to be entertained and challenged, which hopefully means this type of content is going to get better and better.
But because podcasts are so easy to have published, it’s also possible that the dialogue being offered to your ears will be just as bad as “47 Reasons to Dress your Cat,” so we’ve done a little homework to help you find a series you’ll love.
Our first choice for you to subscribe to immediately may seem a little obvious (it’s number one on the iTunes chart) but the weekly murder mystery investigation is just that good.
Six weeks ago, it was a pseudo-underground experiment in journalistic sleuthing, backed by the not-so-underground kings of podcast-land, This American Life. Now, the gripping search for the truth in an inter-racial teenage romance gone wrong is so popular that it’s receiving backlash, and backlash-to-backlash, that’s taking over the Internet. The Onion has even released a parody called Serial Serial, which is also climbing the charts. Due to US Thanksgiving, there won’t be any new episodes this week so you have until December 4th to get caught up. It’s so addictive, we predict you’ll be all caught up by the end of your next lazy Sunday.
If you’re in search of some Canadian content, check out this top hit on the charts that hails from the True North. Host Jesse Brown digs deep to bring you real journalism focused on Canadian media, politics, and current affairs. He’s highly critical and just a little bit pretentious, and definitely hasn’t been afraid to tackle the Jian debate. It’s worth the listen if you want to know what’s happening all around you.
3. Vinyl Cafe with Stuart Maclean – Stories from CBC Radio
This one’s for the old souls out there. While it isn’t really aimed at the young professional (YP) set, CBC is not surprisingly Canada’s leader in podcast production, so everything you can normally hear on CBC Radio (and Radio 2 and probably 3) has been modified into podcast form. For something more entertaining and YP-relevant, we scrolled down to find our old friend from Much Music, Sook Yin Lee, who’s now the host of DNTO (Definitely Not The Opera). She talks culture and society in a refreshing-yet-cynical way that only a veteran of the Canadian pop scene can. She’s always been a bit quirky, but hey, who isn’t?
4. Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids
On the lighter side of the CBC monopoly, we promise an easy chuckle and some lighthearted nostalgia, which is perfect for a half-hour trip home after a draining day at work. It’s just good, clean fun to help you shut off your brain and laugh at the good old days.
Simply put, one of the best-edited and most interesting podcasts you’ll find out there in the cloud. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich find new ways to educate, enthrall, and engage readers with stories that include the origin of Typhoid Mary to the possibility of humans one day communicating with dolphins. It’s a must-listen for any YP with a curious mind.
Alex Blumberg – already a successful producer of This American Life and Planet Money – started a podcast about starting a podcast. Meta? Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.
7. Stuff You Should Know
HowStuffWorks.com is the go-to source for every kind of informative podcast you can imagine. If you’re missing university (minus the exams) this long-running series of in-depth mini-lectures about things you actually wonder about can be your cure-all. Online Dating to Bitcoin, Ebola to Crack, if you’re looking for an intro course, these guys will save you from having to clear your browser’s search history. Just give it a few weeks and that know-it-all at the office won’t stand a chance against you.
And if you’ve been a loyal podcast addict forever, don’t worry, we’re sure that there are enough ideas out there to keep your beloved media source from going too mainstream. And if it does, you can always start your own series and complain about it.