What I Listen To (2014 Podcast Report)

podcastIf you follow my writing at all, you know that I like to put together an annual “reading report.” It helps start a lot of interesting conversations about books I loved or hated, and it serves as  a way to remind me of what I’ve read. Every now and then, I’ll go back and look at a previous year’s report and discover a book I had totally forgotten about. The report is as much for my benefit as anyone’s!

I want to share something with you that I find really useful that goes unused by many people. This is a report about the podcasts I listened to in 2014. If you’re not familiar with it, podcasting is basically “on demand” radio. You select the shows that you want to listen to, and your smartphone or tablet will automatically download the episodes so they’re just waiting on you. It’s a perfect way to make better use of your commuting or exercise time.

If you’ve got an iPhone, downloading is super simple. You already have a “Podcasts” icon. If you’re on Android, it’s a little bit more difficult. I downloaded the “Dogg Catcher” app. It manages all your podcasts for you.

One more note: each episode of each podcast is different. Sometimes a show will have a terrible episode or language. That’s what the “skip” button is for.

So without further ado, here are the podcasts I’ve been enjoying in 2014:

Freakonomics Radio
Steve Dubner and Steve Levitt try to answer societal questions logically. Frequently controversial, always interesting.

This American Life
This is the iconic public radio show from Ira Glass. The episodes are a collection of stories about some facet of life in America. They range the gamut from insane, to hilarious, to touching, to mind-numbing.

Radiolab
This is the show that got me into listening to podcasts. It’s science, tech, society, ethics…it’s an experiment on the radio. Really interesting stuff that makes you think.

Stuff You Should Know
From the HowStuffWorks.com team – each episode is about  random stuff. Recent episodes I heard include the GED, boomerangs, Cinnamon, Jim Henson, and “the hum.” Very random! Also from the How Stuff Works network…

TechStuff
A technology-related show that talks about the history, development, and controversies about tech both old and new.

BrainStuff
A mini-podcast, usually less than five minutes, about the same sort of stuff Stuff You Should Know would cover. How many times can I use “stuff” in a sentence?

The Moth
Storytelling. Hit or miss. This is usually the best or the worst. Each episode is just filled with storytellers, telling their tales live in front of an audience with no notes.

NPR’s Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!
News quiz show that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

iPreach from the Jenkins Institute
Dale and Jeff put this together for preachers. There’s usually a guest talking about his area of expertise or something special going on.

Theology Refresh from Desiring God
A short show with a well-known evangelical guest about some theological topic.

Rainer on Leadership
Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway, talks leadership. Aimed at church leaders, but much of it applies in the business world, too. Good show.

We’re Alive
The Zombie podcast finished its final season this year…and it was quite a run! This was brain junk food, but I liked it. Think of it as the Walking Dead for your ears.

99% Invisible
A show on architecture, design, and other behind-the-scenes topics. Good design, they say, is 99% invisible.

A Prairie Home Companion: The News from Lake Woebegone
I don’t listen to the whole episodes of Prairie Home Companion—I just get my favorite part of the show.

Five Minutes in Church History
Reformed Theological Seminary puts out short little episodes about key moments in church history. Good show.

StartUp
The story of Planet Money’s Alex Bloomberg starting a new business, as it happens, sort of.

Serial
Serial made podcasting history this year. It’s a spinoff from This American Life that tells one story, serialized over a season. The inaugural season was the story of a controversial murder case. I loved it.

ReplyAll
A show about the internet with all its weirdness.

What podcasts do you subscribe to?