Unless you’ve been caught under a rock or a very heavy piece of furniture, you’ve likely noticed that podcasts are all the rage right now. Every celebrity seems to have one, but it’s not just the podcasts by these big names that are killing it when it comes to numbers. At least 112 million Americans have listened to podcasts. This figure was up 11 percent from last year, with 66 million people reporting that they listen to podcasts at least monthly. And advertisers and content producers are chomping at the bit trying to get more space in this medium.
There are a few reasons for the surge in popularity. They’ve become the saving grace for those who have a long commute into work. Early influencers also got the word out, and things have only shot up from there. The cost of the production is cheaper than other mediums, which is why so many were quick to jump on this bandwagon. And the last reason that many posit for this huge surge is sheer screen exhaustion. We’ve all had a night when we’ve looked around and our entire family is using an extra screen (phone, tablet, iPad) while already watching TV. Somewhere along the way this has impacted society greatly, and podcasts have risen as the response.
If you’re interest has been piqued and you’re wondering where to get started, we’ve shared five podcasts that you don’t wanna miss below.
Many think this is the one that really started the podcast surge. From the creators of This American Lifeand hosted by Sarah Koenig, this is a compelling whodunit if there ever were one. A popular Maryland teen, Hae Min Lee, shows up strangled in a park, and everyone—including the police—assume it was her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. As Koenig will show, however, stories were skewed, prejudices came to light, alibis were sketchy at best, and forensic evidence was scant. And it all came down to the story of Adnan’s friend, Jay, who said he helped Adnan move Hae’s body. Adnan has little memory of that day, which adds another layer of complexity and yet, still, there are many who think he’s innocent. What will you think?
- My Dad Wrote a Porno
It’s the stuff of nightmares. We don’t even want to think about our parents “doing it” and yet, for Jamie Morton, he got way more than he bargained for in this department. His dad wrote a dirty book. Instead of hiding in shame, however, Jamie has capitalized on it in this biggest way, by reading a chapter a week on his podcast, My Dad Wrote a Porno. He gets a bit of help from friends James Cooper and BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine, who delightfully add to this already hilarious experience. You think you’ll cringe but you’ll have tears from laughing instead.
- The Daily
If you’re a big fan of The Skimm when it comes to getting your news for its cheeky delivery in a neat, bite-sized package, you’ll love The Daily podcast. It’s only 20 minutes of your day, five times a week, and includes the biggest stories of the hour as reported on by noted journalists around the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro, this one touts that “this is how the news should sound,” and we tend to agree.
- Under the Skin With Russell Brand
This one is aptly titled, as Russell Brand seems to have made a career out getting under people’s skin. But this hilarious actor is so much more than the laughs he puts out into the ether. In fact, he’s been extremely vulnerable and open about his struggles with addiction, and his thoughts on the world around us will catch you off guard for their complexity. As he says of his own podcast, it “asks: what’s beneath the surface – of people we admire, of the ideas that define our time, of the history we are told. Speaking with guests from the world of academia, popular culture and the arts, they’ll help us to see the ulterior truth behind our constructed reality.” Whoa, right? You’ll never think of him as Katy Perry’s ex-husband again.
- Ted Radio Hour: NPR
Love Ted Talks? Love NPR? Well, get ready to have your mind blown as these two combine to take on the topics of the day. Host Guy Raz delves into the insights, discoveries, and emotions that unite us all under the human race. The podcast explores inventions, ideas, and ultimately finds a fresh take on age-old problems. As the communication strategist for APR – Maker of Brand Reputation, Movement says of the podcast, “No matter how obscure the topic, by the end of it, I am inspired to keep searching for new ways to think and create.”
What are some of your favorite podcasts? Share them with us!