Things You Should Listen to: Podcast Edition

Ellis Chen, Reporter

In my opinion, podcasts are an extremely underrated form of media. Whether you’re looking to learn something new, hear hilarious stories, or just chill out, podcasts can help you. Here are some of my go-to podcasts.

1. This American Life

With over twenty years in the podcasting business, This American Life regularly delivers in-depth, hour-long podcasts with multiple acts on a common topic. Each contains multiple stories narrated by people who have a close tie to the topic and can give you a different perspective on a wide range of issues. To top it off, it is narrated by the soothing voice of Ira Glass. Consider listening to “81 Words,” which discusses how the APA decided to stop categorizing homosexuality as a mental illness.

2. Serial

Despite a lackluster second season following a fantastic first season, Serial’s third season returned with more great stories. Serial is formatted to follow non-fiction stories for a long period of time, over multiple episodes and is produced by Sarah Koenig. This season is following the very relevant topic of the Justice Center in Cleveland, releasing a new episode each week to show what the American Criminal Justice system looks like on a daily basis. To start, consider listening to “A Bar Fight Walks into a Justice Center.”

3. Radiolab

Radiolab is a great podcast for learning about science and other generally interesting things. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, each episode gives another opportunity to learn about the interesting historical events and processes that explain our lives. If you’re up for some darker content, consider listening to “The Buried Bodies Case,” which discusses the ethical dilemma that two lawyers faced when they refused to reveal to law enforcement where the bodies of two victims of their client were.

4. Freakonomics

Freakonomics is a nice podcast that helps me learn about unusual phenomena in how people behave, especially in terms of behavioral aspects. Although economics might seem boring, Freakonomics brings stories that are more exciting than just learning about stock markets. To get started, consider listening to “Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s,” which is about – shockingly – if America should be run by Trader Joe’s.

5. Hidden Brain

Hosted by Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain is a show based on a combination of storytelling about the experiences of real people and the science that explains their behavior, which shows how psychology is applicable to our lives. One episode that I would recommend is “Too Little, Too Much: How Poverty and Wealth Affect Our Minds,” which includes observations about the behavior of the rich from a sociologist that was hired as a wealth manager.