When Serial came out last Fall and everyone found themselves addicted to a radio show, I couldn’t help but laugh. This podcast phenomenon of late has been pretty humorous to me. I’ve been a fan of radio shows since I got my first Burns and Allen tape at Cracker Barrel in elementary school. Look who’s a cool kid now, y’all! I would wear those suckers out on road trips from Tennessee to Virginia to Ohio and back again. Then, when I discovered that several of my favorite “Old Time Radio” shows were being shared as part of this whole “podcast” part of iTunes in the late 2000s, I was sold.
Old Time Radio [aka The Golden Age of Radio] refers to a period of radio broadcasting between the 1920s and 1950s when radio filled the same spot in the American psyche as television or Netflix does today.
I like podcasts for the same reason I like twitter. Podcasts are just another way that the internet has helped me find like-minded people. I cannot overstate my level of nerdom in school. I listened to Ella Fitzgerald, I spent all my free time doodling interiors in notebooks, and I could quote the 1953 Jack Benny Christmas special word-for-word. So when I started listening to the Jack Benny OTR podcast, I was thrilled that there were other people in the world that were as obsessed with this old-school form of entertainment as I was.
Last week, I asked Social Media Land to name favorite podcasts because I’d just finished binge-listening (is that a thing now?) to Gimlet Media‘s StartUp, and I needed something new. I now have a super rad list in my queue, and I’ll share some of those as I get to know them. Today, I thought I’d share a few of my own favs of late.
StartUp follows Alex Blumberg as he starts his own podcast company. I listened to all 14 episodes in an embarrassingly short amount of time. I nerd out a lot on business strategy so listening to an entrepreneur sell his product, get investors, and then have to figure out how to produce what he’d promised was seriously fascinating.
Invisibilia is a show that is all about the things we can’t see that affect how we live. The first one is on “Thoughts,” and had me completely hooked from the get-go.
She Does is an interview-style podcast where the hosts, Elaine and Sarah, talk to women in all different fields of media. I find it really inspiring because the women they talk to are so brave in their craft. If you need to have a “You go, girl!” moment in your day, this is the one I’d recommend.
Selected Shorts has apparently been around for 30 years, but it is new to me. While I am not a fan of reading a lot of contemporary fiction, I absolutely love listening to a good story. Each week, Selected Shorts selects a topic and gathers several writers and people you know to read a short story that centers around it.
Finally, my very favorite! While I recognize that this old school form or entertainment is not for everyone, I think it is fun to be transported back in time as I cook dinner each night. The host calls himself Buck Benny but actually airs lots of shows besides the Jack Benny Show from the Golden Age of Radio.
This sometimes means broadcasts that were run especially for the troops or a show Eleanor Roosevelt did in 1940. Right now some of those cover Gracie Allen‘s 1940 presidential campaign. (What? You thought Hillary was first?) There are a variety of shows (and, as of recently, a variety of hosts) to choose from, but my favorite is The Jack Benny Show.
So I’ve told you mine, now you share yours!
Do you listen to podcasts?
What’s your favorite?