Posts tagged #podcasts

Serial: A Return To Form

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After over two years Serial is back and, in one episode, seems better than ever. With a change in formula season three now focuses on "one courthouse week by week" differing from the previous seasons which covered one case week by week. 

The first season which famously covered the murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of Adnan Syed was captivating, causing listeners to speculate on whether or not Syed was indeed the killer or just another victim of the murder. The podcast not only made amateur detectives of everyone listening but also promoted a new trial of Adnan set for 2019. It set the standard that so many podcasts strive for when covering true crime.

Unfortunately the second season, for me at least, left a lot to be desired with an in-depth investigation into the Bowe Bergdahl case. Perhaps it was the large scale of the case that was off-putting since the majority of America had dismissed Bergdahl as a soldier who just abandoned his post or maybe it was just too ambitious to cover a case that was already so big. Either way, season two lacked the intrigue found in the first season.  

In the interim, Serial teamed up with This American Life to produce S-Town. A podcast that, though wasn't a trial, grabbed the attention of the listener the same way season one did AND had all episodes streaming from day one. With S-Town's popularity it proved that going into a story blind was far more enjoyable than trying to change the minds that had already been fed with countless hours of coverage on a big news story.

Season three of Serial hits the ground running covering individual felony court cases out of Cleveland, Ohio. Instead of sitting on one case over a season we will be treated to multiple cases over the span of the next few months and I could not be happier.  

Serial: Season Three: Episode One AND Two are available by clicking HERE or going to wherever it is that you get your podcasts! 

ENJOY! 

Posted on September 20, 2018 and filed under Podcasts We Listen To.

Podcasts We Like

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The first time I heard about podcasts, it was 2005 and I was in grad school and had to write a paper about the newly developed broadcast medium. The first podcast I actually listened to was The Ricky Gervais Show, which I downloaded (because what was a podcast app?) and listened to on a CD in my car for years and years. If you’ve never heard or seen The Ricky Gervais Show - it was adapted to an animated series after the huge success of the podcast - dig around on the internet and find it. You’ll thank me later.

Fast forward a lot of years and a lot of listening and I think I’ve finally found my podcast niche. I’ve always preferred music to talk on the radio and that translated to my digital and streaming preferences, as well; however, the last few years, my commute time has increased and I’ve found that I want to use that otherwise wasted time to learn stuff. I feel very old and mature.

Here are a few podcasts that I’d classify as interesting and educational, but definitely not boring:

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The Allusionist with Helen Zaltzman. This is a podcast about language (stick with me) and the host is a delightful, linguistically-savvy Brit. She introduces and explores topics such as eponyms (there’s an annual episode each year and they’re one of my favorites) (related: listen to the episode about Trump… the verb), the origin of languages, semantics, language disorders, etymology, accents, technobabble, the language of math and science, and so much more. The episodes are quickly digestible in length (usually around 20 minutes) and include a word of the day - see if you can use it in an email. One of my favorite recent episodes is Ear Hustling, a rundown of the unofficial dictionary of San Quentin State Prison. Do you know what zoom zooms and wham whams are? Find out.

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Criminal with Phoebe Judge. Criminal is, you guessed it, a crime podcast, but it’s not all murder and gore here (I have other podcasts for that… true crime is my other podcast niche). This podcast takes a very thoughtful look at crime in general and presents to the listener a myriad of criminal situations: the abduction of a 1950s poodle named Masterpiece, the quiet persecution of lesbians in WWII, the streaker who has been banned from major sporting events around the globe, a mother-daughter coroner team, and the history of séances, to name a few. You’ll still get your fix of murder and cold cases, don’t worry. If you’ve watched The Staircase on Netflix, start at the beginning with Animal Instincts.

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Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. Have you watched Netflix’s rebooted Queer Eye? If not, carve out a day and do it, then report back. I’ll wait. Okay, by now you’ll want to be BFFs with The Fab Five’s grooming guru Jonathan Van Ness. It’s understandable. He’s hilarious, smart, and thoughtful, all of which translates into his podcast. Going strong on its third year, this educational podcast pairs JVN with an expert in various fields and the two talk over whatever subject has captured Jonathan’s curiosity that week. If you’re coming to him from Queer Eye, catch the origin story episodes of his fellow castmates (Bobby Berk, Tan France, Karamo Brown, and Antoni Porowski); if you’re ready to jump into current topics, take your pick of traumatic family separation, ethics, and the opioid crisis. Bonus! There’s an episode with Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist.  

There’s No Such Thing As A Fish. First off, have you ever watched or heard of QI? QI stands for Quite Interesting and it’s just that. I’ve been obsessed with the Stephen Fry-hosted British comedy panel quiz show for years and No Such Thing is a podcast hosted by the QI researchers, a.k.a. QI Elves. Every show presents four random facts, each of which leads to a humorously meandering discussion on said topic and, inevitably, more facts. It’s fun, fast, and fascinating and you will henceforth be equipped with interesting facts when there’s a lull in a conversation. Wondering how the podcast got its name and what type of facts you’ll hear if you listen? Watch this:

I hope you’ll check one or more of these out if you find yourself yearning for some learning.

Posted on August 5, 2018 .

Podcasts We Like - My Brother, My Brother and Me

A couple years ago, my eyes were opened to the wonderous would of podcasts. I had known they existed, but for whatever reason, I never paid them much attention. One day at work, I wanted something different to listen to so I decided to click on the Podcast App on my iPhone. It was like I discovered a long lost universe. I dove in and never looked back.

One of the first podcasts to catch my attention was My Brother, My Brother and Me. It is billed as an advicecast for the modern era. On the show, the scour Yahoo Answers and listener submitted questions and give advice in the most hilarious way possible. Often going off on rambling tangents.

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The McElroy brother, Justin, Travis and Griffin, grew up in Huntington, WV and as their lives started to take them to different locations, they started skyping weekly in order to stay in touch. They all had already gone into careers in the gaming and media industry so turning their weekly skype sessions into a podcast seemed like a natural progression.

They started independently in April of 2010 and quickly grew a cult following. By January, 2011, they had joined the Maximum Fun Network of podcasts and have been going strong ever since. They release a new episode every Monday and it is a highlight of my day.

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The show itself usually starts with the brother talking about their week in hilarious fashion then moves onto answering questions they find on Yahoo answers or that are submitted by listeners. Now, to say they give advice in the traditional sense, is quite a stretch. What they give is a weekly tapestry of hilarious ramblings and anecdotes that never seem to stop. After 412 episodes, you would think they would be running out of steam, but you would be wrong. Each episode is a fresh as the previous and never a dull moment.

If you are looking for something new to listen to or just need a change of pace, give the McElroy brother three a listen. You wont be disappointed. 

Posted on July 14, 2018 and filed under Poscasts We Like.