My love of podcasts was born way back in 2011, when Joey and I were working in two different cities and splitting our time between Nashville and Chattanooga. Between my 45 minute commute to work 4-5 days a week and the 2-hours-each-way commute to Chattanooga once a week, I found myself spending plenty of quality time with my car’s radio. I quickly got bored with my very meager CD collection and began listening to NPR more and more. Right about the time that I became irritated with fading radio station signals between cities, I stumbled across the This American Life app.
Wow! Thanks to these amazing stories, I actually looked forward to my time in the car rather than dreading it. (I mean, let’s be honest, it still sucked, but considerably less.) It became a relaxing little ritual to enjoy my coffee/breakfast/junk food/soda in my little 2-door Civic as I zipped down the highway. I continued my habit of either NPR or podcast listening even when my commute shrank, and my love for both grew.
Then my commute eventually disappeared as I became a stay-at-home mom. The impressionable little ears that are a now constant presence in my crumb-and-toy-filled Pilot leave little room (or attention!) for compelling stories and the unraveling of mysteries. So while the podcast love is still strong, my car rides are more likely filled with either Trolls or Frozen soundtracks. I’m not able to listen as often as I’d like, but being forced to carve out time for them may even make me enjoy podcasts even more!
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Here are some of my favorites in case you are searching for something new to stream for yourself!
(one) S Town
S town immediately sucked me in. It begins with a man from Alabama contacting the journalist narrator about a murder and the corrupt police in his small town. But it unravels into stories from an impoverished town and of an eccentric, hedge maze curating, antique clock restoring, liberal man who feels obligated to continue living in said town despite his hostility toward it and everything it represents to him. If it sounds a little strange, well, it is. You’ll love it.
Young House Love is the first blog I followed and loved. It is also what inspired me to begin DIY projects and home decor updates in our houses. So I obviously have a soft spot for John and Sherry. The podcast is filled with decorating advice, DIY stories, a game, a “what’s new” portion, and a “we’re digging” segment, along with interviews of other bloggers, designers, TV personalities and more. (P.S. Their books, Young House Love and Lovable Livable Home are favorites as well.)
On their website, NPR describes Invisibilia as being “about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.”
Serial is the truly addicting true crime podcast investigating the Baltimore homicide case of popular high-school senior Hae Min Lee in 1999. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for her murder, but he maintains his innocence, although he can’t seem to remember what he was doing that January afternoon. That’s all I’m going to give away, because if you haven’t listened yet, do it!
(five) Best of Friends
(six) Mystery show
Mystery show is basically just the host, Starlee Kine, investigating a new mystery case each episode. The cases range from fascinatingly mundane to extremely bizarre, but are always entertaining.
Gretchen Rubin is the author of New York Times bestsellers Better Than Before, The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home. On the Happier podcast, she and her sister discuss good habits and happiness. They offer advice for solving life’s little problems, changing a negative mindset, accepting differences, and understanding ourselves and others. If you have not taken Gretchen’s Four Tendencies Quiz, check it out! It was eye-opening to learn that I am a questioner and it helped me learn better strategies to manage my habits.
(eight) This American Life
Where it all began! This American Life is a weekly, hour-long radio program that began airing in 1995. It is a fascinating, thought-provoking documentary series. Each episode explores a different theme, presented in several acts. The show addresses current events as well as random interesting stories. With over 20 years worth of episodes, it will take you a while to run out! If you are wondering where to start, check out the 11 best episodes according to host Ira Glass.
(nine) Ask Me Another
NPR’s website explains it best: “Ask Me Another brings the lively spirit and healthy competition of your favorite trivia night right to your ears. With a rotating cast of funny people, puzzle writers and VIP guests, it features the wit of host Ophira Eisenberg, the music of house musician Jonathan Coulton, and rambunctious trivia games, all played in front of a live audience.”