My podcast playlist is continuously evolving. Here are three of the shows I’m listening to right now.
Since I last published a post about my podcast habits back in 2018, quite a few shows have been shuffled off my playlist. It’s not that they were bad – though some were – but it’s always good to try some new material. The time I can use to actually listen to podcasts has decreased as well, and I have to be a bit picky about what I’m listening to.
As I wrote in the post The Challenge of Time, I have to prioritize hard to be able to do everything I want to do in a day. My daily boat commute is now mostly used for reading books, and the podcast time is limited to when I go to and from the boat.
Here are three of the podcasts I’m listening to right now.
Nice podcasts, I’ll take them! Why Spotify’s acquisition of Gimlet Media might be a bad thing for consumers.
I love Spotify. Whenever I write about music, I often mention Spotify. I’ve been a premium subscriber since 2010-and-something, and it’s some of my most well-spent money. If I had bought all the music I’ve listened to and discovered on Spotify, I would have been broke years ago.
One of the nicest things about Spotify is that they are still a dime a dozen in many ways. There is a myriad of similar music streaming services available. They all offer similar features and comparable back catalogues at pretty much the same price. This means that it’s not a huge undertaking to jump ship to another music streaming service if I wanted to do that.
Lately, however, Spotify has begun looking at ways to differentiate themselves from all those other services. This is a natural effect of the current music streaming service homogeneity. Also, in 2018, Spotify became a publicly traded company, and now it’s all about the Benjamins, baby! To attract more paying customers, Spotify somehow has to stand out from the rest of the streaming service crowd.
A shorter work commute means a picky podcast list.
When I changed projects a month ago, my work commute was cut down by about 30 minutes. While that is great, it also means 30 minutes less each day for podcast listening. My backlog started to grow, so I decided to get rid of the least interesting podcasts in my library.
The podcasts I removed turned out to be some of the more popular ones. This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Radiolab were all booted from the playlist. Instead, I’ve made room for a few less-known gems from the podcast jungle. There really are a lot of great podcasts out there. But the because of the shear number of podcasts on the internet, they often drown in the noise.
Podcasts are still an important part of my daily commute. Since the last time I promoted the podcasts on my regular playlist, I’ve moved to an office that’s further away from home – roughly one hour from door to door – meaning I spend more time commuting each day than I did before. You’d think this means more time to listen to podcasts, but I try to make the most of the time I’m on the move by working. I’m absolutely terrible at multitasking, which means I’m unable to work while listening to people talking.
But for about 35 minutes each way, I can’t sit down and work on my laptop, and that’s 35 minutes I can zone out and listen to one of these new podcasts:
Their own take: Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won’t know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings. My take: Yes, I’m listening to Serial, too. But I started listening before it was cool! Host Sarah Koenig is now well on her way with the show’s second season, which is an interesting one, but not really on the same level as season 1 was. It’s the difficult second season, it seems. But I’ll probably soldier on and listen to every single episode of this season as well.
Since I last wrote about my podcast habits, I’ve made a few changes to the playlist. I’ve removed a few podcasts, but the list has still grown a little because of new additions – there are a lot of high quality podcasts out there. I’m currently enjoying paternity leave, spending a lot of time walking around with Vilde sleeping in her stroller – a perfect time for listening to podcasts.
How does my playlist look now?
This American Life
Their own take: This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 1.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced by Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards. My take: This American Life is one of the most popular podcasts around, and there’s a good reason for that: It’s a great podcast. Each episodes, which run for an hour, contains stories spun around the same topic, ranging from “Good Guys 2015” to “Amateur Hour”. That might sound a little cryptic, but there is a recurring topic throughout each episode. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time, I’m suspecting there will be some re-runs, but I’ve yet to hear the same story twice. The stories are mostly very interesting and professionally produced (This American Life is, after all, a radio show). Even though the show mostly focuses on the US of A and American history, culture, social aspects and other similar topics, many of the stories are highly relevant for everyone, no matter where you live.