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5 Podcasts You Must Listen To

Best podcasts to listen toI first began listening to podcasts in late 2015 and I must say I was rather late to join the club. There's a whole world of unique and interesting content there that is available to consume. From a marketing perspective, podcasts are becoming attractive platforms - brands are either choosing to sponsor podcasts and advertise on them, or then are launching podcasts as a natural extension of their value proposition. 

Have you jumped in on the podcast wagon yet? Or would you rather Netflix and chill? Then let me try changing your mind. Podcasts are a great way to expand your mind, broaden your knowledge or seek inspiration. Podcasts have rekindled an age-old love for listening to stories in a medium relevant to today's generation. You can listen on the go, while exercising, commuting, working and before bedtime. Here are my recommendations just perfect to set you off on your podcast journey. 

Journalist Sarah Koenig
Sarah Koenig on the left / Source:
This was the show that began my addiction to podcasts. I never expected to be so absorbed in a show that each day I would look forward to bedtime when I could plug in my earphones and continue listening to the next episode. You may have heard about Serial. A show that has gained an unparalleled pedestal in the realm of investigative journalism. Serial is about ex Baltimore Sun journalist Sarah Koenig's journey as she digs deep into the 1999 Baltimore murder of 18 year old Hae Min Lee by the accused 19 year old ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. Syed was pronounced guilty and sentenced to life in prison but he sticks to his innocence. The Serial team challenges the evidence with an objective outlook and episode after episode, Sarah reveals her findings and thoughts about the case. Podcast listeners around the world became engulfed in this true crime story making Serial an internet sensation and a podcast blockbuster. The effects of this podcast were so strong, it won Sarah her Peabody Award and sparked a series of events leading to the reopening of Syed's case who now at 35 years of age has received a new trial. Listen to Serial to discover Koenig's storytelling genius. S-Town which launched earlier this week is the latest podcast from the Serial team, and already a few episodes in, I'm a fan. 

Podcasts about the science, culture and economics of food
This was the podcast I was hooked on to after Serial. For someone who used to get home from school and eat lunch while watching BBC Good Food on TV, there was no better source than the BBC Food Chain for me to whet my appetite. This show covers wide reaching subjects connected to food, not just fluffy where-to-eat, what-to-eat, and celebrity-chef-stories. Episodes cover deeper social, economic and cultural influences of food. Hence what you get to hear is fresh content in episodes like 'The Hidden Cost of a Home Meal' that gives listeners the perspective of mothers and the sacrifices they make to put every meal on your table; 'Eating with our Ears' that sheds light on how sound influences how we taste our food; 'Farm and Fortune' that discusses how fruitful a career in farming can be; 'Food far from Home' about the food that Syrian and Iraqi refugees are getting access to. These are just 4 of the 92 episodes I have mentioned. You get the drift about how thought stimulating each episode is right? 

podcast by phoebe judge
Illustration for the Pappy episode / Source:
Umm, yes...I'm a sucker for true crime stories. Guilty as charged. The Criminal podcast has blown my mind. Phoebe Judge is the host and co-creator of the podcast and her soothing voice is an oxymoron to the disturbing subjects of crime she covers in each episode. What I particularly like about Criminal is the aspects of crime the episodes cover - not just the typical cold-blooded murders, rape and abuse but also crimes in episodes like 'Vanish' about people who fake their deaths for different reasons; 'Eight Years' about the death threats faced by the creator of the popular Harry Potter fan based website The Leaky Cauldron; 'Pappy', a bourbon that you'd have to break the law to taste; 'Triassic Park' is about an Arizona based National Park and home to 200 million old petrified wood that visitors took a piece of with them back home as souvenirs only for them to face legal and supernatural consequences. Opens your eyes to a whole new world of crime doesn't it? And you get to hear Phoebe's interactions from victims, witnesses or from criminals themselves. Criminal goes one step further by having a dedicated piece of illustration for every episode. 

travel podcasts
Rafat Ali, Skift Founder / Source:
As a travel enthusiast and someone working in the hotel industry, Skift is a podcast I listen to to keep updated about the industry trends and news stories. Founded in 2012, Skift is the brainchild of Rafat Ali, and as a brand comprises of a daily news website, a podcast, a global forum, research reports and a content studio. Episodes of the Skift podcast has the team's editors in a tete-a-tete with representatives of brands operating in the travel and hotel space to discuss firsthand insights, trends and best practices. Episodes like 'What Airbnb and Hotels should learn from one another', 'What happens when travel meets politics', 'The past and future of local discovery' and 'Travel PR, the invisible engine fueling your travel inspiration' have been memorable listening experiences for me. Listening to Skift episodes are for me the best way to keep a pulse on the fast-changing world of travel. With Skift, Ali is at the forefront of conversations around how to build successful value-based media companies. That's inspirational. 

peter segal
This podcast is my weekly dose of comic relief. Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me by NPR is a show that presents the week's news with the quick, witty and humorous perspectives of hosts Carl Kasell and Peter Segal, and panelists Paula Poundstone, Roy Blount Jr, Mo Racca who are joined by a celebrity and guest caller. The hosts test the current affairs knowledge of panelists making this a one-of-a-kind (and Peabody award-winning) quiz show. My favourite episodes were ones featuring the really funny and relatable Tom Hanks and the author whose book series Goosebumps kept me awake in school, R. L. Stine. Episodes are taped in front of a live audience, thus benefiting from spur-of-the-moment and impromptu humour. 

That's all from me...for now. If my blog post does spur you into a listening spree, I'd love to know....just because!

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