10 Podcasts That Will Make Your Commute Fly By

Above: 10 Podcasts that are sure to be a hit and make your commute fly by
Above: 10 Podcasts that are sure to be a hit and make your commute fly by

Whether you’re driving or taking public transit, your commute is probably a good chunk of your day. Rather than stare into space, why not fill that time with things you probably don’t have a lot of time to do otherwise? Reading a book is always a good option if you’re not driving, but if you are, a podcast is a great alternative to just listening to the radio. There are endless options available these days and most of them are free. Not to mention you can pack a bunch of them onto your iPod and never worry about running out. If you don’t know where to start, at least a couples of the following podcasts are sure to be a hit.

Serial

Serial creator and host Sarah Koenig describes it as a podcast “about the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things.” The first season was a real-life murder mystery that investigated convicted murderer Adnan Syed’s claims that he was innocent. The season won the very first Peabody Award ever given to a podcast. The second season will be released this fall and is reported to be about Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S soldier who was held by the Taliban for five years.

This American Life

Hosted by Ira Glass, This American Life is a weekly hour-long radio show that is also available as a free weekly podcast. Each episode has a theme, which is explored in several “acts” that might include short stories, essays, first-person narratives, field recordings, or anything else that fits into the medium. One popular episode called “Kid Logic” included pieces that explored the way children reason. The show has been around since 1995, so the number of past episodes will keep you busy for years of commutes to come.

Radiolab

Another radio program that has been nationally syndicated and made available as a podcast is Radiolab. The show focuses mostly on topics of a scientific and philosophical nature and often attempts to tackle broad subjects like “time” and “morality” in ways that the average person can relate to. One episode titled “The Good Show” attempts to unpack the reasons for human kindness, the logic behind sharing, and whether self-sacrifice is just an elaborate disguise for self-interest. There are 12 seasons available, with the 13th currently in production.

Stuff You Should Know

Published by HowStuffWorks.com, Stuff You Should Know is hosted by a couple writers at the website. New episodes are released every Tuesday and Thursday and they aim to educate listeners on a wide variety of topics (literally almost anything you could imagine) by using pop culture as a reference. There are over 700 episodes available and you’re guaranteed to learn something you probably didn’t know in every single one of them. Not a bad way to spend your commute.

Hardcore History

If you’re into world history, but can’t always find the time to read up on everything, George Carlin’s Hardcore History is a great way to up your bar trivia skills without even trying. Carlin somehow manages to turn dry history lectures into engaging narratives that focus on the most violent and dramatic moments in human history. He also uses a lot of unique anecdotes that you’d probably never read about in a text book.

Invisibilia

Invisibilia, produced by NPR, only has six episode available right now (they’re working on their second season), but if human behaviour and trying to understand why we do the things we do interests you, you’ll binge through this podcast in no time. The pilot episode, called “The Secret History of Thoughts” tells the story of one man who struggles with extremely violent thoughts on a daily basis, and tries to understand the impact these thoughts have had on his life and who he is as a person. The podcast is basically about the invisible things that shape our personalities, like thoughts, emotions, and fears.

The Nerdist Podcast

Host of talk shows like Talking Dead and @mignight, Chris Hardwick is also the host of the weekly interview show “about what it really means to be a nerd” , The Nerdist Podcast. Most of his guests are usually affiliated with stand-up comedy and/or nerd culture, and have included Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osborne, and Stan Lee, among many others. It has also been included on Rolling Stone’s list of Best Comedy Podcasts twice.

WTF with Marc Maron

Marc Maron is a seasoned stand-up comedian, writer, director, and producer who has been a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. In 2009, he started hosting a twice weekly podcast he called WTF with Marc Maron. Released Mondays and Thursdays, the show features interviews with fellow comedians. Last year, his interview with Louis C.K. was named the best podcast episode of all time by Slate. During interviews, Maron isn’t afraid to confront other comedians about their controversial material, so you never know exactly what an episode will bring.

Love + Radio

Each episode of Love + Radio consists of a mixture of fact and fiction that relates to a particular theme. Director Nick van der Kolk uses a series of interviews and stories to present subjects that have been described as “people on the cultural edge” and “intriguing characters who aren’t quite who you think they are when you first meet them.” For example, one of their award-winning episodes entitled “The Wisdom of Jay Thunderbolt” is about a stay-at-home strip club manager.

Death, Sex & Money

Hosted by Anna Sale, Death, Sex & Money is “about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.” Sale interviews some celebrities, and a lot of regular people who have a unique story to tell that relates to three of the most taboo topics there are— death, sex, and money. One episode “This Senator Saved My Love Life” about a U.S Senator that helped a long distance couple make it work was also featured on This American Life.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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