10 Podcasts To Listen To If You're New to Podcasts

According to Ben Hammersley ("Audible revolution" The Guardian, 12 February 2004), audioblogging or podcasting became a thing in 2004.

2004?! Except for the geekiest among us, podcasting was something people were only vaguely aware of in 2004, let alone in 2014.

And then came Serial.

The momentum created for podcasts since the crossover success of “Serial” at the end of 2014 has continued months after the true crime series became the first podcast to top 80 million total downloads from the iTunes.

President Barack Obama made an appearance on comedian Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast in June, and Tuesday marks a nationwide podcast festival with the live simulcast of “Cast Party” to over 500 movie theaters nationwide, featuring shows from four of the most popular podcast networks.

“Cast Party” co-creator, producer and host Seth Lind experienced the “Serial effect” up close and personal with his job as director of operations for “This is American Life,” whose producer Sarah Koenig was the creator of “Serial.”

“’Serial’ increased listening across the whole medium, including ‘This is American Life,’ ” Lind said. “We got probably something like 200,000 new listeners that could be attributed to ‘Serial,’ which is significant... It was fascinating to see how much bigger it got than any of us thought.”

I was one of those geeks who listened to podcasts 10 years ago, but fell out of the habit.

Why? Listening wasn't that convenient and most programs I heard on my local NPR affiliate were better.

No longer. Listening is now super easy, even when you're offline, with iTunes and apps like Podcast Addict for Android (my app of choice).

And there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of programs you can listen to, some of which are as entertaining as anything you'll find on public radio.

If you haven't yet listened to Serial, give it a go. I liked it. My wife loved it.

Here are 10 other podcasts to listen to if you're new to podcasts.

  1. Reply All
  2. StartUp
  3. Invisibilia
  4. Mystery Show
  5. 99% Invisible
  6. Freakonomics
  7. Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin
  8. Radiolab
  9. The Tim Ferris Show
  10. Ask Altucher

Am I missing any? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy listening!

Outside Lands Festival 2015 Mixtape

The lineup for the 8th annual installment of the Outside Land Music Festival might be the best yet.

It's easy to excuse anyone who looks at the headliners -- Elton John, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Wilco, Tame Impala, Amon Tobin, D’Angelo, St. Vincent, Ben Harper -- and who thinks, holy shit, this is going to be a kick-ass weekend!

Of course it will be. Hell, even if there was NO music and it was just a weekend spent eating and drinking gourmet food, wine and beer in Golden Gate Park, it would be kick-ass enough.

I judge mega festivals like Outside Lands by the bottom of their bill, not by the top. Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalloza, Austin City Limits, etc all spend a lot of money attracting acts they think will help sell tickets (Mumford & Sons? Sam Smith? Meh.). No surprise. But the bottom of the bill is where the promoters and programmers show off their curation and taste-making skills, introducing attendees to up-and-coming artists, or talented acts that might never become that big.

With this in mind, I like to create "Bottom to Top" Mixtapes, with a focus on artists playing in the early afternoon, before the crowds have gotten thick and the drugs have kicked in.

Here's my Outside Lands mixtape. Enjoy. And don't miss Strand of Oaks, Leon Bridges, or Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Just don't.

Photo of Foster The People at Outside Lands 2011 Day 1 by Brandon Carson from Flickr.

Everything You Need To Know About Bonnaroo 2015

It’s that time of year, folks. I’m headed to Manchester, Tennessee along with 100,000 fellow music lovers for four days of awesome music and good vibrations.

If you're going or if you just wish you were, there are a few things you should know...


If you haven’t bought yours yet, don’t despair. You can still find plenty for sale at or near face value. Click here to find Bonnaroo tickets on eBay and click here to find Bonnaroo tickets on Craigslist nationwide.

If you buy on Craigslist, I recommend paying the seller with PayPal (select Good and Services, not Send Money to a Friend). That way, if the seller ends up being a scammer, you’ll be able to get your money back.


If you can’t make it to The Farm, watching the Bonnaroo live stream is the next best thing.

Red Bull TV will be live streaming from Bonnaroo on three channels this year, featuring sets by: Temples, Courtney Barnett, Royal Blood, Dawes, Ben Harpet, Tears for Fears, Run The Jewels, Unknow Mortal Orchestra, Sylvan Esso, Mac Demarco, The War on Drugs, My Morning Jacket, Mumford & Sons, Gary Clark Jr, Tyco, Spoon, Billy Joel, Punch Brothers and a WHOLE lot more.

Click here for the entire Bonnaroo live stream schedule.

Bonnaroo will be livestreamed on Red Bull TV through its iOS and Android applications, and on Apple TV, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku and Samsung Smart TVs.


I don’t know what it is about festivals, in general, or Bonnaroo, in particular, but there always seem to be lots of rumors about secret shows and guest appearances. By now, most rumors should be proven or dispelled, so don’t hold your breath for Taylor Swift to get on stage with Run The Jewels.

(The best rumor that turned out to be true was when Lionel Richie played with Kenny Rogers a few years ago. That was ridiculous and cool.)


By now everyone knows who is playing. If you’re going, my advice would be to ignore the headliners, the bands near the top of the bill. Of course you’re going to see Kendrick Lamar and Billy Joel. Everyone will.

The smart move is to look at the bands near the bottom of the bill. Do a little homework and you’ll be able to tell your friends that you saw the next great band at Bonnaroo before they were big.

My tips: Mini Mansions, The Dø, Fruition, Sol Cat, Ximena Sariñana and Son Little.


No one needs a map to get to Manchester, but you do need an app: Waze.

Local and state police will be out in force, ready to issue tickets for speeding and make arrests for drug possession. Use Waze and you’ll know where they’re hiding alongside the interstate before they see you.

One more thing: fix that broken tail light and make sure your tags haven't expired. If you do get pulled over, whatever you do, do NOT consent to have your car, your person, or your stuff searched. Do not answer questions. Demand a lawyer.