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 12 other podcasts to listen to if you're new to podcasts.

  1. Song Exploder
  2. Question of the Day with James Altucher and Stephen J. Dubner
  3. Reply All
  4. StartUp
  5. Invisibilia
  6. Mystery Show
  7. 99% Invisible
  8. Freakonomics
  9. Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin
  10. Radiolab
  11. The Tim Ferris Show
  12. Ask Altucher

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

Happy listening!

Listen to Jeff Lynne's ELO, 'Alone In The Universe'

"When I was a boy I had a dream..." are the first words sung by Jeff Lynne on "Alone In The Universe," his first release in 14 years and only his second release in 29 years.

When I was a boy, I loved hanging out in the record section of the Lackland Air Force Base Exchange (BX) while my Mom shopped. She would come get me when she was finished and I would often persuade her to buy me a 45 or two, to add to the collection she got me started with. (Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones was one of my favorites.)

On my 8th birthday, I received some cash from my Aunt Debbie and decided I would invest it in my first album purchase:

It had been out for about 10 months, and I was an avid listener to American Top 40, so I already knew and loved the singles "Livin' Thing" and "Telephone Line."

I remember how exciting it felt to make that purchase with my own money, how much larger and more substantial the album felt relative to a 45. I remember going home, putting the record on my parent's turntable and listening to both sides, from start to finish, all 36 minutes and 20 seconds. I must have listened to that record dozens and dozens of times. I never got sick of it. Even today, A New World Record still sounds as rich, as sweet, and as full of mystery as it did then.

10 Must-See Rock Bands at the 2015 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

By now you've probably heard that the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival didn't always have "hardly" in its name.

Back in 2010, festival founder and benefactor Warren Hellman (R.I.P.) told Ian S. Port ("Warren Hellman talks about Hardly Strictly Bluegrass"):

The first two years it was called Strictly Bluegrass. The reason I called it Strictly Bluegrass is Emmylou Harris agreed to come. As you know, Emmylou Harris' music has moved through different genres. I really like the Nash Ramblers [Harris' onetime band], and I thought if we call it Strictly Bluegrass, maybe she'll be shamed into doing strictly bluegrass. No way. Then we thought, it isn't Strictly Bluegrass, because of course Emmy wasn't singing bluegrass in those days, so we started adding nonbluegrass acts. We saw how popular they were. And then we just decided, let's make it just a music festival.

I've been attending (and volunteering at) the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass for a decade now. If you love music and have never been, you're really missing out.

In the spirit of the "hardly" part of the festival, here are 10 must-see rock* bands playing this year.


1:15 Monophonics (Banjo Stage)

2:35 Marty Willson Piper's Acres of Space (Arrow Stage)

4:10 Punch Brothers (Banjo Stage)

5:45 Michael Franti and Spearhead (Banjo Stage)


3:05 Joe Jackson (Towers of Gold Stage)

3:55 Paul Weller (Swan Stage)

5:45 Flogging Molly (Swan Stage)


1:45 Poi Dog Pondering (Towers of Gold Stage)

4:05 Robyn Hitchcock & The Sadies (Rooster Stage)

5:00 Los Lobos (Towers of Gold Stage)

* Of course, Punch Brothers are not rock, but they're not strictly bluegrass either. Their covers of Radiohead songs like 2+2=5 and Kid A are proof of that. And they rock in concert.