5 Podcasts for Millennials
Podcasts have been popular since 2005 when there was a huge surge in listeners, particularly millennials, and since then there has been a steady increase in popularity. Recently, I decided that I wanted to try to get into podcasts based on the recommendations of my friends. People had been telling me that they are great to listen to as you walk your dog, do dishes or chores, or as you drive somewhere. At first it sounded archaic. I imagined sitting around the radio in the living room with the family trying to catch your weekly story. However, it’s much more modern than that. Podcasts are usable on all portable devices which make them perfect for taking on the go. Typically, I’ve opted to listen to music while I’m travelling or cleaning. Is it really a chore if it feels like a party?
So, in the interest of breaking into the podcast life I reached out to my friends and asked them for recommendations on where to start. I received about 30 recommendations so I decided to start with the ones that had received recommendations by multiple people. If you, like me, are a millennial looking to get into the podcast game a little late, then I will make my recommendations for which ones you should begin with.
This American Life
This American Life is a weekly standalone podcast. Each week introduces a new theme and the producers for This American Life will often mix up the format. Sometimes the program will feature essays or memoirs read in a first-person narrative. Other times the program will have recordings from outside of the studio or have a story told with a narrator. I found that This American Life was good for millennials because it produced real stories that seem to be missing in a world of Instagram filters and carefully calibrated Facebook posts. It also works with a shorter attention span. As a listener, you don’t have be dedicated to catching it every week in order to make sure you aren’t missing crucial details. Each week is a new story so there is little chance of spoilers and you can skip a show if you aren’t particularly interested in that topic.
S-Town is a podcast from the creators of Serial (another podcast that was recommended to me but I have not yet listened to) and This American Life. S-Town, not to be confused in any way with S Club 7, follows a story line with each succeeding episode continuing the story line. S-Town tells the story of a man that is investigating the son of a wealthy family. The investigation leads to a death and includes thrills like hidden treasure and learning about the mysteries of a man’s life. Millennials will enjoy this podcast because I don’t know many millennials that dislike murder, secrets, and intrigue. With 7 episodes, it will keep you engaged but it isn’t drawn out longer than it should be. *Cough* How I Met Your Mother *Cough*. Now that the HIMYM fans have left, let’s continue.
Criminal is in some ways similar to This American Life. The episodes are not connected and cover real stories about real people. The twist is that the stories are about crime – people who’ve committed crimes, people whom have had crimes committed against them, and everything in between. As a millennial, this appealed to me because like I said before, who doesn’t like murder secrets and intrigue? Even on television, we have seen a rise in crime dramas like Making a Murder, How to Get Away with Murder, etc.
99% Invisible reminds me of the television show How It’s Made. 99% Invisible covers random topics that we typically don’t think about or consider questioning: What’s the deal with McMansions? How did one player redesign the way baseball is played today? What’s the origin of the fortune cookie? These topics are out of left field yet immensely fascinating. I, for one, am always interested in learning little bits of information that are mostly useful for cocktail parties.
Mortified is one of the funniest podcasts that I’ve ever heard. The premise is that people will voluntarily come forward and read excerpts from their journals or diaries that they had kept as children and teenagers. The podcast is successful with everyone, not just millennials, as it is completely relatable. Everyone has similar fears, worries, and joys as children growing up and there is a certain level of comfort that comes with listening to Mortified. For most, the concept of having your journal or diary read aloud to strangers is a nightmare but by the end of an episode you will either be wishing you had kept one or running to go find yours. Nostalgic and sincere, Mortified, is definitely a podcast that everyone should check out.
Podcasts are designed to engage your attention when you are doing something that doesn’t involve much thought. On my journey to discover an interest in podcasts, I was surprised to find that there are podcasts for every topic and every mood. If you are looking to learn then you will find educational podcasts, if you are looking to be entertained you will be entertained, and if you are looking to expand your interests you will find podcasts that will introduce you to new topics. Podcasts are a wonderful tool to fill silences while you are cleaning, commuting, walking, or lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. Let me know what you think of my top 5 recommendations in the comments below, and be sure to share your favourites, too.