By Amy Rudolph
I’m often fascinated by what people are listening to when I see them tuned in to their phone and unplugged from the world. I always assumed it was music, but more recently I have realized the growing majority of people who listen to podcasts. Podcasts today aren’t your mom and dad’s NPR; they range from a variety of topics and genres as diverse as television and film, just without the visual.
Below is a recommended list of podcasts from myself, my friends, and the internet.
1.) “Generation Why.” My first pick is what got me hooked on podcasts. “Generation Why” is told by two friends, Aaron and Justin, who pick apart and retell criminal cases with their own tin foil hat twist. It reminded me of “Dateline” and “Law and Order” in a way without the added drama. The cases are all real and show a side to humanity that most people don’t want to look at.
Where shows like “Dateline” and “20/20” stop after just telling the story, “Generation Why” digs deeper and explores other possibilities and potential conspiracies that leave you thinking about the cases and people who sit center stage. This podcast is fine to listen to at all hours of the day, but to those of us who might be scared listening to that all day long, watch out. After listening to one episode in which a girl was abducted from her dorm room, I heard a knock at my door and almost punched my roommate for scaring me.
2.) “The Penumbra.” “The Penumbra” is a “sci-fi, noir, horror” podcast, according to their Wiki community. They remark that they turn traditional stories and tropes on their heads by reimagining them from different perspectives.
This science fiction podcast brings new life to LGBT story telling, even if the characters aren’t real. I didn’t know fantasy podcasts were a thing but “The Penumbra” might be a great stepping stone into the genre.
3.) “Crimetown.” Back into the real world of crime and not the pretend, “Crimetown,” is one of the most highly recommended podcasts I could find. It tells the story of corruption and mobs running all over Providence, Rhode Island.
As someone who lives 15 minutes from Providence but is still very much an outsider, I was intrigued. As a Rhode Islander, you hear stories from your family and friends about whose grandpa used to be in the mob and the “good old days” of Providence where slipping people money meant giving it to a local judge for a favor and not the hostess at the nicest restaurant in town to get a table. While our mobsters are now just old men telling stories in smoke filled back rooms of old bars along Federal Hill, their stories are kept alive by “Crimetown” in a fresh way.
4.) “Tiny Leaps, Big Changes.” This podcast is a new take on a self-help book. In short, few minute clips, Gregg Clunis gives advice about dealing with anxiety, finding motivation, and procrastination. With finals week approaching quicker than you think, it might be time to listen in and know everything will work out.
5.) “Spirits: A Drunken Dive into Myths and Legends.” This podcast discusses urban tales and reminds me of an adult version of “Scooby Doo.” The two hosts discuss these stories in a way that makes you feel like you’re a part of the conversation. You can also just absentmindedly listen and picture the characters in your mind. You might find yourself walking outside and remember a scene like the one they described and either think it’s really cool or get the heebie-jeebies.
6.) “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People.” This podcast series also has a chatty edge, but is a very different conversation. The host, Chris Gethard of TruTV fame, reads anonymous stories submitted by listeners and discusses them. Most of the stories will make you laugh, but some may make you cry. Like many podcasts and other media that tell stories, they show us what life is like for different really whether it is real or make believe. That is how the person sees the world. For a look into the lives people are living and the ones they may wish they were, listen to this.