I go back to teaching next week, for as long as I can until the baby is born. As I’ve written before, I sometimes entertain myself while organizing my classroom or lesson planning by having a podcast playing in the background. Not all podcasts are created equal, of course, and some are better than others for listening to at the office. The ones I’ve chosen to share today are informative, generally feature “safe for work” topics and language and vary in length which can be useful for different situations and focus levels. Some of these podcasts have hundreds of episodes, so I’ve picked out one of my favorites from each to get you started.
There are a number of ways to listen to podcasts. You can listen to them straight from their host’s website or iTunes or another program, through your computer speakers. This is the way I listened at work for a long time. For more flexible podcast listening, however, it’s convenient to download podcasts to a smartphone. iTunes is useful, if you’re an iPhone person. Google Play now has a podcast section on Android devices. I use AntennaPod, which is an open source podcast manager that I’ve had great success with.
This NPR podcast explores economics, but in a way that actually makes sense. They tackle a lot of interesting topics that you might not have realized you were even wondering about: Brexit, Bitcoin, copyright, banks without interest charges and more.
Start here: Oil #1: We Buy Oil
The West Wing Weekly
This is probably the most niche podcast on this list and if you’re a West Wing fan, you’re probably already familiar with The West Wing Weekly. Actor Joshua Malina (who played will Bailey on The West Wing) and Hrishikesh Hirway are working their way through every episode of the show, one by one. They’re almost at the end of the first season and I still love every episode. If you haven’t watched before, start the show (it’s on Netflix!) and follow along on the podcast.
Start here, at the very beginning: 1.01 Pilot
Young House Love Has a Podcast
I was one of the many who was very sad when Young House Love ceased posting to their popular blog a few years ago. But John and Sherry Petersik have recently resumed their presence on the internet and also started a podcast. This show is fairly short and features interesting guests, fun games and decorating/home ownership advice that anyone could find useful.
Start here: #6: Stars, They’re (Sorta) Just Like Us! With Tiffani Thiessen (this episode follows the YHL podcast’s usual format) OR #8: Three Pro Bloggers Get Real About Sponsored Posts (a special episode that I really enjoyed and think bloggers and non-bloggers should hear!)
I started listing to Ungeniused because I was already a Myke Hurley fan from another podcast he co-hosts, Cortex with CGP Grey. This show discusses the weirdest articles on Wikipedia, including such things as the deadly Action Park theme park, Dancing Mania, and Inventors Killed by Their Own Inventions. Episodes of this podcast are pretty short (9-40 minutes), which isn’t always my thing but can be perfect for the right situation.
Start here: #3 The Ghost Army and Inflatable Tanks
NPR’s Ask Me Another
I hesitate to include Ask Me Another on a list of podcasts to listen to at work. Because if you’re anything like me, you will find this podcast distracting because you’ll be playing along with the trivia, word and puzzle games which are recorded weekly in front of a live Brooklyn audience. I’m a big fan of these kinds of games (I also play along with Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me) and this show has the added benefit of an awesome guest every episode.
Start here: Sir Patrick Stewart: Brush Up Your Shakespeare
99% Invisible examines things you may never have thought to examine before. The unnoticed things in our world that we take for granted, or assume were always that way. Generally focused on architecture, objects, history, infrastructure and cities, this podcast has definitely made me look at my surroundings in a new way.
Start here: Episode 219 – Unpleasant Design and Hostile Architecture
Even though I’m way behind on my current podcast queue, I’m always open to new suggestions. Leave your favorite podcasts in the comments below!