Podcasts 101…aka, It’s Not That Hard :)

Until a few months ago, I had NO idea what a podcast was. I mean, I knew it was a free radio show of some sort, but that’s about it. Then last fall the Serial podcast went mainstream, and I decided to try to “figure this podcast thing out” so I could check it out.

Um, yeah. I have an iPhone. Figuring it out literally meant I went to the pre-loaded “Podcasts” icon, clicked on “Search,” and downloaded the series (for free!) within a matter of minutes while I was on my home wi-fi. That’s it. #doh

Consider me hooked!

I grabbed my headphones and started listening. I listened when I was driving, when I was walking, when I was prepping my mason jar salads during nap time on Sunday. I listened to the entire series and wanted more!

invisibiliaThe next series I found was also an NPR production, and it’s called Invisibilia. From their website:

Invisibilia (Latin for all the invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.

Ooooooh it is GOOD. Serial was an actual story telling of sorts (you definitely wanted to listen to the episodes in chronological order), but Invisibilia you can listen to in bits and pieces in any order you would like. So far I think “Entanglement” was my favorite in the series. It’s about how we are all quite connected to those around us – often quite literally – and it speaks to why I’ve been working so hard to surround myself with supportive, uplifting people the last few years (and to cut the cord with those who just constantly bring drama and negativity to my life). However, they are all fantastic episodes in different ways, and I am SO glad I found this series. I’m quite curious what you all would think about it!


My Mom sent me this meme a few weeks ago with the following caption: Happiness begins at a cellular level– The cells in your body react to everything that your mind says. Negativity brings down your immune system. Activate “happy cells” by embracing the positive. Deliberately focusing on good feeling thoughts allows your body’s cells to dance to their natural rhythm of well being.

How about you? Do you have any Podcasts you would recommend? I know I am YEARS late to this party, so I’m sure there are some good ones out there to check out!


  1. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me was my favorite podcase (and we went to taping when we lived in Chicago which was so fun!) and I listen to This American Life. NPR junkie 😉 Podcasts interfere with my audiobook listening though, so I tend to do more of the latter!

    1. Whew, sleep deprived. Wait Wait was my *first* pod*cast* not case.

  2. Fuck this play date!!

    The longest shortest time!!

  3. When I used to commute to work on the bus, I listened to many Freakonomics podcasts and really enjoyed them.

  4. My first podcast and only was just an episode having to do with sleep training your child. I don’t remember who it was by. I haven’t jumped on the Serial bandwagon, but I may have to check out Invisibilia because that kind of thing fascinates me!

  5. I have the exact same podcast story as you- not a clue until Serial, finally pushing that Podcast icon on my phone and figuring out how easy it is. I LOVE podcasts now because like you said I can do other things- half the time I just listen to TV instead of really watching anyway 🙂 my favorite right now is Satellite Sisters-5 real sisters who live all over the country and talk about current events and Pop culture.

  6. This American Life!! Also, the Splendid Table if you love food and cooking.

  7. I listen to many of those already listed, as well as The Moth, Radiolab and the Ted talk radio hour. I also listen to free yoga podcast sessions on Yoga Download. I’m also following this comment section for more suggestions!

    1. Also quick note about This American Life (which I love)- this week’s installment is a fantastic gateway episode. Really powerful; I’ve been thinking about it for days.

  8. In addition to those mentioned, I like Mental Illness Happy Hour (that’s weekly mental illness topics) and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (publishes very occasionally and is history topics, long episodes 2-4 hours each). My spouse listens to Ask Me Another and Wits, both very funny.

  9. Oh! And if you like audio books, check out Librivox (dot) org for free in the US recordings of literature in the public domain. You can use podcast software to download a part or two at a time. I’m listening to Pride and Prejudice with a full cast right now and it’s really fun.

  10. How stuff works

  11. I have no idea what your sense of humor is like, but the hubs and I love the Ricky Gervais Show podcast.

  12. first time commenting, but podcasts are amazing. I listen to them as I walk to work. Here are my favorites in no particular order.

    America’s test kitchen (cooks illustrated)
    Slate Money (general economic trends)
    Start Up ( a new favorite about starting a business)
    Death Sex Money (Anna Sale is amazing)
    Body Do Over (fitness)
    Jillian Michaels (she talks about everything. and makes me laugh!)

  13. Since I cancelled cable I listen to suze orman podcast of her full show, but she’s quitting I guess this month. Boo.

    I also listen to Jillian michaels and I kind of love it. Lots of women’s issues to discuss as well as exercise and General well being.

    I listen to serial becuase of your recommendation! I really couldn’t follow the details! But I was interesting. I think he did it! Maybe. I dunno. Lol.

    I will try out this new one you suggested.

    I also found out during my third trimester that podcasts out me right to sleep at night for my insomnia. Which is why I probably couldn’t follow serial easily. :/ but now I put my headphones in one ear if I had trouble goin back to sleep and keep the other ear out for the kiddos. It’s like a sleeping pill.

    1. Oh! I see your commenter listens to Jillian michaels too! She makes me laugh as well. I had to get used to her personality but now I can totally appreciate her. 🙂

  14. I just started listening to invisibilia – thanks for the recommendation! I think you can find fuck this play date under f this Play date – start with the maya Rudolph episode – it’s hilarious.

  15. GAH! I just scheduled a post about podcasts for tomorrow or wednesday, I think. (Honestly, didn’t even see this.) Invisibilia is FANTASTIC. Love it. I was addicted to Serial, too. Cant’ wait for more. YAY PODCASTS!

  16. kaseypowers · · Reply

    On Being is the new one I’ve just started listening too.
    I also love This is Reality with Jason and Molly Mesnik they do Bachelor/ette recaps and sometimes give fun insight into the behind the scenes stuff.

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