I’ve been a listener for decades. As a kid, I had a weird fascination with talk radio that used to drive my friends batty at sleepovers. That obsession stretched into adulthood; I usually listen to some radio or pod-based talk show every night as I drift off, I often have my phone propped up on a shelf playing a podcast episode while I’m in the shower, audiobooks aren’t relegated to plane trips, and I have multiple NPR stations pre-set in my car; in fact, I’m now at the point at which I can listen to NPR programming seamlessly from one end of Massachusetts to the other.
Podcasts have been around longer than smart phones, but they’re enjoying quite a mainstream renaissance this year, due largely to the success of ‘casts like Serial and Comedy Bang Bang. I must admit, I was listening to Serial and loving it for a few weeks before I realized that the rest of the world knew there was a shrimp sale at The Crab Crib, too. So, here are two shows I’m listening to now, plus a list of what else is in my iPhone these days. I did try to put together some words of wisdom on each show, but at my current pace, I won’t be done until Armageddon. Some are podcasts I’ve been listening to for years, others are brand new. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff, so let me know what you’re listening to in the comments.
Finish Line – A podcast updated every day of the Boston Marathon bombing trial and hosted by David Boeri of WBUR and Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe. Each episode is about 15 minutes – shorter than my usual fare, but perfect commuting length – and gives a detailed, vivid summary of the day’s testimonies. Much of the coverage reminds us of the week Greater Boston was literally under siege and the events that unfolded, but there are new tidbits each day, too. Last night, for instance, we were first introduced to Stephen Silva by his real name; he first appeared as ‘Sam’ in the now infamous Rolling Stone article.
Invisibilia – Named for the Latin word for ‘all the invisible things,’ Invisibilia is go-to programming for the connoisseur of human behavior. Hosted by NPR vets Alix Speigel and Lulu Miller, each episode takes an ‘intangible force’ we all experience — big things, like fears, thoughts, and expectations — and breaks it down with the help of interview subjects who’ve experienced some sort of extreme versions of the theme. Episode three, for instance, features a woman who lacks the ability to be afraid. It’s scary good.