The holiday season is here, and for some that means traveling to see friends and family. For others, it may mean prepping for an influx of houseguests.
When hitting the road or tackling household chores, podcasts are a great way to stay entertained, pass the time, learn something new or ignore the bickering.
It seems everyone has a podcast these days. Depending on the source you use, the number of active podcasts is estimated at over 3 million. Any way you look at it, that is a lot of options and can be a little daunting. Don't let it keep you from finding a podcast you love.
WHERE TO START
If you are new to podcasts, you should start by selecting the app you want to use to find and listen to podcasts.
There are many apps out there; some are free, and some are not. I use Spotify and the Apple Podcast app. If you are more tech savvy or have specific needs, PC Magazine published "The Best Podcast Player Apps for 2023" in August. They tested 25 podcast players for Android and Apple phones.
After picking a podcast player, it is time to search for your first podcast. Start your search by looking for a favorite comedian, actor or topic, or scroll through the podcasts at the top of the charts. There is a podcast out there for everyone. If you enjoy woodworking, check out "Wood Talk" or "Woodshop Life Podcast." For the Mopar-loving gear heads, check out "Talking Mopars." The options are seemingly endless.
During your search, download the episodes that catch your attention and give them a listen. If you like what you hear, you can follow the podcast and have new episodes automatically downloaded for your listening enjoyment.
The holidays are a great time to shop locally, so why not listen to locals? There are several podcasts based on the Gulf Coast. Here are three to start with:
- "The Professional Noticer" – New York Times bestselling author and Baldwin County resident Andy Andrews has built this podcast around common sense, wisdom and laughter. Each episode features interesting guests.
- "The Port City Plate Podcast" – From the man behind Bienville Bites Food Tour and Taste of Fairhope Tour, Chris Andrews explores Mobile's food culture, history and people. Recent podcast episodes highlight Pollman's Bake Shop, The Cookery Project and Cammie's Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe.
- "Raw Ingredient's Podcast" – Local chef and restaurateur Pete "Panini" Blohme covers a range of topics from business success to speaking with local and national chefs and locally interesting individuals like Bear Walker.
Some of the Gulf Coast Media staff have shared their go-to listens. The variety really shows just how many options are out there for your listening enjoyment.
Melanie LeCroy – Lifestyle Editor
- "Stuff You Missed in History Class" – Started in 2008, this podcast dives into topics glossed over during your education. Learn about people and moments in history in a deeper form than the paragraph from a textbook. Many episodes are family-friendly. Don't miss the Unearthed episodes.
- "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" – Dax Shepard is an actor and writer but could be most famous as Kristen Bell's husband. The podcast launched on Valentine's Day in 2018 and has had guests ranging from former presidents, current politicians, comedians, actors, college professors and authors. Shepard and his co-host sit down and have casual conversations with celebrities and public figures you can only dream of.
- "Smartless" – Actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett use their social network to secure guests like John McEnroe, Rachel Maddow, Peyton Manning and Paul Simon. Each episode is sure to bring laughs and you may even learn something new.
Jordan Dyess – Graphic Designer
- "Timesuck" – The "Timesuck" podcast with Dan Cummins takes listeners on a deep dive each week into a listener-suggested topic. Some recent episode topics include the Cuban revolution, the Korean War and the Chicago Tylenol murders.
- "The Bald and the Beautiful with Trixie and Katya" – This podcast dives into pop culture, beauty and features interviews with a diverse group of entertainment industry insiders.
Vince Johnson – Publisher/Co-Owner
- "The Daily" – Stay up to date on worldly events.
- "The Bill Simmons Podcast" – Stay up to date on sports and culture with the most downloaded sports podcast. Bill Simmons and a rotating crew of celebrities, athletes and media personalities make this a podcast to check out.
- "The Bakersfield Three" – True Crime podcasts are great and popular, meaning there are thousands to choose from, so maybe start with Vince Johnson's current pick. "The Bakersfield Three" dives into the disappearance of three friends and the investigation carried out by their mothers.
Kayla Green – Executive Editor
- "Atlas Obscura" – Learn about the world's strange and incredible places. New episodes are released four days a week, and each is only 15 minutes long.
- "The Sporkful" – With a tagline like "It's not for foodies, it's for eaters," how can you pass this one up? Some recent episodes include, "Can Bass Pro Shops Teach Grocery Stores Something?" and "Detroit Through a Chinese Restaurant Window."
- "This American Life" – Each week, a new theme will take listeners on a journey. The episodes are an hour or more and hit topics that range from parenting to current events.
Micah Green – Chief Digital Officer / Photographer
- "99% Invisible" – This podcast highlights the design we overlook in our everyday lives. The "99% Invisible" podcast is "a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture."
- "Reveal" – From the Center for Investigative Reporting, the "Reveal" podcast brings listeners original stories with real-world impact ranging from civil and criminal investigations, new laws and topics that impact our everyday lives.
- "The Candid Frame" – This podcast is for the shutterbug in your life. The Candid Frame brings listeners conversations about photography with photographers who skip all the gear talk.
Kara Mautz – Reporter
- "Celebrity Memoir Book Club" – Hosts Claire Parker and Ashley Hamilton read and discuss celebrity memoirs and discuss. The most recent episodes discuss memoirs by TLC reality TV personality Jill Duggar Dillard, actress Jada Pinkett Smith and actor John Stamos.
- "Beyond the Blinds" – This podcast digs into all the juicy news stories and gossip from the past 10 years on one actor, TV show or movie each episode. Recent episodes dive into actor Colin Farrell and boy band NSYNC.
What are you listening to?
Share your favorite podcast with us by emailing what you are listening to and why you enjoy it to firstname.lastname@example.org.