I fell in love with podcasts last year while on the road around the Southeast promoting my novel. Music playlists get old, and hours behind the wheel between indie bookstores get lonely. But once I discovered podcasts, road trips became my guilty pleasure. Here are four reasons I listen to podcasts.
Podcasts come in many categories
Just like my taste in books changes with the wind, so does my taste in podcasts. As a kid, I would read our brown encyclopedias when I was bored, then pick up a Judy Blume novel the next time I felt like reading. I can do the same with podcasts. When I’m feeling nerdy, I stream a few The History Chicks episodes to hear some gritty biographies of women in history. When I’m needing a laugh, I like Stupid Genius with Emma Chamberlain, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and I recently discovered Nearly Informed with Brian Moote and Brad Nolan for when I want a little guy humor. When I’m in the mood for the macabre, I listen to Dr. Death, mostly because Dr. Dunsch and I are from the same hometown and I’m creeped out that I could have passed the psychopath in the Mall of Memphis or eaten at the same McDonald’s one day. And my very favorite podcast is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd because you get storytelling, laughs, and intelligent conversations all in one package.
Every podcast tells a real story
Whether a podcast is professionally produced with a superstar host, or recorded in someone’s kitchen, they all tell a story. Since I’m a writer, I love a good story. The stories are not only about the topic of each episode, they tell the stories of the people talking on the show. Hosts put themselves into the narrative, and if you listen to enough episodes in a series, you get to learn a lot about their personal stories. I crave connections with people. Knowing people makes me feel alive. Podcasts give me a peak into people I ordinarily wouldn’t have access to.
Podcasts give every man and woman a voice.
Anyone with a microphone and a computer can record a podcast. Podcasters don’t have to be radio professionals to share their ideas with an audience, and that’s what appeals to me. Yes, I love podcasts with comedians and talk show hosts I know from TV, but I also love to hear from the kinds of people I might run into at the grocery store or at a book signing. The podcast is similar to the self-published book world. Now anyone has the opportunity to express uncensored ideas that networks or publishing companies might reject. Audiences love that.
Podcast lengths suit any attention span
The final reason I love podcasts is that they come in different lengths. If I only feel like listening to someone talk for 30 minutes, I can. If I’m ready to delve into a topic for two hours, there’s a podcast for that. I can download them or listen to them when I have a wifi connection and can come back to them whenever I want to.
On those long road trips with my podcasts, I started to realize I wanted to join that conversation. I’m not famous or a trained DJ, but dang, I love to talk. I would leave book signings after speaking to crowds about my book and hearing from them how their stories connect with mine. Writing is my art that takes painstaking effort to create, but story telling through conversations is raw, immediate, and intoxicating. My podcast obsession in no way negates my love of literature. In fact, I believe that the experiences we gain through reading and listening complement each other in a full way. I’m proud to say I love podcasts and I hope they stick around.