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Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.

Those of us of a certain age remember when music was not delivered in electronic form. We used DVDs (i.e., durable flat metallic disks) and, before that, cassette tapes (i.e., small reel-to-reel, plastic rectangles that would wear out if you listened to a song too often). I’m not going to mention 8-Tracks (i.e., large reel-to-reel plastic rectangles). 

(Note: I hesitate to add those parenthetical descriptions, but, because I am repeatedly reminded of how innocently ignorant the current generation is about the recent past, I decided that some extra explanation is necessary.)

Records, I suspect, may be more generally understood by our post-internet generations (i.e., anyone under 30). They more often appear in nostalgic movies and, given our retro culture, may even be in some homes here in Brno. 

In any case, the world changed 20 years ago this month because Apple launched iTunes. Ever since, music has been bought and sold on a world-wide scale and in an electronic form that, today, seems second-nature. 

Could you imagine still listening to cassette tapes as you walk through town, flipping them at the end of each side, annoyed at the quality? 

Frankly, I can’t imagine listening to music at all. Fortunately for me, the digitation of music led to something more valuable. When iPods started to broadcast spoken-word stories, they caught on and became known as Podcasts. They are the only things that I listen to anymore. 

Apple is still a big force in podcasting, but there are many other streaming apps, including Spotify, a large platform (which may still have a three-months-for-free offer) and Pocket Casts, my personal choice. 

Then, there are many podcasts nowadays. Perhaps, too many. 

Here are the podcasts that I enjoy. Please share what your favorites are down below. 

EVERY DAY NEWS

The Daily — The New York Times podcast is full of timely stories that go deep into the weeds. 

Post Reports — The Washington Post has its own version of The Daily. 

The Gist, with Mike Pesca — This Slate podcast addresses the issues of the day in a New York-fast style. I have not missed an episode in years. 

WEEKLY NEWS

On the Media — High-end analysis of the media world. 

This American Life — Pre-dates podcasts because it started on the radio and then moved to the internet. Great long-form stories. 

GENERAL INTEREST

Missing America — In-depth look at America’s role in global politics in the Trump Era. 

The Last Archive — Historian Jill Lepore digs into fascinating historical events to uncover secrets. 

Revisionist History — Writer Malcolm Gladwell winningly adapts his writing style to the podcast genre. 

Deep Background, with Noah Feldman — Drill downs into the issues of the day with a popular Harvard Law School professor. 

This Day in Esoteric Political History — Short and compact stories of the strange and interesting events in politics and history. 

WTF, with Marc Maron — A comedian who gets a surprising amount of interesting material out of celebrity guests.  

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History — It’s just a guy talking for hours and hours, but somehow, it doesn’t get boring. 

History Extra Podcast — Stories from BBC History Magazine that have inspired me to purchase half a dozen books. 

SERIES

Blindspot – The Road to 9/11 — Well-researched show about the steps that led to the Terrorist Attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 

Bunga Bunga — I knew little about Silvio Berlusconi before this podcast. Now I know too much. Wow!

Serial — Long-form stories with the genetics of This American Life. 

Wind of Change — Was the famous Scorpions song written by the CIA as a soft-power strategy to end communism? 

PASSION PROJECTS BY REGULAR PEOPLE

Philosophize This! — Interesting explanations, with contemporary examples, for the history of philosophical thought. 

History of Rome / Revolutions — Mike Duncan read a lot about Ancient Rome and then just started to talk about it. The rest is history.  

SPORTS

Zbrojovkast — The must-listen-to podcast for FC Zbrojovka fans. Clearly a labor of love that could be included in the “Passion Projects By Regular People” category above. Hat’s off.  https://soundcloud.com/zbrojovkast

All-American Tiger — A series of shows about Tiger Woods. 

GUILTY PLEASURES

Conspiracy Theories — Mostly not believable but definitely thought-provoking and entertaining. 

Crime Countdown — Two women talk about the Top 10 Creepy Cannibals, No-so-jolly Christmas Crimes, ‘80s Horror Movie Killers, and more. Cheesy, but strangely captivating. 

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What are the podcasts to which you listen? Please share.

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