Eight podcasts to make your commute awesome

Jacob Judd, Staff member

For those who don’t know, podcasts are essentially talk radio shows on the Internet. You can get them either by downloading or streaming through iTunes, Stitcher or whatever podcast app suits you.

Because they’re online, they can be as broad or hyper-niche as the creators want them to be. If you can think of it, there’s probably a podcast about it.

Most shows upload weekly, so it’s easy to find a few you like and have something brand new, just for you, every day of the week.

Here are a few to get you started:

“The Nerdist”: You don’t have to be a nerd to love this show. Hosted by Chris Hardwick (known for his gameshow @Midnight) “The Nerdist” boasts one of the most diverse guest lists this side of Larry King. Everyone from Adam West and George R.R. Martin to Alex Trebek and Tom Cruise have been on the show. And the breezy, conversational interviews don’t have the promotional pressure of a talk show appearance, leading to more honest and unique dialogues.

“StarTalk Radio”: Superstar astrophysicist and walking internet meme Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a show that brings together entertaining figures from popular culture to make science sexy and fun. Like no personality since Bill Nye the science guy (who appears as a guest on this very show) has, Tyson makes science cool in the 21st century.

“Grantland Sports”: Rather than a single podcast, “Grantland Sports” is a collection of shows following current events in the world of sports. Football, soccer, boxing and basketball all get dedicated shows under this feed. The “Grantland” writers are an entertaining bunch, and each show gets to give specific focus without having to divide it among multiple sports.

“Serial”: A minor cultural phenomenon last fall, “Serial” is a documentary in the form of an episodic podcast. In the tradition of “The Thin Blue Line,” “West of Memphis” and HBO’s “The Jinx,” “Serial” follows the twists and turns of a more than decade old murder case. Does it exonerate or further condemn it’s subject? Start from episode one and find out.

“TED Radio Hour”: Ever had your mind blown by one of those TED talks your cousin shared on Facebook? You know, the ones about how schools kill creativity, harrowing tales of human trafficking or the limitless future of 3D printing? The “TED Radio Hour” brings you “ideas worth sharing” on a weekly basis. For those who like to expand their horizons, this show collects multiple talks on a connecting theme into a coherent hour of learning.

“Watch The Thrones”: Statistically speaking, you probably like HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” But have you ever watched a scene and thought to yourself, “Who the eff is that guy?” Worry not! The hosts of “WtT” are here to bring you weekly episode recaps, zoom in on particular themes of an episode and consult their well-read Maester to provide spoiler-free context from the books.

“IGN Games”: Like “Grantland Sports,” this feed collects numerous video gaming podcasts to fit every taste. Whether you’re an Xbox guy, a League of Legends gal, or just enjoy a good Mario Party, IGN probably has a show for you. Special mention to the obscenely popular “Podcast Beyond!” and to the wonderful chemistry between the hosts of “Nintendo Voice Chat.”

“FistShark Marketing”: Pushing the boundaries of poor taste, “FistShark” is nonetheless a hilarious exercise in absurd, improvised, radio theatre. Jim Sterling, Conrad Zimmerman and Caitlyn Cook star as the heads of a marketing firm with horrible clients and worse business ethics. The episodes take the form of weekly meetings discussing how to best represent the washed-up celebrities desperate and/or crazy enough to hire them. There’s nothing else quite like it on the Internet.

And that’s just the beginning! The number and diversity of shows like these is truly mind-boggling. Here’s hoping your commute just got a little more interesting!