My sister introduced me to podcasts. Of the array of shows we’ve listened to together, three of them made an impression to the point that I’ll actually look them up and listen independently. The three are The Moth, This American Life and Radiolab. Each of these shows bring something unique. I love The Moth for the raw, personal stories that are shared. And for the sense of community and camaraderie that is formed between the story-teller and the audience. I like to use Radiolab as a reference source for projects and reports. I like that the information shared on Radiolab is presented in an interesting and casual way. Radiolab has a way of breaking down the expectations of form and style; the unassuming, conversational result makes the complexity of the subjects presented tractable for any interested audience. This American Life finds a place between The Moth’s frank, unpolished stories and Radiolab’s unconventional science lessons by exploring stories and social issues with a touch science and more defined structure. Each podcast is excellently done.
The Moth is in its eighteenth year, having started in 1997. It was founded by George Dawes Green, a poet and best-selling novelist. It is a not-for-profit organization that is an outlet for anyone’s stories. The emotions and energy of the story-teller are very well communicated. My favorite stories: “A Crushing Connection” and “The Voodoo Priestess of Football.”
Radiolab is in its thirteenth season. It is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.” Radiolab is great at making learning fun and interesting. The sound effects, unique style and form of the show make the episodes better “visual” entertainment than most television shows. My favorite stories: “Wake Up and Dream” and “Colors.”
This American Life is in its twentieth year, having started in Chicago in 1995. It is produced by Chicago Public Media and is broadcasted on more than 500 stations. This American Life’s weekly episode is built around a randomly selected theme. This American Life is great at weaving a connecting theme between stories and keeping its audience engaged. It also weaves background music into its stories to deepen the story’s connection with the audience. My favorite story: “74: Conventions” (Act 3).