Why I Actively Listen to Podcasts (And Maybe You Should Too)

As a young kid, I was not much of a reader. I would delve into certain types of books, but it was a very specific genre: mystery and adventure mostly. I remember one of the first books on tape I listened to was the original Batman. I would spend hours listening to Batman, while building with Legos, searching for the perfect piece to finish whatever it was I was constructing. It allowed my imagination to run wild while leveraging my time, though I didn’t realize it then. I also fondly remember my older sister listening to old radio programs, like the Lone Ranger, on tape. She had a few collections and we would often listen to them while playing. On the radio, I remember listening to CarTalk with my Dad on the weekends. I don’t think I ever learned what time it came on, it just seemed to be on when we were in the truck, hauling yard work away from the house. CarTalk has stuck with me all these years, and I listen to podcast episodes regularly.

Other than those three experiences, audio programs seemed to be rare in my life. But then, about four years ago, I discovered podcasts. Podcasts are online shows that can be downloaded to any personal mobile device, or streamed online. Simple enough.

While radio shows have been around for ages, there is something more personal about a podcast. Podcasts, when produced effectively, have a timeless quality to them. They can be listened to repeatedly, allowing the listener to obtain new information each time. Some of my favorite podcasts are professionally produced, audio-documentary style stories. They have multiple layers of sound, mixing in narrative and music, which adds depth to their stories. Focusing on audio only forces your imagination to fill in the blanks. Some of the audio-documentary episodes are done so well, it’s as if I see the visuals in minds eye as I listen.

I find I enjoy a variety of podcast genres, but the following are my top shows as of this writing. Here is my short list of shows I highly recommend you subscribe and listen to. All are free and all are both entertaining and educational.

My Podcast Short List

1. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield — Amy is a masterful marketer and her podcast is top quality with excellent guests, step-by-step instruction, and free downloads with every episode.

2. The Advanced Selling Podcast — Bill Caskey and Bryan Neale have been producing this podcast for the past four years or so, and I have been a listener from the beginning. They break down the sales process, redefining the word, and giving it a positive spin. Their advice is top-notch.

3. Entrepreneur on Fire — John Lee Dumas came onto the podcast scene by storm in 2012 and has been on fire ever since! His show is all about inspiration by sharing the stories of hundreds of entrepreneurs in all different markets, their successes and failures. John’s show is the only podcast putting out a new episode seven days a week. Looking for inspiration? Look no further than Entrepreneur on Fire.

4. CarTalk — CarTalk, I believe, was a podcast 30 years ago without knowing it. The show has an excellent format, broken down into thirds, with memorable callers and their stories. Something about Tom and Ray, the connection they have with each other and the way they make each other laugh is both relaxing and enjoyable.

5. Start Up — Start Up is a podcast that follows Alex Blumberg’s entrepreneurial journey to create an organization that produces podcasts. Alex was a producer at This American Life and recently branched out, creating Gimlet Media. The series is full of ups and down and features raw, emotionally fueled conversations as he struggles to see his vision come to life. The second season of Start Up is scheduled for an April release, and will follow a new company starting up.

6. Serial — I first heard about this podcast from an interview Tim Ferris did with Alex Blumberg. (Also how I found out about Start Up. Thanks Tim!) Both Alex and Serials lead narrator and producer have an audio-documentary style that is quite unique. Serial’s first season is about a 15 year old murder case of a 17-year old girl, in which her ex-boyfriend was sentenced to jail for her murder. It is a thrilling story told in a captivating manner, leaving you wanting more after each episode. I found myself binge listening to this series and am still sad it is over.

7. The Tim Ferris Show — Tim Ferris is a startup advisor, New York Times best-selling author, and a podcast host. His show, The Tim Ferris Show, is dedicated to breaking down excellence by interviewing billionaire investors, professional athletes, and entrepreneurs alike. I find myself repeatedly listening as he digs deep with his questions to his interviewees. It makes for an interesting dialogue, from people you may not normally have any interaction with. I especially liked the interview with Peter Thiel.

Every time a new episode from any of the above podcasts become available, I get so excited, as if it is a new episode of a favorite show on television. I appreciate everyone that podcasts and understand how difficult a process it can be. The next time you are looking for something new to listen to, try one of these shows. What podcasts do you listen to the most? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

Originally published at www.benjaminwarsinske.com.

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