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14 Apr 2016
My New Obsession
I <3 Podcasts

I have to share with you my newest obsession.  Podcasts!  Okay, okay, I know I’m like 10 years late to the game. But I’ve gotta tell you, better late than never. Seriously, being this is a slow period in the party biz I have been allowed the luxury recently of having literally hundreds of episodes at my ear-tips.  It’s like I've just discovered Harry Potter.

I am a huuuge fan of the written and spoken word.  I am notorious for listening to recorded books in my car and whenever I’m working on projects.  I think it stems from all the stories my Pop Yocom used to share with me as a child.  Whenever I would visit, which was often, since I lived next door, he would share some funny tale or anecdote.  He was a punster, and taught me the love of wordplay at a very young age.  On the flip side, my Grammy Yocom would play recordings of stories while we sat at her kitchen table and crafted.  We had one in particular that was produced by Cricket Magazine. We’d listen to it over, and over, and over.  I adored it.

So you might be asking yourself...what took you so long?

I think it all comes from my perception that podcasts were basically talk shows, where people recorded their rants about the day, or interviewed others who shared their opinions. Quite frankly, that doesn't interest me.  But 2 weeks ago we were divesting in my warehouse and my sister Freda was playing this podcast called Anything Ghost.  It was a collection of freaky stories about people who’d had unexplainable paranormal encounters.  Some of the stories were recorded in their own voices, but the vast majority were read by the host Lex Wahl, who has a sort of This American Life feel to his presentation.  I was automatically hooked.  

To my intense pleasure, I discovered that both my iPad and iPhone stream podcasts. I was able to find hundreds of channels covering topics from technology to taxes.  I was dumbfounded.  I was so excited to discover dozens of podcasts that were basically high quality radio plays.   I’ve just started my journey, so my scope is sort of limited, but I wanted to share some of my favorites thus far.

Anything Ghost, Limetown, Mystery Show

#1.  Anything Ghost- Host Lex Wahl produces this monthly podcast.  He composes musical interludes and often reads the ghostly accounts.  Lex has over 200 episodes, enough to keep you wondering if that door that keeps opening on it’s own is really a loose latch or something otherworldly.

#2.  Limetown - A serialized story told in 11 episodes.  Season 1 is complete so you can listen to it from beginning to end.  Told in a faux radio reporter style, it’s super engaging and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  It has a sort of Twilight Zone appeal, telling the story of an experimental town that literally disappears overnight.

#3.  The Mystery Show - Season 1 is complete. I can’t wait for Season 2.  An amazing podcast hosted by Starlee Kine of This American Life.  In each of the 6 episodes she solves what seems like an impossible mystery.  These are off the wall, crazy, outside-the-box sort of mysteries.  Her journey leads her to take airplanes, attend concerts, set up stake outs, and more.  The twists and turns are incredible and the way Starlee navigates the journey is often hysterically funny. Her style is infectiously entertaining, which is why I can’t wait for Season 2!

The Way I Heard it with Mike Rowe, Alice isn't Dead, The Charlene Show

#4.  The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe - Short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span.  I have to admit, I’ve had a little crush on Mike Rowe since his Dirty Jobs days. I love listening to his voice. This podcast is the perfect outlet for his wit and charm.  The stories he shares are less than 10 minutes long, but are jam packed with interesting tidbits of information that just stick with you.  Whether it be about a pop culture icon or an invention that we now take for granted, these short stories will capture your full attention.

#5.  Alice Isn’t Dead - New episodes every other Tuesday through July 12th.  I was first drawn in by the logo and really didn’t read anything about the storyline.  I’m on the edge of my seat with this one.  The style, which is very similar to Limetown, leaves you with more questions than answers. This makes you want to tune in each time the iPad pings you that a new episode is ready for downloading.  It’s very well produced and super creepy.  I can’t wait to see how this one plays out!

#6.  The Chalene Show - Self help guru Chalene Johnson is just so upbeat and engaging.  Chalene covers topics from exercise, to raising kids, to social media, to expanding your business.  She’s positive, she’s bubbly, she’s charming, she totally speaks to me.  In her words, “the bomb.com”.

I feel like a kid who entered Disneyland for the first time.  I’m overwhelmed by how much exciting content there is out there.  I can now understand why I see so many people walking around with earbuds dangling from their ears.  I have to admit, I do worry that I’m going to slip down the rabbit hole of self alienation.  I realized this when I was supposed to be walking to the warehouse and hadn’t taken a step because I was so engrossed in my podcast. I am going to make sure that I don’t overdo it, and limit it to specific times, like when I’m exercising or driving to an event.

Like reading a good book, it gives me something to look forward to.