About a year ago, I really went all-in on podcasts. They became my go-to entertainment in the car, at the gym working out, even just hanging out at home working in the yard or cleaning the house. They even replaced audiobooks, my tried and true preferred listening on long road trips, as something Josh and I would choose to listen to together while driving. Our taste on which podcast to listen to, definitely differs, however!
During the late winter/early spring, pretty much all the way through late summer, an embarrassing amount of my podcast listening was somehow connected to The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. A lot of the former cast members of the show have gone on to podcast, and many of them do commentary and recaps about the episodes and give insider insight into how the show works. They’re entertaining in the same way that flipping through People magazine or US Weekly is entertaining. However, outside of Bachelor/Bachelorette (even Bachelor in Paradise) season, most of those podcasts do just an OK job of talking about other topics interestingly and engagingly. Thus, as summer turns to fall, and I turn off auto-download on such titles as “Almost Famous” and “Bachelor Happy Hour,” I turn to a different set of shows, some well-established favorites others brand new, to fill the void.
If you’re a long-time podcast listener, or a newbie looking to just break-in, these four titles are sure to add some flair and colorful commentary to your listening routine!
- THE HAPPINESS LAB: The Happiness Lab is a brand new podcast just launched in September by Dr. Laurie Santos. Dr. Santos teaches “Psychology and the Good Life” at Yale, to date the most popular course in the history of the university. Using the latest in scientific research and unexpected and inspiring stories of real people finding their joy, The Happiness Lab seeks to uncover where the roots of true happiness really lay. A true “feel good” listen, with episodes right around 40 minutes, this is a great dose of mindfulness that should uplift and motivate change, gratitude, and ultimately happiness in your own world, just by recognizing where you should already be finding it!
- THE FOOTBALL GIRL PODCAST: No offense to my male friends and relatives who find great joy in listening to grown men get really angry and yell at each other on sports talk radio all day, but why? As a woman who happens to like football and plays in three fantasy football leagues with family and friends, I understand the desire to want to listen to some commentary and debate about what goes on in the league, but could we get some less angry, less show-offish, equally as colorful commentary for those of us who don’t need the game mansplained to us? Enter The Football Girl Podcast, hosted by Melissa Jacobs. Each week, Jacobs hosts a conversation with a guest who is another woman involved in NFL teams or operations to talk about teams, stats, fantasy, in a really interesting and intelligent way. Recent guests include Cowboys reporter Jane Slater, ESPN’s Mina Kimes, and Anice Cannady, first the first woman NCAA football referee.
- OPRAH’S SUPERSOUL CONVERSATIONS: A long-running podcast based on her OWN TV series of the same name, this is a curated selection of interviews with spiritual leaders, mindfulness experts, health and wellness coaches, thoughtful visionaries, and best-selling authors all designed to empower and embolden you to live your best life. The best part, beyond the abundance of available episodes to keep you occupied for days, is that the episodes range from 15-45 minutes. They’re great for a quick car ride, running errands, or for some solid mindfulness time. Plus, like The Happiness Lab, these are all upbeat and uplifting! Listen and feel good!
- POD SAVE AMERICA: This podcast is not new and is consistently ranked at the top of Apple podcast downloads, so I’m probably not breaking new ground with this recommendation. However, given the recent political climate and commentary in the media and our country as a whole, it’s as good a time as any to jump in on this one! It’s tagline alone: “A political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane” should be a good enough explanation of what the hosts are covering. And truly, this is not a podcast I tune into every week the moment their new episode drops. But if there’s a major event or big announcement or dominating headline, hosts Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Veitor can be counted on to break down what happens, what matters about it, and what, if anything, we can do in response. Pod Save America also tours with live shows and has been the focus of four HBO specials during election season.
- CHATTY BROADS WITH BEKAH AND JESS: This Bachelor based podcast is one that does “other stuff” really well, and finds a new soft spot in my heart this fall because they just did an episode on the enneagram which caught my attention. While Bekah did get her claim to fame by appearing on the Bachelor (and then maybe more famously disappearing to a pot farm afterward!), and she and her friend Jess do have recap episodes during the seasons, the rest of the time they have surprisingly engaging and ofter VERY funny episodes on a variety of other topics from women’s issues to relationships to church to sex to education to friendship to health and wellness. If you want honest conversations with plenty of humor and a strong community of listeners who are active on social media, the Chatty Broads have it going on!
Honorable mentions and perennially favorites: THIS AMERICAN LIFE, WINE FOR NORMAL PEOPLE, THE TED RADIO HOUR, and ANTHROPOCENE REVIEWED!