The advent of audio podcasting started around 2004 and since then many on our team have been big advocates of the medium. In what seems like another career a lifetime ago, while working for Disney, I produced (with early podcast pioneer Michael W. Geoghegan) one of corporate America’s first audio podcasts, marketing Disneyland’s 50th anniversary via an engaging, entertaining, and informative audio podcast series.
The Official Disneyland Resort Podcast was a defining moment in the acceptance of podcasting as an emerging communications platform by Fortune 500 companies who began to comprehend its value and possibilities. However, as quickly as audio podcasts flowered, flash mobs, viral videos, and video podcasts (which never became a thing) were perceived as sexier. The growth of audio podcasts almost immediately stalled in favor of visuals.
Today, audio podcasting is booming (but how many flash mobs have you seen on social media lately?)! According to Statista.com: “Podcasting is an increasingly popular pastime in the U.S. and there were an estimated 120 million podcast listeners in the country in 2021. Forecasts suggest that the number of podcast listeners will surpass 160 million in 2023 after increases of around 20 million each year.”
Here, in no particular order, are some of our favorite go-to-audio podcasts. Each photo banner photo feature links to that particular podcast and all can be found on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you source your podcasts. Enjoy!
As described: Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.
We are big fans of both Terry Gross and occasional guest host Dave Davies and their hallmark, intimate, one-on-one, interviews with today’s most notable newsmakers. We love having access to the podcast version of their radio show because we’re not always commuting to meetings or event locations in our cars, so we miss often miss the show and its fantastic interviews. Now we can enjoy Fresh Air at our convenience. Listen HERE.
CONAN O'BRIEN NEEDS A FRIEND
As described: After 25 years at the Late-Night desk, Conan realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. Over the years, and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that. Deeper, unboundedly playful, and free from FCC regulations, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most, and perhaps find some real friendship along the way.
Do not listen to this podcast while driving or operating heavy machinery! There has been more than one occasion where I have been brought to laughing tears with the absurdity of this show! The show also has one of the best theme songs of any podcast so be a friend to Conan and give his podcast a listen. You’ll thank me for the laughter pick-me-up. Listen HERE.
LEVAR BURTON READS
As described: The best short fiction, handpicked by the best voice in podcasting. In every episode, host Levar Burton (Roots, Reading Rainbow, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story. LaVar’s narration blends with gorgeous soundscapes to bring stories by Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami., Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, and more to life. So, if you’re ready, let’s take a deep breath . . .
The best voice in podcasting? That’s an extreme understatement. LeVar Burton’s voice is pure audio comfort food – no theatrics or vocal calisthenics, it’s simply authentic, emotional, sincere, and honest. When we want to relax, disconnect, and unwind, this is our podcast of choice. LeVar Burton has one of those voices you just want to be best friends with! Oh, and yes! He should be the new permanent host of “Jeopardy”! Listen HERE.
JUDY CARMICHAEL'S JAZZ INSPIRED
As described: What inspires the people who inspire you? How do creative people create? Each week on Judy Carmichael’s Jazz Inspired, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Judy Carmichael explores these questions by celebrating creative artists who love jazz. A wide range of talents – everyone from Billy Joel to Seth MacFarlane – discuss their creative process and how jazz inspires them. They share their favorite recordings as well as insights into their life and art.
Smart, sassy, fun, witty, insightful, and immensely talented – all of these attributes combine in Judy Carmichael and, by extension, her fantastic podcast. We’ve had the great fortune to book clients on Judy’s podcast and the amount of background research she invests in her interviews is impressive. Her enthusiasm and admiration for her varied guests result in fun and insightful discussions. Give Jazz Inspired a listen – you won’t be disappointed. Judy’s interview prowess is pure class. Listen HERE
THE TIM FERRISS SHOW
As described: Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and best-selling author, best known for “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him “the world’s best human guinea pig,” and the New York Times calls him “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk.” In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from the eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports., etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.
We listen to The Tim Ferriss Show podcast when we want to feel particularly intellectual. It’s like audio Omega-3 to boost your intelligence. Not every episode is a hit with us (based on the given topic) but when the subject interests us, Tim Ferriss always fascinates, educates, and enlightens. Listen HERE.
THE ACADEMY MUSEUM PODCAST
As described: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and LAist Studios presents a new multi-season audio series that examines the myriad of stories of our cinematic history. Jacqueline Stewart, Chief Artistic and Programming Officer of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and a MacArthur Fellow is the host of the series.
This is the newest podcast we’ve discovered and after only a few episodes, has become a favorite. Jacqueline Stewart is the ideal host, and we love the soundscape mix of audio clips and assorted quick interviews. It’s very well produced and engaging. If you love movies and are looking for a movie-based podcast, look no further. Also, congrats to our friends Randy Haberkamp, Claire Lockhart, and Shawn Anderson for contributing to such a great effort. Listen HERE.