It’s no secret, I love music. And for most of my life, if I was looking for something to listen to for inspiration or entertainment, music was it. Unless I was going on a long drive—and then I might try a book on tape (the audio version of the Harry Potter series is amazing!) 

But then Serial happened and suddenly, everyone around me was all, “Podcasts!”

So I opened up that little purple app that’s pre-loaded on every iPhone and searched for Serial. And like everyone else in America, I loved it.

ios9-podcasts-app-tileAfter binging on Serial, I decided I kind of liked this whole podcast thing and started searching for other ones to check out. Before I knew it, my morning drive had officially gone from music to podcasts.

While music is still a big part of my listening-life, I found that a podcast in the morning really helps to kickstart my brain and get ready for the day ahead. Plus, I’ve learned a lot more than I would have if my commute had just featured my favorite playlists.

As both a writer and someone who works in advertising,  it’s helpful to have a wide range of knowledge (even if that knowledge doesn’t always go very deep) because you never know when some little bit of information will come in handy for a scene or an ad that you’re writing.

While I love learning new things, I unfortunately have the attention span of a gnat and tend to zone out when things don’t interest me. Through trial and word-of-mouth, I’ve found a collection of podcasts that do both: entertain through stories and interviews, all the while building the reserve of information in my brain that just might come in handy one day!

Here’s a little bit about a few of my favorite podcasts:

This American Life 

A weekly NPR show hosted by Ira Glass, each episode has a theme that is explored in three-ish acts. Most of the stories have a journalistic angle, but sometimes they throw essays or comedy routines into the mix. If you check it out, make sure to hang around for the end of each episode where Ira throws a little joke to his co-founder Torey Malatia. It’s silly, but it makes me laugh.

The Moth

This is probably my favorite of the bunch. If you haven’t heard of it before, The Moth features real people telling real stories live on stage without notes. There are stories from celebrities and writers and comedians and every day people. Some of the stories will make you cry, others will make you laugh out loud and almost all of them will make you think. The Moth also has live events in most major cities. I’ve yet to check one out, but it’s on my bucket list for 2017.

Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People 

Beautiful  Anonymous for short, this podcast features comedian Chris Gethard talking on the phone with an anonymous person. The phone call lasts an hour (unless the person calling hangs up) and they talk about anything and everything they want—except for the callers name. Some episodes are more interesting than others, but it kind of feels like you’re eavesdropping and there’s something oddly irresistible about that. Plus, Chris is a funny guy. Just don’t call him a therapist.

The BestSeller Experiment 

Someone in one of my writing groups posted about this podcast, and in the last three weeks I’ve caught up with all 13 episodes. The premise, two Marks (Mark 1 and Mark 2) are setting out to write a best-selling book in a year, and they’re taking listeners on the journey with them. If you are thinking about writing a book or are currently writing a book, I highly recommend this one. Each episode, the Marks interview someone in the industry (an agent, an editor, an author) to get their advice and tips. A lot of helpful information, and it’s nice to know we’re not alone in this crazy journey!

Fresh Air

An NPR program, this podcast is described as ‘a weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues’ and features journalist Terry Gross interviewing a range of people about a variety of topics. Her interviews are always insightful and interesting whether she’s talking to actors, authors, musicians, politicians or everyday people. A co-worker recommended this one to me, and while it’s not on the top of my weekly rotation, I enjoy it whenever I listen.

What podcasts do you listen to? Share your recommendations in the comments!


About thishammer

Alison Hammer is an advertising writer/Creative Director and an author currently seeking agent representation. She has lived in 9 cities, studied at 2 universities and 1 “Circus”, worked at 8 ad agencies, sailed on The Rock Boat 15 times and watched over 120 Gator football games (including 2 national championships). She loves words and the challenge of bringing them together to inspire, to sell products and make people feel something. She has experience writing in every medium for clients ranging from telecom and retail to the Military and hotels.
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