Exploring Podcasts with Meredith McCulloch

January 5, 2023

Podcasts are everywhere. Even in The Bedford Citizen (https://bedford.tv/bedford-explained/). To start with the basics, a podcast is an audio file that you can listen to over the internet. You may also download it to a phone or computer and take it with you.

Many commuters or travelers enjoy them on the road. Even better – you can listen whenever you want. In a sense, the podcast saves the program much as a DVR stores a film or program to watch later.

A grandchild described it to me as “edited radio” – in other words, it is a program that often starts as a radio or TV program, but can be stored as a podcast for listening to later. 

The subjects are broad-ranging. Think of a large library full of books, only it is full of podcasts providing information, an interview or a story you can listen to for fun, or both. (Podcasts are not social media and should not raise added privacy concerns.)

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Many podcasts are free, but some may ask for donations, such as programs from public radio.  Others, produced by newspapers or magazines, are available only to subscribers, although often you are allowed to hear a small number without contributing.

Here are links to some weekly broadcasts that I would recommend. For each one I suggest there are hundreds more that are worth your time:

  • THROUGHLINE: “Throughline” is a weekly podcast on NPR stations. Its motto is “the past is never past,” and it says it aims to “explore the historical underpinnings of our tumultuous current events.” In this holiday season, you may have a special interest in Throughline’s “400 Years of Sweetness” which explores the development of sugar and its impact around the world. This can be found at: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/06/1140995918/400-years-of-sweetness
  • SCIENCE FRIDAY Another that I visit regularly is the WYNC podcast of “Science Friday.” Each week it covers a broad spectrum of science news from microbiology to updates from the Webb telescope. Recent features have been a report on a possible new Alzheimer’s drug and suggested science books for kids. You can find it at https://www.sciencefriday.com.
  • ON THE MEDIA: “WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our worldview.” It aims to explore “How the media sausage is made.” In a recent program, an Ojibwe professor of literature at the University of Southern California offers a counter-narrative to this tragic account in his book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present. View this at: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm

What podcasts do you enjoy? We welcome your suggestions, which can be sent to [email protected]. We will share a selection with our readers. 

Editor’s Note: The Bedford Citizen has recently explored podcasts from Gene Kalb and The Bedford Citizen (Bedford Explained), Fahad Alden (Lessons We Can Take From Today), and Toby Favalora (Why Do I Care).

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