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Podcasts offer convenient education, entertainment

Podcasts have become increasingly popular since Serial went mainstream in 2014. Any topic you’re interested in, there’s a podcast dedicated to it. Only have 15 minutes to spare? There’s a podcast that will teach you something or entertain you in that amount of time. Prefer to listen to a really great long-form story? News? Nonfiction? Science? Politics? There are podcasts that will fit the bill. 

While many of us might not take the time to sit down and read a book or a long article, we can listen to podcasts during our commutes, while we’re cleaning, walking our dogs, or training for that next 5K. From comedy and crime to science and history, here are a few of our favorites.

Over My Dead Body – Premiering on Valentine’s Day, it’s already  the top rated podcast on iTunes. It features the story of Dan and Wendi, “two good-looking, Harvard-educated attorneys whose wedding is featured in The New York Times. But when this “perfect” couple falls apart, it leads to a bad breakup, a worse divorce, and a murder case involving a menagerie of high-priced  lawyers and unexpected co-conspirators.”   

My Favorite Murder – While technically considered a comedy show, this podcast features lifelong fans of true crimes, Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff as hosts who  each discuss a, mostly historical, murder. If you want to avoid some of their brash language, fast-forward until you hit 15-17 minutes into the podcast and you’ll go straight to the murder stories and less of their banter. 

Mobituaries with Mo Rocca - The host loves obituaries and introduces listeners to the people “who have long intrigued him - from the 20th century’s greatest entertainer to the Civil Rights pioneer who is completely forgotten to sitcom characters gone all too soon. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter...until now.” 

The Dollop - Not so into American history but want to know cool stuff? The Dollop has you covered. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story from American history to fellow comedian Gareth Reynolds who has no idea what the topic is going to be about. And listeners most likely have never heard the story either. Like, did you know, in 1976 a plane with 60,000 pounds of pot crashed in Yosemite?  

Science VS – From episodes like “The Mystery of the Man Who Died Twice” to “CBD: Weed Wonder Drug?” host Wendy Zukerman dives into contentious topics with the goal of finding out what the scientific community has to say. Serious topics like gun control to lighthearted (hypnosis, meditation, even ghosts) and chances are you’ll laugh while you learn. 

Criminal – This podcast looks at investigations into historical crimes and stories on the wrongdoings within the criminal system. Recommended episode: The Escape. Did the two men who famously escaped Alcatraz in 1962 really make it? More than 50 years after never being found, “their 82-year-old sister is still waiting for them to come home.. and one U.S. Marshal is still on the case.” 

This is Actually Happening - If you ever are feeling bad about yourself, just plug in and listen to one of these first hand accounts from people who have experienced something life-changing, devastating and oftentimes unbelievable. These brave people will show you how they persevered through a time that seems too much for anyone to handle. 

Serial - Season 1. It followed the murder of Baltimore teen Hae Min Lee and the man accused of killing her who may or may not be guilty but remains in jail.   

Dirty John - A successful interior designer meets a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes. Her family doesn’t like him... and for good reason. “They get entangled in a web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial and ultimately, survival.”

Dr. Death - You’ll never look at your doctor in the same way again. “We’re all at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. we trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We trust the hospital. We trust the system.”