Podcasts perfect for class commutes and downtime

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor

"1A" is a podcast from local NPR affiliate WAMU that recaps the day's biggest news stories.

When you’re slammed with homework and classes this semester, podcasts can help you tune out the noise.

Podcasts are the perfect cure for when you’re stuck in single-tracking purgatory or are caught between classes eating by yourself this semester. These bite-sized audio files make it easy to catch up on the news you’ve missed, listen to conversations with interesting people and hear one-of-a-kind stories.

IPhone users may find it easy to access podcasts through iTunes, but students should also consider podcast apps like Stitcher or TuneIn. With these, you can download all of our favorite podcasts to carry you through the semester.

Keeping up with the news

“1A” – WAMU

With a name referencing the First Amendment, “1A” is a podcast that honors free speech and the power of conversation. This news feature show broadcasts from local NPR affiliate WAMU, and publishes 20- to 30-minute podcast episodes daily. Learn about wide-ranging topics in the news from expert interviews and panels of guests. Host Joshua Johnson focuses mostly on politics and policy, but expands the conversation to relate to everyday life with regular examinations of pop culture and general interest topics. On Fridays, the show is devoted to recapping the week’s news with two 45-minute segments on domestic and international headlines.

“Global News Podcast” – BBC World Service

Domestic news can become exhausting as it is circulating through hours of presidential drama, but “Global News Podcast,” an international news show from BBC, expands your horizons beyond the United States. Publishing 30-minute episodes twice daily and once on weekends, this podcast is perfect for your walk to work or morning wake-up routine. The podcast focuses on stories from all over the world with in-depth analysis and context. When you do hear stateside news, it is from a refreshing, international perspective – narrated with a soothing British accent.

Deep conversations

“Longform” – Longform.org

The podcast “Longform” gives you a closer look at some of today’s most prominent journalists, writers and storytellers. Hosts Evan Ratliff, Max Linsky and Aaron Lammer take turns interviewing prominent journalists and creatives about their work and career paths. In more than 300 50-minute episodes, the hosts have chatted with New York Times journalists like Maggie Haberman and Rukmini Callimachi and legendary storytellers like Gay Talese and John Grisham.

“Founders Nextdoor” – Founders Nextdoor

The “Founders Nextdoor” podcast about entrepreneurship initially focused only on the DMV, but now due to the show’s popularity, it focuses on entrepreneurship across the country. D.C.-based entrepreneur Natasha Che dives into what it takes to start a business through conversations with entrepreneurs themselves. Her conversations get to the heart of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur: ideas, hard work, and courage. Listen to recent conversations with Melissa Biggins, founder of the Sweeter Hue bakery in D.C., or the co-founders of Guerrilla Vending, a D.C.-based curated vending machine company.

Captivating crime stories

“In The Dark,” Season Two – APM

The investigative true crime podcast “In The Dark” takes on a new mystery with each iteration, and it just concluded its second season. This time around, journalist Madeleine Barran reported from Winona, Miss. on the case of Curtis Flowers – a man charged with murdering four people in a downtown furniture store in 1996. He has been tried six times by the same district attorney for this crime during the past 22 years and has not once been successfully convicted, but has been held in county jail the entire time. The season has 11 hourlong episodes, and in each successive chapter, you learn more about this case and all the litigation mishaps so far.

“Crimetown,” Season One – Gimlet Media

Providence, R.I. was the third most dangerous mob city in America for decades, trailing behind New York and Chicago. “Crimetown” explores the dirty underbelly of Providence and all of the colorful characters that made up the Patriarca crime family, including the long-serving mayor of more than 20 years and the state Supreme Court’s chief justice. Hosts Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier, both accomplished producers and filmmakers, guide you in each half-hour episode through numerous stories that emerged from the more than 30 years of mob rule across Rhode Island and the broader New England region. Season two begins this fall, exploring crime in a city yet to be announced.

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