Over the course of this year, I have devoured hours and hours of podcasts. My attention span has been less than ideal for reading novels. Short stories and starting a lot of different books seem to be norm as far as reading goes. I have also used audiobooks to circumvent holding a book only to wake up to my drool wrinkling the pages or being rudely snapped awake by the book landing in my face at the start of slumber. Reading is not a multi-tastable activity which is a good thing and a bad thing for me. I enjoy getting caught up in a story, but I am not a person who can get completely lost in a book. I am constantly aware of the page number, the time of night, etc. Audiobooks offer the opportunity for multi-tasking, but the challenge lies in the stretches of time where I get distracted and realised that I have let pages and pages of narrative pass in and out of my ears without registering the content.
The last couple years have been filled with lots of studio work and I needed something besides music to keep me going. Music works well enough, but I also seem to gravitate to the well-worn music which does not distract me from the tasks at hand. With a new album or artist, I feel compelled to put more attention towards listening as a way to satiate my curiosity.
The first podcast I started listening to was Dan Carlin's Hardcore History and the episodes are epic in length for the podcast world - usually clocking in at 4 - 5 hours per episode. 2 hours is the shortest that I've seen for his podcasts. This was two or three years ago and when I listened to all the episodes available, I stopped listening to podcasts until early this year.
The first podcast that I listened to was Crimetown which was about former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci whom was in office during my graduate school years at RISD. After that I started exploring the world of podcast and rapidly worked my way through a number of different podcast horror stories and mysteries including Homecoming, Darkest Night, Tanis, The Black Tapes, Rabbits, Archive 81, The NoSleep Podcast, Alice Isn't Dead, Welcome to Nightvale, Lore among others.
From there I expanded my interests to include a wide range of topics. Here are some of my current favourites - LeVar Burton Reads, Ear Hustle, SFMOMA's Raw Material, I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats, Song Exploder, Heaven's Gate, The Nod, and Uncivil. Rather than tell you about each of the podcasts, I encourage to click on the links and take a listen.
I also managed to plow through 30 or so podcast episodes recommended by Hyperallergic which also expanded my podcast universe and I have begun picking and choosing from a new selection of podcasts.
You can find their first list of 20 art and culture podcast episodes from 2016 here.
They also published a second list with an additional 11 art and culture podcast episodes this past September which you can find here.
I think that podcasts serve multiple purposes for me. The topics and length of the podcast help me were to fit a particular podcast into my day.
For one, you can listen to short episodes ranging from 15 - 30 minutes for all those times in between or at the gym. I also enjoy learning little tidbits of information during these shorter podcasts. The longer podcasts give me a chance to dive a bit deeper into topics and work well in the studio as it gives me a good sixty minutes of focus time. The serial podcasts are great for giving me something to look forward to as well as invest more in the story or the knowledge.