Perspectives of a Lady, Gentleman & Dane

What Do You Listen To On Your Commute?

Hannah Sheflyand

When I lived in Brooklyn, my commute to and from work was about 30 minutes on the train, and I spent most of that time listening to random music while reading something on my Kindle. The Kindle was perfect because even when the train was packed I only needed one hand to hold the Kindle while the other was grasping for something to hold on to.My next job only required a 5 minute drive so the radio was more then sufficient to keep me entertained.

Now I spend at least 30 minutes driving to and from work each day, and that is if I am lucky enough not to hit traffic.  For the first few months I got by on music from my phone and the radio but after a while it felt that time in the car can be spent a little more wisely. I started by listening to audio books through but it got a little too pricey for me.Then Brian showed me the beauty of podcasts and it is almost the only thing we both listen to on car rides. There are many apps that provide free subscriptions and downloads of podcasts, the easiest for me was the Podcast app right on my iPhone.

Below are the podcasts that I have learned about over the last few years that I have only enjoyed more over time, instead of getting tired of and want to skip through. Have a look!

My Top 10(ish) Favorites:

  1. Wait Wait… Dont Tell Me! – Brian and I enjoy listening to this podcast together. Its an NPR trivia game filled with current events, a huge lineup of changeing comedians and overall a fun hour of listening.
  2. Radiolab– This is an investigative podcast filled with science and culture all mixed together. Its hard to explain but past podcasts have included random detailed information about topics such as Colors and Guts and Translation.
  3. Planet Money– Best way to summarize it is “the economy explained.” Anything money related has shown up on these short informative podcasts, this is one of my favorites because very random things are explained such as Oil barrels being stolen, the illegality  of braiding hair as a business and why its been so hard to raise money for Ebola.
  4. Intelligence Debates– This one is pretty new to me but I really enjoy it. This brings oxford style debates with one moderator and two panelists on each side of a motion. Topics have included clean energy, finality of death, Hamas, and income inequality. This was founded in London, so make sure you download the US version, otherwise the topics might be a little inconsistent of your interests. Don’t forget to vote For or Against. There is also going to be a debate in NY next week if your interested in a live session.
  5. 99% Invisible– This is a new podcast that explores the process of design and architecture. Recent podcasts have included everything from elevators and chairs to bar codes and skyscrapers.
  6. Song Exploder– I actually first heard this podcast from 99% Invisible. This podcast is where musicians take apart their own songs and tell the story of how they made them. My favorite has been the Postal Service (One of my Music Monday posts)
  7. FreakonomicsRadio– If you have ever heard of or read the books Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics and/or Think Like a Freak, this podcast goes over topics like why people keep having children, how Norway can afford to buy so many Teslas and if religion makes people happy.
  8. Ask Me Another– This is another fun trivia show filled with brainteasers recorded from a live show in a pub. We have gone to the shows in Brooklyn a few times and they are a lot more fun live but the podcast gives a good feel for it and keeps the car rides very entertaining.
  9. America’s Test Kitchen– If you like cooking or any kitchen gadgets this is a must listen. There is everything from taste testing different food, reviewing different equipment and fun phone questions.
  10. Serial– Everyone has been raving about this new podcast funded by This American Life, and for good reason. This podcast had the goal of spending a whole season on staying focused on one non fictional story. This season is on Adnan Syed who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend and Sarah Koenig, a new investigator and narrator of the story, goes into depth on whether he was rightly convicted or whether he is innocent.

Other favorites are This American Life, The Moth, TED Radio Hour, Death Sex & Money, Startup and Kicking&Screaming.

Do you have a long commute? How do you pass the time? Have you tried listening to any of these podcasts?

Any other recommendations for me?


  1. Check to see if your public library provides you with access to overdrive or hoopla. Both are a free app based program that allow you to download audiobooks plus more to your device for a period of time. When you turn is over the downloads automatically disappear

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