I live in Antwerp, and my workplace is in a village some twenty km out of the city. This means that I spend 1.5 hours every workday commuting. I have never had problems occupying myself during the commute, be it by reading books or listening to music. Some time ago though, I have seen a recommendation for a history podcast. I was bored of my usual entertainment and decided to check it out. This is when a whole info-verse unfolded for me.
This was a German podcast “Eine Stunde History” with a couple of jolly and well-informed hosts and a ton of information on the history of humanity and its meaning for us now. I was expecting that lively narrators, jokes and all the other bits of a radio show would distract me from the actual essence of the show – the information and its analysis. Yet here I discovered, that the emotional way to conduct information which is so beautifully normal for the radio, helps me to relax between the more difficult bits. I also found that the information makes a strong impact by connecting to the colorful background of the hosts, guests, music and sound effects.
Since then I became hooked on podcasts, listening now to 5-8 episodes per week. I accumulated a variety of shows, to accommodate my moods and schedule. The quirky and funny shows “Die Blaue Stunde” and “no such thing as a fish” make me laugh when the “#phdlife” is not that easy and I need a pick-me-up. When I want to explore the world of emotions, I tune in to “Invisibilia”. And “Freakonomics” surprises me every episode with a mixture of economics and a data science revolution. But when I just want to chill, I listen to the calm voices on the beautifully made “99 percent invisible”, telling me about the achievements and flaws of the modern design plus a ton of other interesting stuff. Additionally, to my favorite podcasts named above, I pick a new one every couple of weeks to see if it will fit my taste. And with a plethora of international shows from which to choose, be it for entertainment, education or relaxation, I do wonder what my next favorite one will be.