Staying well informed about the important things going on in the world can be challenging, especially if you are a busy professional. Fortunately, some of the most informative media out there is now available on free-to-download podcasts. Podcasts are great for busy people because they can be listened to in small chunks whenever you have time. Some days I am able to listed to several hours of podcasts just by having them playing during my commute and while I am doing household chores. How, I never have to ask for background when discussing important topics of the day with friends and co-workers.
Here is a list of some of the best podcasts to keep you informed.
1. The NPR Hourly News Summary (RSS Feed)
This less-than-five-minute news summary provides a short, accurate, and opinion-free brief of the current news. The summary comes out about once and hour, but the truly important news doesn’t change that often. So, if you catch one of two of them a day you should be in good shape. This Podcast’s feed is setup in a way that most podcast software will show you only the most recent summary.
2. American Public Media’s (APM’s) Marketplace (RSS Feed)
Marketplace covers the worlds of business and commerce five days a week just after the New York stock markets close each day. It is great for listening on your commute home since it is about 25 minutes long, but can be consumed in parts too. This is because the show is typically broken up into easily digestible segments that are a mix of today’s news and coverage of current business trends. Marketplace is popular enough that CEO’s, politicians, and other economic news-makers often make appearances on the show.
3. The NPR Shuffle Podcast (RSS Feed)
This podcast is put out almost every day, but it varies in length from as short as five minutes to as long as an hour. The NPR Shuffle contains some of the most interesting and important segments from across all of the prior day’s NPR offerings. This includes discussions of music, sports, politics, religion, culture, food, health, history, science, and more. I’m not sure what the specific criteria is for inclusion in this podcast. But, it is very rare that I consider any of their choices a waste of time.
4. On The Media from WNYC (RSS Feed)
This weekly one-hour podcast covers the media from internet to print with a critical eye. If the media make a mistake or are engaged in some wide-spread slackening of journalistic values you can be sure that “On The Media” will cover it. But, the show is not completely pessimistic. They cover new media innovations and interview important figures in the spread of information ranging from the controversial to the conventional.
5. NPR’s Planet Money (RSS Feed)
Planet Money is basically modern economics explained. When I first started listening to it, they were putting out one show a day. But, currently they do one to two more thoughtful productions each week. The episodes are inconsistent in length, but usually come in at less than 25 minutes. While the show frequently covers economic theory and history, it is always relevant to the news of the day. There have even been cases where I suspect that Planet Money creates the news of the day by bringing attention to important economic issues that politicians and pundits would otherwise have missed.
6. Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie (RSS Feed)
While Ken Rudin has been a staple of political coverage for as long as I can remember, this podcast has a bit more whimsical feel than the previous places I have heard him. Less than two years old the “Political Junkie” podcast is an in-depth look at politics past and present. The podcast comes out once a week and can run as long as 90 minutes. If you are worried that you missed a gaff or interesting down-ticket race this podcast has you covered in a (rare for the genre) non-partisan way.
Please, tell us if we missed any good informative podcasts.