Millennials of the Pod

Vintage microphone  and headphones with signboard on air. Broadcasting radio station concept.NAME ANY INTEREST, and I’ll probably be able to say, “There’s a podcast about that!” From as general as politics and news to as specific as Justin Bieber—yes, “Bieber Fever” still exists—there’s a podcast out there for everyone! I even found one devoted to memories of Jewish summer camp.

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise given my December article was about nostalgia, and its ever-growing popularity among millennials. Another winner in this popularity contest: podcasts.

A 2016 study conducted by Edison Research found that 38% of people under the age of 35 listen to podcasts. Why is that? Personally, it’s nice to listen to an episode or two while I commute to work, run errands and do household chores, or write my next article for JLife—kidding! Videos and blogs require more focus, while podcasts allow us to catch up on today’s headlines, develop an interest in an unlikely topic, or learn tips to improve our dating life—all while on the go. And much like other services that have found success among millennials, such as streaming services like Netflix, podcasts are available on-demand. So here are a few to subscribe to and download to your library:

Jewish Topics

Podcasts about Judaism (or ones with Jewish themes) haven’t yet gained as much mainstream success as their counterparts, but here are a few that might be worth taking a listen:

1) Campfires and Color Wars. Mentioned earlier, this podcast is hosted by Micah Hart, who was a camper and then a counselor so he’s sure to have a lot of memories to share!

2) Judaism Unbound. A project of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, this podcast focuses on American Jewish life in the 21st century and the bridging of old traditions with the new.

3) Unorthodox. A successful podcast run by Tablet magazine. It provides a fun and refreshing take on the week’s Jewish news and culture. There’s also a section in each episode where a non-Jewish guest asks a question that they’ve always wanted to know about Judaism.

Jewish Hosts

A large number of podcast hosts happen to be Jewish. Perhaps this goes back to our roots and tradition of storytelling? While many of these shows fit a broader spectrum of interests, occasionally there will be an episode with a Jewish topic or at least one where the host references their Jewish identity. Either way will leave you proud to have these in your collection.

1) Lovett or Leave it. Jon Lovett reviews a week of headlines with a panel of comedians, activists, journalists, and other Friends of the Pod. A podcast with comedy and drops of seriousness—this is by far one of my favorites! Lovett is often on Pod Save America, another Crooked Media podcast, which focuses more on politics.

2) Reply All. Run by Gimlet Media, this podcast focuses on technology a.k.a. modern life. An episode has even inspired an upcoming movie with Robert Downey Jr. In similar news, ABC just premiered a television series called “Alex, Inc.” based on another Gimlet Media podcast, StartUp.

3) Serial. The creators of the successful podcast, This is America, bring one true story told over the course of a season. If you loved binge-watching Making a Murderer on Netflix, then this is the podcast for you!

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many podcasts out there to meet practically every need so start binge-listening today!
Dvorah Lewis is the Genealogy Librarian at Sutro Library

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