I got my first laptop around three years ago. I would spend all day in the library using the Wi-Fi connection so that I could work at my two online jobs. For a while, I listened to CDs and finally began to download music even though I still feared I would lose it if the computer ever crashed. However, not too long after I got the laptop, I discovered iTunes. I have never signed into it or given credit card information, so of course I looked for free content. I found that content in podcasts.
The first thing I looked for with these podcasts was music. Radio Nowhere became a favorite since it tended to introduce me to new music and prided itself as being the alternative to mainstream radio. I still enjoy A Darker Shade of Pagan, which became Numinosis a few weeks ago. I also found a music podcast from CBC radio that has also introduced me to several Canadian artists over the years. Podcasts from magazines I used to read like Paste and The Fader were very sporadic and I eventually gave up on them.
Music podcasts are not the only ones I fell in love with. I listened to a lot of old time radio shows from the 1930s and 40s and became practically addicted to CBC’s Vinyl Cafe, which is mostly host Stuart McLean telling stories. I still subscribe to Japanese Classical Literature at Bedtime even though shows are sporadic and I also get Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day. For some reason, I tend to like BBC History Magazine as well.
Eventually, the laptop did crash or rather the motherboard blew and I had to get a smaller netbook as an emergency replacement. I didn’t download iTunes because I didn’t want to overload the smaller machine, but I did continue downloading episodes of some of my favorite podcasts. I did manage to get a full-size machine last year and iTunes was one of the first applications to find its way to the new machine.
I mostly reserve many of the old shows to the netbook so that I have something to listen to while I sit in the cafe writing, but I found a new set of podcasts to love last year. The first of these was Nerdgasm Noire Network. I had no idea that a group of black women had a podcast in which they just discussed nerdy things and other social issues. Not only did I love the perspectives they bring, but I also found that I enjoy listening to conversations among people. I don’t know why, but I have a high tolerance for listening to people talk. Seriously, this show has been like oxygen for me, especially since I am so far from family and friends I talked to on a regular basis.
This was also what I found when I came across the Geek Soul Brother podcast even though it tends to be a bit more PG than NNN. Still, I find the show just as amusing and enjoy hearing people who are a lot more well-versed in pop culture subjects like anime and manga than I am. Black Girl Nerds is different in that it features interviews with guests and Q&A on a specific topic, but most conversations are insightful and I learn about people with whom I was not previously familiar.
I actually tended to stay away from celebrity podcasts but found myself drawn to Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy show. Overall, I do love the interviews she does but at times find the show problematic but mostly as a result of things her guests say and do not get called out for. Still, it is a great nerd show and episodes like Jo Koy’s are actually quite heartfelt. Then there is the Untitled Kondabulo Brothers Podcast. I had no idea these guys were professional comedians and stumbled upon the first episode while looking for podcasts from brown people. This is the only one that has lasted from that search and I really wish they could post more frequently, but apparently they have lives.
I’ve also recently gotten into podcasts like Cinema in Noir and Operation Cubicle. These are also shows I love for their conversations even though I avoided Operation Cubicle for a while because I thought it would be based in STEM subjects that would go over my head. Turns out to be just two people talking about whatever they feel like and I can dig it. Then there is also a show I “discovered” when it came across my Tumblr dash a few times: Welcome to Night Vale. I have to admit that most of the time I have no idea what the hell I’m listening to, but I can’t stop listening to it.
Podcasts aren’t just a way for me to pass the time. They help keep me going through my day and remind me that there are others like me: they’ve just found a medium to get their views out into the world. Thank goodness for that. I feel just a little less alone.