It’s Christmas Day and 2021 is rapidly drawing to a close, so I’m doing a bit of reflecting on the past year as we look forward to 2022. In this post, I’ll share 10 of my favorite podcasts, which I’ve listened to often in 2021. I LOVE both listening to and creating podcasts, and continue to believe that “being a saavy podcast consumer” is one of the best things we can do not only as educators but also as citizens wanting to remain informed about our world, the events and trends which are shaping it, and new ideas related to topics we care about. Here are my podcast picks, and why I think they are awesome. I primarily use the mobile app PocketCasts to subscribe and listen to my podcasts, and highly recommend it if you don’t already have a favorite “podcatcher” app. Link to the full list of my current podcast subscriptions (over 200 now) as well as my importable OMPL file on wiki.wesfryer.com/podcasts.
The “World Affairs Council of Northern California” sponsors the “World Affairs” podcast, and it’s been one of my favorites for years. Their show includes a wide variety of foreign policy experts discussing many of the most important and pressing issues and conflicts of today. As a political science and geography undergraduate student and college debator for 4 years, I developed a love of studying and understanding current events, and World Affairs offers an amazing breadth and depth of programming which I always find enlightening and informative. Search Twitter for @world_affairs @wfryer to view my podcast episode shoutouts and takeaways.
The Angry Planet podcast (not to be confused with the 39 part television series) used to be called the “War College” podcast. It features many episodes focusing on military conflicts but also other contemporary issues which are controversial and/or involve contentious disputes. I’m very interested in media literacy and specifically issues which fall within the broad focus of our “Conspiracy and Culture Wars” project, and episodes of Angry Planet often touch on those topics. You can view the “shout outs” and takeaways I’ve shared from episodes by searching Twitter for both @angryplanetpod and @wfryer.
3- The Daily (@mikiebarb)
“The Daily” is a New York Times podcast hosted by Michael Barbaro, which (as its title implies) posts a new episode very day. Episodes are usually 20 to 30 minutes, and usually feature a New York Times expert sharing insights about a domestic or international news event. I really enjoy the “deep dives” it offers into topics and issues, and often learn about books I want to read or other experts I can follow on Twitter to stay updated on the issues they care about. Search Twitter for #TheDaily @wfryer to view my shout outs and takeaways from past episodes.
The “Today Explained” podcast is hosted by Vox Media and addresses an eclectic mix of political and cultural issues. This podcast, like several others I’m including in this list, exemplifies the idea I previously mentioned of addressing a broad range of issues with DEPTH as well as expert analysis. Check out my takeaways and shout outs for podcast episodes by searching Twitter for @today_explained @wfryer.
Destin Sandlin is the creator and mastermind behind the “Smarter Every Day” YouTube channel (@smartereveryday) and also the co-host of the “No Dumb Questions” podcast with Matt Whitman (@mattwhitmanTMBH.) These two friends dive into a wide range of different topics and stories, and I always learn something new. I also enjoy the “window” this podcast provides into not only their friendship, but the ways they see the world and try to understand it better. Both Destin and Matt are Christians, and while religious topics are generally not a focus of the show, I really appreciate the ways they leverage social media and its power to not only help others learn but also share their strong and positive relationship with each other. Destin and Matt are not only smart guys but GOOD guys. I love how they use social media to share their curiosity and journeys of learning. Check out my takeaways and shout outs for their show by searching Twitter for @NoDumbQs @wfryer.
6- Clockwise (@clockwisepod)
I’ve been a listener to the Clockwise podcast for several years, and I love their format as well as content. Each show is exactly 30 minutes long, and features four panelists (two hosts and two guests) talking about different technology topics. Each panelist offers their own question / topic, and generally each show has a “bonus topic.” Lots of Apple/iOS discussion, but also IoT, Google, consumer tech, etc. It’s not school / educational technology related, but always interesting and generally relevant to me as a technology user. Check out my takeaways and shout outs for the show by searching Twitter for @clockwisepod @wfryer.
7- Sway (@karaswisher)
Sway is a New York Times podcast hosted by Kara Swisher, and often features interviews with famous and influential guests. Many of the topics touch on technology and politics, and Kara is an outstanding interviewer. She is never afraid to ask “the hard questions.” My friend Peggy George (@pgeorge) recommended the Sway podcast to me a few months ago on our EdTech Situation Room webshow and podcast (@edtechSR) and I’ve enjoyed listening to many of the episodes since. Check out my takeaways and shoutouts for the show by searching Twitter for @karaswisher @wfryer.
I’ve been listening to Ezra Klein’s political analysis, book reviews, and engaging interviews with expert guests for several years, before he was hired by and brought his podcast to the New York Times. Ezra is a remarkably well read person and super smart. I don’t agree with all his perspectives but I always learn from him. Check out my takeaways and shout outs to the show by searching Twitter for @ezraklein @wfryer.
This Week in Tech (TWiT) hosted by Leo Laporte is one of the longest running technology podcasts on the planet. The shows are recorded live on Sundays and are super-long by my standards (2 hours+) but are generally engaging and entertaining. On long car trips I like to listen to TWiT shows, generally when I listen to one at home I end up listening to it in several segments. I often learn about articles to discuss on “The EdTech Situation Room” by listening to TWiT. Check out my takeaways and shout outs from / for the show by searching Twitter for @TWiT @wfryer.
I love history, and it’s sometimes nice to forgo political discussions and just immerse myself in interesting stories from history. “The History Hour” by the BBC World Service never fails to deliver! The shows are eclectic but always professionally produced and often very interesting. Check out my takeaways and shout outs to the show by searching Twitter for #HistoryHour @wfryer.
So that’s it, ten of my favorite podcasts, as of Christmas Day, 2021! There are a few others that nearly made the list but didn’t, like “You’re Wrong About” and “Security Now,” but I wanted to limit my list to just ten.
What are your favorite podcasts that didn’t make my list this year? Share a link as a comment below, on this Facebook post, or via a Twitter message to @wfryer.
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