You should listen to podcasts and here’s why

Rhea Choudhury Involvement, podcast, Rhea, Viterbi Class, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Orgs, Viterbi Plus Leave a Comment

Hey guys!

Happy October, hope everyone is having a stellar fall season. My roommate and I have plans to carve pumpkins tomorrow, and while there’s a bizarre heat wave in LA right now, I’m really excited for the cozy fall sweaters and cinnamon/pumpkin candles. I’m actually heading to Washington DC for a few days next week, so stay tuned for a real fall (winter?!) update soon!!

Addressing the title of this post, some of you may know that I co-host and produce Viterbi Voices, the Podcast.  I’ve been a part of this media project since my sophomore year, and it has grown SO much since then!! We used to have a mic setup so small it would fit in a small plastic toolbox, now we lug around a massive camera bag full of mics, cables, a mixer and more. Content has expanded from just faculty and student org long-form interviews to a collection of a few different styles: we have This Viterbi Life, our student-focused projects, Office Hours, our more technical discussions with professors on specific topics, and of course our classic faculty features.

When I first came to college, I assumed I would never listen to podcasts ever. I was obsessed with music, and listened to spotify all the time, but the idea of podcasts seemed super foreign and almost pretentious to me. It seemed like something people said they listened to just to seem informed and cultured. Yet in high school, I listened to NPR in my car all the time!! NPR, or national public radio, is literally a setlist of podcasts, I just never realized that I was passively listening to them the whole time.

Fast forward to sophomore year fall, when I was figuring out my role in our Viterbi Student Ambassadors organization. I was pretty good at video editing, but I was kind of bored of how structured the videos we were making were (BUT THEY’RE FANTASTIC NOW), and the whole process was ridiculously time intensive. Not to mention the editing process for me personally was a little isolating, we sat in this one room with no windows and edited by ourselves. I made a couple of videos, but when Alex Budde, our former student host, reached out to see if anyone was interested in joining podcast team, I jumped ship. While I no longer listened to NPR daily, I was interested in experimenting with a new media form, and I loved talking to people, so podcasts seem like a natural fit. Now, 2 years later, I co-host our podcast, we release new episodes every week, I constantly think about new guests and media styles, and our team has grown from a 1 person job to 5 people churning out content. I love it!! Because podcast has slowly become a major part of my life, I’ve made a concerted effort to listen to a lot more on my own, both for inspiration and other reasons. Here are my top 5 podcasts, and why you should listen to them!!

  1. Hidden Brain: This podcast is NPR owned, and hosted by Shankar Vedantam. The premise of the show is to explore different facets of society, and the psychological reasons for their existence; kind of like behavioral economics but not solely limited to economic decision making. For example, the last episode explored Trump supporters’ point of view, the one before that explained the effects of poverty and wealth on our minds, and the one before that discussed the social pressures of masculinity. I listen to this one because it helps me understand the way that people around me think, and it makes me more aware of my own unconscious bias’ and behaviors. Very informative and always really interesting!!
  2. 99% Invisible: They pitch this show as an exploration of all the things around us that we don’t think about, like architecture, design and technology. It is SOOOO FANTASTIC. These episodes are short, extremely detailed and well researched, and absolutely fascinating. I’ve listened to episodes on blue jeans, Frank Lloyd Wright, La Sagrada Familia, and more. I love listening to this one because it truly makes me feel more culturally aware, and honestly I’ve used tidbits from episodes as really great conversation starters. Knowledge rocks!
  3. The Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Ferriss interviews celebrities and well known entrepreneurs about their life habits, productivity hacks, personal outlooks and more. I listen to this one because it inspires me to pursue projects and goals that I’m passionate about; the majority of people interviewed on this show have experienced nonlinear paths, but have ended up doing what they loved. I’ve learned a lot and been forced to reflect a lot from the interviews covered on this show. One of my favorite episodes is his interview with Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York, check it out here!  These episodes get long, but are always worth it even if you have to break it up in chunks.
  4. Revisionist History: Funnily enough, I’ve heard pretty polarized opinions on Malcolm Gladwell. Personally, I love him, I think he’s a bit sensationalist with his findings but he’s on a mission to help everyone understand the way the world works. This podcast is fantastic, it dives into little forgotten pockets of history and does a deep exploration of the event, its cause and its implications for the future. Definitely listen to this one if you’re a history buff, he did a 3 part series on racism in the American Education system that is simultaneously frustrating but incredibly valuable to listen to.
  5. Viterbi Voices!! Self explanatory, LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST! We release new episodes every Monday :)) Check out our most recent episode here:

That’s all I got for you guys this week, peace out and fight on!! If you take anything away from this rambly blog, I hope you begin to listen to more podcasts, I swear they’ve made me a more well-rounded, informed, conversational individual.

Thanks,

Rhea

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