9 Great Podcasts for Your Commute to Work (and Back Home)

by DANNY RUBIN

90-minute commute to work.

3 hours of travel per day.

15 hours per week.

60 hours per month.

Does this sound like your life? I sure hope not.

According to a recent report from the US Census Bureau, 600,000 Americans spend 90 minutes getting to work — in addition to traveling a distance greater than 50 miles. It’s called a ‘megacommute,’ and it happens most often in gridlocked cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Even if your ride to work is a measly 20 minutes on the interstate or inside a subway car, you still need to pass the time.

Fortunately, there are a bevy of podcasts to keep you entertained all the way to work (and back).

9 Great Podcasts for Your Commute to Work

1. This American Life

Review from Chicago Now: ‘The godfather of all podcasts and for good reason. Just about every week, this NPR podcast (and radio show) provides fantastic stories – both of the fiction and non-fiction variety. Host Ira Glass has become one of my favorite people ever.’

2. Stuff You Should Know

PBS: ‘…once you started listening, you were hooked on the congenial chit-chat between hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, senior writers at HowStuffWorks.com (owned by Discovery Communications). And the topics, oh the topics, with one outdoing the next: How flamethrowers work, how you clean up an oil spill, and how hard is it to steal a work of art.’

3. ’60 Minutes’ on CBS

Bag Check: ‘Often times I end up watching 60 Minutes on TV, but if I miss it, the podcast is a good substitute. 60 Minutes, like Meet the Press (another highly recommended podcast) is an institution. One of the best news programs out there. The best part is that CBS puts up the full podcast with limited commercials.’

podcasts for commute
The AV Club, an off-shoot of The Onion, voted ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ the best comedy podcast two years in a row. What better endorsement do you need?

4. Pardon the Interruption

Business Insider: ‘Sports fans will love this podcast. You should check it out because episodes are all about 20 minutes and cover the day’s hot topics in sports from experts, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. It’s perfect for quick commutes but listen to two if your trip is a little longer.’

5. Diggnation 

How to Split an Atom: ‘Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht are the hosts of the popular Diggnation Podcast. They talks about life, booze and Digg — culling news from that week’s front page.’

6. TED Talks

iTunes: ‘On this feed, you’ll find TEDTalks video to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination from some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers, speaking from the stage at TED conferences, TEDx events and partner events around the world.’

Quick pause: Compare your commute to the nation’s longest with this interactive map from NPR

 

7. Freakonomics Radio

Techli: ‘Freakonomics boils down macrotrends into bite-sized chunks that make you go “hmmmmm.” [The show covers] topics like “The Upside of Quitting” and “Does College Still Matter?” During each episode, the team uses economic facts and figures to describe the world around us, with a twist.’

8. WTF with Marc Maron

AV Club: ‘As the episode with party-positive rocker Andrew W.K. proved, Maron knows how to revel in fun at the Cat Ranch instead of focusing on the negative (though that episode takes a dark turn near the end). It’s Maron’s ability to tear down and build up his guests, as well as himself, that makes every listen to WTF unpredictable.’

9. Stuff You Missed in History Class

How Stuff Works: ‘Who were the stars of the Wild West shows? What were the battles of the Pyramids and Nile? Listen in as Deblina and Sarah unravel history’s enigmas with the Stuff You missed in History Class, a podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.’

OK, which podcasts did I miss?

Share your favorite podcast for your commute to work. What makes it so great?

 

© 2013, Danny Rubin

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