The podcast revolution inspires Vanguard staffers to reflect on favorites

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By Brian Fox
As a political science student, I listen to a lot of political podcasts. During election years, it can be a breath of fresh air to find an explanatory podcast that gives context to current events. John Dickerson’s biweekly “Whistlestop” podcast does just that. Dickerson dives into the week’s political news, not necessarily to give his take on it (which he does weekly on Slate’s “Political Gabfest”), but to add historical background to our increasingly insane presidential election. Dickerson relates the latest campaign news to the historical parallels he’s dug up from past campaigns. Subjects range from 2004’s “Dean Scream” to the presidential campaign of 1840. Dickerson is the political director at CBS News, host of Face the Nation, and a former White House correspondent. The insight and historical knowledge he provides has been a revelatory light that has helped me comprehend historical precedents of our current presidential campaign.

By Jamie Loubert
I have recently discovered that, while I work on homework, I would rather listen to people talk on a podcast than listen to music. One of my favorite podcasts is called the “SourceFed Podcast,” which consists of the same hosts from the SourceFed channel on YouTube. Some of the stars on the podcast are Steve Zaragoza, Philip DeFranco, William Haynes, Matt Lieberman, and Sam Bashor, all of which are hilarious, which comes to light when you listen to these podcasts that are basically about nothing at all. It’s basically a group of friends having a conversation about anything and everything, and you get to listen to. Every podcast starts off with and introduction, and then its goes off from there. There isn’t any sort of script or idea of what to talk about, allowing for a natural discussion. In one episode called “Game Show Ideas,” Lieberman, Zaragoza, Bashor, and Essrig first discuss a swear word’s origin, discuss book smart versus street smart, then begin talking about ridiculous game show ideas that they come up with on the spot for the rest of the show.

By Landon Defever
In my three years in my near-religious following of listening to podcasts, there hasn’t been a podcast I’ve listened to yet that has brought me more consistent enjoyment and thoughtful conversation than the “Nerdist” podcast. Impeccably hosted by “@midnight” host Chris Hardwick, the highly regarded “King of the Nerds” invites various comedians, musicians, personalities and more (some friends, some acquaintences) for long form, informative and wildly entertaining conversations. For six years and almost 800 episodes, Hardwick has brought thousands of hours of content for the masses to enjoy, keeping the dialogue hilarious, diverse and enjoyable as always. Look no further than Hardwick’s interviews with actor Tom Hanks, known-Beatle Paul McCartney, stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress and brilliant soloist St. Vincent for some of the program’s best content – and after that, there’s still plenty more to consume.

By Joey Oliver
Whether it’s during the course of a long drive or while working out, listening to a podcast about a topic you’re interested in can help make time go by faster. If you enjoy learning about true crime and wrongfully convicted cases, as well as conspiracy theories, the “Generation Why” podcast might be for you. The show is hosted by two men – Aaron and Justin – who banter about cases and their theories surrounding them. Oftentimes, the show brings on guests who possess some tie to whatever case they are discussing for a particular episode. The “Generation Why” podcast has brought on multiple authors of books on various cases, and sometimes even bring hosts from other true crime podcasts, such as “Sword & Scale” and “Truth & Justice,” to hear their theories. The show has covered topics such as Steven Avery, the Zodiac Killer and whether or not 9/11 was an inside job. Believe me when I say that “Generation Why” will have you guessing until the very end.

By Ky Wojciechowski
Joey Oliver and I are true-crime junkies. Our conversations are gruesome and grisly to an unfamiliar ear. In recent weeks, we’ve discussed the repercussions of Vincent Weiguang Li pleading not criminally responsible to the beheading and cannibalization of Tim McLean; the possibility of Morgan Ingram’s death being brought about not by a crazed stalker, but by an accidental or intentional overdose of amitriptyline; and whether H. H. Holmes – one of America’s first serial killers – was actually also Jack the Ripper. While Joey hits up other sources, I get my fix via “Sword and Scale.” Hosted by Mike Boudet, this podcast is unlike any I’ve ever listened to before. It goes “beyond the news clips and the sensationalist headlines” and is a truly immersive audio experience. Boudet narrates each episode, but he and his contributing writers masterfully weave in 911 calls, court testimonials, and interviews with subject experts, victims, and even perpetrators. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried, but mostly I’ve been afraid – I’m realizing that the worst monsters are real.