Ah summer! What a time to spend hours in moving vehicles with various screaming family members on the classic “Summer Road Trip.” The endless chatter causing you to rock back and forth cursing the very idea of spending even another minute in this 2007 Honda Odyssey while whispering, “It’s not about the journey, it’s about the destination,” over and over again. Miserable.

But come on people! We’re living in the Golden Age of Podcasts! We can make it as much about the journey as we can about the destination. There are millions of hours of streamable content ready to keep you engaged and entertained for hours. Now we just have to worry about picking which one’s best for you!

There’s an easy first question when trying to garner which podcast would be most enjoyable, “Do you like true crimes stories?”

Simple really, because if the answer is no, then it wipes out a lot of possible content. But, if that is your thing and you consume episodes of “Dateline” in mass quantities, then there’s a whole production company just for you.

Wondery, one of the largest podcast publishing companies, are best known for their true crime-related podcasts. All within the last couple of years they’ve released, “The Shrink Next Door,” “Over My Dead Body” and their best known, “Dirty John,” which was so popular it spun into a much-watch television series.  

These podcasts equate to what my mother likes to call a “beach read.” They’re not full of sustenance, nor in any way life altering, but they remain enjoyable and really eat up time.

Take “Dirty John” for an example. This podcast focuses on the story of one woman meeting a man named John and falling in love with him before she realizes how many secrets he holds. The show opens describing a gruesome murder scene, where we hear the detective in charge read the autopsy report of the female victim, and then it cuts out and leads us back to the original relationship. What a hook!

The show then leads on to slowly reveal the tumultuous relationship the couple had, revealing both characters through family interviews and other pieces of information as the story slowly starts to piece itself together. It’s absolutely fantastic, but I’ll be the first to admit that it makes me feel like I need to double-check all the locks in my hours or something.

So, if you like crime, but you’re not a major fan of the stories that make you feel that no one can ever be trusted again, I’d give “Last Seen” a try.

Made by WBUR and The Boston Globe, “Last Seen” refocuses on the 1990 heist of 13 works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The story itself is interesting, as two men dressed as police officers were able to get inside the museum and remain there for 81 minutes before the actual police were notified.

Though as it remains unsolved, this podcast seeks to introduce new information to those who are somewhat familiar, or really dive deep into all the intricacies of this crime and attempt to discover who’s really to blame.

Honestly, “Last Seen” is no “Dirty John,” but it still keeps you hooked. It’s like a BBC version of a Lifetime Original Movie.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of crime-focused podcasts when I’m in the car; I enjoy something a bit more educational. I love learning about new things or listening to interviews that give me bite-sized amounts of information that I’ll just store for later. Thus, during the school year I spend a lot of time listening to “Ted Radio Hour.”

It provides the perfect amount of information with actual intrigue. It never becomes dry, as each guest interview and segment on the podcast is only a few minutes long, making it perfect to be cut up into small portions for a walk to class.

But, it’s the summer, and we’re looking for something more fun! “No Such Thing As a Fish” and “Mobituries with Mo Rocca” are those fun, yet still informational podcasts.

“No Such Thing As a Fish” is a British podcast where four friends sit around the table and each share a fun fact they learned, where they then dive deeper into why that fact is true and, if any, history behind the fact itself. Sounds boring on the surface, I know! But, all four hosts are very funny and the information itself is interesting enough to keep tuning in.

“Mobituries with Mo Rocca” sees my favorite correspondent from the CBS Sunday Morning Show, Mo Rocco, diving deeper into the stories of some of history’s most interesting people. Rocco, with his energy and upbeat tone always seemed to make the seemingly doomed to be boring stories, exciting.

And his energy transfers perfectly to the podcast world, as he deep dives into people we only really know on surface level, like Audrey Hepburn or the famous set of Siamese Twins Chang and Eng. Or people whose story we’re yet to hear, like John F. Kennedy impersonator Vaughn Meader.

Podcasts are also all about choice! If none of the above really speak to you, the podcast app on the iPhone allows for very easy searching through categories or Top Charts just so you can find the perfect podcast and get listening!

About The Author

-- Editor-in-Chief Emeritus I Art History & Politics --

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