Photo courtesy of SoundCloud

By: Jacob Forbes, Staff Writer

Whenever you find yourself on the Husky Line going between Gorham and Portland, a decision process ensues. Shall you be studious and read notes for the upcoming class? Get your homework done just before class? Do you a feel a nap tapping on your shoulder as you scan the familiar yet mysterious faces of the morning bus to Gorham? Perhaps you have a friend to talk to, or a hope to make one.

If you would rather shy away from the social game or take a break from academics, a podcast offers a bus-ride activity that can be all at once informative, nap-inducing and a good future topic of conversation. Their purely aural nature makes them easy to consume and they are also a source of some of the best prose, news and conversations going on in American life today. I have consulted friends and a trusty brother and have come up with a short list of podcasts that might be just the thing for your next ride in-between campuses.

1. “Homecoming” by Gimlet Media
A fictional radio drama. It has now been turned into a television series on Amazon Prime’s network, but this radio drama is just as binge worthy as any good television show could be. It hosts some excellent voice acting that propels a sci-fi-influenced story about a corporation that takes advantage of veterans. You can listen to the whole season then watch the television show. Then you will know how all those Harry Potter fans felt when they got to see their favorite wizard on a screen.

2. The Daily by the New York Times
Twenty minutes long and produced five days a week. What more could you ask for? Stay up to date on the daily headlines with the precision and cogency you can expect from the New York Times. It will not be anything too comprehensive, but you can know what is happening without having to wait around for another round of commercials, or for your father to explain it to you, or for the epiphany of realizing that national news can and will affect you.

3. At Liberty by the ACLU
For anyone looking for a more legalistic dive into contemporary topics, this podcast has you covered. When just knowing who or what is not enough, the ACLU generously breaks down the legal battles and issues surrounding our country’s civil liberties. For anyone interested in social justice topics, this can be an entertaining and informative look into the complexities of our legal systems and how they are used by all types of people trying to get what they feel is right or justified.

4. Car Talk by NPR
A personal favorite. A classic call-in show that many of an older generation enjoyed on Saturday mornings. If you do not know about America’s two funniest auto mechanics, you are in for a treat. Not only will you learn something about how cars work – a mystery for most I am sure – but you will laugh along with these two brothers from Boston as they probe into the various personal details of their callers. It is an infectiously joyful show about life, transmissions and bad puns.

5. The New Yorker Radio Hour by the New Yorker
This is a wonderful podcast that features discussions with America’s leading artists, intellectuals, writers and policy-makers in one digestible hour. If you are looking for new books to read, for intellectual discussion or for insightful conversations that probe a little more in-between the lines, you can look no further.

6. Crimetown by Gimlet Media
This podcast dives into the history of organized crime in various American cities. It is the sort of factual documentary that will feed into your fictional dreams created by movies like the Godfather, Goodfellas and Casino. It is not all Zoot-suits and Corleones’ either. Prepare to understand that organized crime has not been regulated to the American past or movie screen. It is very much a part of contemporary American life. Crimetown sifts through the histories of Detroit (Season 2) and Providence (Season 1) to remind us that Hollywood never had the last word on organized crime.


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