The argument for podcasts

I feel it is only right to disclose the truth of the matter prior to my upcoming words — I am not good at listening to music.

I skip the last 30 seconds of every song because I am bored of it by then. I will replay one particular section of a song five times in a row. I will make senseless playlists containing both “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson and “She Used to be Mine” from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Waitress. And, if I have control of the aux, I will not stop playing Taylor Swift.

And to my friends, family and anyone close enough to hear my music — I am sorry. Except not about the Taylor Swift stuff. I will never apologize for playing Taylor Swift.

The podcast “Science Vs.” Bailey Clack calls herself “pro-podcasts” over music and explains why she likes the connection to podcasters and the niche community of listeners. COLIN BOYD/DFP STAFF

Now that I have exposed my casual relationship with music, it may not come as a shock that if I have my headphones in, more often than not, a podcast is playing through them. Walking to class, running on the treadmill, cleaning my room — all happening to the soundtrack of whichever of my favorite podcasts put out a new episode that day.

Seeing a notification for a new episode then not listening to it feels like deliberately letting a call from your best friend ring out until they get sent to voicemail. I want to answer that call!

On a weekly basis, I listen to these peoples’ thoughts, problems and stories, which makes me excited to check in on them again. And knowing I have a new episode ready to listen to makes the walk down Commonwealth Ave something I look forward to.

My podcast subscription box is heavily cultivated from recommendations I have received over the past few years. In my opinion, one of the best suggestions someone can give is when they think I’d like something they’re currently enjoying.

And the best part? Now, the recommender and I are able to discuss this mutual friend who neither of us actually know! It becomes so natural to call the podcaster by their first name and talk about our thoughts on them as if they’re not here to join in because they have work, and not due to the fact that we have never actually met them.

On paper, this connection sounds bizarre and, frankly, a bit creepy. However, in reality, I find the people who listen to the same podcasts as me are also part of this niche community.

I grew up in the same town I was born in, then moved to a like-minded city for college. Relative to the size of the world, I am not actively exposed to a variety of perspectives. The conversations I participate in on a daily basis normally circulate around the same topics — how classes are going, the newest Trader Joe’s item and how much studying needs to be done.

Listening in on opinions and anecdotes that are removed from my little bubble is refreshing and interesting. It’s an hour-long reminder that a world exists outside of mine — one that isn’t highlighted on news channels centered around politics or travesty.

I am in no way “against music” — I love dancing and singing with my friends in the car just as much as the next guy. But when I am alone, I am very “pro-podcasts.” I am all for making these weird little connections with strangers and catching up with my friends after listening to an episode we both like, all the while expanding my world beyond the few blocks I frequent.

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