I use to love talk radio. Being part of a giant, yet intimate, conversation is exciting. And in the olden days there was far more talk about things other than the worst of the worst of politics. When politics was talked about seriously, not like now when it's treated like sports talk of the lowest degree. But, there was also a huge variety of topics to listen and learn about.

As my attachment to talk radio faded, I discovered podcasts. If you're not sure what a podcast is, think about it as Netflix for audio programs. There are lots of daily and weekly shows that you can stream. I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts; interview style, improv, and conversational. There are also podcasts about most any topic you can think of.

Now that spring has sobered up and joined the rest of us in the second quarter of 2018, I'm able to get outside more. When I'm on walks, or doing yard work I love to pop in my earbuds and listen to a podcast. There are four new shows that I've added to my rotation that I am obsessed with right now.

On this weekly show historians use current events in America to launch discussions about events in our nation's past. The overall theme is exploring how the past shapes our world today. The show is full of information presented in a friendly conversational fashion.

Recent episodes have been about the history of youth in politics and protests, a look at the history of  opioid addiction in America,and myths in American history.

This show is like Backstory, in that it is an exploration of the past. But the hook of this show is that host Jason Feifer takes the listener on a journey to look at the ways Americans have been afraid of things in the past. Especially technophobia and public panics.

One of my favorites was the show about how people use to be afraid of pinball, so much so that it was banned in some places.

The law and how it works in the United States has always fascinated me, and it's a joy to find someone in that profession that can translate the sometimes dense concepts into everyday language. That's what practicing attorney Andrew Torrez does on this show. Each week, and often when a big story happens, he takes a look at the big news stories and breaks them drown from a legal perspective. With all that's in the news today you can imagine there is a lot to talk about.

This is another history show. In Slow Burn host Leon Neyfakh takes a deep dive in Watergate. The show tells the story of Watergate as it happened, using archival news reports and interviews. It also compares the how the scandal was viewed at the time verses how we see it today. It is very fascinating and compelling.

So next time you need to quiet the voices in your head while you're mowing the lawn (just me? OK), listen to these shows and expand your perspective.


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