By Bianca Chan

Several studies and surveys across North America have shown that the number of podcast listeners is growing. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 increased from 17 to 21 per cent. And, with no surprises here, university students make up the majority of those listeners. If you’re not already a podcast audience member or subscriber, it’s high time that you become one.

Podcasts are an amazing medium that, despite growing audiences, are not being taken advantage of by the vast majority of the population. But they should be! They provide us with opportunities and discussions that contribute to the larger sphere of ideas – which are no doubt helpful when writing term papers and contributing to online discussion board posts.

As a journalism student, I don’t need to be told twice that younger folks just aren’t as interested in listening to the morning radio nowadays. A lot of students don’t drive cars and don’t own radios. And as a result, there is less radio broadcast being listened to within student populations in general.

In fact, overall news intake has moved from hot off the press print to social media accessible on tiny screens that conveniently fit in our pockets. Radio broadcast seems to be making a similar departure. With the introduction of podcasts, however, students can still get comfortable and acquainted with trending topics – without having to wait until 6 p.m. to hear the daily news. It’s hard to argue with the convenience and accessibility of it all.

With that in mind, here are a list of some podcasts that I think you all should be listening to, regardless of what your major is and where you’re from. If you’re a Canadian citizen or living in Canada, it’s important to know what’s going on in local, national and international current events, and especially important to hear different perspectives on those topics on a platform other than Twitter and Facebook.

Stuff You Should Know

The title says it all. Cohosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark talk everything from the Black Panthers to quinoa in this genre-bending podcast used to educate the public about common things and how they work.

Canadaland

Full disclosure: this is a personal favourite of mine. This podcast, the brainchild of journalist Jesse Brown (the guy who helped break the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault story with investigative reporter Kevin Donovan) focuses on Canadian media criticism and keeping the Canadian news corp and everyone in it accountable.

Serial

It’s hard to justify thinking of yourself as a podcast listener without knowing what Serial is. Arguably the most popular podcast in the country, and spinoff from the equally popular American counterpart This American Life, Serial uses investigative journalism to narrate nonfiction stories over a series of episodes, varying in length. Stories include the 1999 murder of a student in Baltimore and an American soldier who was held for five years by the Taliban.

Radiolab

Radiolab is a podcast about curiosity that weaves stories about science, philosophy and the human experience.

Planet Money

This podcast talks the economy but in an accessible and fun way, believe it or not! Imagine talking to a friend at a party about economics. Now imagine it actually being fun. That’s what Planet Money is trying to achieve – and it’s doing it exceedingly well!

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