With all the different ways you can upload and view video online you’d think that the age of audio-only media would be going the way of the dinosaur. But in reality I’ve found some of the most interesting and absorbing programs produced online aren’t being made with cameras, but with microphones. Today I am going to talk about 3 really smart and thought provoking podcasts that explore new ways to look at science, economics, media, and more.

RadioLabRadio Lab:
First up is an hour long podcast coming out of WNYC in New York that looks at big-picture science topics in an entertaining and relatable way. RadioLab episodes cover difficult science questions like Death, Time, and What Babies Think too name a few of their most popular episodes. The two hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich do a great job of blending interviews, music and conversation in a way that makes the science accessible to a broad range of audiences. Excellently produced and always funny, this podcast is great for anyone with an open mind, at almost any age.

In 2005 University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner co-wrote a book called Freakonomics which boosted to show readers the “Hidden side of everything”. Since then the book has spawned a sequel, a movie, a blog, and as you probably guessed, a really great podcast. Freakonomics takes an economists view on everything from elections to prostitution and, like RadioLab, makes great use of humor and excellent production to show complicated ideas in a simple way. And don’t be intimidated, there’s no need for any prior knowledge of economics to enjoy the Freakonomics podcast.

StarTalkRadioStar Talk Radio:
Quick. Name me one astrophysicist you’ve heard of…
It’s tough isn’t? The only one you may have come up with is is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in Boston, Neil deGrasse Tyson. That’s because you might have seen Dr. Tyson as the host of Nova: Science Now! on PBS or on shows like the Colbert Report or The Daily Show where he is a frequent guest. He is also the host of a wonderful podcast called Star Talk Radio where he interviews politicians, comedians, actors and other celebrities about their views and thoughts on astronomy. The show follows a more traditional interview structure than RadioLab or Freakonomics, but the blending of pop culture and high minded astronomy discussion makes for an entertaining and educational experience.

To listen to any of these podcasts just click on their names above, and I would really encourage you to do so. These radio shows are as entertaining as they are enlightening and cover so many topics that I know you’ll find something that you will enjoy. If you know of any other podcasts around these lines that people might really enjoy please tell us about them in the comments. Long live the radio!

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