Whether you’re using pop culture references for your content marketing strategy, or you just want to hold your own with the millenials chatting about the latest “news” of the day, keeping up with pop culture isn’t as easy as it used to be. The Internet has made reading People … or, let’s be honest … magazines, obsolete.
So if you don’t have time to keep up on the latest pop culture happenings, check out some of these podcasts, and your reference game won’t miss a beat.
BuzzFeed’s first foray into podcasting comes in the form of BuzzFeed’s Internet Explorer, and let me tell you, it’s a freakin’ homerun. Guys, TBH I was not really expecting to be interested in any podcast produced by BuzzFeed (I already listen to so many — ugh, RIP my queue), but dang. They managed to land on a topic that appeals directly to my interests, and they found hosts in Twitter champions and BuzzFeed reporters, Katie Notopolous and Ryan Broderick. Now you never have to spend sleepless nights lying awake, wondering what it is teens are up to on the ‘net nowadays. Internet Explorer will fill you in on the latest memes, viral vids and Internet sensations. The world is your meme. #JFCMSB
Looking for quick, easily consumable podcasts that are broken down by topic? Subscribe to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. This podcast makes it easy for listeners to find topics they’re interested in instead of hoping for the best when downloading an episode, only to wind up pressing play and then skipping through most of the show to find the good stuff. Our fast-forward button can only take so much! Can’t stand to hear about Game of Thrones anymore? No worries! You can skip that installment! (But also, what’s wrong with you??) For an NPR podcast, it’s not overtly NPR-y, which is a major deciding factor IMO. Too many jazzy backing tracks and overly confident, snooty hosts, and I’m out ASAP. But host and blogger Linda Holmes always manages to keep it fresh and upbeat with a fun cast of characters to co-host with her along the way.
Want more of a comedy lean to your pop culture NPR podcasts? Go ahead and click ‘subscribe’ to NPR: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. This curated look into what’s hot in the world of pop culture brings you great in-depth interviews with your favorite creative people as well as a constant barrage of original, irreverent comedy. A recent episode of Bullseye featured Big Boi and Catherine O’Hara. That’s right. They go from talking to Big Boi (the non-Andre 3000 half of Outkast) to talking to Catherine O’Hara (the mom from Home Alone). It’s fabulous.
Like the Internet? Of course you do; you’re a sane human person living in the year 2015. If that description doesn’t apply to you, what are you doing reading this? And please call me. I’m very interested in what exactly your life involves. Anyway, Reply All is a lovely foray into topics such as: Marley the dog’s origins, the guy who basically started online death threats and what the heck ever happened to Jennifer from Jennicam.org?? What makes this podcast special is that there is always a humanizing element to every story they tell. Yes, you’re going to hear about some pretty bizarre Craigslist ads. But when you hear from the poster him- or herself, you start to realize the people who populate the weird corners of the Internet are pretty special. They’re not just usernames. It’s easy to glaze over everything you see on the Internet nowadays, but Reply All forces you to really stop and look at that whacky Internet sensation and to examine all the forces that made it come into being. It’s pretty cute, TBH. (That last sentence is the most emotionally fueled thing I’ve ever written.)
Okay, as far as pop-culture education goes, Who Charted? is like the community college of the pop culture podcast world. You’ll learn some stuff, sure, but we’re mainly here to have fun and not get bogged down in the nitty-gritty numbers and in-depth analysis of things. At this point in the show’s run, the charts aren’t exactly the main priority anymore. They serve more as a way to give some structure to the show and, truly, to help keep them on track. Without the charts, the show would be a lot of host Howard Kremer going off the rails debating space vs. sea and how people should act. But to be fair, that still happens a lot. I mean, really it’s still most of the show. BUT you still get to hear how the top movies in the box office are faring each week and, inevitably, witness their slow (or sometimes dramatic) decline, which is something I never would have paid any attention to if not for this podcast. To mix things up a bit, sometimes they’ll exchange the standard top Billboard music chart for something fun and different, like top K-Pop songs or all-time top grossing holiday songs. No matter what, you’ll come out of the podcast having learned something you hadn’t known beforehand, even if that something is how to make wristbands out of beer koozies. #HaveASummah
The Frame, a daily podcast hosted by John Horn and produced by Southern California Public Radio, covers everything from Hollywood blockbusters to music to art to dance. Topics range from really niche to super broad, and each p-cast clocks in around 23-25 minutes in length. Listening to this podcast will give you new perspective on the arts and culture scene that you already surround yourself with. I mean, they managed to find a creative arts angle within the movie San Andreas for Christ’s sake. That’s how you know they’re good.
For those more interested in the “geeky” side of pop culture, Pop Culture Leftovers is your new podcast king. Are you that person who always makes references that no one gets? Do you vacation to Comic-Con? Is the canonical (or non-canonical) nature of Star Wars of great importance to you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve likely already bent the knee and pledged fealty to Pop Culture Leftovers. For everyone else who is just desperate to understand what in the world their more geeky friends or coworkers are talking about, this podcast will serve as a very thorough education. Take notes, though, because god forbid you accidentally say Wolverine’s claws were made of vibranium in conversation IRL! LOL!!! WHAT IF!?!
[This last geeky reference has been brought to you by our creative director, Nick Walden.
Slate’s Culture Gabfest will fill you in on whether or not that new TV show everyone is talking about is worth your time, what the heck that new app you keep hearing about actually does and the current state of film (while you’re at it). Hosted by a gaggle of Slate culture critics, listening to Gabfest feels very comfortable, as they really do “gab” with each other about these topics. It’s like hanging out with very, very informed friends whose opinions and tastes represent all the different criticisms you’d want to hear. Like, you know those reviews you keep meaning to read? Well, they’ve read them all, and they will fill you in on all the issues being addressed around the Web. Overall, I’d say Slate’s Culture Gabfest is a great investment of your time.
Sideshow is a wonderful podcast that covers everything happening in Internet culture, which in a way IS the culture of today. Every other week, they’ll release a new installment of the podcast that covers a great Internet find. The story about how a normal guy from Seattle got Billy Idol to play his birthday party thanks to the Internet will make you embarrassed that you ever thought a “pool party” was a good idea. They unearth all the potential the Internet provides you with that you might not have realized before. On top of the every-two-weeks episodes, every Friday they release a short five-minute podcast (aptly titled Friday Five) that covers five cool things that happened online that week. I mean, come on. With resources like this available to you, keeping up on pop culture is almost too easy.
Did we miss any? Shoot us a note and let us know what you would add to the list!