When podcasts first landed on the scene, they seemed like a passing fad.

Thanks to the early iPods, the idea of audio blogging – which had existed since the 80s – really took hold in 2004. Now, here we are 14 years later, and 42 million Americans are listening to podcasts weekly.

Just in the past few weeks, Apple’s iTunes store confirmed that there are more than 550,000 podcast shows, 91% of which are active. The hundreds of thousands of shows in more than 100 languages, span topics from health and fitness, news, politics and sports to story-telling, crime, history lessons and foreign language refreshers.

We polled the Van Eperen office to see what our staff is listening to and why. Here’s what they had to say:

Laura Van Eperen

I like Ted Radio Hour from NPR given the vast variety of speakers and their areas expertise/subject matter covered. There is a new speaker each week to captivate the auditory senses, which is high on how I like to learn.

Jeff Davis

I am constantly looking for new podcasts and sampling the latest, so selecting just a few is not easy! Lately I’ve been hooked on The Daily, an incredible podcast by The New York Times hosted by Michael Barbaro. It’s what journalism sounds like (feel free to use that as your tagline, NYT!).

For about 10 years my “secret” way to know what’s up in digital and social media is the FIR Podcast Network and its flagship podcast, “For Immediate Release” with host Shel Holtz. I also regularly listen to a podcast on the FIR Network that explores PR and its intersection with business and technology called “Inside PR,” hosted by Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley. My secret is out!

Hillarie Turner – Young House Love

This podcast is for all things home décor, home improvements and the occasional good book recommendation with new episodes every Monday. The DIY couple hosting the show also have a couple NYT best sellers under their belt, so heed their advice and warnings about renovations!

Emily McDermott – Freakonomics

Freakonomics Radio is my fav.  It’s based off of the 2005 book Freakonomics and hosted by one of the authors, Stephen Dubner.  The podcast discusses different socioeconomic issues and “discovers the hidden side of everything” in an interview format led by Dubner. It’s a really thought-provoking podcast that explores everyday life and the depth of human nature while using the tools of economics to explore real-world behavior.

Brooke Whitson – Skimm’d From the Couch and Goop Yourself

theSkimm’s weekly podcast invites female leaders to sit down for a chat and share their successes and failures with zero sugarcoating over the details in their stories. Favorite episode so far – Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie discussing the multiple paths to success in a competitive industry.

Goop Yourself is just for laughs. It’s a twice weekly podcast by Bryan Rucker and Aggie Hewitt reviewing the newsletters and podcasts from Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company, Goop. Everything is fair game for criticism in this snarky podcast, so energy monsters beware.

Claire Howachyn – Congratulations! By Chris Delia

This comedy podcast dwells in the mind of comedian Chris Delia. Take a listen for his hilarious take on current events and trending topics.

Zach Deshaies – Dirty John and Serial

Dirty John is a true story of deception and survival, hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times. Fairly new to podcast world, it has only 8 episodes but tens of thousands of subscribers! Each time I tuned in, I didn’t know what to expect next. The story was largely unpredictable and just adds to the quality podcast it was.

Serial – the investigative journalism podcast – was ranked number one in iTunes for weeks before and after releasing its first episode. It really keeps you thinking and trying to connect the little bit of dots there are to connect. The ending lacks closure, however it leaves the innocence of the main character up to interpretation. It is a great discussion piece with colleagues or friends.

Serial has won several awards including the Peabody Award.

Bryce Geiling – Hardcore History

This educational podcast is great at storytelling and setting the scenes of times long past. Storyteller and analyst Dan Carlin is anything but boring.

Maggie Baird – Ted Talks Daily

The beauty of this podcast is that you can pick and choose which educational topics, of which there are endless, interest you. Now learning something new every day is not only possible, but it’s convenient!

We don’t just enjoy podcasts, we offer podcast strategy, planning and hosting at Van Eperen. If you want to learn more about podcasts or are ready to start your own, let us know!