I love the radio. More specifically, I love talk radio. I distinctly remember my parents forcing me to listen to talk radio as a kid during long car trips, which, at the time, I found to be very uncool.

But then the day came where I too loved talk radio. In addition to being a great way to relax, it’s also a very useful way to catch up on news during long commutes or while out on the road making sales calls.

If you are expecting me to list my favorite ag or dairy podcasts, get ready to be disappointed. I consume loads of ag news, trust me. Print, electronic, social; I’m all about that (ag news) life, but when it comes to podcasts, I prefer to diversify.

Below are 5 podcasts that will make you smarter, richer, cooler and overall, more well-informed.

1. This American Life

Hosted by the iconic Ira Glass, This American Life is broadcast from WBEZ Chicago/Chicago Public Radio. It covers current events, interesting stories, popular culture, you name it, TAL covers it. The show has been around for 22 years, more than 500 episodes with 2.2 million listeners. It’s the most popular podcast in the country. Find TAL on Pandora, iHeartRadio, any public radio station or visit the website for This American Life. WARNING: highly addictive.


2. Radio Lab

Another public radio podcast, Radio Lab blurs the lines between science, music, philosophy and art. Topics range from public health to the environment to science fiction and everywhere in between. Available on more than 500 public radio stations around the country, Radio Lab is in its 16th season. Go to the Radio Lab website to subscribe to the free podcast, listen to archives or just check your local public radio listings.

3. The TED Radio Hour

TED talks are high-impact, 18-minute (or less) presentations about ideas that have the power to make a difference. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment or Design. These talks occur around the world and in various settings, and many of the most watched TED talks on YouTube are related to agriculture and biotechnology. The TED Radio Hour is based on TED talks, and each episode includes the talk itself and then discussion or background related to the topic. The TED Radio Hour is one of the fastest-growing shows on public radio and one of the most popular podcasts in the country. Like the other recommendations, check your local public radio listings, your favorite podcast app or google “TED Radio Hour.”

4. The Dave Ramsey Show

When it comes to financial freedom and getting out of debt, Dave Ramsey is the guru. His teachings about money are faith-based, but you don’t have to be religious to benefit from his advice. If you are religious, you will really like Dave. “Better than I deserve” is the classic line when listeners call the show and ask Dave “How are you?”. Dave’s cash only, no credit card “rules to live by” are unconventional in a society where everyone lives beyond their means. His simple tips help people get out of debt quickly and move on to live lives of purpose without the shackles of debt. Thanks to Dave Ramsey, I’ve been able to change spending habits and plan better for the future. The Dave Ramsey Show can be heard just about everywhere and is one of the top talk radio programs in the country. Check out Pandora, iHeartRadio, Sirius XM or visit Dave Ramsey's website to listen.

5. The Gist

Hosted by the famed radio journalist Mike Pesca, The Gist is a wildly popular daily podcast from Slate magazine. The Gist covers current events, politics, arts, culture and more. At the end of each episode, Mike gives his famous “spiel” which is a short opinion piece. The Gist can be heard at the Slate magazine website.

My top podcasts challenge my way of thinking, and I don’t always agree with the perspectives as presented. But it’s important to me to have a broad worldview. How does this make me a better ag professional? There are many positive portrayals of food and agriculture in these podcasts (when the topics arise), but there are also some negative stories that represent common public misconceptions. As challenging as it is to hear, listening to talk radio has pushed me to see issues from a different side. I’ve even written letters to the editor, emailed reporters or called in. 

Far too often in agriculture, we surround ourselves with people who share our views, and we consume news that we understand on topics we agree with. I love ag news (obviously, Progressive Dairyman published this!), and I love mainstream news. Check out my top five podcasts during some tractor time or on a long drive, you will be happy you did.  end mark

Maria Woldt is the director of industry relations for the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. She and her husband Nick also milk 60 cows in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

The Dairy Strong Bloggers series is brought to you on behalf of the Dairy Strong Conference, Jan. 17-18, 2018, in Madison, Wisconsin. This event focuses on cutting-edge technology, cultural trends and the future of the dairy community. Learn more and register at the Dairy Strong website.