Lifers of GreatNews.Life share their favorite podcasts for education, inspiration, and laughter

Lifers of GreatNews.Life share their favorite podcasts for education, inspiration, and laughter

There’s always something so exciting and thrilling about discovering a new podcast that you love. With so much to learn, enjoy, discover, and laugh about, podcasts offer us the perfect outlet to do all of the above. Whether you are looking for something to fuel your creative mind, to enrich your understanding of the world, to add to your collection of fun stories, or to just listen to someone share their experience, the options available in the podcast world are endless. 

We chatted with a few podcast-listeners here at GreatNews.Life to get a sense of what some of our Lifers enjoy listening to. From comedy shows, to true crime, to educational lessons, and more, here are some of our favorites for you to check out.

GreatNews.Life Founder Chris Mahlmann shared that Left of Center, The MentalEdge Podcast, Talking Talent, and Great News Weekly are just a few of his favorites to listen to.

Left of Center is created by City of Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. and stars himself and his long-time attorney and political strategist, Kevin Smith. A few times a week the two go live to discuss politics, sports, policy, and anything current events.

“I like [Left of Center] because I get to hear region and state political leaders talking authentically about some entertaining subjects,” said Mahlmann. “I particularly enjoyed episodes with Mayor Dave [Uran] from Crown Point, Mayor Bill [Carroll] of Lake Station, Phil [Taillon]’s picks of the week, and Jerry Davich.”

“For myself, I am also a fan of [The MentalEdge]. The guests seem very smart, good-looking, tall, fit, kind, and generally ‘fleeked-out,’” said Mahlmann, a show he starred in himself with co-producers Jay Wacasey and Fernando Lopez, Jr.

Talking Talent, Center of Workforce Innovation’s official podcast, is another favorite of Mahlmann’s that discusses the non-profit’s cost-effective solutions to meet workforce-related needs throughout the Region.

“Center of Workforce Innovations’ Talking Talent is great at highlighting programs and successes in economic development, workforce training, healthcare, education, and more in the Region,” said Mahlmann.

A favorite of all Lifers at GreatNews.Life is Great News Weekly, a show crafted and led by Executive Director Jenny Craig-Brown. The weekly production airs every Wednesday at noon and features candid, quirky recaps of all the uplifting news that is happening around Northwest Indiana, emphasizing that good news matters.

“Our whole point here is to get the community who may be stuck reading other forms of news to realize that there is good happening and you can come here to learn, read, and watch it to make your lives just a little bit more positive,” said Mahlmann. “The show has so many great special guests, features, and ties to the best groups, organizations, and people of your own community. It’s really the perfect way to have a bright pick-me-up in the middle of your week.”

Stephanie Swearington, Operations & Human Resources Director at GreatNews.Life, mentioned The Joe Rogan Experience as one of her favorite podcasts to tune into.

“I like the people who come on his show. He interviews all different types of people from MMA fighters to CEO’s and business people, as well as actors, comedians, and politicians,” said Swearington. “What really sold me on his show was his interview with Edward Snowden. I thought his questions were interesting and went beyond all the Snowden conversations I have seen and read before.”

Partnership & Production Manager Naphtalia Ruth shared how she enjoys listening to The Code Switch Podcast, a podcast developed by NPR.

“This podcast takes a deep dive into culture and race politics by not only touching on current events, but also analyzing and understanding the immense history of social justice issues,” said Ruth. “This podcast teaches me the proper rhetoric as well as expands my horizons on forward-thinking efforts to approach systems of oppression, racism, and injustice.”

Contributing Editor Peyton Mahlmann had a handful of podcast favorites to share as well, including GROWING PAINS with Carly and Arli!1619, and Hidden Brain.

“GROWING PAINS with Carly and Arli! is a podcast that was created by a friend of mine and her childhood bestie,” said Mahlmann. “I love listening to their back-and-forth banter and learning from them as they bring fun guests onto their show to discuss things like transitioning into adulthood, managing relationships, being comfortable with imperfection, and just taking care of yourself no matter the circumstance.” 

“Another favorite of mine would be 1619, which is an educational podcast that I found early last year that takes you through the history of slavery from when Africans were brought here on a ship over 400 years ago, to these same enslaved individuals being the backbone of our developing economy, to how farmers and countless other people of color are still experiencing racism to this day in our country,” said Mahlmann. “I really appreciate how engaging this podcast is and how it teaches you so much more detail than what we learned in school, because it’s so important to understand and continually learn about.”

“Lastly, I love pretty much any episode from Hidden Brain, which is a podcast on NPR,” said Mahlmann. “Some of my favorite shows would have to be ‘What’s Not On The Test,’ which details how there are more skills than just smarts that you’ll need to reach your goals, ‘Why Now,’ which explains some reasons why our culture has created an environment where women feel comfortable to speak up on sexual harassment and have individuals take them more seriously, and lastly, ‘More Divided Than Ever?’ which is an episode all about the political climate becoming more extreme and some psychological differences that cause differences in opinion between the two political parties to be heightened. But to be honest, any episode is great, mostly because I really appreciate hearing Shankar Vedantam talk.”

Last, and certainly not least, Executive Director Jenny Craig-Brown, the podcast queen, has a laundry list to share of the best podcasts she has heard and loved.

My Favorite Murder is one of the first podcasts I listened to and is a fun comedy podcast about true crime. Georgia and Karen are the hosts and are a perfect pair to talk murder but keep it funny. They also work to keep it very PC and inclusive to all,” said Craig-Brown. “They have two formats: one is their regular, full episode where they tell a true crime story, and the other format is their ‘minisodes’ where they share stories written in by the audience. The subjects vary greatly but are fun, truly laugh-out-loud stories that are so fun to listen to!”

And That’s Why We Drink is another true crime-style podcast. The hosts are Em and Christine, and they are super fun hosts who are very inclusive of all people,” said Craig-Brown. “During the podcast, Em gives a ghost story and Christine tells a true crime story. They are fun and funny but have many inside jokes, so I would suggest starting from the beginning for the highest number of laughs.”

That’s Messed Up: An SVU Podcast is (obviously) based around the Law & Order SVU series. The two comedian hosts, Kara and Liza, are funny and a bit rude, but in an acceptable way,” said Craig-Brown. “The format for this podcast works well. They open with a recap of an SVU episode, then move to the real crime it was based on, and then close with an interview with one of the actors from the episode. It’s fun, fast-moving, and they give you the episode they will cover a week early so you can watch to be up to date. This is a great, very well-rounded podcast.”

Small Town Murder has two hosts who are hilarious, but please be warned they are much less PC and are a bit harsher as hosts and comedians. James and Jimmy are both fantastic comedians and really funny, but some may find their humor a bit offensive. The layout of this podcast is true crime-based, but different from the others. They only talk about small town murders and first dive into the town itself, including the size, population, demographics, real estate, etc. Then they dive into the crime that happened,” said Craig-Brown. “This gives the audience a fun peek into the town itself and the people that live there before you get into the story.”

This is Actually Happening is a bit less funny and more based around absolutely insane stories that actually happened to people. The victims in these stories are the actual story tellers in the episode, so each has its own personality and tone,” said Craig-Brown. “This is a great one if you are looking to ‘get lost’ in something. It is easy to disappear into one of these stories for an hour or so. The producer is Whit Missildine, who has a great story of getting into podcasting as a hobby, and he recently quit his full-time job to go fully into his podcast after some much-deserved rating success.”

American Glutton features Ethan Suplee, who is an American actor. He is best known as the ‘sailboat guy’ from Mallrats and as the heavy set, less-than-smart brother named Randy from My Name is Earl. He has since lost hundreds of pounds and ventured out to start a health and fitness podcast. He recently got to 10% body fat and is on a life-long journey to be and stay healthy,” said Craig-Brown. “His guests include fellow actors, doctors, fitness gurus, and friends. This is lighthearted but fun, and they have a lot of educational content that will help teach and motivate you.”

Mind Pump is one of my favorite educational podcasts that is all based on health and fitness,” said Craig-Brown. “Warning, though, these guys are a bit “bro-like,” so they aren’t for everyone but they are knowledgeable. The hosts are Doug, Justin, Sal, and Adam, who are all four trainers turned podcasters. Doug works also as their producer who is more on the business side of the podcast, but is also very intelligent in the fitness world. The group has several training programs you can buy, but they don’t make you feel pressured to do so within the show. The format is really fun; they start with some current events talk that usually involves some talk on stocks and trading, world news, and some funny news that is out there. Then from there, they interview guests, have Q&A episodes, and some informational episodes based around a general topic. It’s great learning if you can handle the hosts; I have come to enjoy them, but they aren’t for everyone.”

Smartless is a bit newer in the podcast world. The hosts are the very famous Jason Batemen, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. Obviously, this is a fantastic podcast because of the hosts alone, but the format is also amazing,” said Craig-Brown. “Each host takes a turn choosing a guest for the podcast. They keep it secret from the other two hosts and then introduce them. They have had very large names like Paul McCartney and “smaller” names like Judd Apatow, but all are fun and the banter between the hosts is really fun.”

WTF with Marc Maron is great. Marc is hilarious, so this should be one everyone enjoys because he is funny, rude, and unapologetic. Marc interviews all types of people and has real, but fun conversations with each of them. He is great at bantering with an audience that technically isn’t there with him and keeping you engaged along the way,” said Craig-Brown. “Beware, there are a lot of curse words and inappropriate content that is not suitable for kids, but it will put a smile on your adult face.”

All About the Girls… THIS PODCAST! It is so inspiring and the women the host gets are beyond what she deserves,” said Craig-Brown, the creator of All About the Girls. “This podcast was created to help share the empowering and motivating words of the incredible women right in our own backyards. This interview-format podcast is one meant to motivate you and get you excited to make waves and create change in your community. It is sometimes funny, sometimes heartwarming, and often gives the audience goosebumps.”

The Tim Ferriss Show was the first podcast I ever listened to. Tim Ferriss was one of the first to put out regular content in podcast format. He has been interviewing some of the greats for years,” said Craig-Brown. “The Tim Ferriss format is all about interviewing the most successful people to find out what made them that way. These interviews range greatly from hilarious to very serious, but each have their own amazing qualities.”

Living & Learning with Reba McEntire… Reba McEntire has the best voice. It is like a hug from your favorite aunt on the coldest day of the year,” said Craig-Brown. “She is bright, funny, and magnetic. Her co-host is none other than Melissa Peterman, AKA Barbara Jean from the TV show Reba, who is Reba’s real-life friend! That is what makes this podcast so great; these two women have worked together so long and are so close it is like a homecoming to the ears listening to them give advice, interview incredible people across the country, and teach us a lesson with each episode. That is Reba’s goal with this podcast: to help the audience learn about relationships, love, rejection, parenting, etc., and she hits it out of the park.”

Sell or Die is a podcast for a very specific audience. I like it because bringing on new partners is part of my job here, and this helps me learn how to make all my clients happy and how to grow with time and continue to be successful,” said Craig-Brown. “The podcast has two very successful and well-known sales leaders in the country. The format here is conversation and education. They change-up the subjects often but are always looking to teach and motivate you to be the best business development person possible for your career.”

Let us know what your go-to podcasts are, or which one of these you are most looking forward to checking-out as you start your podcast-listening journey or add to your list of favorites!