Podcasts entertain on commutes to work, conquer sleepiness on long road trips and break up the monotony of folding laundry or washing the dishes. If you’re a podcast fanatic and looking for something new to listen to, read about a few podcasts created by Illinois faculty members and researchers, produced by Illinois alumni or hosted by Illinois students and staff.
This podcast won’t literally kill you
Hosted by two Illinois graduate students in entomology, “This Podcast Will Kill You” explores the biology and history of infectious diseases from the Black Death to cholera.
Strike up the band!
The “One More Time” podcast, produced and hosted by Illinois Bands, includes segments such as two-minute rehearsal techniques for band directors as well as one on band history, featuring Scott Schwartz, the director of the Sousa Archive and Center for American Music.
For history buffs
Illinois history alumnus Thomas Hendrickson started his podcast “Everything History” as a student at the U. of I. and tells historical stories about the reign of Augustus, the American Revolution and the downfall of James II. Although currently posting the podcast to an Everything History YouTube account (which pairs photos and illustrations to Hendrickson’s narration), Hendrickson also has a back catalog of podcasts to listen to on its iTunes account.
History doctoral candidate Saniya Lee Ghanoui is a producer for “Sexing History,” a podcast about how the history of sexuality shapes present-day society. Episodes include one man’s experiences in fighting for the rights of gay people to attend prom, and also walks through the cancellation of a popular ‘70s sitcom after religious leaders opposed its positive portrayal of an interfaith marriage.
Like the corresponding Twitter chat hosted by the College of ACES Twitter account, the “#askACES” podcast gives ACES experts and scientists a way to bring science into daily conversations on agriculture and other issues such as food insecurity, relationships and invasive species.
Through a partnership between Illinois Public Media and U. of I. Extension, willag.org offers a collection of podcast episodes on agriculture issues, financial markets and consumer behavior.
‘The Worst Bestsellers’
Combine the popular podcast “How Did This Get Made?” with the show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and books, and you get “The Worst Bestsellers.” Illinois alumna and teen services librarian Renata Sancken co-hosts this podcast with her friend of 15 years, Kait, as they review popular books of “questionable quality” (so you don’t have to).
‘In Defense of Plants’
He’s obsessed with the natural world and he’s here to tell its stories. That’s how an Illinois graduate student describes why he started his podcast “In Defense of Plants.” From uncovering Antarctica’s green past to the evolutionary origins of the oak tree, In Defense of Plants may be exactly what fellow ecology and botany lovers need to add to their listening queue.
‘Legal Issues in the News’
Illinois Public Media, a public media service affiliated with the College of Media, produces several podcasts including “Legal Issues in the News.” Faculty members from the College of Law provide their expertise every Monday morning on how current events like a temporary deletion of the president’s Twitter account intersect with the law.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Interview-style podcast “Illinois Innovators,” produced by the College of Engineering, spotlights research, technological advances and entrepreneurial efforts of students, faculty and alumni.
Learn more from Illinois experts
Illinois professor Rob Kanter from the School of Earth, Society and Environment, in coordination with Illinois Public Media, provides weekly commentary on the environment and natural world in his podcast “Environmental Almanac.”
Got questions about parenting, family health and child development? The “Family Resiliency Center” podcast features episodes and experts speaking about the influence of diet and obesity on children’s brain function and development, among other subjects. Follow their conversation on social media, too, using the hashtag #talkFRCResearch.
Kate Clancy, an anthropology professor at Illinois, hosts “PERIOD podcast” (now in its second season) which examines the social, political and biological aspects of menstruation.
What’s fair use? What does copyright have to do with information literacy? In the podcast “Copyright Chat,” Sara Benson, a professor and copyright librarian, interviews experts to explain rights issues related to copyright and why it’s relevant to daily life. (The podcast also includes a written transcript of the interview with each episode.)
Although only four episodes have been released so far, the Illinois State Archaeological Survey’s podcast — with Illinois State Archaeologist Thomas E. Emerson as host — offers a behind-the-scenes look into ongoing excavation projects in East St. Louis, Illinois, partnerships and what a career in archaeology looks like.
U. of I. Extension offers podcasts on pet care, gardening, economics, food preservation and more.
Fan of sports podcasts?
Baseball podcast “A Foot in the Box” is hosted by two local Illinois alumni and twins, Peter and Paul Elliott.
Illinois-affiliated public radio station WILL is home to the local sports podcast Bandwagon (in its third season), hosted by WILL’s Brian Moline, Lisa Bralts and John Steinbacher. Episodes focus on the intersection of sports and culture, touching on everything from sports journalism to overbearing sports parents to the pros and cons of baseball’s intentional walk.
“Democracy’s College” is a monthly podcast touching on themes of educational equity, justice and excellence for all students from pre-kindergarten through higher education. A product of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership and the College of Education, recent episodes feature experts in the field examining issues such as the retention of Latina/Latino college students and policy trends that support adult learners.
The Illinois Early Learning Project links to several podcast episodes on topics such as how adults can help young children develop persistence, in addition to resource links for videos, blogs and project guides on the subject of early care and education for young children.
Allons-y! A podcast for Doctor Who fans
If you’re a fan of the long-running British television series “Doctor Who,” you’ll love “Verity!,” an all-female panel of fans from around the world comparing notes on the much-beloved show. Illinois alumna and Rare Book and Manuscript director Lynne M. Thomas is one of the co-hosts and is frequently featured in podcast episodes.