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“Stuff You Should Know” but do they know?

Over Thanksgiving Break, I attempted to introduce my mom to podcasts, hoping that she would love them as much as I do. Maybe it was my podcast choices, but it was an unsuccessful mission. When she wasn’t sold on “S-Town”, one of my personal favorites, I decided to try one that has never been my favorite, but is usually interesting. “Stuff You Should Know” was definitely not the best choice to convince her how awesome podcasts are.

For anyone who listens to this and loves it, I’m sorry. I love the idea of it and some of the topics they choose are super interesting and always pull me in. But when it’s all said and done, they are pretty boring.

The premise of the podcast is that the hosts, Charles (Chuck) Bryant and Josh Clark, are investigating topics and producing a podcast that informs the public about this topic for 30 to 50 minutes. The topics they choose are awesome and super diverse. Some of the ones I have listened to are about organ donation, swearing, daylight saving time, empathy and filibusters. Many of these, I had started but simply couldn’t finish.

One of the big problems I have with the podcast is the fact that they rarely, if ever, call on experts to help them discuss these issues. All the information they get is based on information they research and find. For the podcast that I showed my mom on daylight saving time, there was so much uncertainty. They seemed very unsure about how exactly it worked and I ended up finishing the podcast more confused than when I started it.

The problem with these podcasts for me is that they seem like they should be cool. And they could be if they called in other people. There are so many opportunities to reach out to people in related fields or even people who have more knowledge than these two do. While there are some topics they are super knowledgeable about, it never hurts to bring in an expert in the field. It would add more credibility to their podcast as well. Why would you run a podcast all about organ donation and not try and interview someone who works in the medical field and has experience with it? Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but how do we know where they are getting all their information from and whether it is actually complete and accurate?

Another issue I have with the podcast are the hosts themselves. They have their funny moments, but it usually just seems like two friends hanging out and talking about their issues. Sometimes they will bring up inside jokes between the two of them or talk about parts of their personal life that we, listeners, know nothing about. Maybe if you have listened to more of the podcasts you know more of these comments, but as an occasional listener, it made me lose interest.

If you are looking for a riveting podcast that will keep you awake on your ride home, I would not recommend “Stuff you Should Know.” It may well be the stuff we should know, but this podcast is not be the best place to get it from.

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