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5 short podcasts for people who have no time for podcasts

Keep informed, get inspired, and learn something new with these easily-digestible episodes.

5 short podcasts for people who have no time for podcasts
[Photo: Kiran CK/Unsplash]
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Unpopular opinion: there are too many podcasts. And too many of them are too good! There just aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when most podcast episodes run 30 to 60 minutes each.

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Don’t let podcast FOMO add any unnecessary auditory stress. This collection of short podcasts—10 minutes or less per episode—covers a range of interests without commanding too much of your time.

NPR News Now (5 minutes)

Carving out a nice niche somewhere between headlines with no context and a full-on newscast, NPR News Now offers five-minute updates of the day’s top stories.

It’s published every hour, which can get a little overwhelming if you subscribe, but it’s great if you’re trying to keep an ear open for developing stories or you’re intent on keeping on top of the news throughout the day.

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TEDx Shorts (6-8 minutes)

While conventional TED talks—inspiring presentations usually given by people who have achieved something or have innovative ideas pertaining to science, business, and the arts— do a good job of condensing a lot of information into 18 minutes, the TEDx Shorts podcast takes snackable little snippets from those presentations and serves them up in short but sweet weekday episodes.

They’re a good way to get your creative mind firing first thing in the morning or whenever you need a little shot of ingenuity.

Daily Tech Headlines (5 minutes)

Trying to keep up with tech news can be like drinking from a firehose. Thankfully, the Daily Tech Headlines podcast plucks out the day’s top three stories and presents them in a well-condensed five minutes.

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The headlines dovetail nicely with the Daily Tech News Show, which serves up a daily 30-ish minute podcast with a bit more analysis and context behind each story. Start with the headlines, then dive into the full show if something piques your interest.

60-Second Science (2-7 minutes)

No, it doesn’t hold fast to the whole 60 seconds thing, but Scientific American’s 60-Second Science podcast dishes up interesting trivia about animals and humans alike, including bi-weekly breakdowns of the science behind the coronavirus pandemic.

Episodes are helmed by a rotating team of science journalists who deliver a good mix of quick-hitting fun facts and slightly longer (but still short) explainers.

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The Indicator from Planet Money (10 minutes)

The very title of The Indicator from Planet Money podcast is actually quite descriptive.

Economic indicators are statistics about economic activity that can help people analyze and predict how the economy is doing. Common indicators include inflation, GDP, unemployment rates, and retail sales, with many reported monthly to give the public an idea of the state of the economy.

It’s usually pretty dry stuff, though, so to be able to make sense of complex topics in a 10-minute daily podcast is quite a feat. Whether you’re looking to keep tabs on how the economy’s doing or you’re interested in context around how various factors influence economic activity, this one is a must-listen.