PR professionals, especially those in a metropolitan area, spend much of their day in transit. In addition to the daily commute, we are often called upon to travel near and far on any given day. Whether in the car, riding public transportation or hoofing it the old-fashioned way, podcasts provide an invaluable opportunity for a PR professional to capitalize on this transit time by staying current on an industry that is constantly evolving.

Here’s a list of five podcasts that should be in your weekly download. There are plenty of other valuable podcasts out there – ones that will offer increased specificity to your individual clients and industries – but these five form a strong foundation for any discipline.

1. On the Media

Occasionally investigative, frequently incisive, always engaging. After nearly two decades on WNYC, On the Media is now anchored by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield. The pair, along with a crack team of producers, investigate how the media reports (or doesn’t report) on issues that can range in scope from border control to copyright protection. Each episode is a great way to keep up with the latest news, while also sharpening our critical thinking skills.

2. For Immediate Release – The Hobson & Holtz Report

A burgeoning PR resource empire in itself, the FIR community now includes recurring podcasts dedicated to topics as specific as LinkedIn and Internal Communications. But the must-listen is the Hobson & Holtz report. The duo is based in the U.S. and the UK, respectively, and they share a globally-informed, in-depth analysis of the week’s events that matter most directly to PR professionals, whether it’s the Twitter IPO filing or the latest brand kerfuffle on social media.

3. The BeanCast

Hosted by Bob Knorpp, The BeanCast offers a weekly conversation on all things integrated marketing. Each episode’s virtual roundtable provides an entertaining way to stay informed about multiple industries and trends that extend beyond the aegis of PR to a wider understanding of integrated marketing. The BeanCast also offers an opportunity to learn new thought leaders and taste makers through its revolving door of guest pundits, including bloggers, agency leaders and authors.

4. TEDTalks (audio)

While a TEDTalk is more powerful when accompanied by visuals – or better yet, witnessed in person – the audio version is still a great option for on-the-go listening. A treasure trove of persuasive thought and passionate discourse, TEDTalks is a fantastic source for trend and insight discovery, influencer identification and tips on key message delivery. Topics can range from technology to business to science and more, always delivered by expert presenters.

5. This American Life

Skilled storytelling is noted as a key differentiator between PR agencies and other marketing agencies. You can’t find a better example of consistent storytelling excellence across any medium than WBEZ’s This American Life. Stories range from the painful to the poignant to the absurd – and the format can change multiple times in a single episode, combining interviews, memoirs, field recordings and short fiction. No matter the segment, there is always a palpable emotional connection between the storyteller, the subject and the listener.

What’s your favorite podcast?

Image credit: Tim Geers

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