Like many of us who pop our headphones in for a long plane ride or epic housecleaning session, Brittney Asch spends her daily commutes listening to podcasts. Four months ago, the Raleigh-based social worker stumbled upon the Podcast Brunch Club, a book club concept for podcasts with chapters in more than 60 cities across 16 different countries. Asch reached out to Podcast Brunch Club founder, Adela Mizrachi, and decided to create a chapter to serve the Raleigh and Durham areas. We talked to Asch about the club and what she’s currently got queued up.
How do the local chapter meetings work and how have they been going so far?
Each month, chapter leaders and members submit a list of five or six podcasts around a certain theme, which Adela ultimately chooses, and then we all listen to. I’ll send out an e-vite at the beginning of the month with details on when we’re going to meet and the restaurant that we’re going to meet at. So far, we’ve had between five and 10 people at each meeting and everyone’s been really engaged. I always bring a list of questions that can spark discussion but most of the time I don’t need to use them because it just happens organically.
What podcasts have you listened to already and what’s on the agenda?
Last month we did food trends focusing on a wide spectrum of topics. There was one podcast all about cricket protein; we also talked about CBD oil as a trend in regards to food and other products for anxiety and pain. This month is all about understanding China. We also talked about having someone from the Raleigh chapter pick one podcast episode that everyone listens to in addition to the list each month, so that we can start talking about some of the podcasts that we’re interested in.
How do you reference things in a podcast when you can’t open it up like a book?
Usually it’s just from memory. If I’m talking about a certain podcast, I might give a brief synopsis of what it was, because sometimes not everyone can listen to all of the podcasts. At the beginning of our meetings we’ll do a little recap to remind people of the podcasts we listened to and the topics around them.
What do you personally enjoy about podcasts?
I love the chance to delve into things that I don’t even know to be curious about until I start listening. Also, just on a practical level, it gives me a chance to do something that I feel is productive while I’m driving; rather than just listening to music, I can learn something along the way.
How do you feel the club facilitates community here in Raleigh?
It definitely can bring together a wide range of folks and I’m hoping to see even more of that as the club goes on. Even in just these last few months I’ve met people that I probably wouldn’t have met outside of the club. It really helps to foster community between disciplines and bridge some gaps across diverse perspectives.
Why would you encourage others to join?
I would encourage someone to join if they are interested in meeting new people and listening to new podcasts that they maybe wouldn’t have listened to before. As we get older, it’s hard to make new friends because we get stuck in our regular circles. But if you already enjoy podcasts, this is a way to meet other people that are enjoying them as well.
What podcasts are you currently listening to and would recommend to our readers?
Right now, I’ve been listening to “The Shrink Next Store.” Another one that I heard recently that I really liked was called “The Dropout;” it’s the Elizabeth Holmes story. If you’re not familiar with the whole scandal, I would highly recommend it. A few more that I listen to regularly are “Radiolab,” “You Had Me At Black” and “Hidden Brain.”
Visit podcastbrunchclub.com/raleigh-durham for more info.