“I feel like podcasts are kind of personal, and I have yet to find someone else who listens to the same ones I do.”

Meet Nick Gottlieb, a 19-year-old student at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. When he’s not studying, Nick keeps his interests varied — he trades stocks, goes to the record store, paints, and devotes time to entrepreneurial endeavors. This is how Nick listens. 

When did you start listening to podcasts? Did someone teach you how to subscribe, and/or have you taught anyone else how to listen?

I actually remember the first time I ever listened to a podcast. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, so naturally, Neil Degrasse Tyson was my absolute hero. On June 1st, 2009 Tyson released the first in a long line of podcasts as part of his new series, Star Talk. I downloaded it to my iPod touch (a technological marvel at the time), and have been following it ever since. I’ve told other people about it for sure, but I don’t know that I directly taught anyone how to listen.

How frequently do you listen to podcasts?

Probably every week or so. That’s often the Star Talk podcasts come out, and I usually listen to them a day or two after they drop.

How many different shows do you actively listen to?

Just three: Star Talk, The Broad Experience (about business), and occasionally The Nerdist. A lot of my friends have recommended Serial, but I have yet to get into it.

What is a show that makes you think about things differently?

Without a doubt, Star Talk. Each week, they bring new and unique perspectives about everything from the origins of humanity to black holes. It has definitely changed how I think about some things, specifically about what I want to do in life.

What time of day do you listen?

I’m a college student at the University of Michigan, so I do a lot of walking. When it’s not snowing, I sometimes listen to podcasts on the walk to and from classes. When it’s snowing heavy, it’s usually too distracting to focus on the (often times) complicated topics that Bill Nye and Tyson are talking about. I also have them on when I’m doing my laundry, which is every Sunday afternoon.

Do you ever listen to podcasts socially, like with friends or a partner?

I haven’t ever done that. I feel like podcasts are kind of personal, and I have yet to find someone else who listens to the same ones I do.

What is one reason why you listen?

Unparalleled access to interesting information. Having no visuals allows you to really focus on what is being said, and you’re able to understand and internalize it better, in my opinion. With StarTalk, I feel like my mind is being blown every time I listen to a new one.

Do you talk about podcast episodes with friends (the same way you might talk about news and other forms of media)?

No, not really.

Briefly describe the process of picking what to listen to on a given day. How do you decide?

I listen to whichever the most recent post is. New episodes come up about every week.

Do you use podcasts as entertainment, education, or both?

Both — I find it really enjoyable to learn about things that are mind boggling.

Thanks, Nick!