As a serial podcast listener, I can confirm what you all already know: Everyone has a podcast now. As we learned this year, that “everyone” includes the CIA, which hopes its show, The Langley Files, will make you forget some of the very bad things it’s done. (The title makes it sound a lot more interesting than it is.) However, it seems the CIA isn’t the only U.S. government agency looking to vibe with cool kids via pods.
I was alerted to the existence of additional podcasts paid for by American taxpayer dollars when I received an innocent email from the Food and Drug Administration in October. “Listen to the TechTalk Podcast on Data Exchange,” the email told me. My response: the what?
First off, that is not a good call to action. Just seeing “data exchange” was enough to make my eyes begin to droop. But wait, there’s more! It turns out it wasn’t even called the TechTalk Podcast on Data Exchange, but rather the New Era of Smarter Food Safety TechTalk Podcast. Oof. I feel like I need coffee now.
The CIA and the FDA are not alone. I found more than half a dozen podcast projects helmed by the U.S. government. Some are published quarterly, some are published weekly, and some are published every couple of days. As is to be expected, some agencies started their podcast and then threw their hands up in the air and abandoned it. It’s also a possibility, I imagine, that they just got buried in too much bureaucratic work to continue.
Overall, the thing that stuck out to me the most about these taxpayer-funded podcasts is the topics they focus on. The government likes to talk about some really geeky government things. From weekly morbidity reports and social security numbers to SAM.gov and the U.S. Digital Corps, there’s a podcast episode to tell you all about it.
Click through to check out the various number of strange and bureaucratic things the government thought were interesting enough to put in a podcast.