By Joel Simler
If you’ve been through the marketplace of podcasts, you can see that there are a ridiculous amount of shows to choose from. Mostly these shows are all pretty similar to each other in content, format, and production value/style. If you are an avid gamer, or love comedy and interviews with everyone you have and have not heard of, or can stand endless tech talk, then you will never have to put down your ear buds. While there are some serious gems within those categories, if you are a first time browser, the task of choosing what to listen to can be quite daunting. Don’t worry intrepid listeners, I’m here to help point you in the right direction.
What makes Snap Judgment stick out from the rest is a ripe concoction of several things. The unique sound design, giving it a charismatic voice, really gets the listener emotionally into the stories. Snap producers employ music in a way that is unique in style and a driving force for the whole show, which is why a common line you’ll hear throughout the series is “story telling with a beat.” The outstanding stories they find, and the interesting people who tell them can make you listen to back to back episodes. But what really pulls the whole show together is Snap’s host, Glynn Washington.
In 2007, Glynn Washington arose from a pool of 1,400+ radio warriors who were vying to win the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) Public Radio Talent Quest. This was a contest wherein two talent scouting groups, the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and Launch Productions, sought out anchors/hosts/radio personalities with talent and potential and helped them produce a pilot show to be funded by the CPB. Because of that contest, we can all be thankful for Snap Judgment.
Glynn begins nearly every show by alluding to the episode’s theme with a personal account from his life. The stories that Glynn tells are always interesting, some being pretty ordinary, and several seeming very farfetched. What makes them a treat to listen to is the way he tells them. His voice is so animated that often I feel that I am watching him, not just listening. Combine Glynn’s gift of storytelling, with the music and sound design to go along, and you take these stories that any of us could experience, and suddenly it becomes a tale of suspense, comedy, sadness, and all the emotions beholden to that moment.
OK, so, where to begin…
To anyone who is asking, I first recommend episode #326: The Great Outdoors. Number one reason I recommend this, is that it’s a flipping awesome episode! While the whole show consists of ear perking stories, and incredibly interesting situations, there is one in particular that I can never get out of my head. I’ll try not to spoil it, but they interview a true outdoorsman, Randy, and his family who lived in interior Alaska, surviving off of only what they could hunt and make for themselves. Randy decided to head off into the wilderness in 1976, when he was 19, and began his life. I’m talking about living in temperatures that got to minus 67 degrees Celsius below zero, and surviving solely off meat for years! The story goes over how his life was, how it is now, and how their family came together.
Next I’d say check out episode #209: Road Trip, unlike the last recommendation, there isn’t a single story that sticks out to me. And that is not a bad thing at all. This whole episode is really well rounded with some interesting adventures folks have while on various forms of road trips. Glynn has a very entertaining story in the beginning, involving free all day train rides in Japan, and drinking heavily with the Yakuza.
One last episode to get you started, episode #223: It Wasn’t Me. Snap Judgment isn’t all epic stories and comedies, it also has a heavier side on certain occasions. But what makes Snap such a great listen is that is flows comfortably and seamlessly through emotion bending stories. Episode 223 deals with 2 specific stories that are completely different in content and atmosphere, and successfully draws listeners in despite the juxtaposition.
Snap Judgment has 7 years of content, and with a show that’s been around that long, I’d say it’s an easy bet that anyone can find a worthwhile episode to listen to. Don’t hesitate to try any random episode. For more information on Snap Judgment and its team, check out Snapjudgment.org.
Joel Simler- Born in Seattle, raised in Bellingham, Joel is a real cloud loving, tree climbing, North Westerner. He can be found living by a Troll in Seattle, often exploring a vast array of breweries, and music happenings. He works as an audio/video technician in Redmond giving him a perfect drive for listening to podcasts. He is also a professionally certified dance instructor, and produces his own local concerts in his spare time.