Things were decidedly calmer when Marine Corps Lt. Col. Joe Crane traded in his AH-1W Super Cobra Attack helicopter for the 45-minute car commute to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Atlanta. But as he inched along the lanes of traffic, he started looking for a way to pass the time. “I found podcasts to listen to,” Crane says. “I listened to everything I could get my hands on - personal motivation, real estate, self-improvement.” Crane, who was nearing retirement at the time, discovered he really enjoyed entrepreneurial and business podcasts.
Consider it the new way to listen to radio on demand. Thanks to the recent success of Serial, a groundbreaking podcast doling out one puzzle piece of a larger story each week, podcasts have gained traction among mainstream audiences. Episodes stream for free via the Internet or smartphone device and are available on every conceivable topic: education, investing, relationships, storytelling, and the military.
Upon retirement, Crane went back to school and received a master's degree from Oklahoma State University. “Through that process,” he says, “I discovered all these great people and resources specifically geared toward veterans to help transition to entrepreneurship.”
In what he calls his “aha moment,” Crane realized he could create a podcast blending his interests. “I could interview people and feature others, along with programs and resources for veterans to transition to entrepreneurship roles - all under one umbrella.”
So he set to work, transforming his home office into a mini recording studio and lined up a series of guests - largely veteran entrepreneurs who are frank about sharing their successes, failures, and advice.
“As a retired military guy myself, I feel I can adequately represent and relate to those folks,” Crane says. “I hope to set the tone in the listeners' minds by presenting all these success stories and inspiring others to reach for what they want.”
Here are a few other military-centric podcasts (including Crane's) you should be listening to:
Veteran on the Move
Crane's passion project became Veteran on the Move, a podcast he says provides valuable resources and inspiration for both active duty servicemembers and veterans hoping to parlay their skills into entrepreneurial or business-type roles. Guests include book authors, financial experts, nonprofit CEOs, real estate agents, and more.
The Military Wallet
In this weekly podcast, host Ryan Guina, a former Air Force aircraft mechanic, deftly navigates the world of finance, breaking out topics into an easily digestible format. The goal, writes Guina, “is to help the military community better manage money and understand the variety of programs and benefits available to them.” Episodes tackle everything from military transition tips to retirement, the basics of investing, and taking advantage of GI bill benefits - all with a military slant.
Army Wife Talk Radio
While the podcast takes an Army bent, Army Wife Talk Radio offers a wealth of information for military spouses of all branches. Created by the Army Wife Network, which works to empower Army wives, the show tackles tough subjects through its thoughtful dialogue. Recent episodes include helping children manage stress, PCS preparation, dealing with anger, career challenges, and household financial decisions. The podcast's wide range of guests offer their own insights into topics.
The You Served podcast ran for four-plus years, offering listeners more than 200 episodes. Although no new episodes are being produced, it's still well worth a listen for its broad, military-centric subject matter. The podcast, funded by the VA Mortgage Center, discussed tactical issues and military books, promoted new initiatives, and provided information on servicemember benefits. Notable podcast guests include former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Medal of Honor recipients former Army Capt. Paul Bucha and retired Air Force Col. Leo Thorsness.
Geared toward history buffs, the military history podcast offers a treasure trove of anecdotes and stories of America's greatest heroes. Longtime broadcast journalist Gene Pell hosts the show, which offers insight and perspective into seminal military history moments, from Iwo Jima to Fallujah.
The National Center for PTSD, along with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, created four series of podcasts aimed at educating military members and their families on post-traumatic stress. Learn the basics of recommended treatments, key concepts to enhance clinical practice, and the latest in cutting-edge research. In addition to Understanding PTSD, other related series include PTSD 101 Curriculum, Returning from the War Zone, and Understanding PTSD Treatment.
Veteran Resource Podcast
Army veteran Jeremy Paris explores a variety of veteran service organizations available to help other servicemembers. Each week, Paris features a VSO, discussing its mission, who it serves, what projects it's involved with, and challenges its organizers face. The podcast offers a glimpse into some of the country's unique VSOs, from Gold Star Mothers to Operation Gratitude, a care package nonprofit.