I’ve talked so many times about my lengthy podcast queue that a friend suggested I revive my long-dormant blog to share it. Safe keeping for future conversations.
Saturday and Sunday are my prime listening days, and over time I’ve developing a specific queue. So specific that, God forbid I listen to one of these on Thursday or Friday, I’m all salty and thrown off as I fold laundry on Saturday. Most of these shows are released late in the week, anyway, so luckily it’s not too much of a problem.
- Slate Political Gabfest
Oldest entry on the list by far, and I think the second* podcast I ever discovered.
- Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
This was actually a recommendation from Slate Culture Gabfest. Just a nice, 2-minute spot. I save them for the weekend and alternate them with all the others.
- NPR: Pop Culture Happy Hour
NPR + Pop Culture + Happy Hour = “Rachel, we made this for you.”
- Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie
Ken Rudin used to do a weekly NPR podcast, “It’s All Politics” with Ron Elvin. I was so, so sad when they canceled and so, so happy to find this. One of the few shows that can have guests with whom I vehemently disagree but not find them disagreeable.
- The Vulture TV Podcast
A recent addition, but immediately assumed a seat next to NPR’s PCHH in my heart.
- New Yorker: The Political Scene
Annoyingly, their sound levels are different than almost all the others. It’s much quieter.
- Slate Culture Gabfest
Still a weekly listener, but fading somewhat in my affections. I still like Julia and Dana, but Steve Metcalf can be a bit (way too) much.
- We the People Podcasts
A nonpartisan discussion of the Supreme Court by the National Constitutional Center. Love.
- Switched on Pop
Pitch recently introduced me to this, and I was hooked immediately. It’s A semi-serious discussion of Top 40 pop songs by two musicologists. Glitter and bubble gum with just enough of the fun drained out. It’s right up my alley.
- Podcast for America
This usually comes out mid-week and I listen as soon as I see it.
Some top tier wildcards, most of which don’t come out every week.
One of my favorite shows, hosted by one of my favorite Supreme Court reporters.
A history/politics by John Dickerson. He spins a good yarn, and on Whistlestop, weaves it through presidential campaigns, debates and whistlestops new and old.
- Rachel Maddow Show
The whole show is available on audio, and love her, but don’t have time or inclination to listen every day.
Topical but less breaking-newsy, these can wait until the weekdays.
- Audio think pieces on race and intersectionality:
- Post Bourgie
Because it’s quality, but also because I’ll listen to anything Gene Demby’s on. I’ve listened to Giant Foam Finger because of him, and I follow zero sports.
- About Race
Ditto Baratunde Thurston.
Competition is steep, but this maybe the thinkiest of these first three podcasts.
- Post Bourgie
- Shows on race and gender that will also make me smile:
- Another Round
I laugh out loud at least once every week. Favorite segment: “What had happened was…”
- The Read
It’s gotten so that big news breaks and I’ll think, “Oh my God, Crissle’s going to lose her shit.”
- Throwing Shade
“We take all the news important to ladies and gays, and treat it with much less respect than it deserves.” I mean…
- Call Your Girlfriend
Smart women talking about the news and their periods.
- Slate DoubleX Gabfest
A “womany” show, but no flag-waving feminists here.
- Another Round
Shows that tell me an interesting story:
- Reply All
“A show about the internet,” so you know it’s screaming my name. These guys used to do TL;DR, a spinoff of On The Media, and was so glad when they revived it.
More chat about music.
True crime stories, or true stories about crime.
- 99% Invisible
A very neat “tiny show about design.”
- The Memory Palace
No idea what ties these stories together, but they’re always interesting.
- Two shows on grammar and language:
More on the news…
- On the Media
As the name implies…
- Decode DC
I initially thought this would be a show about DC – the District or at least #thistown – and it occasionally is, but mostly it’s about national politics. I still like it.
Usually takes a recent topic in the news and takes a historical look at it
One long reported piece, released twice a month by Marketplace and Quartz, with a focus on economy.
And the best of the rest…
- WTF with Marc Maron
The official show of insomnia. I listen at other times, but if I’m working in the middle of the night, this is my go-to. It feels right.
- This Week in Google
- All About Android
- Tech News Today
- The Sporkful
- Stuff You Should Know
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
*Do you hate it when something is called the second most ______, and you’re not told what first most ______ is? Oh God, I do. I don’t remember exactly, but I know I was listening to podcasts at least in 2005. Alliance for Justice had a podcast recapping the day’s Judiciary Committee hearings on then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, and I was hooked. Sometime in there I also discovered the since-canceled Slate Explainer Podcast with June Thomas. The Political Gabfest started not long after. Not sure what else even existed at that point. Grammar Girl, Mighty Mommy and a few other things…