Podcasts I love

I’m a big podcast fan. I like interviews and stories. I love the intimacy of the form, and the flexibility of it. There are dozens I dip into from time to time, but these are the handful that I always return to.

A Few Things with Claire and Erica

I’ve already touched on my love of all things Of A Kind over here, but this remains a favourite. They are so damn enthusiastic about the simplest of things. The intimacy of their rapport warms my heart. They always manage to do things in a slightly off kilter way and I always end up wanting to buy all the random things they talk about. This is content driven by the two women’s voices and perspectives and that’s what makes it work. I listen every week, usually more than once. Start with: the one about Permanent Collection.

Longform

Long term fave. Always start with female interviewees. The boys are semi-woke which is good. The worst ones are those drowning in self-importance and privilege. I’m less interested in the really well established writers, and drawn more to the up and coming young writers who are finding their way through a rapidly changing profession. Start with: Leslie Jamison, Mac McClelland, Ann Friedman.

Death, Sex and Money

A podcast about the things we need need to talk more about. It’s the intimacy of these stories that draws me in. They also do a good job of making the experience more dimensional - with online projects, meet ups, watch alongs etc. Newsletter is also great and Anna’s view on podcasting as a form is fascinating. Start with: cheating happens, living alone.

Call Your Girlfriend

The ultimate comfort show. The central conceit of a catch up phone call between two best friends, where they cover everything from periods to Kardashians to political activism. It’s smart, funny and also has a great newsletter. Start with: the one after the election

Still Processing

This leads with great energy and humour, but is grounded in thoughtful criticism and original analysis. Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are great, hilarious and their rapport is what makes this work. Start with: this tearful episode from Nov 9th.

The West Wing Weekly

A weekly podcast re-capping and analysing a 20-year old TV show should not be good, but this is. With interviews with the cast and crew, insights from the set and most depressingly of all, painful contrasts between the idealism of that show and the real world buffoonery emerging from the White House. I loved the show and now I love the podcast. Start with: the one where Richard Schiff cries.

Slate’s Culture Gabfest

This is smart and thoughtful and they must do so much prep because they sound so effortlessly smart and considered. I always feel a little dumb after it, but also glad that it’s stretched me a bit. Start with: tearful one after Drumpf’s election. (Are you sensing a theme here? Podcasts were essential to my post-Drumpf trauma processing..)

Another Round

I don’t listen to this every single week. It’s so raucous and sharp that it’s sometimes more than my sensitive insides can take. If you couldn’t already tell, podcasts for me are about intimacy and softness. But this is wicked smart, hilarious and from a worldview so different from my own. I always walk away feeling smarter. Also has a great newsletter. Start with: Ta-Neshi Coates, Hillary Clinton (sob!)

Making Oprah

Making Oprah is a three-part audio documentary about how the Oprah show came to be. With interviews with her producers, rivals and the woman herself, it’s a cleverly composed look at how something becomes a phenomenon. Start with: episode 1.

Pod Save America

Billed as a political podcast for people not ready to give up or go insane, I thought this would be drowning in self-important white male bro-eyness and it is a bit, but mostly it’s funny and informative and biased in a very entertaining way. They do a good job bringing on more diverse voices, though a woman/non-white person on the show regularly would certainly bring this from an occasional listen, to an everyday one. Start with: the one before the Women's march.

Fresh Air

I always wish I listened to this more than I do. There’s just not enough hours in the day. But Terry Gross is a masterful interview. Start with Sarah Hepola, Zadie Smith

New York Magazine’s Sex Lives

There’s so little good writing/listening about sex, though it’s among the most popular topics among readers. This is funny, well researched and gets into some of the more complicated issues about sex. Start with: this interview with David and his wife, this one about being single at forty. (Really should listen to this more.)

Young House Love has a podcast

Comfort listening on a topic I care very little about (houses!) but their rapport makes it cozy. They’re also very smart on how internet is shaping our lives and careers. Start with: what quitting our blog taught us.

Pivot Podcast with Jenny Blake

Smart, career related interviews and fascinating insights into Jenny’s own experiments. Start with: behind the scenes of her book writing process.

Bad with Money

I’ve only listened to a handful of these but they’re damn good. Start with: this interview with Ashley C Ford.

New Yorker Radio hour

An occasional listen. Start with Lena Dunham, Zadie Smith

Not by Accident

Being a single mother by choice. I didn’t stick with this, but the short-form audio documentary format intrigues me

Monocycle by Leandra Medine

The tightness of these episodes means that they pack a real punch. I’m not up to date, though I’d like to be. Start with: Not Pregnant. (Bring tissues.)

Women of the hour

Expertly made audio tapestries. I don’t always listen. I feel like they need 100% attention which I don’t always have to give, but these dense, diverse stories are fascinating. Start with: the one before the election

Lastly, David Axlerod’s exit interview with Barack Obama was maybe the best I heard. Particularly interesting to hear who he was, before he was in the public eye.