This month is unofficial rec-a-podcast month. A bunch of top podcasts/podcasters have been asking their listeners to recommend their favorite podcasts to friends and family. These have been primarily recommended via twitter using the #trypod hashtag. That hashtag is great, but there aren’t enough characters in a tweet for me to actually talk about the podcasts I like. Thankfully the Keysmash ladies are willing to give me a platform to talk about shit I love. (And they don’t mind that I’m constantly late to the party. MARCH ISN’T OVER YET.)
A lot of the recommendations below come from my own twitter timeline, because they’re amazing and always come through in a pinch, but now that I *get* how the whole podcasting thing works, I’ve branched out. I honestly don’t know what I did with my life before I discovered podcasts. Listen to a lot of shitty radio??? Idk.
Before I dive into recs, if you’ve never listened to a podcast, or kind of vaguely wonder what the hell they are, I recommend this article: How to listen to podcasts: a 101 primer. But now, without further ado, my favorite podcasts.
My Favorite Murder: This is a podcast hosted by two women and each episode is basically a long conversation about murder, attempted murder, serial murder, and survivor stories. I enjoy it because you don’t often get a female perspective on true crime. They talk about the victims of all of these crimes, giving them a name and a voice, and they talk about mental health (both on a personal and a national level), and about general ways for women to protect themselves. “Fuck politeness” is a particularly appropriate motto.
Stranglers: I just started listening to this one earlier this week and I am riveted. It’s essentially an audio documentary about the Boston Stranglers. It’s anchored by a woman and it’s really well produced — featuring interviews with people who were involved with the case, investigating for the police or as journalists, and even those with personal connections to the victims or the potential killer(s). It’s fascinating to listen to from an investigative perspective, but there’s also a really humanizing aspect to they way they present the case as well.
Serial Killers: (Can you sense a theme? I love true crime stuff. Don’t look at me.) I’ve only listened to a few episodes of this one so far. Shockingly, it’s about serial killers. This one takes an episode or two to go through the crimes of well-known serial killers, but also talk about their mental state and their motivations. It’s slightly more over-produced than I prefer, with more voice actors than actual interviews, but it’s still really fascinating. The first two serial killers they profiled are H.H. Holmes and Aileen Wournos, and it’s done in two full 30-40 minute episodes, so you really dig in depth into the lives and crimes and brains of these killers.
Breaking off of the murder theme, I also like to listen to things that teach me something. So I particularly enjoy Science Vs. It’s hosted by an Aussie lady and each episode takes on fads, trends, popular buzzwords and ideas, and looks at the science behind the things to figure out what’s real, what’s fake, and what we can do about it. The episodes waiting for me right now cover acne, immigration, gun control, and fracking, for a little taste.
For learning, I also enjoy the Freakonomics Radio podcast. This one’s pretty heavy on the learning and less on the entertainment, but it’s always interesting. They take real world questions and issues and try to analyze them on an economics basis. If you need a place to start, I recommend the three episode arc on “Bad Medicine.”
The Sporkful: “it’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters.” This podcast isn’t about cooking food, it’s about eating food. It covers topics like the restaurant business, the food associated with certain holidays, food allergies, and food culture (as in the culture around food itself, but also the foods of different cultures). This is one of those podcasts that is entertaining and fun but also teaches me something. Also it makes me want to go to New York and try all of these little holes in the wall that the host goes with his guests.
See Something Say Something: This podcast is about being Muslim in America, which is not something I can relate to, but that’s a big part of why I’m listening to it. The first episodes I listened to were a three part series on the original Muslim travel ban. Obviously I knew about this, what I’d seen on the news and watched as it happened on twitter, but it was interesting and illuminating to listen to from the perspective of the people who are actually affected by the ban.
The Mash-Up Americans: This is another podcast I like to listen to in order to expand my cultural and religious horizons. It’s hosted by two women, a Korean-American and a Salvadoran-Jewish-American, and the podcast is about people living with those hyphenated identities and navigating what it means to be something-American.
There are a few things on my to-listen list that I can’t totally recommend, you know, since I haven’t listened yet, but they sound promising:
Please leave me a comment if you have recommendations for other podcasts to listen to. I’m always interested in true crime, but also in podcasts that are going to open my world and let me explore and understand other people and cultures. And I hope at least one of these things appeals to you and that I’ve helped you expand your own podcast library.
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