🗣️🎙️🎧 September 27, 2019 5:41 AM   Subscribe

End of another week, let's talk about podcasts. What are you listening to? Maybe it's a new podcast you just discovered, or maybe it's an old favorite you've been regularly listening to for years. Have you learned something cool from a podcast that you'd like to share with us? I've been listening to the '1619', part of the 1619 Project from the New York Times about the destructive legacy of slavery. It's a heavy listen but engaging & thought-provoking. I also just learned about Justin Mcelroy's podcast about cereal 'The Empty Bowl', hilariously entertaining. Feel free to share what you have queued up. I'm always on the look out for a new podcast to follow. As always, be kind to yourself and to others.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 5:41 AM (60 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

Orphan Black is back! I haven't started it yet because I just found out about it the other day when I took my cats Helena and Cosima to the vet; the receptionist had made a note to tell me about it.
posted by heyho at 5:59 AM on September 27, 2019 [5 favorites]

If you like sports, check out The Lead. New podcast, but super fun.
posted by deezil at 6:00 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I gotta signal boost my favorite law podcast, Opening Arguments. It's a lawyer and his non-lawyer friend talking through the week's often very complicated legal and judiciary news (what the Trump judge appointees are up to; or how the intelligence community whistleblower process works; or sometimes just a hilarious live criticism of the Alex Jones video deposition), without dumbing it down but still in a way the rest of us can understand. Their website here, Stitcher link here, Apple podcasts link here. Of course they can be found on all the other podcast networks as well. (John Oliver and Elizabeth Warren are both listeners, take that for what you will!) If you like it and want to support their work, here is their Patreon link.
posted by nightrecordings at 6:02 AM on September 27, 2019 [6 favorites]

I follow a lot of film podcasts (possibly too many). So far Filmspotting is my favorite - and I'm not just saying that because I won a free t-shirt after only a month; the hosts manage to be knowledgeable and good podcasters both. (There are other movie podcasts I follow but I'm getting a little sick of them because the hosts tend to dick around with in-jokes too much.)

I also listened to You Must Remember This when it was on (even though Karina Longworth's speaking voice got on my damn nerves).

This is a finite series, but it's a hoot - back before my last roommate moved to L.A., some friends of his did a podcast series where they analyzed each and every one of the MCU movies leading up to the release of Avengers: Endgame. My roommate was enlisted to be one of the panelists for some of the episodes, and really got into it - I think for Iron Man 3 he stayed late at work and joined in from there, because they had a room with a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard and he had a lot of notes he wanted to refer to. (For the Spiderman Homecoming one, I also secretly listened live and joined the chat room under the assumed name "Miss Frizzle", and they read out a couple of my comments.)

And there's also the 1001 Movies Podcast; this is by another guy trying to get through the 1001 Movies Before You Die list, but he's going the podcast route instead of the blogging one. It sounds like he's from a similar background as I am, so I kind of sense a comrade.

And speaking of the 1001 Movies list - the entire reason my blog on that list exists is because of a passing comment that Adam Savage made in his Still Untitled podcast. About three years ago now they were having a discussion about movies, and he said that "people always ask what's the best way to learn about movies, and I always say 'just watch a lot of movies and talk about them with people'." I'd been listening to his podcast for a while anyway, and he said that and it hit me that "....hey, I think I can do that." (I have been meaning to thank him sometime.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on September 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Thirst Aid Kit's back!!!!

Also, Ear Hustle.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:26 AM on September 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

I listen to a few things - The Dear Prudence podcast, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, the really spectacular Farm to Taber (which may have inadvertantly spurred my wife's career change) and my personal warm fuzzy, I Hate It But I Love It, which just reminds me so much of a group of friends that I almost never get to see any more.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:47 AM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I listen to such a high volume of podcasts that I regularly have dreams about podcasters (most of whom I only know what they look like from their Twitter bios).

Right now I am listening to a lot of the Robert Evans Suite of Podcasts (Behind the Bastards, It Could Happen Here, and the new one with Cody Johnston and Katy Stoll, Worst Year Ever about the 2020 election). Judging by Twitter, I'm apparently the only person who listens to both those and the Crooked Media podcasts (leftists and liberals living together--mass hysteria!).

I also listen to The Weeds (Vox) if the topic interests me (which it does about 50% of the time).

The Dream (aired primarily last spring, about MLMs) is currently posting some bonus episodes, which is exciting. So, good time to catch up on that if you didn't listen to it when it first dropped.

Two lesser known podcasts both on the same theme (lying liars who lie) that I like are Pretend and Liar City. Pretend is more first-person stories and investigative journalism while Liar City is more like Behind the Bastards with a couple guys recounting famous and infamous cases of liars, criminals and frauds.

Most of the rest of my subscriptions are pretty typical left-leaning, slightly techy, overeducated NPR-listener brands.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:49 AM on September 27, 2019

Nightlight is a black horror podcast. Every episode presents a short horror story by a black author. It's really opened my eyes to writers who have been unfairly neglected by history.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:58 AM on September 27, 2019 [9 favorites]

I've been listening to South Side Stories (I'm giving it a few weeks to accumulate episodes but might make it into an FPP). It's just sort of nice? to hear places and neighborhoods I grew up with referenced without it being followed by how many people were shot there this weekend. It's supposed to be a promo for the comedy central show South Side, but I haven't figured out how to watch that yet.

I have a comic book club where we record all of our meetings for the folks who can't make it (not. . . quite a podcast?). Last year it was Saga, this year we're starting off with Bitch Planet. And I got this grand idea that I could just transcribe the recordings in my free time! I used to have to transcribe meetings, how hard could it be? Mind you, again, this is just 4 - 6 people talking, not really planning what we're going to say beforehand, no guarantees for coherency. Anyway, I got ten minutes of dictation done in an hour and experienced the horror of hearing my own voice at half speed before deciding to switching to timestamps. So, I'm listening to me say um a lot.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:00 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't live in NYC but I love The Bowery Boys, a podcast about NYC history, which is inexhaustible.

Our Fake History, which is not a conspiracy podcast, but rather a podcast about stories we believe and maybe shouldn't.
Tides of History, historical deep dives with a wry sense of humor but not jokey-jokes.
Archaeological Fantasies Podcast, about pseudoarchaeology, by practicing archaeologists (so the schedule is uneven and the audio quality is too, but they know what they're talking about).

This all sounds intense, but I also listen to the McElroy family of podcasts, MFM, and Lore.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:18 AM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I mostly listen to podcasts when I'm walking or on the subway and the only podcasts I've found that really work for me are (25-45 min episodes, not too sad/emotional topic-wise, not too information heavy):
* The Patdown with Ms. Pat: one of the funniest podcast imo. Refreshing with a black woman's POV on things.
* 99% Invisible: it's just so well-produced and consistently interesting.
* No Such Thing As A Fish: fun and funny with the QI elves.

Second-tier podcasts (pretty good but lacking somehow):
* Freakonomics Radio: short, casual and fascinating.
* Planet Money: ditto.
* Revisionist History: somewhat hit or miss due to Gladwell's contrarianism but still worth the listen.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:27 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

My newest podcast additions are, for the best insight in to the Canadian election, Sandy and Nora Talk Politics.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:43 AM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

For those of us who get quite enough about the burning world around us from just... everywhere else, there's a huge, thriving world of audio drama* out there, from the big names like Welcome to Night Vale (weird, subtle horror), Hello From the Magic Tavern (shaggy improv fantasy), and We're Alive (zombie apocalypse) to tiny solo works from people taping in their spare time like Mount Olympus University (normal woman attends college for gods) and Gone (woman wakes up alone in a world that doesn't quite work).

Want some relatively short, self-contained ones? Try anything by Rick Coste, or The Details (making a deal with the devil), or The Hyacinth Disaster or The Deca Tapes or Directive for sci-fi high drama.

Not to mention Steal the Stars, a simply amazing work of writing and acting and sound designing and editing and everything else.

Oh, but there's so much out there that's worth investing in the continuing storylines and catching up on. Like Girl in Space, which started as one of those little solo projects but has expanded into an amazing universe. Dutto The Beacon, a light urban fantasy.

Bronzeville is ambitious, star-studded, and has a second season allegedly coming soon. The Strange Case of Starship Iris is not star-studded, but is definitely ambitious and might have a second season soon.

Alba Salix is a fantasy workplace comedy (and its offshoots are pretty good too), and Dark Ages is heavier (and longer) but also pretty hilarious. Pod to Pluto is smaller and sci-fi, but fun. StarTripper!! is more adventure-y, but in much the same vein.

Prefer musicals? 36 Questions will blow you away.

Higher-concept? All's Fair is a six-episode time travel story: listen 1-6 for one of the character's linear narrative, or A-F for the other character's linear narrative. Less high-concept but still timey-wimey is H.G. Wells Has His Regrets, wherein the author builds his own time machine and visits other great authors throughout history.

Victoriocity is a steampunk adventure-comedy set in (and starring) Even Greater London.

Archive 81 is mostly body horror (some of it pretty... raw), and each season is in a slightly different world... perhaps. Calling Darkness is a more comedic but still very horrorific story. And Palimpsest is gorgeous and stirring, propelled by a great narrator and solid writing. Station Blue is haunting and harrowing, taking a hard look at mental health even as it jump-scares the shit out of you.

Super Ordinary and The Van aren't as horror-oriented as those, but they also explore mental health through the genre lens of superpowers.

The Phenomenon is ambitious and amazing. "Do not look outside. Do not look at the sky. Do not make noise."

The Carlötta Beautox Chronicles imagines A Star Is Born without the talent.

On Patrol With the Broadcaster is a generally well-done comedy about a comic-book world where superheroes do everything from fight crime to wash cars.

I haven't been able to figure out exactly where Death by Dying is going, but I'm enjoying the ride of an unnamed Obituary Writer sorting out the increasingly bizarre deaths in his small town. Ditto Dream State, an urban political fantasy that's currently on hiatus, but is worth catching up on.

Oh, and you want something to listen to with the kids? Well, you're way behind on Six Minutes, but they're all pretty short (starting at, obviously, six minutes, but getting a little bigger as the story grows).

And as always, I'll recommend Mercury: A Broadcast of Hope, a quick 5-10 minute daily podcast from a post-zombie-apocalypse world.

* -- The community hasn't settled on a name yet: "audio drama", "audio fiction", "scripted fiction"... think of radio plays and you'll get the idea.
posted by Etrigan at 8:08 AM on September 27, 2019 [13 favorites]

Dear Prudence is always number one on my list. Lately I've really been enjoying The Boiler Room, a delightful weekly episode-by-episode discussion of the best TV show ever, My So-Called Life. Both hosts have previously hosted tv series podcasts, and they are super good at being entertaining and having good discussion.
posted by donnagirl at 8:08 AM on September 27, 2019

Just finished Mystery Show, suggested in an AskMe. Starlee Kine solving mysteries (small but engaging! mysteries, each wrapped up per episode.)

Recently started Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell. (Yes, late to the party.)

I know this community has Opinions on Hank & John Green, (plus I am definitely older than the majority of their audience). John's Anthropocene Reviewed is an interesting dive monthly on two topics, and the weekly Dear Hank and John is mostly silliness.

Also enjoyed most of You Must Remember This. If you like Hollywood history, check out Be Kind Rewind on YouTube.
posted by Glinn at 9:02 AM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

A close friend launched the podcast Scary Stories To Tell On The Pod two months ago (which got a shout-out on James Corden this week!) and I couldn't be more proud of them. It's the perfect level of sleepaway camp spookiness, which is like 40% camp counselors making ooOOoo noises and 60% giggles. There's also a cursed episode that will summon a demon to your bedroom late at night, if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:08 AM on September 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Chicago/Illinois/Midwestern sports folks could do worse than to check out Live from the Five Hole. They've been exclusively hockey focused for years but are starting to branch out into the rest of the Chicago sports teams (and also, wrestling?) especially during Space Madness -- I mean, the hockey off season.

I don't love scripted podcasts generally (though I had a good run with Welcome to Night Vale when it first began), but I did love Jordan Morris's Bubble.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I listen to many already mentioned but a lot more to try out.

Two pure escapist ones I've been hitting recently:

I'm going through archives of the The Glass Cannon Podcast, which is a Pathfinder game podcast with good sound quality and solid voice performers and a DM who seems to really want to kill the players. Pathfinder has a notoriously complicated rule set, which the podcast crew handles by not knowing them all that well.

Veronica Mars Investigations, with Helen Zaltzmann and Jenny Owen Young, just started up and since I'm in the middle of watching the show (for the first time) I jumped on that.
posted by mark k at 9:15 AM on September 27, 2019

I've been listening to some Qanon Anonymous because I wanted to know what was up with this weird, insane old facebook boomer burgeoning cult. It's a trip.

The Happiness Lab is good too from the Yale professor who started that very famous class on what it means to find a meaningful life for yourself.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:19 AM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oooh, I've been wanting to boost a bunch of podcasts from my local NPR station but didn't think it merited a FFP, so this is perfect.

Bear Brook got a lot of press. About some unsolved murders, and how the technique used to find the Golden State Murderer got its start.

Outside/In, which is about, well, the outdoors. Some good episodes to check out include Can You Feel the Lies Tonight? about ecological inaccuracies in the Lion King, plus also racists tropes; Must Love Logs, about the outdoors in dating apps, and Leave No Stone about the leave no trace movement, and class/race/etc. and the outdoors.

Patient Zero, about Lyme disease. If you're thinking the title is problematic, don't worry, they cover that in about the first five minutes. Some really great take downs of charlatans and quacks with immense empathy for patients who are drawn to them and frank discussion of the failures of the medical system.

And, Stranglehold , a new one, about the New Hampshire primary. The latest episode was all about how a NHPR politics reporter figured out, thanks to the voter fraud commission, that Dixville Notch (yes, the town from the West Wing that votes at midnight) had a bunch of people breaking voter laws, and now, it looks like they don't have enough legal voters to have an election (you need at least 5; they have 4).
posted by damayanti at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2019 [5 favorites]

Looking for a break from all this legitimately good content? I submit for your consideration The Thing About Pam, a six-part Dateline series that is so over-the-top melodramatic as to become self-parody. About 10 minutes into episode 1 it was already on the "podcasts I can't listen to at work without laughing out loud" list.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't have anyone else to share this with but the Empty Bowl podcast is supposed to be relaxing but I find it incredibly stressful for some reason. I'm a big McElroy fan and have a lot of anxiety so i was happy when it came out but something about just thinking about something as stupid as cereal that much stresses me out. Maybe it's because I think cereal is something that's bad to eat, tastes bad, bad mouthfeel, bad for you, I just don't understand any of it. That's probably why.
posted by bleep at 9:56 AM on September 27, 2019

I don't listen to a lot of fiction podcasts - I think Welcome to Night Vale was the only one, and I dropped away from that a while back. I also finally had to start allowing myself permission to skip episodes I wasn't interested in, because I subscribe to more podcasts than I'd be physically able to listen to.

My current faves are Shedunnit, on golden age mysteries (a topic I love and a podcast I find very soothing), Words to That Effect, which I found via Shedunnit, and Decoder Ring, about cultural oddities. I also listen to My Favorite Murder, Tides of History, Omnibus, This Had Oscar Buzz, Pop Culture Happy Hour and Extra Hot Great. There are also a few stalwarts, including The Mike O'Meara Show, which originated out of a radio show I used to listen to as a teenager (in these days of frequently terrible-sounding podcasts, I cherish their attention to sound quality), Answer Me This, My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and In Our Time.

That's not even close to all of them. I may have a problem.
posted by PussKillian at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2019

Thanks for all the recommendations - thank goodness my new phone has 256g of storage!

I've been living for:

- Cocaine and Rhinestones - a history of country music told by Tyler Mahan Coe, David Allan Coe's son. Well researched, well told; even if you aren't a fan of country music you will love this podcast. Season 1 is out and Season 2 is coming soon.

- How Did This Get Made - Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and a variety of guests review terrible, terrible movies. Funny, smart, profane. Listen to the live episodes if you only have time for a few.

- Mogul - history of hip hop. Just started listening to this but it seems great.

- My Dad Wrote A Porno - just started season 5! Come for the blinking, stay for the spy (?) thriller (?)

- Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids - Canadian podcast where, well, grownups read things they wrote as kids in front of a live audience. Heartwarming, heartbreaking, funny, sad - it's everything.
posted by some chick at 10:29 AM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am always listening to lots of In Our Time - it's fascinating during the day, and when I can't sleep, I put it on very low and the sound of thoughtful academics discussing interesting scientific things typically lulls me right to sleep.

I'm very dismayed to learn that the PodClub podcasts are ending, and will apparently be removed from the site around the end of the year. It's been lovely to have podcasts in Spanish, French, and German (including Swiss German!) with full transcripts and nice little vocabulary notes. Fortunately, I think I've got a lot of episodes saved.

Mostly I'm a podcast hoarder - I download dozens of podcasts a week so I can listen to them when I have the time. Someday I'll listen to all those episodes of Engines of Our Ingenuity and Composers Datebook.
posted by kristi at 11:30 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I still listen to Uhh Yeah Dude, since 2008 or so. They've been going steadily since February 2006!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:41 AM on September 27, 2019

I listen to, uh, a lot of podcasts.

News/Comedy/Current Events
The Bugle
Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
Ask Me Another

History Chicks hey look I wrote a whole dang FPP just to have an excuse to talk about them
The Land of Desire Well researched and lovely presentation, even if her French accent makes me cringe. I especially loved her early series on the Dreyfus affair.
Revolutions As a Franco-American dual citizen, the American/French/Haitian series seriously has changed my life.
Renaissance English History Extremely thorough discussion of the Tudor period, many episodes are 30 min or less.
History of English
History of England
Rex Factor
French History Podcast Listen at 1.5x speed. You're welcome.
Bowery Boys (NYC history)

Sawbones (medicine)
This Podcast Will Kill You (diseases) My favoritest new podcast!
Ologies (all kinds of science)
Court Appointed (law) I like the information and the format, but I'm about to give up because of the tired sexist jokes of one of the hosts
One Bad Mother (parenting)
A Way With Words (linguistics)

The Moth
posted by Liesl at 12:18 PM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I’ve been listening to RISK! forever, and I’ve seen the show live once. It’s story-telling, but often risqué or emotional in some way. “True tales, boldly told.” Hosted by Kevin Allison (formerly of The State).
posted by oomny at 12:20 PM on September 27, 2019

I've been listening to Stay Free: The Story of the Clash. It probably helps to be a Clash fanatic, but I'm really enjoying it. Bonus: narrated by Chuck D.
posted by holborne at 12:26 PM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Podcasts that I have given up on but maybe which you will like:
Call Your Girlfriend I had to give up when they slagged off the Girl Scouts. You don't mess with the Girl Scouts.
The History of Germany After the other history podcasts, it was just too slapdash and vague. But there's good information, and he does/did a version in Arabic to welcome new refugees and immigrants to Germany.
Still Buffering Supposed to be about adult sisters talking to their still-a-teen sister, but teen sister is in college now and it's just three people chatting. Still kinda interesting, and nice to hear the sisterly giggles.
You're the Expert Would love to keep listening, but I don't think it's being made anymore. Comedy and scientists. A great mix!
posted by Liesl at 12:27 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would like to plug the Strong Songs Podcast. It's hosted by Kirk Hamilton (musician/teacher/former games writer), who takes each episode to pick apart a hit song and explain why they're so good. He's very adept at explaining music theory at a fairly basic level (which is good because I suck at music theory) and describing many of the production techniques that take a simple lick and turn it into a banger.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:34 PM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't really do podcasts per se, no long drives or walks etc. There are a few YouTube things that are also podcasts or close enough (there's not really anything that needs watching unless you want to see their faces). Hope that's close enough.

Adam Savage’s Tested has two things. Still Untitled: Will, Norm, and Adam usually talking about something cool. This Is Only A Test: Norm, Jeremy, and Kashore? usually going over the recent week in tech, pop-culture (movies and such), science, and then you can stop when they get to the VR stuff.... they love the VR stuff.

The Numberphile Podcast. Brady talks to mathematicians. More interesting than you might think.

Citation Needed, from the Technical Difficulties. One of Tom Scott's experiments. Three people sit around and guess things about 'random' Wikipedia articles. You will learn very interesting things with a lot of lol inbetween. But you don't really have to watch three guys just sitting around a table or something. Sadly the 'experiment' has ended.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:36 PM on September 27, 2019

+1 for Sandy and Nora Talk Politics! I am also deeply moved by Crackdown and Thunder Bay, but you may wish to avoid if you are not good at crying while driving.
posted by avocet at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

As is extremely on-brand for a Metafilter Socialist, I listen to every single episode of the Current Affairs podcast. I have a deep and somewhat inexplicable love for the low-budget Disney gossip podcast Hidden Mickeys. I also like the Wolverine podcast and Ken Jennings' Omnibus.

Can you tell I'm a giant nerd?
posted by zeusianfog at 1:42 PM on September 27, 2019

+1 for Strong Songs, and thanks to backseatpilot or whoever here recommended it a few weeks ago.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:42 PM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I enjoy the Dear Prudence podcast but ran into a weird technical difficulty. I was listening to it weekly while I made dinner over the Google Home and at some point the smart speaker stopped recognizing the title. I likely have ten minutes of this conversation with the speaker:

“Play the podcast dear prudence”
“Ok here’s the song dear prudence by the Beatles”
“STOP. Play the podcast Slates dear prudence”
“Ok here slates political gabfest”
“STOP. Play the podcast dear prudence by slate”
“Ok here’s the podcast Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”
“STOP. What the heck google?”

Eventually I give up and listen on my phone.

Otherwise I’ve been happily listening the new podcast by the By The Book team, We Love You and So Can You. The women who produce it have read a great deal of self help books for their other podcast and are using their vast knowledge to help a different person out each week with their problems. It’s just so peaceful, the hosts are so kind and nice and earnest in wanting to help and listening to people be supportive of others for 45 minutes is a perfect thing to listen too on a morning walk.
posted by lepus at 2:47 PM on September 27, 2019

I've been pushing Lawfare's The Report podcast on Fanfare because it's extraordinary. There are just so many details in the Mueller Report that went completely unnoticed. Going through it in detail, with a really well done narrative, puts it in my favorite podcast of the year for me, and it's really shaped my feelings about the most important document of our time that came and went with no fanfare (mind the pun).

Also, any of you who don't listen to the Bugle every week: I don't understand you. It's the funniest podcast about current events and is a master class in English language use.
posted by General Malaise at 3:48 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Futility Closet is a long form spin off of the website. About 25 minutes each episode detailing a forgotten story from the pages of history. Then there is a lateral thinking puzzle worked through by one of the hosts that lasts about five minutes (the first few episodes had a different sort of closing puzzle/discussion which I didn't much like so listen to one of the lateral thinking puzzle episodes before giving up on the show.) Each episode is fairly well reasearched and the website for the pod cast generally has links to the references and often material for further reading. Each episode is self contained but there will be spoilers (always announced) at the end of the episode for previous lateral thinking puzzles.

I could probably link to every second episode as a good one to experiment with but here are a smattering of good introductory episodes:

Episode 21: A Gallant German Fighter Ace

Episode 27: The Man Who Volunteered for Auschwitz

Episode 41: The Tragic Tale of the Lady Be Good

Episode 38: The Thunder Stone A lot of the stories are just completely insane, this is one of them.

Episode 65: The Rainmaker

Episode 75: The Sea Devil

Episode 78: Snowshoe Thompson

Episode 253: The Dame of Sark
posted by Mitheral at 4:29 PM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

You won’t catch me out so easily. Wait for the next FPP.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:08 PM on September 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

On Wednesday I was listening to an month old queued podcast while walking to lunch. It happened to announce a live show in my city. Six hours later and travel time plus 4 minutes from the end of a very important ceremonial work event, I saw The Memory Palace live, accompanied by a brass band. It was great. I love that live podcasts are bringing back the traveling public lecture as popular entertainment.

I listen to at least a couple of hours of audio most days; pretty much any time I'm not doing something involving language or math. But, both journalism and fiction just seem to pile up this year. I'm a fan and donate to many of them, but I only rarely feel like listening to them lately. Low stakes, good-natured, irreverent, topical podcasts always sound like more fun: The Dollop, Oh No Ross and Carrie, The Greatest Generation, Behind the Bastards, Archeological Fantasies, Sawbones, both of the Long Now Foundation podcasts, 99% Invisible, The Bechtel Cast, Métis In Space, Twenty Thousand Hertz, Zealot, Every Little Thing, etc.

The one audio thing that has most notably grabbed my attention in the last ten years, though, is Everything is Alive. It gives me the same, delightful, "what the hell is this" feeling I had when discovering Joe Frank in the '90s and Blue Jam in the '00s. I'm pretty sure it's this decade's memorable radio for me.
posted by eotvos at 6:02 PM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah I would be deeply remiss if I did not suggest Tom Scharpling's Meet My Friends the Friends. Start from the beginning.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:36 PM on September 27, 2019

I recently discovered My Favorite Murder and am working my way through three years of back episodes. The live episodes are getting me through my long commute these days, especially the story Karen told about the Salt Lake City library hostage situation which I will not spoil but !!! Come for the crime, stay for the empowering female friendship.
posted by janepanic at 11:58 PM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don’t really do podcasts; between loss of hearing and some auditory processing issues I find I have to basically drop everything and just focus on listening, which I suppose is antithetical to the way most people consume podcasts. That said I recently ran across a 2015 fiction podcast called Limetown that really drew me in for some reason. Old news to podcast regulars I’m sure but I enjoyed it, anyway.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:28 AM on September 28, 2019

Extremities by Wendover Productions just started their second season. Wendover is better known for their Youtube channels, and fall under the category of what I call “the explainers” but i guess the technical genre is “educational entertainment”. CGP Grey’s youtube channel is another big player in this genre, as an example. (Grey also does the Hello Internet and Cortex podcasts but they’re more conversational vs scripted.) Anyway, each podcast season of Extremities goes deep into talking about the life and world around really unusual places. The first season was about Pitcarin Island, and this season is about the most northern city somewhere in Norway.

I’m a huge podcast nerd, and this is my new favorite. I’m annoyed I have to wait 6 more weeks to get the full season, I’d much rather binge now dang it! The writing is top notch, informational but casual and just funny enough to keep you chuckling occasionally and engaged. Meanwhile the content is just plain fascinating, IMHO.
posted by cgg at 7:38 AM on September 28, 2019

I finished Wolf 359 this spring and I remain very annoyed with the fact there isn't more of it. It starts off as a SF comedy of an inept radio officer on a space station, with a cast of three, and ends absolutely epic with aliens, post-humans and a tripled cast with many people playing more than one character. I still want to steal Affable Corporate Executive Marcus Cutter as a supervillain for a story of my own because wow.

I'm currently chewing through the Magnus Archives - people keep telling me it gets really good and serialised really soon, but the one-off horror format is a bit grating. I prefer my storytelling with a plot and continuity. (Also, the intro sounds weird out my cats a lot.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:08 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I lean towards podcasts that are light entertainment / good accompaniment to cleaning my apartment or riding the train. My favorites:

Extra Hot Great. This is about television – not "showbizzy" and not fan-nerdery. Three very personable hosts and a weekly guest. It's got a great format and moves right along. Also, it's very well-recorded. I can't handle poor audio and some speaking voice peculiarities (borderline misophonia), and this one is very well done.

From the same people:

Again With This -- this goes episode-by-episode through Beverly Hills, 90210 (and now also Melrose Place, as they are reaching the end of BH90210.) Wry and biting, but done with a love for the show.

The Blotter Presents. This is a review of true-crime properties (books, TV series, films, etc.) I get so much ironing done while listening to this -- which is high praise. Fascinating discussion that's engaging even when I haven't seen the pieces they are talking about.

From other folks:

Dave and Jeb Aren't Mean. Two guys review and discuss Hallmark movies. Again, they strike a great balance with poking fun at the movies, and also appreciating what they are trying to do. (I grew tired of listening to podcasts like How Did This Get Made which, to my ear, just sounded like a bunch of comedians trying to improv one-liners about bad movies, rather than having any insight.)

This Had Oscar Buzz. Two extremely knowledgeable hosts talking about the films which seemed headed for Oscar nominations, but came up empty. I have just been introduced to this podcast and have been inhaling it. Really engaging and entertaining, with just the right amount of "inside baseball" information for my tastes.
posted by profreader at 11:38 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hit or miss but the good episodes are really good: How I Built This, life story interviews with people who founded companies you’ve mostly heard of. My favorites are the ones with Eileen Fisher, Stacey Madison (Stacey’s Pita Chips), Jerry Murrell (Five Guys), Maureen and Tony Wheeler (Lonely Planet), and Bob Moore (Bob’s Red Mill).

I just love how many of the stories are about regular people, who didn’t particularly have a bunch of money, who just kind of fumbled into great success because they had one good idea and some luck. And the host is good about asking about the money side—how much did it cost to keep this going, and where did they get the money? No fairy tales and when someone did it with family money or angel investors or their general richness (ahem SoulCycle, Glossier), you get the full picture.
posted by sallybrown at 12:29 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm not much of a podcast fan in general. Most of them ping the same sort of forced-auditory-intimacy stress button I get from talking on the telephone.

Plus, that thing where you can tell that two people aren't in the studio together, maybe one of them is skyping in or something and their voices are just different? Sets my teeth on edge. I had hyperacusis after a crapton of childhood ear infections, and I still have vague Roderick Usher tendencies sometimes.

For some reason, old-time radio shows don't evoke the same stress. Something about the original recording equipment?

Anyway, there are a couple I like as long as I don't use headphones. Whenever my sister and I are in the car together, we listen to Judge John Hodgman. And I enjoy Mousetalgia.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:54 PM on September 28, 2019

Along with some already mentioned (In Our Time, Shedunnit, No Such Thing as a Fish) and a bunch of British / Irish / US political podcasts, I’m currently listening to:

You’re Dead to Me, a new-ish podcast where Greg Jenner, part of the Horrible Histories team, has a comedian and a historian on talking about a particular facet of history. It’s both informative and entertaining. So far they’ve discussed among others Mansa Musa, the History of Football, Harriet Tubman and Joan of Arc, all with a bit of irreverance.

The Birthday Game, Richard Osman (from Pointless) has 3 guests who compete to win a Colin the Caterpillar cake by guessing the age of celebrities who have birthdays that week. It’s fun in spite of the fact that I don’t know who half of the celebrities are...
posted by scorbet at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've gotten pretty backed up on podcasts in the last two weeks because I changed jobs and went from a 35 minute commute to a ten minute one so I don't really get through much. I pretty much only listen to film podcasts and political ones.

On the film side, Filmspotting is still the gold standard. Josh and Adam are both two of the best critics around and often have great guests like Michael Phillips or Angelica Jade. The associated cast Next Picture Show with a bunch of The Dissolve writers is great too. Blank Check doesn't have the deep knowledge of Filmspotting but they have so much enthusiasm that I listen to them a lot. Pop Culture Happy Hours (with Mefi's own Linda Holmes) is another that I listen to regularly. I should like Scott Wienburg's Science vs. Fiction but but I've found it pretty rough going so far. It's new and I'm hoping that the hosts get into a groove because it's a premise for a series that I should love.

The political casts are all pretty much the default ones: On the Media, Today Explained, The Weeds, 538 and sometimes Pod Save America but I've gotten tired of their flippancy.
posted by octothorpe at 5:16 PM on September 28, 2019

My current listens which are a lot cause I listen at the gym, while cooking/cleaning, etc

BAD GAYS - a history podcast about evil and or problematic gay men in history
TRASHFUTURE - a General UK politics and tech culture podcast about how if we do not implement the fully automated gay space communism the future is and will be trash
WORKING PEOPLE - a podcast interviewing working people about their jobs and workplaces and lives
CURRENT AFFAIRS - as mentioned above, wholesome, erudite leftwing politics
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE - a limited series podcast by a veteran war journalist who covered the Iraqi civil war and Yemen about what would an American civil insurrection look like, exactly? They have an upcoming new 0odcast just about the 2020 election called WORST YEAR EVER
HORROR VANGUARD - Gothic Marxism discussion of horror movies and pop culture (Disclosure I’m on an episode)
SH!TPOST/QANON ANONYMOUS - Both cover online extremism and alt-right issues, news, conspiracy theories, Chan culture, etc
ARSENAL FOR DEMOCRACY - general US political podcast from a policy based and social democratic bent, their summer series LEND LEASE is almost entirely history focused
KNOW YOUR ENEMY - covering right wing figures, demagogues, pundits, and various monsters from American history, good companion with GRUBSTAKERS which is about billionaires and how they made their billions
OVER INVESTED - a charming pop culture podcast about various obsessions and current releases. Their Jupiter ascending episode is a hoot.
NATIONALIZE THIS - About, what else? How and why to nationalize various industries and services.
MAKING GAY HISTORY - a gay history podcast from one of the best scholars in the field, often with rare interviews.
ART AND LABOR - about the art industry, from freelancers and gallery owners and how it intersects with labor and workplace issues.

So yeah I’m fun at parties.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

If you have not yet heard the episode of Overinvested where they review the 2016 campaign as "America, season 240" you are in for a treat.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:35 AM on September 29, 2019

I like Warm Regards. Thoughtful conversations about climate change, hosted by scientists and other thoughtful people.
posted by delight at 11:45 AM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not entirely a Mefi-friendly recommendation, but I continue to love and compulsively follow the Kevin Smith/Comic Book Men-affiliated Tell 'Em Steve Dave podcast. Walt Flanagan is creative and mischievous, Bryan Johnson is fast-witted and funny (when not on a quasi-political rant) and Brian "Q" Quinn (he of Impractical Jokers) is a laid-back everyman made good. They all bounce off each other naturally, having been friends for years. Honourable mention for Git'em, who is a sort of ascended fan and a bit marmite (I love him).

There was a particularly good recent episode dealing with Q having taken Walt's colleague Sunday Jeff (a key regular on their Patreon podcasts) to see Kiss live, rather than lifelong fan Walt himself. Here's a short cartoon-animated clip of part of it.

Not really for everyone, and I'm conscious that some stuff I have the privilege of rolling my eyes at would legitimately make others bounce right off it. I like the friends-hanging-out vibe of it at its best, as well as the moments involving their being (sometimes surrogate) fathers and the ball-breaking, winding each other up stuff too.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:36 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Indigenous podcasts:
All My Relations (US)
Unreserved (Canada)
Let's Talk (Australia)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:28 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just found out Under the Influence is available as a podcast. It explores the world of advertising in a fun and irreverent way. It has millions of listeners and in 2011, iTunes named the show the Best New Podcast of the year. iTunes again named Under The Influence as one of the best podcasts of 2015. I've loved this show since way back in 2006 when it was originally called Age of Persuasion.
posted by Mitheral at 4:51 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Best Show itself is my top podcast of all time

I literally might not be alive today if it weren't for The Best Show; I just have no idea how to recommend it to people!

Me: Well, how do you feel about Joe Frank crossed with Ken Nordine, but if he yelled at everyone to get off his phone and had a buddy who was the drummer for Superchunk and called in as various characters, and also it was 3 hours long every week?
Them: Uhh
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:01 AM on September 30, 2019

I'm pulling this list off a text file on my phone so these aren't hyperlinks. Sorry. (A few of these are Stitcher Premium content.)

History the Shequel
Yo, Is This Racist?
Throwing Shade
Spanish Aqui Presents
Why Won't You Date Me?
Drunk Women Solving Crime
Off Menu
The Adam Buxton Podcast
The Guilty Feminist
Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast
Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata
Larry Wilmore Black On The Air
Rule of Three
The Comedian's Comedian with Stuart Goldsmith
Pappy's Flatshare
Voyage to the Stars
The JV Club with Janet Varney
Las Culturistas
Punch Up the Jam
You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes
How Did This Get Made?
Having Funlessness with Jen Kirkman
The Neighborhood Listen
The Horne Section
The Three Track Podcast with Gabriel Ebulue

The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
Creative Pep Talk
Adventures in Creativity
Ways to Change the World
Creative Processing with Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Creativity School with Grace Chon

The Mental Illness Happy Hour with Paul Gilmartin
The Hilarious World of Depression
Is This Adulting?
Suicide Buddies
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:21 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you like soccer/football talk, the tifo podcast is excellent.
posted by juv3nal at 3:58 AM on October 1, 2019

I completely overhauled my podcast listening this year and am so happy that I did; I still enjoyed many of my old standbys, but their familiarity--once comforting--was beginning to shift from merely stale to actively stultifying. I picked up nearly all my new favorites from skimming old AskMes; my absolute new number one is The Relentless Picnic. As said in an essay about the podcast in the LA Review of Books:
While the episodes’ subject matter and mode vary, they all illustrate conversation as a serious, subtle pursuit. Often, when we speak of “conversation,” we mean it in a superficial sense: people speaking in close proximity — the utilitarian expressions of “small talk” and “networking,” the kinds of “conversations” I was usually reduced to in my attempts to make friends in Minneapolis. It’s no accident that The Relentless Picnic‘s “lost episodes” (conversations pre-microphones) included a discussion about a Platonic dialogue, a form that embodies conversation as a serious philosophical project. In certain conversations, what’s said emerges not from the participants as separate beings, but from what happens between them. This is not our ordinary mode of interacting with one another. Social media amplifies the most reductive aspect of conversation — we focus on expressing ourselves at the expense of listening to someone else. But a listener of The Relentless Picnic, like the reader of a dialogue, is not only able to consider each speaker’s point in turn but is also able to linger in that contemplative space between speech acts, where the real, generative drama of conversation unfolds.
I truly take time to listen to it--dim the lights, pour some wine, and allow my brain to really engage with their exquisite, enlightening project of inquiry. It is a deep pleasure.

Two others at the top of my list are Nocturne and Here Be Monsters, each from KCRW, which engage strongly with the medium of podcasts as an aural art form while bringing odd, wonderful people and stories to light.

Also--I started a podcast! Well, kind of. It's not very serious at all; my partner and his best friend have for many years played a particular type of guessing game, and we kind of formalized it, now record it, and haphazardly post it online. It's a mess but so much fun to do! The audio quality is absolutely horrible, no one will ever listen to it, but it's super entertaining for us in that who-cares-process-art-is-best-art kind of way. The other podcasts I mentioned? Very good and smart and stimulating. Listcast? Pretty much the opposite. But shouldn't life contain such multitudes?
posted by youarenothere at 6:20 AM on October 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

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