Because I’m lazy and get tired of writing bespoke answers to “What podcasts do you listen to?” I’ve captured my answers here.
I won’t miss a new episode of these shows.
- You’re Wrong About: Sarah and Michael bring a real curiosity and ability to empathize with their subjects to the “turns out” genre. (Start here: Kitty Genovese and “Bystander Apathy”)
- Roderick on the Line: It’s an acquired taste. (Start here: Ep. 25: ”Supertrain”)
- Maintenance Phase: As it says on the tin, “Wellness and weight loss, debunked and decoded.” (Start here: The Body Mass Index)
- Citations Needed: Media criticism is my jam, and these two do it better (and lefter, and snarkier) than anyone. (Start here: Episode 95: The Hollow Vanity of Libertarian “Choice” Rhetoric)
- Back to Work: Merlin Mann has been one of the sanest voices in the ““productivity”” space for nearly two decades. (Start here, maybe: 249: A John Nash Moment)
- Object Of Sound: The best cultural critic of his time talks to some of his favorite artists about what makes them tick. (Start here: Redemption Songs (feat. Julien Baker))
- You Look Nice Today: Another acquired taste. (Start here: Episode 48: Schrodinger’s Conference Bag)
- Highlands Bunker : Your only source for anti-Delaware Way news and spicy leftist insider info. (Start here: E127 - Where Are The Workers? (w/Jess Scarane))
Pick and choose
I subscribe to these, but only listen to episodes where the guest or topic is interesting.
- Song Exploder: Listening to musicians dismantle their songs and put them back together is fascinating to me, as a guy who has done some recording and is a process geek. Start here: The Long Winters - The Commander Thinks Aloud)
- My Favorite Elliott Smith Song: Musicians (like Phoebe Bridgers, Mary Lou Lord, and others) talking about what it says in the title. (Start here: S4EP1 Mike Doughty)
These are all series of podcasts that are not necessarily timely and hold up well to repeated listening and binging. You probably want to start at the beginning for most of these.
- Cocaine & Rhinestones: Country music fans are lucky to have someone like Tyler Mahan Coe, who cares so deeply about their history and their stories.
- Philosophize This!: A podcast that recounts the history of philosophy, trying to use modern examples as much as possible. Can be a bit white male-centric, but that’s says more about the recorded history of philosophy than the show.
- Web History: More like an audio book than a podcast, this is Jeremy Keith reading Jay Hoffman’s Web History series, as published on CSS-Tricks.
- Dolly Parton’s America: Dolly’s story is a fascinating one. Especially recommended if you enjoy Radiolab’s production style (Jad Abumrad is the host, so this makes sense).
- I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats: John Darnielle is a gifted songwriter and storyteller. The first season is John providing additional context for the writing and recording of his 2002 lo-fi masterpiece, “All Hail West Texas,” complete with guests covering the songs.
- Remaking Murdertown: My friend Zach created this podcast series in partnership with the Delaware Center for Justice. It’s one kid’s story of interactions with the “tough on crime” criminal justice system. Zach tells the story with compassion and grace, expertly knowing when to zoom in to the individual details and zoom out to the zyztemic failures that have led us here.
(NB: I listen to all my podcasts with Overcast, which is significantly better than any other podcast listening experience, in my opinion. I have been a paid subscriber since day one, largely because of one killer feature: Smart Speed. Smart Speed intelligently ducks silences in speech without altering pitch, which has saved me 192 hours of listening time as of this writing.)
Last updated: December 7, 2021