Skip to main content

The best new podcasts for the week of October 19, 2019: Tunnel 29 and more

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.

Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about a brave town, escape via tunnel, NYC schools, Dolly Parton, and asteroids.

If you’re looking for something Halloween-y, check out our roundup of scary (and not-so-scary) podcasts.

History podcast

City of Refuge

City of Refuge Podcast
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In a 17th-century brick-and-stone building in Oslo, you’ll find the Norwegian resistance museum. Its exhibits depict not only overt acts of sabotage, like assisting in the destruction of German warships, but underground actions as well — like the 5,000 men and women who published underground papers full of news obtained from banned radios.

There were similar resistance movements in France, many of which are more well-known than those in Norway. But City of Refuge takes an intensive look at a tiny town, Chambon-sur-Lignon, that has a remarkable but somewhat less familiar history. Host Bryan Farrell recounts how a pastor and his wife, André and Magda Trocmé, led the town’s efforts to hide thousands of Jewish refugees during World War II. At considerable danger to themselves, the citizens helped many of them flee to neutral Switzerland.

History podcast

Tunnel 29

Tunnel 29 Podcast
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In the book Captive Witness, teen sleuth Nancy Drew has to slip behind the Iron Curtain to help a group of children escape. As a kid, I pictured a sturdy rod stretching across the sky, holding a very long, heavy set of drapes.

A very real boundary was quickly erected in August 1961, dividing Berlin. In some cases, families and friends found themselves on opposite sides. As the wall became more impenetrable, those seeking to flee East Germany had to think of new ways to escape. Joachim Neumann made a run for it, but once safely in the West, he decided to go back for his family. He and a few other engineering students decided to build a tunnel. Helena Merriman tells their story.

Culture podcast

School Colors

School Colors Podcast
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Chicago Public Schools teachers went on strike this week, demanding smaller class sizes, as well as budgets for a nurse, librarian, and social worker in each building. It’s a city that has tried to deal with “broken” schools by simply closing them, then opening new ones — even as student populations decline.

New York City has its own under-enrolled schools. Bed-Stuy is undergoing gentrification, and District 16 is feeling the effects. In School Colors, community organizer and journalist Mark Winston Griffith and teacher Max Freedman untangle the complexities that shaped the fates of Brooklyn schools. Throughout the 1960s, a number of strikes took place as people of color tried to get some control over their children’s education.

Music podcast

Dolly Parton’s America

Dolly Parton's America Podcast
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There is, evidently, some argument as to whether or not Dolly Parton’s Hard Candy Christmas is a Christmas song. Maybe because, per the lyrics, it’s only “like” a Hard Candy Christmas. By that logic, though, Low’s Just Like Christmas is also not a Christmas song, but both are on my Spotify holiday mix and there they shall remain.

Dolly Parton having a Christmas song that’s not a Christmas song is just so Dolly. As Jad Abumrad says in the first episode of his new podcast, she seems to transcend the divisiveness that’s gripped the U.S. and can bring together a multitude of people that may not agree about much else beyond a love of the singer. It’s a nine-episode journey, so the podcast will devote more than half of what Ken Burns spent on decades of country music just on Dolly.

Science podcast

On a Mission

On a Mission Podcast
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’ve ever played a rousing game of Meteorite/Meteor-wrong (just me?), then you know that asteroids, meteors, and meteorites are easy to mix up. Asteroids are rocks that are too small to be a planet, meteors are bodies that enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up (they’re commonly called shooting stars), and meteorites survive the trip to actually reach the ground.

Season 2 of NASA’s On a Mission podcast is all about asteroids. In the first episode, Leslie Mullen heads up Mount Lemmon to the Catalina Sky Survey. There, astronomers like Richard Kowalski keep watch for asteroids. He’s been the first to notice some before they hit the Earth. In 2008, one hit Sudan. A KLM flight witnessed the glow as the meteorite sailed through the atmosphere before landing in the Nubian Desert.

Editors' Recommendations

Jenny McGrath
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jenny McGrath is a senior writer at Digital Trends covering the intersection of tech and the arts and the environment. Before…
All the Saw movies, ranked from worst to best
Billy the Puppet from the Saw franchise.

This weekend, Saw X is out in theaters and the latest sequel is keeping the legacy of Jigsaw alive. Or we could call it a "midquel" if you prefer, because the film's story is set between Saw and Saw II. Since the first movie's debut in 2004, Saw has proven to be one of the most resilient and best franchises in horror alongside The Conjuring and Insidious. Not even killing off the main character has prevented Lionsgate from revisiting Jigsaw and his apprentices again and again. The movies have even made Jigsaw's puppet, Billy (pictured above), into one of the franchise's most iconic creations.

Now that Saw X has arrived, this is the perfect opportunity to rank all 10 of the movies in the Saw franchise. There's definitely a dramatic drop in quality from the worst film to the very best. But it's also worth saying that Saw X offers some promising signs that the filmmakers may have finally recognized why the franchise was floundering and come up with some ideas as to how it might continue beyond its 20th anniversary next year.
10. Saw V (2008)

Read more
The 10 most popular shows on Max right now
A promotional image from HBO's Savior Complex.

The latest update of the 10 most popular shows on Max has arrived, and for the third week in a row, the original animated series Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake is No. 1 on the list, thanks in large part to a fresh episode of the show. However, this week marks the first time that three of the AMC+ shows on loan to Max have dropped out of the top 10. So Killing Eve, Interview with the Vampire, and Gangs of London are out, while TLC reality shows like Welcome to Plathville and Sister Wives are in. That really puts the Discovery in Warner Bros. Discovery.

This week's biggest addition is the HBO documentary Savior Complex, which debuted at No. 3. Meanwhile, the racy British dating show Naked Attraction remains near the top spot at No. 2. Never say that sex doesn't sell, because it clearly does. As of September 29, these are the 10 most popular shows on Max right now.

Read more
Where to watch the 2023 Ryder Cup: live stream golf for free
Logo and trophy for golf's Ryder Cup.

The most exciting golf tournament in the world heads to Europe for the 2023 Ryder Cup. The competition between Team United States and Team Europe will be held at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy. Team United States is the defending champions, having won the 2021 Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.

The Ryder Cup is a three-day tournament with 12 golfers from the United States and 12 golfers from Europe. The first two days are dedicated to foursomes and four-ball matches, all featuring two players from each team. Day 1 and Day 2 follow the same schedule: four foursomes matches in the morning and four four-ball matches in the afternoon. The third and final day consists of 12 singles matches to determine the champion.

Read more