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 two into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we have podcasts that give advice, let you eavesdrop at National Geographic, won’t bleep you, and explore failure.
Why should I listen? Even if you’re not a person of color, hopefully it will help you talk about race in a more open and empathetic way with those people close to you who are.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first season has six episodes, each around half an hour.
Describe it in one word: Powerful.
There’s something about radio and podcasts that lend themselves to advice shows. Maybe we only have that impression because of Frasier, but spouting off your troubles to someone who’s listening — but not looking — seems easier than doing so in person.
There are certain universal problems — no one’s listening to me at work, my family is bugging me to have kids — that have added layers and complexities for people of color. Host Tonya Mosley brings in experts to answer these questions in Truth Be Told. It’s an advice show “made by and for people of color.” In addition to the “wise ones” (as Mosley calls them) tackling the topics, the people who come on to share their stories are always interesting and have thought-provoking, meaningful things to say.
Why should I listen? Because you’ve always wanted to work for National Geographic.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first two episodes are under 20 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Exploratory.
“Some chick asked me what I would do with 10 million bucks. I told her I’d wonder where the rest of my money went,” is a tweet typical of the Goldman Sachs elevator, a Twitter account that purported to be repeating the eavesdropped conversations of investment bankers. It wasn’t, really, but in the era of Occupy Wall Street, the sentiments felt true.
The conversations couldn’t be more different at National Geographic, if the podcast Overheard at National Geographic is any indication. Hosted by senior photo editor Vaughn Wallace, the show delves into science-y subjects like humpback whale songs, moon garbage, and rodentology. In the second episode, Wallace talks to Dr. Kang Lee, who designs experiments to catch kids in lies. If you think your little fibbing toddler is destined for amorality, you’ll be relieved to know lying is totally normal.
Why should I listen? It’s definitely worth hearing how far people are willing to go to fight to be heard.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first episode is 30 minutes.
Describe it in one word: [Redacted].
Because I’d rather not sing about bitches in ‘raris to our younger relatives niece, we’ve been trying to figure out a way to Kidz Bop-ifiy I Go to the Zoo from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s a show that became quite adept at slipping sly references by network censors and then winking at what it wasn’t allowed to say.
Of course, not everyone has such a chummy relationship with the people telling them what they can’t say. In Bleeped, Matthew Billy (who also hosted podcast Between the Liner Notes) explores these stories. The first episode is about the extraordinary lengths the city of Riviera Beach went through to try and silence Fane Lozman, who was challenging its eminent domain claims. A future episode will explore ag-gag rules, which make it illegal to go undercover to try to expose conditions at factory farms.
Why should I listen? We all fail at some point, and misery loves company.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first episode is 32 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Shambles.
In the documentary, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, the former wife of televangelist Jim Bakker revisited the Christian theme park the couple owned, Heritage USA. By the late ‘90s, it was dilapidated and rusting. “How I would love to put a fresh coat of paint on it and make it live again,” Tammy Faye said.
In the first episode of Spectacular Failures, host Lauren Ober takes listeners back to the 1970s and ‘80s, when the Bakkers were household names and making millions. Heritage USA had an amphitheater, a water park, and a shopping complex, and in its heyday, millions visited every year. Then Jim Bakker was accused of rape and convicted of fraud. For the rest of the series, Ober will explore other failures — why they happen, what happens to employees when a business goes bust, and whether those responsible face consequences.
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