I will be honest, this post has been on the “to do” list for oh a few months or so but life happens. Well with all of the chaos that is 2020, I happen to now have a lot of extra time on my hands to finally get my butt in gear and write my podcast recommendation post.
As I mentioned before, I am an introvert. I thrive being at home alone and doing my own thing. I love riding in the car by myself. I love traveling by myself. You get the point.
But now, everyone is getting to experience life as an introvert. With the new reality that is “social-distancing” due to el diablo “COVID-19,” we all must find ways of staying home and entertaining ourselves. Welcome to my specialty. Here enters my 11 favorite podcasts. This is the perfect time to just binge some of these mini-series ones. So without further ado, here are my top 11 podcasts in my preferred order.
The Popcast (weekly)
As a pop-culture enthusiast, the Popcast is my FIRST listen when it comes out each week. It’s FEEL GOOD content that I consume their like it is a Reese’s Easter egg: inhaling with gusto and in abundance. This podcast is sincerely the funniest and brightest spot sometimes in our dumpster fire world. Want to deep dive the National Treasure movie, they got you covered. Want to die from laughter with the “Nos of marriage?” Yep- Knox and Jamie are the answer. I also listen to their paid content because I just cannot get enough of them. They are the sole reason I watch the Bachelor because their recaps are golden! I also follow Knox & Jamie on Instagram and have ZERO ragrets.
The Daily (daily)
Listen, I know we live in a world where there is so much information in ALL the places. We are a society that over-consumes content, and sometimes the content is fake stories that we must double-check the sources. And sadly, many people don’t check their sources. But I found this podcast a year ago and y’all, I don’t say this lightly but the Daily podcast produced by The New York Times is legit.
With episodes released every weekday, they do a run-down on relevant news with ZERO bias (in my opinion), just covering the facts. Their recent episodes on COVID-19 are so good because they speak to experts with relevant experience. Plus I really love the host Michael Barbaro. He is just very matter-of-fact.
Their episodes are only 20-30 minutes. If my commute was longer then a minute, they would be perfect to listen on the drive to work. But since it’s a hop and skip to work, I listen while drinking my coffee and going through work email most mornings. Do I listen to every single one? No. Sometimes, the subject doesn’t interest me but that happens rarely nowadays.
White Lies (8 eps)
Full disclosure, I am a huge history nerd. I have two degrees in history and the Civil Rights Era is one of my sweet spots so when NPR released this investigatory podcast into the murder of Jim Reeb during the 1960s in Alabama, I clicked subscribe immediately. Y’all are lucky because you don’t have to wait for new episodes to drop each week as I did.
Here is a blurb from their website.
In 1965, Rev. James Reeb was murdered in Selma, Alabama. Three men were tried and acquitted, but no one was ever held to account. Fifty years later, two journalists from Alabama return to the city where it happened, expose the lies that kept the murder from being solved and uncover a story about guilt and memory that says as much about America today as it does about the past.
When I say this is GOOD, I mean it. So dang good. Seriously, go listen.
Pantsuit Politics (2 per week)
Here is another one I listen to depending on the topic and also depending on how much political news I consume in other sources. Sarah & Beth really have great nuanced conversations on recent news or political events that I think are beautiful. Although they tend to have two opposing views on each subject (Sarah is more liberal and Beth is more conservative), they can talk to each other without yelling over one another and being willing to disagree with kindness.
I sincerely love hearing both sides of an argument, political or not, so that I can formulate my own opinion and this podcast really presents that dichotomy. I also love that sometimes they have just primer “facts” episodes to prepare for their conversations in the following episode.
Lastly, I follow them on Instagram and Sarah gives a quick rundown of the news so if I don’t get to listen to The Daily from up above, I still get a news recap with CC.
Noble Blood (1 every 2 weeks)
Another history one but with a royal murdering twist. This podcast deep dives royals from all over the world and gives an interesting story about them. And Dana Schwartz has the most magnificent voice ever. Seriously. There is rich royalty with their own issues: murder, scandal, and even more murder.
I really loved the Marie Antionette one and the one about concubine-turned-Emperor Wu Zetian. Truly fascinating!
Dolly Parton’s America (10 eps)
In a world full of sad news, this podcast was a bright light for me and so much more than I realized I wanted. I expected going in that it was going to be a biographical series on Dolly Parton, and it was, but it was also so much more. I love the show’s description because it is so true:
In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons.
What makes this so special is because Dolly was involved pretty much every step of the way with personal interviews. It’s a story of resilience for a female entertainer who was constantly discussed based on her appearance, not on her talent. It forever changed my opinion of Dolly in the best way possible. Plus the off-shoot conversations were so fantastic especially as someone from the Southern US.
Catlick (22 eps)
Now just because this podcast is so far down the list doesn’t mean it is not good because I promise, it’s VERY good. This gripping true-crime podcast, set in 1910s Atlanta is full of so much more than I realized: a serial killer preying on women, the ATL labor strike, the murder of Mary Phagan, and so on. I could list everything but ya need to listen to see how he weaves it together in this 56-month timeline.
Catlick has given me many feelings: heartbreak, rage, fascination, and a sheer need to know more. There is graphic imagery when he discusses the murder victims, triggering moments when a lynching occurs (more than once sadly) in the story, and moments of me cheering. (Ola Delight Smith is a boss lady who gets crap done).
Uncivil (12 eps)
As someone who grew up in the South, I definitely learned a revisionist history in regards to the Civil War. I was that teenager who wore a Dixie Outfitter shirt and had a Confederate Flag hanging in my teenage room sheerly out of ignorance. I say this not to offend anyone or to invalidate anyone’s opinions. I am sharing MY experience.
But let me tell you, college flipped me on my lid and opened me up to the full history. This podcast will do the same thing. It will literally FLIP those antiquated opinions upside down and kick them to the curb.
If you listen to nothing else, listen to the episode called “The Takedown” particularly minutes 29:00 to minute 34:00. It deep dives the identifiable “Confederate flag” which incidentally only became the mainstream representation of the Confederacy during the Civil Rights movement. Coincidence?
Y’all- Georgia’s state flag is a prime example of what Christy Coleman (CEO of the American Civil War Museum) mentions in that 5-minute snippet. It’s literally the first national flag of the Confederacy with a seal on it.
There is some language so have your headphones handy!
1619 (6 eps)
On a similar thread of the Uncivil podcast above, this series looks at how slavery changed America with the arrival of the first African’s to America. Before we were even a country, America had slaves.
Four hundred years ago, in August 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed.
“1619,” a New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, examines the long shadow of that fateful moment.
While listening to the podcast, you need to deep-dive the podcast website. There is background reading and additional content that is so good.
S-Town (7 eps)
WARNING: CHOCK FULL OF NSFW LANGUAGE. All the language everywhere.
Perhaps my quickest binges was this podcast. You seriously need to listen to it all at once because the story is THAT gripping. What started out with one story, yes, a murder, quickly evolved into another story full of so much quirkiness, greed, and just sadness. I don’t want to give too much away because the experience of listening to it is necessary. I made the mistake of starting this in the car and I had to finish it while laying in bed. SO GOOD.
Up and Vanished (season 1)
I only listened to Season 1 of this podcast because it was about a local murder right around the corner from where I live. Growing up in South Georgia, everyone knew about the 2005 Tara Grinstead disappearance in Ocilla, Georgia. I remember in real-time the dragging of so many lakes/ponds searching for Tara. The thousands upon thousands of dollars in rewards for any information. It was a very real situation. This became a cold case that remained unsolved for a decade+.
Enter in Payne Lindsey with his Serial-esque podcast that launched in 2016 with so much buzz and shockingly, helped loosen lips enough to lead to an arrest in 2017. To say South Georgia was stunned with the turn of events would be an under-exaggeration. Such a good deep-dive into the case and sadly reveals so much about Tara’s life that I am sure she didn’t want to be revealed.
Armchair Expert with Dax (weekly)
WARNING: CHOCK FULL OF NSFW LANGUAGE. All the language everywhere.
I am adding this as a bonus addition to the list because while I love Dax and the conversations he has with celebrities and experts, the episodes are LONGGGG. Like 2 hour+. I tend to only listen to the interviews he has with people I find interesting. The Monica Lewinsky one was very fascinating! I also really loved the Kristen Bell episode.
Let us all be responsible and be socially distant as we deal with el diablo.
Comment below your favorites so I can check them out! I am always looking for new podcasts to listen to.