Most Saturday mornings you can find me in my comfy clothes, putzing around my apartment, headphones in. Streaming straight into my brain is one of several podcasts that I look forward to each and every week. As a lifelong NPR listener, the podcast style, format, and accessibility mingle to make the perfect listening material for me. I listen to a wide variety of podcasts that cover an even wider range of topics. I guess the one thing they have in common is me. That they encompass many of my interests and provide me with a little brain food for those bookless, articleless, and campusless moments. I listen to them at various parts of my day and week: in the car, in the shower, in the kitchen, on a walk, walking to and from my car and various buildings on campus. You name it. If it’s streaming on my phone, it’s probably a podcast.
So, as promised for quite some time now: my favorite podcasts. In no particular order. Where to find them and what they’re each about. And really, why I love them. I hope you can find a little brainfood here among this far fetched list of audio goodies. All links are provided, and you can easily access any of these by just searching for them in your favorite podcast app.
Co-hosts Lacy Davis of Super Strength Health and Holly Noll of Plantfit Gym in Oakland, California and Fitquick Protein Waffles team up to make an invincible and inspirational strong lady duo. By far, the podcast I look forward to MOST each week. This is the only one I listen to that’s not only fun, funny, and inspiring but that makes me feel STRONG! Everything from listener questions to dealing with creepiness and intimidation in the weight room, these ladies cover a wide range of topics relating to vegan health and fitness. While fairly new on the podcast scene, these ladies pack each and every episode with a powerful punch, discussing their “one rep snax,” weekly happenings in their lives, and offering tips and advice for a wide range of issues that impact those interested in living strong, healthy lives.
I’m pretty much a fan of anything and everything self-proclaimed “vegan personality and cookbook extraordinaire” Brian L. Patton, aka the Sexy Vegan put his mind to. In my humble opinion, he’s the vegan with the Midas touch. I adore his books, recipes, Tweets, Instagrams, and the poignant humor he infuses into each and every one. This same effervescence translates into each one of Brian’s podcast episodes. Brian’s combination of recipes, cookbook reviews, interviews with vegan personality types, couples with his impressions of the latest and greatest developments in vegan products to make each episode a delight to listen to.
My (week) daily go-to for a dark comedic view of the news with a charged progressive spin. Partners in life and in breaking-the-political-spectrum-amazing-leftiness Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein infuse even the darkest developments with a tinge of honesty, hope, cynicism and crass. I love the way they present news updates and politics, analyzing big stories and giving voice to smaller ones, all from a progressive point of view.
This podcast is exactly what its name suggests: popular culture in one happy 60 minute podcast. Linda Holmes, head of NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See, spearheads a round table discussion each week that examines the most recent books, comics, movies, shows, other podcasts, videos, and anything else that could be deemed pop culture. Often, Pop Culture Happy Hour shorts appear in the interim between regularly scheduled shows to bring 10-15 minute spurts on newly released items. This podcasts mingles equal amounts of nerdom, analysis, opinion, and comparison into a fun listen. My favorite part: the “What’s Making Us Happy This Week” segment at the end of each episode. PCHH is always edgy, whip smart, relevant, and super helpful when it comes to picking out what to read, watch, or listen to for someone like me who lives under a rock.
Eric Molinsky’s voice is at once soothing and fascinating. Delving ever deeper into imagined worlds and the suspension of disbelief, this podcast centers on science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, and the like. This past week, a look at heroines and the implications therein provided an insightful look into gender, misogyny, and the gaping holes in one of my favorite sub genres. If you like nerdy shows and books like Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, Daredevil, The Avengers, Batman, Star Trek, Star Wars, and characters like Superman, Spiderman, zombies, sexy robots, golems, Joss Whedon, witches and the like then you’ll love this podcast.
In the same geeky vein, I give you Nerdette, one of my latest finds. As hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen say in each episode: “We’re all a little nerdy about something.” And yes, I definitely am. A bit broader topically than Imaginary Worlds, Nerdette’s shows feature themes including: birth control, sex, Game of Thrones, Catilin Moran’s books, feminism, climate change, Kate Mulgrew, and pi day. The most recent episode to drop, “Caitlin Moran on Strident Feminism, Giddy Optimism, and Riotous Laughter,” is a great way to get a feel for the show’s premise, cheeky overtone, and fun pace.
Starlee Kine has the most fantastic voice to narrate a mystery. She’s what I imagine an American female character from an Agatha Christie novel would sound like: a brilliant, jazz age-nymph who has the uncanny ability to coax tremendous amounts of heartfelt information out of total strangers. How I love this show! (And both of its theme songs!) Small, seemingly mundane mysteries like the brilliant logo that emblazons each episode in my podcast app, have their lids blown off as each one is fascinatingly unraveled before your very ears.
Criminal is a podcast that’s a little close to home for me in the best way imaginable. My now not so local NPR station WUNC’s Phoebe Judge hosts this show all about crime’s perpetrators, victims, actions, and results. Usually brief 20-40 minute episodes provide for brief interludes into the world of criminality, incarceration, murder, and…Venus fly trap theft? Yes, and several of these take place in my home state of NC.
Vegan drag queen Honey LaBronx (aka Ben Strothmann), and Laura Yasinitsky form the dynamic duo responsible for this vegan podcast. Everything from interviews to vegan lifestyle tips, to vegan drag queendom, this podcast not only has one of the best theme songs ever but also brings a smile to my face throughout every episode.
A few others that have received enough praise that you probably already know them: This American Life, Snap Judgement, Serial, Invisibilia, Radiolab.
I listen to all of my podcasts through the Podcasts app on my iPhone or via iTunes on my laptop. New to the world of podcasting? Just pick a few that seem interesting to you and read up on their descriptions online. I use the “Top Charts” feature on my iPhone’s podcast app to search for new ones to download. I’ll often just listen to the most recent episode to get a feel for the show, and depending on how many episodes are in existence I’ll go back to the beginning and listen to the podcast’s development over time. I HIGHLY reccomend this with shows like Invisibilia, Mystery Show, and Imaginary Worlds. They each have only 1 season and it’s fun to hear their first episodes. Following your favorite podcast(er)s on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram is also a great way to show support and find out what’s happening and when.
Right now is a lull in podcasting season! Many shows are between seasons, or are on sabbatical until the early Fall. Great time to catch up on older episodes and get ready for new ones to stream in just a few short weeks!
Got any recommendations for me to stream? Did I skip your favorite podcast? Let me know in the comments section or Tweet me at @RinVeganland.