This past fall, along with the rest of the world, I got hooked on the podcast Serial. I loved walking around the neighborhood listening to Sarah and Adnan (he was framed!), and once it ended, I wanted another podcast but didn’t know which were good. So, we asked my friend Kim Fusaro — an obsessive podcast enthusiast — to recommend seven of her favorites…
My husband and I started listening to podcasts on long car rides together because each of us has a limited tolerance for the other’s taste in music. (His: twangy blues sung by people named Jimbo. Mine: Top 40.) When we moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey, I found that listening to podcasts on my own made time in the car—back and forth from preschool and work and Trader Joe’s, sometimes all in the same day — a more little interesting than the aforementioned Top 40.
Here are seven podcasts I’m listening to that you might like, too.
IF YOU’RE Looking for dinner party conversation fodder
LISTEN TO This American Life
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT A mostly non-fiction narrative, This American Life, a weekly show on public radio, reminds me of watching 60 Minutes with my dad growing up. It has “won all the major broadcasting awards,” with good reason: The hour-long episodes are smart, thought provoking and entertaining. Each episode has a theme (e.g., summer camp, superpowers, neighbors, babies switched a birth) and typically features three to four wide-ranging stories on that topic.
TRY THIS EPISODE Break-Up
IF YOU’RE A parent or future parent
LISTEN TO The Longest Shortest Time
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT This podcast (by a mom in New Jersey) gets up close – sometimes uncomfortably so – and personal with what motherhood looks like to me: There’s anxiety and messy husband-wife dynamics and wanting to murder your ob-gyn when she says, “You’re fine to have sex!” six weeks after you gave birth. It also features stories about parents in atypical situations who are all trying do the exact same thing every parent is: their best.
TRY THIS EPISODE When Are You Gonna Be Normal Again?
IF YOU’RE Behind on your reading, but love a good story
LISTEN TO The Moth
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT This podcast features recordings of a live, on-stage series, where regular people tell five-minute personal stories. You’ll get a glimpse into the most memorable moments of their lives: a guy giving the world’s worst best man speech or a daughter dropping off coffee at her mom’s office — in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Writers and actors drop by, too, including Malcolm Gladwell, Ethan Hawke, Molly Ringwald and Annie Proulx.
TRY THIS EPISODE Listen Here, Fancy Pants!
IF YOU’RE A culture fanatic
LISTEN TO Fresh Air
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT Fresh Air brings fascinating writers, actors, musicians and politicians (think: Lena Dunham, Larry David, Madonna) into one-on-one interviews with Terry Gross, the archetypal public radio host (thoughtful, velvety-voiced, lovably nerdy). Their conversations are so intimate you feel like you’re eavesdropping.
TRY THIS EPISODE Bradley Cooper on the Sniper Controversy
IF YOU’RE Fantasizing about starting your own company
LISTEN TO StartUp
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT In the words of its producers, StartUp is “a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.” This is a podcast you’ll listen to in order, starting with host Alex Blumberg’s first steps toward building a startup after walking away from his career as a radio journalist. (The first episode will make you cringe.) Spoiler alert: He succeeds. But not without hitting some major bumps along the way.
TRY THIS EPISODE How Not to Pitch a Billionaire
IF YOU’RE Looking for no-nonsense sex and relationship advice
LISTEN TO Savage Lovecast
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT I wish I could broadcast this show to my twentysomething self. Host Dan Savage answers listeners’ sex and relationship questions with extreme candor. It’s not for everyone, but between Q&As about how to ask an acquaintance to join in your threesome (!) there’s incredibly smart, straightforward, and empowering relationship advice. (Word of caution: The topics aren’t suitable for work, kids or shy listeners. And there’s a healthy amount of swearing.)
TRY THIS EPISODE Episode 441: Medical Questions
IF YOU’RE Missing Serial
LISTEN TO Undisclosed
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT This new podcast, which started on April 13, picks up where the wildly popular Serial podcast left off. Rabia Chaudry, the host (a lawyer in Serial), delves further into the 1999 murder of Maryland high school student Hae Min Lee and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, “from an investigatory perspective instead of a narrative one.”
TRY THIS EPISODE There’s only one so far.
Tip: If you find a podcast you like, listen closely. Podcast narrators are ALWAYS recommending good new podcasts. Next on my to-try list are Love + Radio, which my husband won’t stop raving about, and On The Media, which explores how the media “sausage” is made. And here’s a quick guide on how to download and listen to podcasts.
Thoughts? Do you listen to any other podcasts? We’d love to hear recommendations…
Kim Fusaro is the lead writer for Glamour’s weddings blog, Save the Date. She’s also an avid runner, a compulsive chocolate eater (hence the running), and the mother of two young children, one very old cat and a small dog.
(Vintage headphone ad via Philips)