Doesn’t it seem like podcasts are everywhere? Well, that’s because they are. There are so many to choose from that sometimes the sheer number can be overwhelming. Indeed, Pew Research stated that 21% of Americans reported having listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 12% in 2013.
Recently though, I read an article that seemed to be ushering in a backlash for podcasts. Despite their growth, though, there’s really no accounting for taste — or quality for that matter. In my exploration of the medium I’ve heard no shortage of low quality recordings, hosts with annoying verbal ticks and grating speech impediments. Many times, I’ve had to stop mid-cast and move on.
But eventually, I inched my way back to the podcasting trough and have finally settled on a few that listen to very week. The bad ones, I won’t mention but I will share the good ones with you. Very good. They run the gamut from politics to tech, music and culture. Check out my list of favorite podcasts below and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Still Processing :: hosted by Jenna Wortham & Wesley Morris
By far my favorite podcast. In my head, Jenna and Wesley are my buds and we chat weekly about politics, music and everything in between. I’m the lady navigating Lake Merritt laughing to myself as I listen to Still Processing on my morning runs. This is a refreshing podcast. Its still kinda new (with only 24 eps so you can catch up). At once, smart and very funny. Wortham and Lowry live at the intersection of culture, queerness and technology. It makes for fascinating conversation and deep discussions. They’ve brought in colleagues from the NYT as guests to help move some discussions along, but I prefer it when the two riff off each other. They have a great chemistry and I’m always super bummed when the hour has ended and look forward to the following Thursday when there is a new episode to share.
Favorite episode: The Kanye-Thon
Recode Decode :: hosted by Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher is old school. She does not bullshit and she doesn’t kiss ass. Not Peter Thiel’s and certainly not Trumpelthinskin. You may know her as the former WSJ tech reporter who moved on to found Recode with Walt Mossberg. Here she interviews Silicon Valley founders and technorati as well as some of the top names and companies in the business with her usual biting wit and sarcasm. And through all that, she manages to get to the meat of the issues by being herself. There really is no one like Kara Swisher in the Valley anymore. She has deep knowledge of the evolution of technology from her days at AOL and weaves the funniest stories into her interviews. Without question, there is no one in tech like Kara Swisher. Every week she brings it. Everyone in tech should listen to this podcast.
Favorite episode: Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail
PopCast :: hosted by John Caramanica
This one is new to me. I am a huge fan of music and have so much respect for those really appreciate it. To say John Caramanica is a fan of music is an understatement. His knowledge is almost encyclopedic especially hip-hop. And despite his recent tussle with Solange, I took a chance on this podcast. I admit, it took some time to get over John’s constant overuse of hip-hop vernacular, but the show began to grow on me. If you’re a fan of music, here’s where you can hear some of the best minds in popular music break down current happenings. From the Grammy’s pop, punk, hip-hop and everything in between.
Favorite episode: Hip Hop’s Elders and Youth go to battle (Again)
Heroine:Women’s Creative Leadership, Confidence, Wisdom :: hosted by Majo Molfino
For those of you who do the woo-woo, Heroine is a great podcast hosted by Majo (Maria Jose) Milfino where she interviews some of the top creative women of our time. She talks to them as a good old friend and asks questions about their creative journeys that are both inspiring and interesting. Majo is a creative herself and in each interview, she aims to get to the root of what each woman was like as a child and their journey into creativity specifically as a woman.
Revision Path :: hosted by Maurice Cherry
There are lots of Design podcasts but Maurice Cherry, an Atlanta native, has been recording Revision Path for quite some time now. What’s unique about Revision Path, is that it focuses on designers of color. Maurice has talked with over 150 designers from all over the world to bring a different perspective to the field. With all that talk about diversity in technology, he has amassed quite the collection of interviews with creatives of color from all over the globe. Its rare to hear a decidedly Black view on design and creativity and Maurice does a great job of bringing these issues to the fore without it being repetitive or trite. In fact, I think a few years back, I recall him reaching out to interview me when he was starting out. Not sure what happened but nevertheless, Revision Path is a refreshing take on an old industry.