Podcasting can be a powerful tool to reclaim representation of realities and issues and fight for justice and rights.
More about this can be read in my previous post entitled Easier, cheaper, louder: the growing power of podcasting, which explored what podcasting is today and why it matters in our effort to create a more democratic and inclusive media space.
The article featured some podcasts as tangible examples of the core topics the text was focusing on (media democratisation, representation and accessibility). But for brevity’s sake they were just a few – and there’s so much more on air.
For this reason, to answer all readers who asked for more podcast recommendations and to celebrate and share the work of many brilliant podcasters, I compiled a curated list of podcasts I listen to, love, recommend and often refer to.
This list is:
- personal – it’s based on my own research, knowledge and point of view;
- sorted by broad categories – and since sometimes the same podcast could fall under more than one on them, I decided to mention each podcast only once in the list, leaving further details about overlaps and intersections to the descriptions provided;
- updated – by me, accordingly with new discoveries and upcoming releases;
and is not:
- always representing my opinions – speakers and hosts could express thoughts I might not share;
- comprehensive – new podcasts pop out every day (great!) and knowing them all wouldn’t be possible. Take the list as a way to start your very own discovery journey!
Journalism, reporting and media
(some or all of these together)
- Reveal: stories on criminal justice, environment, guns, labor, security, surveillance and privacy, revealed and delivered by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
- ProPublica: weekly interviews with reporters about the latest investigations published by ProPublica; journalism, confidentiality, privacy, law, politics, and allegations.
- Latino USA: reporting on Latino news and culture since 1992, on-the-ground reporting about diversity, culture, civic dialogue and how people live (and struggle) with differences in communities.
- Planet Money: economists, citizens and high rollers, all trying to make sense of the rapidly changing global economy.
- On the media: journalism, technology, freedom of speech, censorship, privacy, net neutrality, body cameras, beat reporting, House of Cards.
- Tiny Spark: investigative reporting on the business of doing good, from philanthropy to nonprofits, international aid and for-profit social good initiatives.
- Serial: following one – true – story over the course of an entire season. Possibly one of the most popular podcasts in recent years – as well as one of the most controversial (I share the concerns, but decided to include it in this list as a too-known-to-be-skipped part of the current podcasting landscape).
- Criminal: about crime, featuring stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.
Rights and justice
- Belabored: work, labour, workers rights, unions, strikes, protests, living wages, movements and megaphones.
- Open Society Foundations: rights, justice, education, public health, independent media, corruption, freedom of expression and information.
- Life of the Law: laws, lawyers, the law and how we understand and apply it to our lives.
- The WhoreCast: sex workers rights, sexual and reproductive health, politics, porn, web-camming, adult industry, consent, decriminalization, big hair, cowgirls & boys, monster trucks.
Technology and design
- Reply All: the internet and all the things we do with it, featuring stories about how people shape the internet, and the internet shapes people.
- Risky Biz: cyberspace, cryptography, surveillance, privacy, information security; mandatory data retention, DDoS, trolls, cellphones and crypto wars.
- Hyperopia: technology and humanity, genetic privacy, bio-hacking, alternative economies, sustainable architecture, grassroots governance, connective media, matched with great music mixes and The Future.
- In Beta: tech culture, mobile and web apps, making and using open source software, open source librarians, modern notifications, giant spreadsheets, OpenHatch, Gina Trapani, forks with benefits.
- 99% Invisible: design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world, palm reading, guerrilla public service, the colour of money.
- Collusion: exploring technology and power, via digital sociology and more.
- Restart Project: electronics and human beings, ownership, good and bad design and how to fix and repair the hardware we love and reduce waste.
- The Open Knowledge Cast: open source, open knowledge, open science, open access, open data, open education, open government, open hardware, activism and sensor journalism.
Writing and reading
- Longform: weekly conversation with a non-fiction writer or editor on craft and career, such as Katie J.M. Baker, Molly Crabapple, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tavi Gevinson, Rachel Syme.
- Otherppl: in-depth, inappropriate interviews with today’s leading authors, such as Roxane Gay, Cheryl Strayed, Tao Lin, Hilton Als, Timothy Willis Sanders, Laila Lalami.
- New York Public Library: RuPaul on fantasy and identity, Azar Nafisi on the freedom to read, Tom Wolfe on handwriting and humility, Ntozake Shange on inspiration and Harlem, Marjane Satrapi on the narratives of social protest.
- Books aren’t dead: monthly interviews with authors of recent feminist books on new media, science, and technology; feminizing genres, lifestyle politics and radical activism, queer migration politics, prescription TV.
Women, womanhood and feminist perspectives
(some or all of these together)
- Not all women: intersectional feminist eye on the world, interviews with amazing women, arts, mental health, sex education, trans rights, ethnicities, abilities, racism, bodies.
- Popaganda: Bitch Magazine, one-topic episodes, being geek, science fiction, privacy, feminist porn, campus feminism, digital rights, sex, music scenes and politics.
- Backtalk: Bitch Magazine, pop culture, movies, TV, books and media, feminist analysis on the issues and people making headlines every week.
- Call your girlfriend: long distance besties everywhere, California, periods, feminism, work, confidence, shine theory, Kanye West, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
- Everyday Feminism: everyday violence, discrimination, and marginalization experienced due to gender, sexual orientation, race, class, size, and more; feminism applied IRL.
- Miss Gender: in each (video and audio) episode, Ashley talks with her friend Jay about aspects of coming out to herself and to others, transgender identity, life and getting the hang of being a woman.
- She Does: interviews with women working at the intersection of media, film, journalism and technology, talking about inspiration, beginnings, roadblocks, groundbreaking discoveries and proud achievements.
- The Crimson Wave: a feminist podcast about periods, and the experiences that the show’s guests had and have with them.
- The Left Ovaries: sisters, Bay Area natives and sing along enthusiasts who want to be your BFFs (best feminist friends), talking about women, work, friendship and activism.
- Lady to Lady: three lady comedians invite a fourth lady to talk about news, pop culture, married friends, kids, quitting jobs, Prince and wasabi.
- Vagina Chronicles: on injustices and inequalities surrounding women’s lives, from small annoyances to atrocious violations of rights; resistance, self-care, activism, womanhood.
- The Broad Experience: thoughtful analysis of unique challenges facing women in the workplace, covering things we think about, but don’t necessarily talk about.
- BBC Women’s Hour – women’s perspectives on the world, on all sorts of topics, from politics to health, law, education, arts, parenting, relationships, work, fiction, food and fashion.
with focus on the experiences of women of colour
- Another Round: you’re invited to a happy hour with friends you haven’t met yet; from pop culture and squirrels to racism and sexism, through drunken debates and Tumblr.
- Two Brown Girls: movies, TV and pop culture from the point of view of women of colour via fangirling, racism, Empire, misogynoir and Zayn Malik’s haircuts.
- Black Girls Talking: four black women discussing pop culture, representation of people of colour, Shonda Rhimes, black womanhood and the pursuit of the perfect body oil.
- The Back talk: conversations, essays, and anecdotes from young women of color; self-discovery, body positivity, safe spaces, celebrity, gender equality and racial injustice.
- Diva is, Diva does: real divas confidently approaching life armed with a red lip and hard work, and talking about news, media, health, career, Solange and Nicki Minaj.
- The Longest Shortest Time: real parenting stories (including blood, stitches, and smelly substances), childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, teenagers, building and being a family.
- Invisibilia: all the invisible things; exploring the intangible forces that shape human behavior – like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions; and how to become Batman.
- This American Life: true stories, growing up in / moving to / living (and dying) in America; broadcasting since 1995, today reaching 2.2 million listeners.
- The Queer Public Podcast: queer life stories, coming out, love, friendship, getting married, friendly and unfriendly laws and regulations.
- Strangers: life stories of people we don’t know, discovering something about them, discovering more about ourselves.
- Vox Tablet: being Jewish, living a Jewish life, Jewish traditions, ideas, and culture; and bovine worship and radical vegans.
- The Ethicists: a writer, a journalist and a lawyer wrap their minds around their listeners’ ethical quandaries.
- On Being: what does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Interviews to great thinkers such as researcher and Data & Society’s founder Danah Boyd, author Paulo Coelho, Black Power feminist Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons.
- Working: How does a lexicographer work? And a farmer? And a Hollywood screenwriter? And a helicopter paramedic?
with focus on relationships (with yourself and others)
- Death Sex & Money: stories from famous and not-famous people alike, on relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we’re here.
- Dear Sugar: it was a column, then a book, now a podcast, on life, love, relationships, questions from the readers and radically empathic advice.
- Why Oh Why: relationships, dating, a lot of online dating, love, friendship, radio, New York, grandma Phillys.
- Friendshipping with Jenn & Trin: two friends talking about friendship, especially between women, how to be a good friend, how to make friends, hugs etiquette, cards against humanity.
- Last Name Basis: actress and comedian Franchesca (don’t miss this) and attorney Patrick are married and talk on the podcast about what’s going on in the world and their lives.
Sexuality and sexual and reproductive health
- Savage Lovecast: sharp, real and pragmatic sex advice meets rights, health, society and politics. Graphic instructions included in case you missed that anatomy class.
- Down for Whatever: sex-positive dating and relationship advice, interviews, all kinds of identities, orientations and backgrounds.
- The Heart: love, intimacy, the human heart and the things you feel, but you don’t know how to name.
- Sex Nerd Sandra: with sexuality educator Sandra and guests, sex, love, intimacy, reproductive health and rights.
One-on-one interviews on all-the-things
- Questionable at Best: interviews, queerness, comedy, relationships, sex and girl crushes.
- One with Farai: interviews, how our friends, family, ethnicity, background, political believes, geography and more influence us and our lives.
- Pushing Hoops with Sticks: interviews on pop culture and America, with artists that both produce and consume values broadly categorized as “American”.
- Rendered: stories of people getting creative, hands-on and do-it-yourself, making meaning and breaking rules.
- Why we can’t have nice things: young women chatting in teen-slumber-party mode, about TV, love, people, stuff, BFFs.
- Tomorrow with Joshua Topolsky: interviews with a creator, deep thinker, or artist on culture, technology, politics, faxing from the beach and the internet.
Homoground host Scantron.
- Homoground: fresh music every week by queer & allied musicians; bringing exposure and access to queer bands, especially to those living in isolated communities; nerdy queers who like to make things united.
- TinyBitchTapes: weekly mixtapes (also via newsletter) of catchy, booty-shaking, trashy, classy, pop-ish, disco-ish, dancing beats.
- #Swoonstep: women talking about music and the musicians they love who make it, feminism, music scenes, the preservation of African music from a non-African gaze, Missy Elliott, dj crushes, Drake.
- The Read: hip-hop and pop culture’s most trying stars, Rihanna, Rick Ross’ tattoos, social media shades, Beyoncé, black excellence, Blue Ivy.
- Expatriarch: expatriating from the patriarchy and abandoning toxic macho society, dancing to a killer soundtrack and rocking queer and feminist beats.
- Henry & Heidi: former Black Flag’s frontman and hardcore musician Henry Rollins and his long time assistant Heidi May talk about shows, Rollins Band, South Bay, pets and Haagen-Dazs.
- The Other Woman: new, edgy and independent music by women across the genres from around the world, plus sessions, interviews and more.
- Nerdette: a safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to and encountering IRL; interviews with great nerds such as Roxane Gay, Melody Kramer, Miranda July; and Gillian Anderson, Breakfast Club, summer camps, cats in space.
- Black Girl Nerds: a place for women of color expressing themselves freely and embrace who they are and what they like; politics of race and representation in black comics, black women in horror, black women in heavy metal, dating, real nerds and fake nerds, Scandal and Game of Thrones.
- Gweek: technology, games, movies, zines, comics, books and book clubs, Minecraft, rockers, Carrie Brownstein.
- The Whorer: a punk-fem-queer approach to horror films and TV shows, ouija boards, feminist horror, fake blood, Tampax, Laura Palmer, Sandra Bullock, Santa Claws.
- The Allusionist: etymological adventures, cryptic crosswords, Latin covers of Elvis songs, swearing, detonating the c-bomb.
- Gastropod: kale, microbes, funky cheese, genes, cows, looking at food through the lens of science and history, and fighting food fraud.
- Chewing The Fat: cooking, dining, culture food policy, culinary characters; gluten, school food, Chipotle, raw dairy, supermarkets.
- Gravy: no star chefs, no recipes, no fancy cookbooks; all about real food and people from today’s American South. Stories of farmers and food scientists, dishwashers and distillers, banh mi and barbecue shrimp.
- The Menu: the makers behind the scenes, the ingredients you’ll fall in love with, Japan, third wave coffee, homebrewing, Noma, wild fermentation.