We talk about podcasts around the office almost as frequently as we discuss our favorite television shows and movies. Emily listens to them on her morning walks, Alina's favorite way to relax is listening to her favorite podcast while taking a bath, Geoffrey tunes in while driving, and Leslie attends live podcast events the same way many do concerts. We all listen to the classics—This American Life, Radiolab, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me—but here are some of our slightly off-the-beaten-path picks:
1. My Favorite Murder: You'll know almost immediately if this podcast is for you (and it definitely isn't for everyone). Co-hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark pick a theme each week (hiding in plain site, weird murders, cannibalism) and talk about two murders that fall under that theme. Here's the catch: It's incredibly funny. They're both unapologetically fascinated by the sinister, so that you might spend an episode equal-parts amused and horrified. I've definitely become more of an alert sleeper since listening, but I love it.
2. Stuff You Should Know: When my friend introduced me to this podcast, she said it was like "the back of a Snapple bottle elongated into an entire episode." It offers a quirky take on how things work in a very informative way. If you can sit through the sometimes-dorky jokes, you learn a lot and will actually retain the information that you hear since it's done in such a memorable way.
3. Here's The Thing: Hosted by Alec Baldwin, this podcast features conversations between the actor and a wide variety of people (everyone from Amy Schumer to Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks). His voice is oddly hypnotic and his command of the English language makes each interview a joy to listen to—it basically feels like you're sitting at the dinner table with Alec Baldwin.
1. WTF with Marc Maron: This is possibly the most well-known podcast out there, but that's for a reason. There are very few interviewers (Howard Stern included), that have mastered the skill of crafting a conversation that creates intimacy with their guests, allowing them to have a dialogue beyond the normal "talk show" points. Plus, very few shows get the level of talent Maron books (he famously interviewed President Obama), so you're treated to rare insights into some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment, politics, and pop culture.
2. The Bike Show: Combining great insights into the culture of cycling, along with enlightening takes on art, literature and politics, this weekly 30-minute show is a great way to tap into some of the cycling news and lifestyle, when you're not on your bike.
3. The Star Wars Minute: I'd bet good money almost no one reading this blog has listened to this podcast and admittedly, this show can veer into very deep "nerdom" territory, but ultimately, it's very entertaining. The premise is simple, each episode is dedicated to one minute of each Star Wars film, and analyzes that minute from a story, character and philisophical perspective. It sounds crazy, but somehow they make it work.
1. You Must Remember This: I discovered this podcast from literally googling "best podcasts to walk to," while searching for distraction on my walk around the Silver Lake reservoir. The blurb I read sold me when it talked about a series on the Manson Murders, which I've long been fascinated with. I think I didn't do anything else for three days straight but listen to the series. The podcast, which covers all of the biggest stories/legends/scandals of the Los Angeles entertainment scene in the 20th century, is a little bit nerdy and gets pretty darn in-depth; but as a Hollywood obsessive, it's everything I've ever wanted.
2. Serial (Season 2): I was approximately the last person in America to listen to Serial Season 1, and after plowing through it, I immediately got hooked on Season 2. While I didn't initially anticipate being interested in a military drama, the psychological aspects of Bowe Bergdahl's alleged desertion from the army completely sucked me in.
3. Reply All: As the editor of a website, I spend a significant amount of time online every day. This podcast, which was recommended to me by a friend with a similar job, delves into stories about the internet—from Twitter memes and trolls to Facebook super-users and Redditors. It's fascinating.
1. Invisibilia: Any podcast co-hosted by contributors to This American Life (in this case, the all-female cast of Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel) is going to be a good one. Each episode covers the "invisible forces that control human behavior," which ranges from the effectiveness of power poses, frames of references, and the instability of personalities. If you're interested in psychology, you'll love this one.
2. KCRW's Press Play with Madeleine Brand: I love LA's public radio station, KCRW—to the extent that I'm a monthly paying member (which I'm not sure anyone under the age of 60 ever says?). One of my favorite shows—aside from Morning Becomes Eclectic (bless you, Jason Bentley)—is Press Play. I love Brand's coverage of hot-button topics like Trump's dossier and regional news. It makes me smarter every time I listen to it.
3. Professor Blastoff: I'm a huge fan of Tig Notaro (if you haven't already watched the Netflix documentary on her, Tig, I highly recommend it—even if you've never heard of her!) so naturally, I love her podcast. Tig, along with her co-hosts Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger, discuss a central theme each week, which can be anything from science to philosophy to current events. They're no longer releasing new episodes, but you can find the full archives in iTunes.