Like everyone on the planet, when the podcast Serial came out I spent an entire day and night devouring every word Sarah Koenig said as the tale of Adnan Sayed and the murder of his girlfiend, Hae Min Lee, unfolded in my ears. I wasn’t as big a fan of season two, which followed the story of controversial MIA soldier, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl. But I still listened to every chapter, obsessed with this seemingly new type of long-form investigative journalism. And I devoured the more recent S-Town, also produced by the people at This American Life, in less than a day.
But podcasts aren’t just for reporting, they are great for story-telling and getting out information. After I had finished both seasons of Serial, I googled “popular podcasts” and came across The Black Tapes. The podcast claims to follow the mysterious story of Dr. Richard Strand, as documented by the energetic Alex Reagan. In a way it harkens back to the radio shows of old, employing voice actors to bring characters to life as well as audio effects that will scare you to death.
But all of the above are only seasonal series. What happens when I’ve finished binge-listening to them? I turn to the podcasts that are produced all year long. And here are my four favorite ongoing podcasts (in no particular order).
The people at Condé Nast Traveler put out this great podcast, Travelogue, every week, focusing on a different travel issue or question. So far they’ve covered several subjects like, “How to plan a trip to Cuba,” “Where to Travel in 2017,” and “Travelling with Kids.” From these informal conversations between the magazine’s editorial staff, writers and special guests, I’ve gotten some great information and tips, as well as some ideas for new destinations that I have never thought of. It’s a podcast that will inspire you to book your next getaway!
Modern Love: The Podcast is based on the popular New York Times column of the same name. Modern Love editor Daniel Jones chooses essays that the column has published and then these heartwarming and sometimes heartwrenching stories are read by notable personalities. Just a few voices you might recognize are Laura Dern of HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” Malin Akerman of Showtime’s “Billions,” Emmy Rossum, star of the Showtime series “Shameless,” Emmy-nominated actor Sterling K. Brown of “This is Us,” and Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame. At the end of each reading, the essayists themselves speak about what’s been going on in their lives since they wrote their column. Hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti of Boston’s NPR station, WBUR, Modern Love will have you laughing, crying and cheering for love.
Aaron Mahnke is the researcher, writer and producer of this addictive podcast, focusing on the spookiest folklore from across the globe. The bi-weekly podcast has been so popular and successful that it is actually coming to TV with the help of the team behind The Walking Dead. Each episode of Lore explores the world of mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places. Mahnke uses each tale to show how folklore has fueled our modern-day superstitions, because, as he likes to say, sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.
Pardon my French is hosted by Garance Doré, founder of the eponymous website and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Love Style Life. In her podcast, the French fashion lover shares stories and her point-of-view on everyday subjects with her guests, in a relaxed and open conversation. Michelle Monaghan, Hilary Swank, Sara and Erin Foster, Elle Macpherson and Gwyneth Paltrow have all stopped by Garance’s studio to talk about subjects like entertaining, politics, humor and tattoos. New episodes are released every Thursday.
So these are really just my top four favorites. But I am always looking for suggestions. If you have a favorite podcast – please share it in the comments!