The Offing Editors Pick Their Must-Listen Podcasts

by Feliks Garcia, Offsite Editor

On Halloween 2014, the hashtag #ScaryStoriesIn5Words made its way into my timeline. Not one to pass up an opportunity to zing and self-promote, I quipped, “Listen to my new podcast!” Regardless of whether or not that’s actually funny—comedy is subjective, after all—it spoke to the ubiquity of podcasts that fall.

Sarah Koenig’s Serial, among many others, ushered in an apparent “Great Podcasting Renaissance,” according to New York magazine. Radio giants and podcast chart-toppers This American Life, Radiolab, and Snap Judgment still held strong. But you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about any one of those shows.

The nature of the Internet, as well as the relative affordability and ease of self-recording and publishing, lends itself to the exponential growth of podcasts. And, indeed, there are simply too many to count.

In the interest of offering a place to start, The Offing staff assembled a list of 11 outstanding podcasts—some DIY, some part of larger networks—that you must check out. Have a listen, we think you’ll like what you hear.

Minorities in Publishing
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“The brainchild of publishing professional Jenn Baker, MiP is a podcast discussing diversity (or lack thereof) in the book publishing industry with other professionals working in-house as well as authors and those in the literary scene.”

Two Brown Girls
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“Two Brown Girls is a pop culture, film, and television podcast hosted by writers and critics Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay.”

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Hosted by Lea Thau, Strangers features “true stories about people we meet, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that we aren’t even who we thought we were…”

The Read
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Join Kid Fury and Crissle for their weekly podcast covering hip-hop and pop culture’s most trying stars. Throwing shade and spilling tea with a flippant and humorous attitude, no star is safe from Fury and Crissle unless their name is Beyoncé. (Or Blue Ivy.) As transplants to NYC, The Read also serves as an on-air therapy session for two friends trying to adjust to life and rats in the big city.”

Partially Examined Life
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The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don’t have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we’re talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion.”

The BodPod
website (nsfw) | episodes
Hosted by Jené Gutierrez, “the Bodpod seeks to engage in conversations about your body, the bodies around you, how this informs who you are and your conception of the world in hopes that small conversations can lead to big ideas and new understandings about ourselves and each other.”

Bey-ond Pop Culture
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“Politicizing pop culture. Finding the messages that matter in the media. A podcast by Kevin Allred – writer, speaker, educator, Beyoncé professor. Kevin has been teaching ‘Politicizing Beyoncé’ since 2010.”

Post Bourgie
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“A running, semi-orderly conversation about race and gender and class and politics and media and whatever else we can think of.” Features Gene Demby of NPR’s Code Switch.

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“Intellectual, accessible, and provocative literary conversations,” with host Michael Silverblatt.

Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time. Period.
website | episodes
Comedians W. Kamau Bell & Kevin Avery are absolutely certain of one thing: Denzel Washington is the greatest actor of all time, period. And every week they will prove it as they talk Denzel with guests, share the latest ‘Denzel News’ and review every Denzel movie in alphabetical order (mostly).”

On Being with Krista Tippett
website | episodes
On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.”

We want to know about your favorite podcasts! Let us know @theoffingmag.

Photo via dusk-photography/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)