So much of the talent, fun and smarts in Los Angeles has moved into the podcast space, and we're not mad at that one bit. Here are the best of the shows—from uplifting life tips to shocking true crime stories—being produced in and about Southern California today.
8 Los Angeles Podcasts We’re Obsessed with Right Now
1. Black Girl In Om
Black Girl in Om exists “to hold and heal black women and women of color around the world on their unique wellness journeys, mending us from the inside out.” During each episode, Chicago native host Lauren Ash (now based in Marina del Rey—whassup Cali woman?) is joined by wellness and spirit-centered guests across various industries to talk about all things self-care and self-love, spiritual awakening, intergenerational healing and more.
2. California City
Back in 2016, reporter Emily Guerin moved to Los Angeles and was assigned what seemed like a routine story about why this Mojave Desert town was using so much water during a drought. What she uncovered deep in the desert is a story of money, power and deception that started way back in the 1950s and continues getting people to sign over their life savings in an ultimately worthless pursuit of the great American dream—prosperity through real estate.
3. Dragonfly: Brett Cantor Murder Mystery
True crime buffs—as well as music fans—will be fascinated by this look at a still-unsolved murder in '90s Hollywood. Golden boy Brett Cantor was a go-getter club promoter and A & R guy who signed some major talent including conscious rockers Rage Against the Machine. He was also a man-about-town who co-owned popular nightspot live music venue Dragonfly, and was dating rising actor Rose McGowan in 1993 when he was found repeatedly stabbed. A year later, his killing came up in the O.J. Simpson trial, and has continued to haunt the city to this day.
Did you enjoy the mellifluous voice and bonkers movie star adulation from host James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio? This is the literary podcast equivalent. In weekly installments, interviewer and host Michael Silverblatt goes deep into writing process and textual analysis with today's most lauded authors, including Nicole Krauss (To Be a Man) and Brit Bennett (The Vanishing Half). You'll feel smarter just by listening.
5. California Love
Journalist Walter Thompson-Hernández grew up in South L.A. before leaving the area to become a journalist, including at the New York Times. He says that in his years traveling the globe writing about race and identity, his native Los Angeles called to him. This is his audio memoir of the place, covering topics as diverse as the Compton Cowboys, Kobe Bryant and the "P-line," an anonymous '90s phone chat line that he and his teen pals chatted on. As a child of a Black father and a Mexican mother who had him when she was a junior at UCLA, he uses Los Angeles as a creative lens through which to explore belonging.
6. Hidden History Of Los Angeles
From a chat with one of the authors of an important memoir about the civil rights movement in the '60s to the origins of Rodeo Drive and the roots of Pentecostalism in the U.S. beinG traced to Little Tokyo, this is a must-listen for anyone who knows there's actually fascinating history here—and not just involving the entertainment industry.
7. Underbelly L.a.
Journalist Hadley Meares has a taste for the hard-boiled lowlifes that lived in Los Angeles, from '30s noir murder stories you've never heard of (such as the Rattlesnake Killer) to the '50s cults (including the clunkily named World Knowledge Faith Love Fountain of the World, that prefigured the booming business the City Angels did in false utopias in later decades). She researches, writes and narrates the stories, which are produced by the L.A., woman-owned TableCakes network.
8. The Treatment
Nicknamed "the bad boy of public radio," film critic Elvis Mitchell has hosted The Treatment for Santa Monica's KCRW since 1996. He gets the best guests because his intelligent incisive commentary is a welcome relief to everyone in the film and TV world. Recent guests include Succession's Jeremy Strong discussing his role in Netflix's The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Misha Green, showrunner for HBO's Lovecraft Country.