The 11 Podcasts That Are So Good We Wish Our Commute Were Longer
Pop-Up Magazine cofounder Doug McGray gives us his top picks
Podcasts are perfect for road trips, workweek commutes or even as bedtime stories. But there are so many good ones out there that it’s hard to choose. So we asked Douglas McGray, co-creator of Pop-Up Magazine, to share what he’s listening to right now. Bonus: Tickets for the November 9 and 10 Pop-Up Magazine shows are still available (hot damn!), so get on that while you’re at it.
For Storytelling Lovers: “THIS AMERICAN LIFE”
Ira Glass has been making surprising, intimate, ambitious radio for two decades, and this show is still the gold standard.
For Smart Pop Culture: “ANOTHER ROUND”
Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu are so, so funny on this interview-based podcast in which the hosts get a little tipsy while talking about everything from pop culture to racial profiling.
For Culture Vultures: “STILL PROCESSING”
The New York Times just launched this one—it’s a series of culture conversations between Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, who share their personal perspectives about current events issues, from Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest to the Internet trolls attacking Leslie Jones.
For Media Geeks: “LONGFORM”
Co-hosted by Evan Ratliff (also of Pop-Up and The Atavist), Longform takes you inside the reporting and writing process of some of the best journalists working today. "In a brief lapse of standards, they let me on the show," said McGray. "You can hear me talk about Pop-Up Magazine and our other project, The California Sunday Magazine, in episode #173."
For Analytical Thinkers: “HEAVYWEIGHT”
A brand-new podcast produced by Gimlet Media, in this show, host Jonathan Goldstein goes back to the moment when everything went wrong.
For Political Intrigue: “MORE PERFECT”
“Radiolab,” like “This American Life,” predates the podcast boom and also represents the very best of it. With “More Perfect,” the first-ever spin-off series from "Radiolab," they’re taking on the Supreme Court.
For the Internet-Obsessed: “REPLY ALL”
This is a really smart, fun show about the Internet. But don’t think of it as a technology show. It’s more about people and the fun (and trouble) we get into online.
For the Design Nerds: “99% INVISIBLE”
Host and creator Roman Mars, who built this show into a phenomenon, reveals hidden design stories all around us.
For a New Perspective: “YOUTH RADIO”
This show produces original, reported stories by young people from around the Bay Area. Sometimes the stories are in their schools and neighborhoods. Other times they’ve got teenagers covering the Republican and Democratic national conventions from the convention floor. They’ve won multiple Peabodys and Edward R. Murrow Awards…it’s awesome.
For a Little Bit of Whimsy: “FUGITIVE WAVES”
The Kitchen Sisters are longtime stars of public radio, and their podcast features “lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales from remarkable people around the world.”