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I’ve been feeling really guilty lately, and I have something to admit: I haven’t listened to that many new podcasts over the last couple of months.
In times of stress (read: the holiday season), I tend to turn to my ol’ standbys. For me, this includes: The West Wing Weekly, Happier in Hollywood, and Reply All). So, although plenty of new podcasts have launched in the last six weeks, I just hadn’t gotten to them.
But now that I’ve had a chance to settle into January, I’ve made time to listen to some new shows, and I’m really excited to share them.
As I write this, I’ve noticed that, for whatever reason, a lot of these new podcasts recommendations are produced by large podcast companies.
That’s probably how they landed on my radar. Like most of you, I often learn about new shows via advertisements on other podcasts, or recommendations from podcast hosts. And the big podcast production companies are actively promo-ing new shows across all their current shows like never before.
A few of my recommendations are also sponsored by, or produced in partnership with, large corporations. Sometimes I like that, sometimes I don’t. (See my podcast review about Gimlet & Tinder’s DTR podcast.)
All that really matters is that these newbies are quality podcasts, and I’m enjoying the heck out of them. I think they will be staples in my ever-growing list of podcasts I subscribe to.
So, if you’re looking for new podcasts to listen to, here are my recommendations. (Also, if you’re looking for a new podcast player for your phone, I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago.)
My Favorite New Podcasts This Year (So Far)
When Meghan Met Harry
Also known as “the royal wedding podcast”, When Meghan Met Harry is a weekly podcast about the upcoming nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Because who doesn’t love a royal wedding??
The hosts – Kristen Meinzer (you know her from Panoply’s By The Book podcast) and James Barr – are hilariously chatty and super enthusiastic about The Royals in general. The wedding countdown has made them downright giddy, and they will make you laugh as they discuss the latest news out of London.
They also take bets on what will actually happen on The Big Day. Will the wedding cake be traditional fruit cake or banana flavored (Harry’s favorite flavor)? Who will design the bride’s dress? Will Donald Trump a) be invited, and b) show up?
Meinzer and Barr are planning a game so that we can all join in on the fun on May 19. Do yourself a favor and listen to this funny, cheery podcast before then.
I had no idea that Launch would launch with TWO episodes at once! I kind of squealed when I opened the feed earlier this week. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new show from Wondery, which is hosted by screenwriter, podcaster, and new author, John August.
August takes us through his decision – and often, indecision – to write and publish a novel for tweens (my word, not his).
Like Alex Blumberg did with the StartUp podcast, August records his conversations with friends, agents, fellow authors and screenwriters, movie producers, and everyone else involved in the process of publishing a new book.
You’ll hear him talk through his self-doubt, miscalculate how long it will take to write the first draft of his novel, fight nerves over actually succeeding, and more.
Although a little more scripted than StartUp (and suspiciously timed to come out right before the book release), the first two episodes of Launch have left me wanting more. I can’t wait to hear what happens next on August’s journey.
My new podcast Launch starts today! Six episodes about the process of making a book, from idea to bookstore shelves. First two eps on @ApplePodcasts right now. Please listen and subscribe! https://t.co/AptIPReg1i
— John August (@johnaugust) January 23, 2018
This new podcast, which is produced by Slate Studios in partnership with Campbell Soup Company, is a discussion about the constantly evolving food industry. The format is part-storytelling, part-interview.
I was worried that there would be a lot of mentions of Campbell Soup, and the first episode got close to doing it. But after listening to episode 2, I think we’re safe from being hit over the head with soup references.
The first episode of Uncanned introduces us to two 30-something women who are are keeping their family farm alive in California. As 21st century farmers, they are implementing new technology to cut costs and increase productivity.
The second half of the episode is about how similar technologies can be used to feed the world over the next several decades.
The show’s second episode scratches the surface of personalized nutrition and individual meal plans (think: what your DNA says you should be eating). It also gets into the deeper topic of how science and technology are constantly intertwined with nutrition and agriculture these days.
I like that this podcast is focused on how we think about, and make, food. There are a lot of health and wellness podcasts that tinker in this area, but Uncanned gets straight to the point. The host talks pretty fast sometimes, but I was able to keep up.
This podcast is produced by WBUR Boston in partnership with Reddit. Hosted by Ben Brock Johnson, with help from rock star producer Amory Sivertson, this is a storytelling podcast that sounds a lot like Planet Money, but without the money.
The stories covered in the show are pulled from Reddit threads (kind of like Law & Order’s “ripped from the headlines”). The podcast includes first-hand accounts from the people behind some of the most popular, controversial, and unbelievable posts on Reddit.
But you don’t have to be a loyal Redditer to listen to this podcast. Even if you’ve never visited the site (HOW?), you’ll be able to follow the episodes.
After listening to the trailer for Endless Thread, I thought the show would be more about Reddit’s super-users. You know, that user who always posts something thought-provoking, or insane.
Like user -RainMain500, who writes hilarious tennis stories in the r/tennis sub-Reddit. I want to know more about that guy (girl?), who he/she follows on Reddit, and how all his/her Reddit-ing got started.
But the show is deeper than all that (my standards were far too low). Endless Thread is a top-quality podcast, and I’m excited to see where it will go from here.
AO Radio: Behind the Australian Open
Speaking of tennis…
If you think I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts, you should see how much time I spend watching tennis!
My husband and I are huge tennis fans, so this new podcast that goes behind the scenes of the year’s first major tennis tournament is right up my alley.
Unlike a lot of other tennis or sports-related podcasts, this one isn’t an update on the Australian Open schedule or scores. Instead, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at how the tournament operates.
You’ll hear interviews with a chair umpire, the drivers who transport players and coaches to and from the tournament, the all-important racquet stringers, and more.
And because it’s not a schedule-and-scores format, you can go listen to the episodes long after the championship match this coming Sunday.
If you love tennis (and a good Australian accent), give this show a listen.
This is another new podcast that is produced by Slate Studios (I swear they aren’t sponsoring this post). The production is in partnership with Teva Pharmaceuticals.
I had serious concerns that this podcast about depression was being sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, but so far, no one is pushing pills.
Each episode of Life Effects introduces you to someone who has experience with depression. This includes guests, mental health professionals, and the host herself. It also touches on interesting topics like how depression is portrayed in films and pop culture.
I don’t personally have experience with depression, but most of us know someone who does. This podcast is a gentle way for the rest of us to become familiar with the signs of depression, the triggers people have, and the struggle to cope.
Don’t let the cover art for this podcast fool you; Life Effects is not dark or depressing to listen to. I find it fresh and informative.
Last week I wrote about another new podcast, Duolingo’s Spanish podcast. It’s now officially part of my weekly listening list. If you’re trying to learn Spanish, or want to brush up on your skills, go check it out.
What new podcasts have you found lately? Share with the rest of us by leaving a comment below!