It could be that Atlanta’s traffic makes our commutes perfect for long listening sessions, or it might be that the oral narrative tradition is just so fascinating, with all its different forms and features.
Here’s what we’ve been hitting play on recently.
StartUp – The first season of this podcast was the best because of the depth of its journalism surrounding starting a business. Granted it’s a bit meta, in that it’s a podcast about someone starting a podcast company. Also, who gets to talk with Chris Sacca in like their first week?
How I Built This – This one kicks off with one of Atlanta’s most admired founders, Spanx’s Sara Blakely, and then just keeps the hits coming. Overall, it’s a really great series that breaks down the process of starting a business into all its messy glory.
60 Minutes – The podcast is just the audio of the show, but the sound production is so cinematic, each episode is just as good as if you watched it.
Cocaine & Rhinestones – (Chesley turned me onto this one. Credit where credit is due.) Revenge. Blood Harmony. Lots of questionable behavior. And country music. My idea of a perfect show.
The Splendid Table – I absolutely hear echoes of Alec Baldwin’s Schwetty Balls when I listen to this podcast, but it’s also a really soothing dip into food culture and history that’s just classic.
Mysterious Universe – The hosts of this show prattle on maniacally like they’re popping gas station uppers, but their analysis of alien abductions, supernatural encounters and cryptozoology is spot on and addicting.
This American Life – A public radio classic, no one can deny this program’s quality or its ability to convey insight on every aspect of culture — from art and religion to politics — through thought-provoking, highly entertaining storytelling. Also, Ira Glass has the best radio voice.
Modern Love — I both love and hate this one. This is a New York Times column come to life with celebrities reading personal essays (Greta Gerwig, Jake Gyllenhall, Jason Alexander). The concept is great – the combo of a trendy, modern form of media consumption with a celebrity voice really hypes the essayists’ reach. But as a writer, I’d probably rather read my own work, and feel like the original authors might as well.
Freakonomics – A spin-off of the 2005 book of the same name, this podcast explores "the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports." The research is always fascinating, and great for making you feel super smart as you weave it into conversation.