This week’s “Sounds of Summer” goes outside the box and into the pod. We get Kate Mishkin to share some podcast selections for your summer listening.
Once burgeoning and kind of obscure, podcasts have sprouted into ubiquity. It’s about time.
I could write at length about why podcasts are so great, and which episodes you should listen to, and why you should listen to me. Instead, I’ve chosen four different podcasts worth trying out this summer.
I’m not saying my list includes the newest and most cutting-edge, or that I know something you don’t. But these are the ones I look out for every week because they’re just so perfect.
A quick note: The Charleston Gazette-Mail has a podcast, which I produce. It’s called “Mountain State Morning,” and we’ve been at it for about a year. You should listen to that, too.
A product of WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, Modern Love is a masterpiece that too few people are talking about.
Here’s the premise: They match essays published in the New York Times’ Modern Love column with an actor who reads the essay.
At the end, the actor, and the essay’s author, talk about their feelings about the piece. The stories are sometimes somber, sometimes hilarious, but always artfully written and read. Episodes are short (20 minutes) and perfect for a summer evening on the porch.
Episode suggestion: “Part I: You May Want to Marry My Husband”
This is not a hot take, and it’s already pretty popular.
If you’re not yet a regular listener, The Daily delivers the news in a way that sticks and forces you to think critically about it for the rest of the day, until the next great episode comes out tomorrow.
Bonus points if you listen until the credits to hear the dozens of people who make that show every single day.
Episode suggestion: “The Abortion Wars, Par 1: The Last Clinic in Missouri”
‘10 Things That Scare Me’
This podcast from WNYC, the New York City NPR affiliate, takes everything you think a podcast is and throws it out. The show barely has a host, and the guests are rarely introduced.
Episodes are about 10 minutes, at most. The premise is self-explanatory: People recite their list, some with more explanation than others, but it’s raw and very human, and will force you to confront what you think you’re afraid of, and what it means to be scared.
This isn’t something light to listen to on the beach. Sorry.
Episode suggestion: “Chris Miller”
‘This American Life’
There are summer days when it’s possibly hotter inside my apartment than it is outside, and all I can do is wander up and down Kanawha Boulevard with my headphones, trying to escape the summer heat and mid-July ennui.
Without fail, This American Life takes me somewhere else. This is the power of good storytelling, and of hearing someone else’s voice. The show has been around since the mid-1990s, and pretty much paved the way for podcasts. I think it’ll outlast most of them, too.
Episode suggestion: “Birds & Bees”