Pod Drop is a podcast. Each episode delivers flash reviews of three new podcasts.
It’s tightly produced with lots of excerpts, and fun to hear.
Listen below, and scroll down for descriptions of the featured shows, and to subscribe!

Listen to Pod Drop here:

July 16

An Oral History of The Office

(Propagate / Spotify)

Fifteen years ago, the American television landscape changed forever with the launch of a new series that struggled initially, but became one of television’s most beloved and enduring comedies. This show pulls back the curtain on creating this unstoppable force in American popular culture and why it continues to resonate with new audiences today. Hosted (in character) by Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone).

[GOOGLE]

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Quarantine Genius

(Quaragenius)

A terrific history and culture podcast, expertly written and narrated. How did Shakespeare cope when theatres shut for plague? How were Virginia Woolf and TS Eliot affected by the Spanish flu? How did Frida Kahlo’s experience of polio trigger her artistic relationship with disease? Over the course of 8 episodes, ‘Quarantine Genius’ investigates historical epidemics from the perspective of cultural and scientific figures.

[APPLE]

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The Gift of Forgiveness

(C13/Entercom, Headspace Studio)

The Gift of Forgiveness explores what forgiveness means, how it affects us mentally and physically, and what it takes to truly move on. Hosted by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt and inspired by her book, The Gift of Forgiveness, these are the true stories of forgiveness from the people who’ve lived them. You’ll hear exclusive interviews from some of the people featured in Pratt’s book, and in-depth conversations with celebrities — like Sean hayes in the first episode. Guests share their own stories of forgiveness.

[APPLE]

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July 7

Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment

(Wondery)

This is an investigative series about James Arthur Ray, a self-help entrepreneur who operated a “Spiritual Warrior” retreat in 2009, featuring sweat lodges. Three attendees died after the event, and Ray was convicted of negligent homicide for all three deaths. This documentary walks through the saga and courtroom trials. Hosted by Matt Stroud.

[APPLE]

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American Rehab

(The Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal)

This podcast is part of the  Reveal project produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting. It is located in the Peabody-winning Reveal feed. The show is hosted by Al Letson and partners with reporters and newsrooms around the world, including The Washington Post, ProPublica, APM, The Marshall Project and The Investigative Fund. PRX is involved in this show.

[APPLE]

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Great Big Story

(CNN)

Producer CNN describes Great Big Story like this: “A podcast about the delightful, the surprising, and the untold true stories all around us.” The first episode is the story of Kryptos, a piece of encryption code which has never been cracked … yet. Episode two is called “The Most Sampled Loop in Music History.” — (hint: it’s a  drum solo). Episodes are under 20 minutes, hosted by Drew Beebe.

[APPLE]

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July 2

Unfinished: Deep South

(Stitcher)

This documentary is the sad, horrowing, distressing story of Isadore Banks, who was lynched in Arkansas at the dawn of the civil rights era. At a time when both BLM-themed shows and history shows are proliferating, this is one of the finest productions we have encountered.  This podcast is hosted by journalists Taylor Hom and Neil Shea, who join members of the Banks family on a quest to find out who killed Isadore Banks, and to restore his legacy. What they find shakes a small Southern town from its silence, explores the story of African American prosperity on the Delta, and traces the roots of racial terror from Isadore Banks’ day up through our own.

[APPLE]

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Consider This

(National Geographic, Benztown)

This podcast features interviews with teams which produced NetGeo’s Emmy-contending shows. That might seem mainy self-promoting, but the conversations with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Keegan-Michael Key, Gordon Ramsey, Jeff Goldblum, and others add up to a fascinating interview show, regardless of ulterior marketing motives. This thing is hosted by award-winning journalist Stacey Wilson Hunt. Her smooth and skilled interviewing reaches beyond the celebrities to showrunners, directors, producers, writers, composers, production designers, costume designers, and directors of photography.

[APPLE]

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The Gratitude Diaries

(iHeartRadio)

This is a daily series of short (5-7 minutes each) inspiratinal talks. Falling in the self-improvement category, this show is the work of Janice Kaplan, who explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and well-being. She gets into a bit of science (appreciating your spouse changes your neurons, which makes it a little depressing to consider the normal state of our neurons) — and, of course, gratitude is the preeminent state of being in this show. Kaplan offers practical, down-to-earth tips on how to add gratitude to your everyday life.

[APPLE]

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June 24

Servant of Pod with Nick Quah

(LAist)

This new podcast might make some listeners wonder what took Nick Quah, the host, so long to launch one. Quah is the founder and editor of the popular Hot Pod newsletter, a weekly long-form survey of the podcast ecosystem. In this chatcast, Quah talks with podcast creators “from major media institutions to mom and pop shops starting from scratch.” His first guest is John Moe, creator of The Hilarious World of Depression, whose show suffered a COVID cancellation just before Servant of Pod launched. Episode 2 guest: Avery Trufelman. [APPLE]

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Truth vs. Hollywood

(Audioboom)

Truth vs Hollywood is a critical look at the real story behind popular films that are “based on a true story.” Hosted by David Chen and Joanna Robinson, the shows explore the films and compare their accounts with a historical reality check. The show notes put this in a more sweeping perspective: “In exploring the true story and how it was portrayed in the film, Truth vs Hollywood examines the larger theme of film vs real life.” [APPLE]

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Land of the Giants

(Recode)

This is the second season drop of a Recode series which presumably will run for five seasons, each one examining one of the big-give tech giants: Amazon (first season), Netflix (the new season), Facebook, Apple, and Google. The show premise asks this essential questions: “These five tech giants have changed the world. But how? And at what cost? Peter Kafka and Rani Molla host the new season, and they explore the unique ways Netflix has disrupted entertainment and completely changed the way we watch TV. [APPLE]

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June 16

Medal of Honor

(Evergreen Podcasts)

An unltrashort-form podcast, Medal of Honor tells stories of bravery and heroism, one honoree at a time. Episodes are two or three minutes each, competently narrated by Ken Harbaugh. The time span ranges from the Civil War to the present. Interestingly, one of the honorees, and subjects of this show, is post-WWII film star Audie Murphy. The podcast is made in partnership with The National Medal of Honor Museum, and three shows have dropped as of this post. [APPLE]

first episode (no trailer):

Overheard at National Geographic

(National Geographic)

This returning podcast (season 3) has been on hiatus since December, except for one coronavirus-related drop in April. The new season continues with “curiously delightful conversations we’ve overheard around National Geographic’s headquarters.” The show is hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs. The first episode, which dropped today (June 16), chronicles a teacher and his middle-school students who used middle-school math and science to build artificial glaciers which irrigate a dry part of India. [APPLE]

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Citizen Chef

(iHeartRadio)

This show is hosted by Tom Colicchio, a restaurateur and activist who is fascinated by “the politics, decisions, policies and people that shape our food system.” He investigates policy, labor, hunger, democracy, sustainability, farming, health, social justice, technology and the restaurant business. So, not exactly a foodie podcast, but still centered on food and its multi-dimensional importance in our lives and in the world. The first episode (“Food Is Politics: A Primer”) sets the stage for a deeply knowledgeable and informative podcast. COVID-19 is addressed, and the post-pandemic world is a promised focus of the show. [APPLE]

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June 12

Unholier Than Thou

(Crooked Media)

Journalist Phillip Picardi hosts this earnest exploration of spirituality and its intersection with world events, based on his own reevaluation of faith. No social topic appears to be out of bounds in this show, which might range from climate change to sex, politics to miracles. Picardi says he’ll try “to get answers from up above to whatever the hell is happening down here on Earth.” The show drops today (June 12) with two episodes: “Facing Death and Seeing Miracles” and “The President’s Sacrilege.” Episodes are 28 minutes each — that’s some drive-time discipline during this work-at-home era. [APPLE]

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Good Yarns

(Podshape)

From the young podcast group called Podshape, founded by ex-Nova Aussie podcast specialist Jay Walkerden, this rambunctious and fun show promises “Stories and Banter. No knitting.” (Yarns, get it?) Hosted by Shad Wicka, whose name should win some sort of prize, this show is a “weekly storytelling podcast with guests sharing outrageous, interesting and often funny stories from their life.” Skipping through the first episode to get the flavor, we heard a lot of laughter. It’s the kind of show you want to settle into with a pint. First episode is 14 minutes. [APPLE]

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Waiting on Reparations

(iHeartRadio)

This is a show about Hip Hop and politics. Hosted by rappers Dope Knife (also a visual artist) and Linqua Franqa (also a politician), this podcast self-describes  like this: “explore the history of public policy and its impacts on Hip Hop life; what Hip Hop culture tells us about our political reality; and the role of Hip Hop in shaping our political future.” The first episode focuses on George Lloyd. The hosts explain that the first episode was unplanned — the plans went out the window and the series drop episode has an improvised feel. formally, the show is about exploring the history of public policy and its impacts on Hip Hop life; what Hip Hop culture tells us about political reality; and the role of Hip Hop in shaping the political future. Music is usually in the mix somehow. This is a good series to catch early, to get acquainted with the hosts in a less prepared format. [APPLE]

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June 9

Live From Tomorrow

(The Podglomerate)

This is a podcast unlike any you’ve heard before. We spoke with Jeff Umbro at The Podglomerate, who agreed that the podcast is “weird in the best way.” It’s got a show within a show, and a star who is both fictional and real-life. That’s Matt Hooper, who (just like his character in the show) quit his job in a bank to get into entertainment. Live From Tomorrow is a variety show at heart, with songs and scripted dialog, where Matt plays a fictional version of himself. Inside that framework, the real-life Matt Hooper interviews innovators who are working to lead the world into the future — hence the podcast title. Two episodes have dropped in what will be a limited, five-episode series. The trailer (below) doesn’t effectively convey the fun or depth of the show, so skip straight to the first installment (HERE).

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My Funeral Home Stories 

(iHeartRadio & Grant Inman)

“This journal contains language and content that might not be suitable for all listeners.” Never was there a truer warning. People die in all kinds of ways, and this podcast doesn’t shy away from all of them. Grant is an assistant to a funeral home director, and he seems to take a deadpan delight, or a jaundiced joy, in relating his most shocking and unforgettable experiences picking up dead bodies for his family’s funeral home. The show has almost no production effects — it is Grant’s dead-serious (sorry) monotone reading as if from a journal. This is an ongoing podcast that just started its third season. Past narratives have included a suicide, a 700 pound dead body, and the new season starts out with an accident at a Fourth of July celebration that included a canon. The actual episode describes it in a way that will not be repeated here. If True Crime is the stalwart category of podcasting, this show takes a stab, so to speak, at True Death.

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RomComPods

(Pod People)

After a delayed launch that upset some eager listeners who were caught up by the trailer, RomComPods is off and running with a slew of 5-star reviews. It’s a fiction show — romantic comedy, naturally — and Season 1 is about Claire, who was dumped just before her wedding, and goes on the Italian honeymoon anyway. The tour guide is named Matteo. We needn’t say more. The show is created by Rachael King and Becca Freeman. It’s got a light production touch with some incidental music and gentle sound effects. Easy to listen to, and easy to get hooked on.

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June 4

Up All Night with Prince

(The Current, The Prince Estate)

Up All Nite With Prince is a new documentary from The Current. Host Andrea Swensson will explore Prince’s prolific and reflective period of 2001 and 2002, the era when he launched his trailblazing NPG Music Club, released The Rainbow Children, One Nite Alone…, and put out a collection of live recordings from the One Nite Alone Tour. This podcast is a limited two-episode series produced by The Current from Minnesota Puboc Radio, with support of The Prince Estate. Great music and documentary coverage features numerous celebrity musicians sharing personal memories and insights.

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Borrasca

(QCODE)

This spooky (and not safe for kids uner 13) fiction podcast stars, and is produced by Cole Sprouse, a young actor who stars as Jughead in Riverdale, and has been a Disney Channel star. Here’s the setup: Sam Walker moves to the town of Drisking, Missouri one summer and quickly befriends two other kids, Kyle and Kimber. When Sam’s sister, Whitney, disappears a few months later, he passes five lonely years wondering what happened to her. When more people start disappearing suddenly, the three take it upon themselves to find out what’s happening to all the disappearing people and what connection the disappearances hold with the mountain outside of town. this show is exceptionally well produced and acted, even by stasndasrds of the quickly maturing Podcast Fiction category.

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Hope in Darkness – The Josh Holt Story

(Wondery, KSL Podcasts)

This harrowing documentary tells the story of Josh Holt and his Venezuelan wife Thamy, who were abducted from their home by the Venezuelan government and impronised for two years. It’s a 12-part series covering the tireless efforts of their families working to get them home and the inspiring ways they coped while incarcerated. Josh Holt himself co-hosts.

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May 27

Stay Human

(Michael Franti)

Michael Franti is a globally-recognized musician, humanitarian, activist, and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, devotion to health and wellness, and worldwide philanthropic efforts. this podcast is related to Franti’s album ‘Stay Human Vol. II,’ which is an accompaniment to his documentary ‘Stay Human.’ That production focuses on how we hold on to our humanity in the most challenging times of our lives. This podcast seeks to do the same. “There’s no one you wouldn’t love if you knew their story.” The show introduces listeners to interesting and diverse people around the world.

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Homemade

(Allrecipes)

This new show is a spinoff of Allrecipes, a successful website. This podcast has a lot of down-home atmosphere, starting with the comforting southern inflections of host Martie Duncan — author, home cook, and Next Food Network Star finalist. She delivers recipes and family stories that underpin them. She also engages star foodie guests; Guy Fieri appears in the first episode. The program is an easygoing dive into comfort cooking — “A recipe is a story that ends with a great meal.”

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Stroke of Genius

(IPO Educational Foundation)

This is a new-season drop of this fascinating program from IPO Educational Foundation. It features interviews with inventors, with an emphasis that great innovations start with ideas, along with weird and fascinating questions. The show promotes the value of interllectual property. The new season (#3) explores the most pressing questions, fascinating stories, and often-overlooked marvels that make up the world of intellectual property. From famous copyright cases to the unheard stories behind impactful inventions, each episode intends to guide the listener through the landscape of human innovation.

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May 21

Can We All Come Out Now?

(Pod People)

This podcast centers around reintegration stories that shed light on what to expect as shelter-in-place comes to an end. But don’t expect to wring inspiration from run-of-the-mill stories of shopkeers and nail salons re-opening. It’s more exotic than that. The first episode introduces Allison Rader, also known as Lama Choyang, who reintegrated into the world after sitting alone in the woods for seven years. Think about that next time you complain that your GrubHub delivery is late.

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Wind of Change

(Pineapple Street Studios / Crooked Media / Spotify)

Patrick Radden Keefe, an investigative journalist, helms this globe-spanning mission to determine the true source of a classic song by The Scorpions. It’s based on a rumor: that the song wasn’t written by the Scorpions, but by the CIA. This is a lavishly produced, on-location story in search of rumor, conspiracy theory, or truth, whichever prevails. the show has reached into the top five of Apple’s “All Podcasts, United States” list.

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Missing in Alaska

(iHeartRadio)

In what turned into a very cold case, two congressmen — Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr. and Nick Begich — departed for Alaska in a small plane. They were never heard from again. Plane crash, right? Wreckage was never found. This podcast is about “one of the strangest stories you’ve never heard.” The mafia is involved. Also an alleged bombing. Hosted by John Walczak, this podcast travels on an investigative journey in a well-produced documentary. Show notes are minimal, as in the description of the first episode: “Two congressmen vanish in Alaska in 1972.” OK then. Put on your headphones.

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May 18

Influence: Exploring The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Of Advertising (WeTransfer)

This interesting and accessible podcast about advertising has just returned for its second season. It is a branded podcast produced by file-storage and sharing service WeTransfer, hosted by Chief Creative Officer Damian Bradfield. It’s an extended documentary podcast that takes a deep dive into the world of advertising via interviews with experts and ad execs. It explores questions like: How much of a say do we really have when it comes to the things we buy? And what does the way we consume advertising say about our culture, our economy and our world? One reviewer said: “Influence has helped me understand the internet better.” While never in the Top 100 Apple chart in the marketing category, it has performed well:

Ratings history in Apple Podcasts, Marketing: US

 

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All Together Now: Fridays with The Moth (The Moth / PRX)

This is a podcast drop within a podcast. The Moth is the well-known live storytelling show that started in 1997! — as a podcast it is downloaded 73-million times a year. It might seem like the gambit here is to add a second story performance show into The Moth’s existing feed — and that is the case — there is also a thematic rationale for “All Together Now.” There will be a new episode every Friday through Labor Day featuring “PG-rated” stories from The Moth archive, curated into weekly themes … like Identity, Togetherness, Transformation, and more. We’re told that the show is for listeners who are distancing or quarantining together in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: kids, couples, singles, and friends of any generation. So, it’s a Covid-19 spinoff meant to bring The Moth’s warmth, humor, and inspiration to a limited run of special shows.

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TEDx Shorts (TED)

TEDx Shorts is the seventh in an enlarging empire of TED programs, whose podcasts are downloaded 420-million times a year. The TED Radio Hour, now hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, is the audio flagship for this cluster of TED shows. TEDx is the localized extension of the original TED talks. The TEDx program started in 2009, and there have been 28,000 TEDx events in 170 countries since then. With those numbers, you have to think it’s about time we get a podcast featuring the best of those local events and presentations. Hosting this new podcast is actress Atossa Leoni, known for her role in the television series Homeland. The promotion for this podcast mentions that Atossa is fluent in five languages — she appears to settle on English for this show.

It’s not called TEDx -SHORTS- for nothing — the bite-sized episodes will each be under 10 minutes.

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May 14

Dear Governor (iHeartRadio)

Maybe we shouldn’t call this a True Crime podcast — it’s more like a True Innocence show, or a True Redemption podcast. It centers on Jarvis Jay Masters, a condemned prisoner who has maintained his innocence for over 30 years. The podcast shares intimate details of his life story and his ongoing legal case. The man has written inspirational books and articles while imprisoned in a nine-by-four cell, and his case is famous enough to inspire an exoneration website. There is a larger moral thrust to the show. Notes for the first episode observe that the U.S. is the only Western nation that continues to execute its own citizens. And the backdrop of Jarvis’s particular predicament is California governor Gavis Newsom’s moratorium on capital punishment.

“The story is tragic, but also quite heartening!”

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Let’s Find Common Ground (Common Ground Committee)

The title makes it pretty clear this is a podcast about politics, community, and the social good. The main purpose of the show is to find and foster points of agreement in a world of increasing incivility. Guests will include figures in academia, public policy, and finance. Interview subjects in the first dropped episodes are General Wesley Clark, who was a presidential candidate in 2004, and Professor Paul Light of NYU, who has testified in Congress.

“A thoughtful and refreshing take compared to the polarized discussions we see in the media all day long.”

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Media’s New Deal (Oxford  Road)

Actually the full title is “Oxford Road Presents: Media’s New Deal.” Oxford Road is a Los Angeles creative media agency, and the show is, in a sense, a branded podcast, but more out front about that than most others. CEO Dan Granger hosts this interview show with new-media leaders. The first three episodes feature conversations with Hernan Lopez, founder and CEO of Wondery, David Field, CEO of Entercom (owner of Cadence13, RADIO.com, and Pineapple Street Studios) and Andy Lipset, the CEO of audio production company Spoken Layer. This is a limited run series, and though we don’t know exactly what that means, Dan Granger’s inspirational four-minute State Of The Media Landscape speech which is the show trailer, clearly ties the show to Coronavirus.

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May 10

Passport (Frequency Machine)

“Passport” sounds like a travel podcast, but it’s really more like a destination show, or even a history show, or really a documentary show … well, certainly it’s a storytelling show. One of the first shows to win financial and production support from Podfund, a venture capital startup whose mission is to fund early-stage podcast ideas and turn them into mature shows. Each episode focuses on one destination and a pivotal story about that place which helps define it. The first episode is in Belfast, and describes how it got reshaped when Game of Thrones filmed there. The second episode is located in Los Angeles, and tells the Charles Manson story. Upcoming episodes will dive into Helsinki, Jerusalem, and Beijing. The stories there are sociological, political … and sometimes just weird.

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Can’t Stop Watching (Los Angeles Times)

Hosted by L.A. Times television reporter Yvonne Villarreal, Can’t Stop Watching features conversations with TV stars who’ve helped make the recent weeks of self-quarantine both bearable and entertaining. The actors and showrunners interviewed on the podcast will talk about their most fascinating roles, how their characters would handle the coronavirus (which is a great question), and what they’re watching on television right now. This is a celebrity-infused quarantine survival show.

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Julie’s Library: Story Time with Julie Andrews (American Public Media)

In this podcast, Oscar-winning actor Julie Andrews hosts with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, who is a children’s book author. The two of them read children’s books — that’s the library part. They bring in the authors sometimes and guests, and kids play a part too — they adorably introduce the episodes. The stories are livened up by lots of music soundtracking and some special effects. Of course, Julie Andrews is a magnificent children’s book narrator, and Edna keeps pace as well. The shows are 20 minutes long, nicely tailored to a kid’s attention.

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May 6

Yang Speaks (Cadence13)

Ex-presidential candidate Andrew yang has partnered with the Cadence13 network for a weekly podcast. It’s mainly a spotlight for Yang, even though his campaign is over, to promote his ideas, prominent among which is the Universal Basic Income program which was a pillar of his campaign, and which has gained more momentum now than during the campaign. (Yang can thank the economic disruption of Covid-19 for that.) In addition, the show is basically a chatcast covering many topics and featuring many guests, facilitated by Zach Graumann, Yang’s ex-campaign manager. Two shows have dropped. The first is just Andrew and Zach, the second features Ken Jeong, who used to be a doctor and is now a comedian. The episodes are settling into a 60-minute format.

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Run It Again (Benztown)

This is a sports podcast produced by Benztown. If there is any production house in the world that knows how to create highly compressed and loud audio it is Benztown. (Listen to the trailer below.) The in-your-face production style is interesting marketing, as it is pure commercial radio, produced by a house whose main business is making radio imaging and jingles. Most podcast marketing (and shows) strive to differentiate from radio with a softer conversational approach. And in fact, Run It Again is actually straight-ahead conversation once you get into the show … at least the first episode which features NFL sportscaster Ron Pitts and analyst Mike Martz from FOX Sports. The rationale here is to skip the daily details of standings and game highlights (makes sense, given no games presently), and focus on inside stories of the sports industry.

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Podcast-19 (FiveThirtyEight and ABC News)

This carefully articulated show is produced by FiveThirtyEight, the company known for data-driven news and statistical analysis. There is a partnership with ABC News. Podcast-19 has a mission to separate fact from myth, certainty from mystery. Anna Rothschild is the host — she has years of experience reporting on science, health and the environment, and her work has won awards from scientific organization. The show is part news update and part interview. The first episode dropped on May 1, and comes in at a clean 30 minutes.

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April 26

Hope, Through History (Cadence13)

Hosted by New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham, this production is a five-part series examining five historic and critical turning points in American history. The first episode is “FDR and the Great Depression,” including the instantly recognizable “Nothing to fear but fear itself” speech. The entire first season will cover Season One takes a look at critical moments around the 1918 Flu Pandemic (which arguably could have made the most relevant first episode), the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Podcast guests include numerous distinguished scholars. This is high-level audio documentary, exceptionally accessible with 30-minute episodes (if the first drop is a template for the others).

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Strange Arrivals (Aaron Mahnke, Grim & Mild Entertainment, iHeartPodcast Network)

A UFO encounter podcast, Strange Arrivals launched at the end of March, and has posted four weekly episodes so far, about 30 minutes each. It is categorized as a History podcast, and the specific case study is that of Betty and Barney Hill, who in 1961 were purportedly chased by a bright sky object, until they found themselves directly encountering an alien craft. According to show notes, their story is “one of the most famous encounters of UFO lore.” Hosted by Toby Ball.

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The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber (PRX and The Moth)

The host is a public theologian (which is an interesting job description), NYT bestselling author, former stand-up comic, recovering alcoholic, founder of the House for All Saints & Sinners in Denver, and Moth storyteller. She is well known in the 21st-century New Age culture for what might be described as a spiritually incorrect attitudes and language. Bolz-Weber is a street-wise pastor for bruised souls, and has gained viral renown for her short-form video sermons. This podcast is about radical forgiveness. The format has Bolz-Weber interviewing extraordinary individuals who are in some state of spiritual recovery or redemption. The first episode guest is Megan Phelps-Roper, a former spokesperson of the Westboro Baptist Church (famous for religious demonstrations often described as hateful). Going forward, The Confessional will invite guests to share stories about times they were at their worst. Guests talk honestly about what led to that moment, what they learned from it, and how they changed as a result. The show offers a phone hotline for listeners to confess things. The first episode is 26 minutes long.

trailer (language not safe for work, or work at home with kids in the room)

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April 15

The Dennissance (Audio Up)

Dennis Quaid steps into podcasting for a short-form series on Audio Up, where he is a partner. He brings his trademark charm and instantly recognizable deep vocal fry to interviews with luminaries from various fields. First guest: Billy Ray Cyrus. Prior to that April 15 drop, the project released a trailer (listen below) and an introductory 16-minute episode with Audio Up co-founder Jared Gutstadt. Most of the promo material focuses on Quaid’s many accomplishments that most people are unaware of: piloting an Alaska dogsled, meditating by the Ganges, and more. Clearly, this podcast venture is pinning its fortunes on host appeal. It’ll probably have good guests, too.

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An Animal Saved My Life (iHeartRadio / The Dodo)

This is an original podcast from The Dodo, which all dog and kitten lovers are familiar with in viral social media videos. In this podcast, Emmy-nominated host Rocky Kanaka will listen to and share amazing stories from people all over the world who have had their lives saved by an animal. From a dog pulling his owner off train tracks, to a pack of lions saving a young girl from kidnappers, this podcast tells a variety of true stories that remind us why we are so lucky to have animals in our lives.

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The Essentials: Inside The Curve (ABC Audio)

This is a 10-part series produced in the field with front-line COVID-19 medical workers. the show is produced by ABC Audio, home of the START HERE morning news podcast and many others. The podcast series will feature first person diaries of their days, including their fears, struggles and moments of inspiration.

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April 3

The Refuge (PRX)

This is both a new and returning show — it is the third season of Threshold, a public radio program. The Refuge takes a deep dive into the controversy over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.. This decades-long battle over the future of the country’s largest wildlife refuge inflames the passions of people across the United States, and although Congress voted to approve drilling in the refuge in 2017, the fight is far from over.

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Doctor’s Log (Pineapple Street Studios)

In collasboration with The Meteor, Pineapple Street launches Doctor’s Log, a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo will report from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis—the emergency room of a busy American hospital—as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history. Dr. Choo is an associate professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland. The show dropped on A1pril 1.

excerpt:

The No Sports Report (Treefort Media)

What happens when there is no more “gametime?” That’s the question answered by this newly dropped show, hosted by the capable, media-experienced Jensen Karp (Kevin & Bean Show). The No Sports Report features ‘fireside’ chats with the best athletes, coaches, commentators and legends from the sports world who – just like their fans – are desperately missing the games they love right now. The launch episode features wrestler CM Punk, who critizies the WWE’s decision to continue hosting audience-free Wrestlemania this weekend.

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April 1

Unlocking Us (Cadence13)

Starring host Dr. Brene Brown, a researcher and bestselling author who first dabbled in podcasting a dozen years ago, this is a conversational podcast mostly, though Dr. Brown also promises some monologues, and live shows. The show was originally scheduled to drop at SXSW — which was, of course, canceled. The drop happened last week (EPISODES HERE), and six episodes have quickly been released. From Dr. Brown: “I want this to be a podcast that’s real, unpolished, honest, and reflects both the magic and the messiness of what it means to be human. Episodes will include conversations with the people who are teaching me, challenging me, confusing me, or maybe even ticking me off a little.”

trailer:

Tape Club (Pete Naughton and Rachael King)

Pete Naughton is a UK producer, and Rachael King is the founder of Pod People in L.A. together they a cross-continentally making Tape Club, a meta podcast about the podcast industry. In the first episode King brags that she has never listened to a single minute of The Joe Rogan Experience, probably the world’s most successful podcast, which fact possibly dims the show’s aura of expertise. But the audio is well produced and the two hosts have good conversational chemistry. Two episodes have dropped (HERE THEY ARE) and the cadence is every two weeks.

excerpt:

Survivor’s Guide to Coronavirus (ARN / iHeartPodcasts Network)

From ARN, the Australian radio network which manages the iHeartPodcasts Network down under, this show is hosted by Aussie comic Nazeem Hassain. “Cure Self-isolation Boredom” is the promo catchphrase. Hussain’s stand-up appearances are cancelled along with most other live events, and this podcast is a new venue for the comedian. He’s got the voice and personality projection for it. He’s put some extras within mic distance for conversational ambience, and the show is amusingly self-effacing from the start. “Nazeem admits he has no idea what to do with the world in crisis, so he’s drawing on the knowledge of people even less qualified than him to find his way,” is part of the promo ARN sent us. At the same time, the PR promises that the show will never make light of the virus crisis. Guests will include Luke McGregor, Julia Morris, Karl Chandler, and more. Six episodes have been dropped rapid-fire since launch on March 22 — they’re short; none longer than 17 minutes. Some involve remote recording, which might help listeners feel like they’re getting outdoors. (EPISODES HERE)

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March 31

The Kids Are All…Home (Pineapple Street Studios)

While podcasting is a listening choice for quarantined households, Pineapple Street Studios is bringing podcast creation into those households with The Kids Are All…Home, a show by, and for, kids. “Making a podcast is really easy, literally anyone can do it,” the production company writes on its show page. “You can do it on your or your parents’/guardians’ phone, or laptop, or their professional music studio (If your mom is Beyoncé, please tell her we love her).” The show aspires to feature voices from all around the world, each episode revealing what it’s like for kids to be stuck at home and what they’re doing to fill their time. Parental consent (a signed doc) is required to join in.

trailer:

Doctor’s Log (Pineapple Street Studios)

Pineapple Street is definitely leaping into creative mode during the coronavirus phase. this one has not yet dropped — we spotted the trailer (listen below) for this unannounced new podcast from the company. The show doesn’t appear on the network’s website as of this post. According to the trailer description, Doctor’s Log is a joint effort of The Meteor and Pineapple Street. Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency room physician in Portland, Oregon, will deliver a daily report from the front lines of the coronavirus crisis: her own ER. She takes listeners into the real world doctors and nurses are facing now, as they grapple with coronavirus.

trailer:

Here’s The Deal (Joe Biden)

The ex-VP and current presidential candidate has launched a podcast. Choosing this platform during a time of social quarantine, when traditional campaigning is impossible, is by itself interesting. Now mention of how the show is produced. One episode has dropped, the front part of which serves as a trailer (listen below). The format promises to be interviews, and the first guest is Ron Klain who was a White House Ebola Response Coordinator. The show also fields questions sent in by listeners, and the first episode is seeded with a couple of those. Nick Quah mentioned in today’s Hot Pod that the podcast was hard to find in the usual listening platforms at his posting time; we also found blank spots, but it seems to be propagating now. The certain place to hear it is the Biden show page.

trailer:

 

March 27

Thinking Ahead (GfK)

From marketing and analytics company GfK, this podcast self-describes like this: ”  a podcast about research, innovation, and discovery. Each episode will give you new insights into today’s consumer, and prepare you for tomorrow’s marketplace.” this is a bi-weekly show, nicely produced. the most recent episode focuses on coronavirus, predictably, staying on-topic tracking its impact on brands and consumers. The impact of technology and the “dark side” of marketing are featured in previous shows. Four episodes have dropped. [LISTEN]

The Creative Cyclist (Le Coffee Ride)

Made by a Belgian B&B which is enthusiastic about cycling, this show looks at many types of people in the cycling world, from cycling enthusiasts who make a living doing their thing, brand owners, ambassadors to world bike travelers, cycling photographers, pro soigners, and many others. It’s a weekly production in accented English, cleanly produced. [LISTEN]

Not Another Politics Podcast (Harris School of Public Policy)

Well, it really is nother one … but with an intellectual bent. The show describes its differentiation as: “A fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but rigorous scholarship, massive data sets and a deep knowledge of theory.” This show is more charming than you might expect. A nice sense of humor enlivens the episodes; two weeks ago the preroll consisted of this host read: “We are not sponsored by a mattress company. But we are open to sponsorship!” [LISTEN]