Social distancing got you down? Looking for another voice — anyone’s but your own — to fill your head and help pass the hours? Check out some of our favorite podcasts. Whether you’re looking for a 30-minute love story, a deep dive into Soviet history, or a fictional world to immerse yourself in, there’s something here for all podcast lovers.
For The Innately Curious: “Invisibilia” and “Hidden Brain”
Iris Adler, Executive director for programming, podcasts and special projects: “Why do we behave the way we do? If you are looking for smart, deep-dives on that most central question, definitely check out two NPR podcasts: the new season of "Invisibilia," and "Hidden Brain" with Shankar Vedantum. Both use storytelling and social science to challenge our assumptions about human behavior."
For Fans Of Gonzo Journalism: "Welcome to L.A."
Ben Brock Johnson, Senior producer: "One part Gonzo journalism, one part Raymond Chandler noir, one part profiles of Los Angeles characters, this show is mixed, but it's one of my favorite and I think most underrated podcasts of the last few years."
For The Kids: “Circle Round”
Iris Adler: "Time to get the kids at home off their screens? Give them the gift of our beautifully crafted Circle Round stories, stories from around the world that kids love, and parents are grateful for."
For The Nostalgic Music Buff: "Reply All: The Case Of The Missing Hit"
Caitlin O’Keefe, podcast producer, “Modern Love:” "This episode of Reply All, in which the team tries to track down a hit song from the 1990s that doesn't seem to exist anywhere on the internet, is a delightful frolic. It's a fantastic distraction and it will make you smile."
For Slice-Of-Life Fans: "Rumble Strip Vermont"
Josh Swartz, podcast producer, “Endless Thread:” If you’re feeling isolated and freaked out, pick a random episode of Rumble Strip and settle in. As rumble strips in a road are meant to alert distracted drivers, independent producer Erica Heilman encourages all of us to slow down and listen, as she travels around her native Vermont talking to fellow Vermonters. She has a knack for connecting with people on a deep level — everyone from taxidermists to waitresses — and the resulting episodes are timeless, down-to-earth, and chock full of surprising stories and memorable characters. If you want a place to start, try “An American Life,” about Vietnam vet and hairdresser Vaughn Hood (co-produced by Heilman and Larry Massett)."
If You Need A Good Laugh: "The Topical"
Andrea Asuaje, reporter/producer, "Kind World": "For a R-rated laugh, I highly highly recommend The Onion's daily podcast, "The Topical." Absurd, laugh-out-loud comedy that's so needed right now."
For The Doomsday Predictors: "Snap Judgment: This Is Not A Drill"
Caitlin O'Keefe: This is an exceptional piece from "Snap Judgment" about the 38 minutes on January 13, 2018 when Hawaii residents thought they faced the threat of an incoming ballistic missile. It was a moment when normal life seemed to have ended, and all of the rules were thrown out. I've thought about it a lot in the past week.