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Start Listening: Why 2019 Is the Tipping Point for Podcasts

Like Jon Snow, podcasts have risen from the dead and have become the new content king. According to the New York Times, “More than half the people in the United States have listened to one, and nearly one out of three people listen to at least one podcast every month. Last year, it was more like one in four.”

A story isn’t a story if it doesn’t have a podcast. Just look at Elizabeth Holmes, her saga has been made into an unholy trifecta: book, movie, and now, the hit podcast Bad Blood. Podcasts are the channel of changemakers and lifestyle gurus, and even traditional media has found a way to tell the story behind the story and find new ways to connect with their audience. NYT has reinvigorated their readers with their addicting podcast, The Daily. And while Serial serialized storytelling, news outlets have found a way to make us curious about what’s behind the scenes instead of what makes the front page.

Talking about your favorite podcast has become the latest cultural milestone, like talking about your favorite TV Show or weekly GoT episodes — it’s the medium where you can find engaged communities online, IRL, and across social media. We’re living through a cultural moment when the lightbulb goes off and you think: maybe I should listen to/start a podcast.

With this in mind, we asked SGers in our office: what podcasts do you listen to and why? Perhaps these podcasts will inspire you to start your own, or start listening!

Hosts: Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

It Slays, I Slay, We All Slay: This podcast brings together two of my favorite things, true crime and comedy. Unlike most true crime podcasts, the hosts don’t try to act as investigators or experts in crime; instead, they pick themes and eras to choose true crime stories and bring them to life in a way that (to me) normalizes the fascination with true crime.

This show also does a great job at creating a community with it’s show. People feel connected to not only the hosts in a personal way, but to each other because they have the same humor and interests. So as they say, “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.”

— Taylor, Account Executive

Host: Leon Neyfakh (Slate journalist)

Why I Can’t Stop Cracking the Books: Growing up in Panama, I never studied contemporary American history. I never fully got what Watergate was, and the concept eluded me like some tax term I’d never learn, until I came across Leon Neyfakh’s podcast. Slow Burn is gossip column meets history lesson, excavating the archeology of Watergate and often drawing comparisons between the 70s scandal and the Trump administration. It really never gets old hearing original recordings of powerful people telling bold-faced lies, giddily knowing they’re about to get torn down.

— Christina, Assistant Account Executive

Hosts: A couple of brothers (Nar & SALT)

I Get My Nerd On and My Game On: The show was created as a place for the PokemonGo community to talk, debate, have fun, and share the dankest memes. I listen to it with my husband to get up to date tricks and news.

— Patti Office Manager

Host: Rich Roll

How Marathoners Don’t Run Out of Motivation: Rich Roll has an incredible story after battling addiction to become “one of the world’s fittest people’ and he’s a leading wellness advocate.Today he interviews some of the brightest minds in nutrition, fitness and wellbeing to inspire and educate others to practice self care. Each episode of The Rich Roll Podcast often runs over two hours and in a world of small exchanges it’s refreshing to indulge in a deep dive conversation.

— Kirsty, Account Supervisor/Senior Media Strategist

Hosts: Tracy K. Smith and Jessa Crispin

Poetry and Unpopular Opinions I Can Get Behind: The Slowdown is a five minute podcast hosted by U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and in those five minutes she reads a poem, tells you about the history and culture that shaped it, and how it relates to today. Public Intellectual is produced by Jessa Crispin, a cultural critic who wrote Why I Am Not a Feminist: a Feminist Manifesto, and her show looks at issues like the housing crisis, prison reform, and #metoo and interviews researchers, authors, and lawyers to find out just how complex these issues really are, and why mainstream discourse isn’t cutting it.

— Michelle, Content Strategist

Host: Krista Tippett

How I Converted and Became A Religious Listener: Krista Tippett interviews people who are thinking about spirituality in new ways, like theologians, historians, ecologists, poets, activists, physicists. I like how they talk about these big ideas and feelings really earnestly while also allowing things to be difficult and unclear. The episodes are about an hour and I like how the show is a particularly nice reminder to slow down and pause.

— Eliza, Intern

Host: Payne Lindsey

Like Unsolved Mysteries But Better: Up and Vanished is about an unsolved missing persons case, so the subject matter is fascinating to me. The host interviews several experts unrelated to the case to talk about different pieces of evidence and legal matters. I’ve learned so much about the nuances and complexities of the judicial system. I love this podcast!

— Nicole, Senior Account Supervisor

Host: Dan Primack

Now I’m Hungry For Pancakes: The show is 10 minutes and it’s a nice blend of tech, business and politics. The show isn’t too much of any one thing — for me, The Daily is tooooo Trumpy all the time. Dan is a great host and he makes news fun, signing off every show with, Have a great national pancake day!” or whatever ridiculous holiday it is.

— Katie, Account Director

Hosts: Felix Salmon (Axios), with Emily Peck (HuffPo) and Anna Szymanski (freelance)

Learning Money Moves: The hosts take a deep dive into the big business and finance topics happening each week. Because of them I’ve learned all about Argentine debt, the impact of Airbnb on Barcelona, and why Kylie Jenner is a genius.

— Buckley, Senior Vice President

Host: Cole Cuchna

Rediscovering My Love of Kanye: I learned a lot of background knowledge about Kanye’s masterpiece: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; each song and the lyrics behind the music (also a lot about the music/beats themselves). I think the host chose this album because it was Kanye’s first release after he took a little hiatus after called T Swift the Snake out on stage at the VMAs. So basically the host went into how Kanye retreated for a while as the world hated him, and then gathered all these artists together and created one of the best albums ever. So good!

— Yalda, Senior Account Executive

Host: Deborah Treisman, (Fiction Editor at the New Yorker)

No More Regrets or New Yorker Pile Ups: On the podcast, the fiction writers featured in the magazine read their stories and hearing authors read their own stories gives you get a better sense of how they intended the work to be interpreted. You can listen to it on a commute when you are too tired to read. All in all, I love the podcast and it makes reading the New Yorker feel more manageable since they pile up every week!

— JP, Content Specialist


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