2019 Podcast Roundup

James McKinney
2 min readJan 12, 2020



  • Crackdown, a podcast about drugs, drug policy and the drug war led by drug user activists and supported by research. (Garth Mullins) 🇨🇦🆕
  • Sanctioned, about the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. (Stephen Quinn, CBC Vancouver) 🇨🇦🆕
  • Narcos PQ, a true-crime podcast featuring exclusive interviews with drug traffickers, from a Quebec perspective. (Bastien Gagnon-Lafrance, Anne-Sophie Carpentier, QUB Radio) 🇨🇦🆕
  • Where Should We Begin?, similar to Other People’s Problems, lets you hear real couples’ therapy sessions, with interspersed explanations of psychology and therapy. (Seasons 1–3) (Esther Perrell) 🇺🇸

When I first looked for French Canadian podcasts in 2017, most were radio shows transposed to podcasts. Since 2018, there is a glut of new podcasts covering unique topics in Canada.

One-shot documentaries I recommend include: Rap Carcéral (Simon Coutu, Alain Loiselle, ICI Radio-Canada), La Bombe (Gabriel Allard, Télé Québec), Trafic (Catherine Proulx, Télé Québec) 🆕 and, in English, SOLD! (Stephen Quinn, CBC Vancouver) (all 🇨🇦).

This year, I subscribed to: Ferry, traversée érotique (ICI Radio-Canada), Sightlines (Ryerson Image Centre) 🆕, RUDE, You Don’t Know What It’s Like (Amanda Connell, Katie Mattiuz, Ryerson Leadership Lab) 🆕, and Born & Raised (Angelyn Francis, Al Donato, HuffPost Canada) (all 🇨🇦).

Among older podcasts: Cavern of Secrets (Lauren Mitchell) 🇨🇦 returned thanks to Vocal Fry Studios. Alone: A Love Story (Michelle Parise, CBC) 🇨🇦 had its final season. Ear Hustle (Earlonne Woods, Nigel Poor, Radiotopia) 🇺🇸 had a 4th season. Meat (Jonathan Zenti) 🇮🇹 had a 3rd episode. And Spacing Radio (Glyn Bowerman) 🇨🇦 started a new series, The Future Fix, as part of a program led by Evergreen and Open North (a nonprofit I founded) to help communities across Canada navigate the smart cities landscape.

I found a few more exclusively Canadian music blogs, but I haven’t had the time to listen.

In 2020, I look forward to the return of The Heart, with new producers, Phoebe Unter and Nicole Kelly, who hosted bitchface.

Audio fiction

My strongest recommendation is PlayME, featuring the works of Canadian playwrights in podcast form. My favorites were:

That said, I found it curious that 3 of 10 plays in the first season— Lo (or Dear Mr Wells), and to a lesser extent Bunny and Quiver — offered the familiar tropes of a precocious girl having sex with her older teacher. For a different take on sex between adults and minors, listen to the Trafic documentary by Télé Québec.

The other audio fiction I listened to, with favorites in bold, are:

Earlier posts: 2018 Podcast Roundup,12 Canadian recommendations, 8 Canadian recommendations and Non-Canadian recommendations.



James McKinney

@opencontracting team, @OpenNorth founder, http://www.opengovdialogue.ca organizer, formerly @ONgov #OntarioDigitalService http://www.jamespetermckinney.com