The 10 Best Podcast Episodes of 2014 (Excluding Serial)
Black musician Daryl Davis has always wanted to ask racist people: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” When he encounters a KKK member at a honkey tonk in Maryland, he begins a strange alliance that sets him on a mission to defrock klansmen.
Love + Radio
Cartoonist A.K. Summers describes her “nine long months in drag” and delivers a string of fascinating insights about the physical transformations, and public perceptions, of pregnancy and parenting.
The Longest Shortest Time
The harrowing story of an 11-year-old boy, the lone survivor of a plane crash, who witnesses his father die atop a snowy mountain in California, and then struggles down the mountain to his ultimate rescue.
Retired athlete Domonique Foxworth reflects on making it big in the NFL, his stint as president of the NFL Players’ Association, and his growing cynicism about the sport.
Death, Sex & Money
A Jewish woman falls in love with a non-Jewish man in Alaska. Together, they have a child with Down syndrome and decide to move to Israel. Once there, they adopt a second child with Down syndrome, and the two children develop a relationship that deepens in an unpredictable way.
Israel Story, via Vox Tablet
An hour-long, behind-the-scenes look at the Disney amusement parks, their conception, realization, and powerful hold on American children over the last half of the 20th century. It’s an experiential look at the artistry behind the theme parks. Part of the extraordinary American Icons series.
7. Raw Tape
Any number of episodes from this superb documentary podcast could have made the list. For lack of a perfect choice, I include Erica Heilman’s unedited conversation with a troubled ex-convict as he struggles with fatherhood and right behavior.
Rumble Strip Vermont
A hot new podcast inadvertently “gets associated with the slimier elements of native advertising.” What follows is a blow-by-blow account of a company recovering from a very public blunder.
The first offering from the podcast Song Exploder features Jimmy Tamborello from The Postal Service deconstructing his creation of the classic electro-pop track The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.
Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses his cover story on reparations for the African-American community in The Atlantic magazine. If you don’t have time to read the full piece, this is a provocative summary. Tune in longer to hear Coates take some challenging calls on air.
The Brian Lehrer Show
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Note: four of the above (all from WNYC) are not available on SoundCloud and therefore missing from the Top 10 playlist. Please follow the links above to listen.