The best podcasts you should listen to this week


By Jaclyn Schiff and Simon Owens

Do you love listening to podcasts but are overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices out there? Have you subscribed to way more podcasts than you could ever listen to and don’t want to miss the best episodes? AudioTeller is a weekly newsletter that tells you the can’t-miss episodes you absolutely need to download. To have this newsletter delivered to your inbox, sign up here.

Welcome! In this week’s issue you’ll travel with a 34-year-old woman who’s decided to go on 34 dates, follow the travails of a mom who’s returning to work, and contemplate whether you’d ever pay $10,000 a year to subscribe to an email newsletter. Stay tuned…

From Jaclyn Schiff, AudioTeller co-editor:

A single woman goes on 34 dates to mark turning 34 [link]

Podcast: Swipe Out

Alix McAlpine is ready to date again after moving from New York to LA and she’s taking listeners along for the ride on Swipe Out. The podcast is personal diary meets intimate conversations with close friends who are there to prod Alix and coach her along the way. Alix, a content strategist who previously worked with BuzzFeed, is hoping that by meeting 34 men and dating more consciously, she will identify the qualities she’s seeking in her next partner.

As a fellow 30-something dater, I’m interested in Alix’s approach and seeing where the journey takes her. Will she make it all the way through 34 dates? Will love find her before she even creates her list? What other answers and questions might she identify on the journey for love?

Swipe Out joins Why Oh Why as a dating column/blog for podcast lovers. I suspect we’ll see many more — the quest for love has always made for riveting content. Also it’s 2017, so of course Carrie Bradshaw would be podcasting rather than writing for a print publication.

From Sriram Gopal, a DC-based writer and musician:

John Legend on the role celebrities should play in social causes [link]

Podcast: Pod Save The People — Episode: Product, Not The Producer

Crooked Media, the relatively new enterprise that former high-level staffers in the Obama White House formed after the last election, launched a new podcast to its roster. Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson hosts Pod Save The People, a broadcast that looks at politics and culture through a social justice lens. As with most of Crooked Media’s podcasts, the latest episode begins with a discussion of recent events. What separates Pod Save The People from the other podcasts is that Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Sam Sinyangwe look at current events as they relate to historically marginalized groups. This gives the conversation a different quality from the typical political discussion. Whereas the focus is usually on the presidency, the hosts look at activities by the Department of Justice or other government entities whose decisions greatly impact minorities.

The episode continues with two interview segments, the first of which is with R&B star John Legend. McKesson and Legend discuss the latter’s foray into activism, the lessons Legend has learned as he has become more involved in social advocacy, and Legend’s thoughts on the roles celebrities can play in social causes. The second interview is with David Kamin, who served as an economic policy advisor to President Obama. Kamin analyzes the Trump administration’s budgetary and tax proposals. This follows Kamin’s discussion of current tax policy and the tax code, which is essential listening for those of us who have little knowledge of macroeconomics but who are also interested in the upcoming tax reform debate.

From Lakshmi Sridharan, a physician in New York City:

A podcast about a mom’s decision to return to work [link]

Podcast: First Day Back

As a break from the politics listening binge in a post-Comey world, I indulged in a new podcast called First Day Back. I discovered it by listening to Re:Sound (a Third Coast Festival production that highlights excerpts from excellent podcasts). An easy, but poignant listen, First Day Back explores the decision by one documentarian-on-hiatus/stay-at-home-mom-on-duty about the decision to go back to work and leave her children at home. Though at times her personal exploration is emotionally indulgent, the thrust of her journey is one that parallels that of many women across our world and highlights the importance of gendered norms that often go unnoticed in our day-to-day lives. Entertaining and prescient in this time of shifting norms, First Day Back is a worthwhile indulgence.

From Adam Peri, a marketing consultant in Chicago:

A conservative historian on “getting Trump voters wrong” [link]

Podcast: Start Making Sense

The Nation’s Start Making Sense covers weekly political news from unconventional angles. In the past few weeks, host Jon Wiener has brought in historians to discuss historical perspectives on presidential politics. He begins this week’s podcast by interviewing Rick Perlstein, who is probably the world’s most liberal expert on the history of conservatism. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this episode if Perlstein’s insights weren’t fascinating, but it’s just as interesting to think about how many ways we can come up with to lament “getting Trump voters wrong.” So far we’ve covered: polling mistakes, the lack of dialogue, and paucity of ethnographic type inquiry (like the woman getting drunk with them), among other things. Perlstein hashes out historical threads that we’ve missed, especially in a “strong-man” milieu that has been repeated cyclically in New York City since the 1950s. At some point there’s probably value in throwing up our hands and saying life is just unpredictable, and history only repeats itself in hindsight.

As a bonus, the segment also makes you wonder if Bill Buckley wasn’t a complete tool… The second segment from Atossa Araxia Abrahamian is a broad overview of a long-form article she published this week on Modern Monetary Theory. It will leave you with more questions than answers, but they’re compelling questions that help bring this esoteric economic and social theory further into the mainstream. Lastly. Wiener interviews Heather Thompson about historical work she did on the Attica prison uprising. It reminded me how topical Al Pacino’s screams of “Attica! Attica!” were in Dog Day Afternoon, and more importantly, provided another instance of cyclical historical patterns in our political system. Unlike Perlstein’s history, Thompson’s view that decarceration and prison reform were top of mind for the American public in the early 70s might offer foresight and prescience about our current discourse on prison reform. All three segments are worth listening to, and if you’re pressed for time, they all stand on their own, as do the related articles.

From Simon Owens, AudioTeller co-editor:

A survivor of the AIDs epidemic interviews a much younger HIV sufferer [link]

Podcast: Nancy — Episode: Here’s What It’s Like

There’s a generational divide within the gay community: those who lived through the AIDs epidemic and those who grew up after the pharmaceutical companies developed a bevvy of antiviral drugs that were able to stem the deaths and bring the epidemic to a halt. In this episode of Nancy, a new WNYC show that focuses on LGBTQ issues, one of the survivors of that epidemic, now in his 50s, interviews a young gay person who recently contracted HIV. What lessons have younger gay generations learned and are they even truly aware of the suffering their older gay brethren endured? This episode promises to enlighten both sides of the generational divide.

Would you pay $10,000 a year for a daily newsletter? [link]

Podcast: Recode Media with Peter Kafka — Episode: Inside the Trump White House (Mike Allen, co-founder, Axios)

I’m not a fan of the type of journalism practiced by former Politico reporter Mike Allen. He’s the epitome of the type of reporter who worships at the altar of beltway insiderism and treats politics as a blood sport that’s divorced from the realities of the everyday people it affects.

That being said, the media geek in me was fascinating to hear about Mike Allen’s reporting process and his views on what makes a compelling email newsletter. I was also eager to hear more about the model behind Axios, the publication that Allen left Politico to found and has attracted some big names (and VC money) in journalism.

Thanks for reading (and hopefully listening to our recommendations). Think we missed a great episode? Email us at Want to have this list delivered to your inbox every week? Go here.

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