’Tis the Season, 2017

Gimlet’s Top 2017 Picks for Non-Gimlet Podcasts

As 2017 begins to close, we’ve seen a lot of year end lists and gift guides come about. And as a company filled with people who love podcasts, we put together a list of our own — the podcasts we’ve listened to and loved this year. We hope you find a new one to love over your holiday travels. And be sure to give the gift of podcasts to a family member or friend who doesn’t yet listen. You can find some tips on talking to loved ones in your life about podcasts right here. And, if you’re looking for more of a physical gift for the podcast lover in your life, don’t forget to check out our holiday store!

Below you’ll find some suggestions from a variety of folks who work at Gimlet, on what they listened to in 2017, and why they loved it:

Matt Boll, Lead Audio Engineer & Music Producer, recommends You Talking U2 To Me

“Two years ago when I interviewed for my job at Gimlet, Alex Blumberg asked me what my favorite podcast is. A bit sheepishly I replied the same way I would now…. You Talkin’ U2 To Me. As a sound engineer and music producer I’m usually working on podcasts that are sound rich, and have highly edited narrative arcs. You Talkin U2 To Me has none of that. However, through some weird combo of accident and improv, (Adam) Scott and Scott (Aukerman) have crafted a strange, funny, and surprisingly genuine podcast that stays at the top of my list. If you can get into the almost ‘inception’ like world of inside jokes and U2 knowledge they create over 20+ episodes the pay off is incredibly satisfying.”

Peter Bresnan, Development Producer, recommends Food 4 Thot

“It’s a chat podcast helmed by four super-intelligent, super-charming queer writers. On the show, they hold these wonderful roundtable conversations where they discuss queerness and sexuality and identity and literature and the complex intersections of all those things. At it’s best, it’s like a celebration of gay sex in podcast form.”

Rachel Ward, Gimlet Creative Producer, recommends bitchface

“I was really impressed with the folks behind bitchface when I saw them present at WerkIt (a women’s podcast conference from WNYC) this fall. bitchface is essay and interview and reporting and sound and searching and rumination and uncomfortable and assertive and entirely its own self. It is a tonic for this toxic year and it inspired a bunch of Gimlet ladies to make something just for ourselves (stay tuned).”

Christine Amorose, West Coast Account Executive, recommends Here to Make Friends

“My guilty pleasure is watching The Bachelor/ette and then listening to Here to Make Friends the next morning. Although it then means my guilty pleasure takes up 3–4 hours of my week during the season (which is quite embarrassing to admit!), I love Claire and Emma’s progressive and knowledgeable take on the show. It really does feel like I’m just catching up on the show gossip from smart and hilarious lady friends, especially with regular segments like “feminism fails” of the franchise.”

Erin Kelly, Executive Assistant, recommends The Butterfly Effect

“Jon Ronson’s seven part story starts with one man, a tech entrepreneur who made porn available for free online, and ends with the human impact on the other side of that decision.”

Shahzad Ahsan, Senior Marketing Manager, recommends Ear Hustle

“Lately, documentaries like 13th have brought attention to the systemic issues in America’s mass incarceration system. But Ear Hustle introduces you to real people living lives beyond prison stereotypes. Producers Earlonne Woods, an inmate at San Quentin Correctional Facility, and Nigel Poor, a visual artist who volunteers at San Quentin, have created a vulnerable and poignant take on life behind bars, but not beyond hope.”

Drew Nelles, Crimetown Senior Producer, also recommends Ear Hustle

“My favorite podcast this year was Ear Hustle. Ear Hustle is produced and reported by people incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison. It’s sad, surprisingly funny, and often bittersweet. At a time when more and more people are justifiably concerned about the American prison-industrial complex, Ear Hustle is an important reminder of the humanity and dignity of the people we lock behind bars.”

Rachel Jacobs, Gimlet Creative Producer, recommends Within the Wires

“I’m trying to listen to all the fiction podcasts that I can, and this year I took the time to listen to Within the Wires. It’s weird — it’s super weird. The first season takes form in a series of “relaxation tapes” but there’s obviously something more happening behind the scenes, and a strange dystopian world slowly unfolds. Special mention for using the word “yonic” casually. The second season explores the world more thoroughly in a series of museum audio tours and the narrator Rima Te Wiata has a voice like honey.”

Blythe Terrell, Editor, recommends Heaven’s Gate

“I’ve been fascinated by Heaven’s Gate. This mass suicide was a seminal news event from my childhood, and hearing the story behind it is gut-wrenching. And the added layer of host Glynn Washington’s own cult experience makes it even more intense.”

Emma Morgenstern, Development Producer, recommends Where Should We Begin?

“This podcast, hosted by therapist Esther Perel, takes you into couples therapy sessions. Like, actual therapy sessions — I have no idea how she gets the couples’ permission, but it makes for an amazing, intimate listen. It’s deeply painful and cathartic, but also beautiful and hopeful. It’ll make you think about your own relationships in a new way.”

Austin Mitchell, Crimetown Producer, recommends The Heart

“‘Topics we’re taught to blush about — sexuality, body image, itches in your butt — are explored with disarming confidence. You won’t hear another show like it.”

Soraya Shockley, Crimetown Intern, recommends Still Processing

“What I love about the show is how much Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, the hosts, genuinely care about each other’s wellbeing, happiness, and mental health. It’s as much a show about culture, media, and the world as it is a hang out/therapy session between friends. And because of that balance, the show is as good as how taking off a bra after a long day feels: fucking fantastic. I love this show because its capital B Black.”

Annie-Rose Strasser, Editor, recommends Cosby Unraveled

“This 8-part series does so many things at once! It’s about race, privilege, television, and law. It’s local, and it’s national. But more than anything, it manages to create a complicated picture of a man accused of so much harm without ever downplaying that harm. Before the #metoo moment, there was the trial of Cosby. It’s worth remembering that — and hearing exactly how his trial played out.”

Kalila Holt, Heavyweight Producer, recommends Seltzer Death Match

“To be totally honest, I’ve only ever rated two shows on Apple Podcasts. One of them was Heavyweight and one of them was Seltzer Death Match. I gave them both five stars.

Nathan Bashaw, Head of Product, recommends Exponent

“Exponent is a podcast where two friends (who also happen to be some of the most original thinkers in business) lovingly debate the impact that the internet is having on the world. If you like thinking about the intersection of technology, economics, and culture, then you will love this pod.”

Saidu Tejan-Thomas, Uncivil Associate Producer, recommends The Fantasy Footballers Podcast

“This one’s for the sports nerds, and not just the sports nerds, but for the fantasy sports nerds. Every day after work I listen to The Fantasy Footballers Podcast. It’s three guys in a studio having fun while giving advice on fantasy football. And the best part, they never talk about politics, so I don’t have to be nervous and constantly ask myself “when will they let me down?” Quite the contrary, they never let me down, especially with their fantasy advice, and they always keep me laughing with tons of inside jokes. I recommend it.”

He also recommends Making Gay History

“Eric Marcus’ soothing voice and beautiful writing literally walks you back to the early days of gay rights in America and introduces you to the people who took those important first steps. The majority of the show is straight up one on one interviews he recorded with these pioneers back in the day, so tons of archival tape, which isn’t like most of the shows you hear today. In the end I get to sit in on these intimate conversations with unsung heroes. And I learn a lot about the history of a struggle I haven’t experienced.”

Phoebe Flanigan, Every Little Thing Associate Producer, recommends Last Podcast On The Left.

“Come for the serial killers, stay because you’ve been hypnotized by Henry Zebrowski.”

Eric Mennel, Senior Producer, recommends I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats (specifically Episode 1: “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton”)

“This caught me completely by surprise. Joseph Fink (creator of Welcome To Nightvale) interviews John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) about the process of making his 2002 album “All Hail West Texas.” Each episode dives into one song from the album, and this is the opening track. The interview is about a lot more than songwriting. It goes into some really surprising and moving places about faith and creativity. Listen on a long, aimless walk. Hail Satan!”

Victoria Barner, Marketing + Community Manager, recommends Good Christian Fun

“I actually started listening to this because Alex Goldman recommended it in a Reply All newsletter. It’s a delightful look at the world of Christian pop culture, which I am very familiar with. But even if you aren’t familiar with it, you can still listen and learn about a little corner of the world you may have never thought about! And have a whole lot of fun and laughs while doing it.”

We hope all of these recommendations give you something new to love and share — and from our team to you, have a wonderful holiday season!