Radiotopia Is for Lovers: A Valentine’s Day Playlist

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re prepping for a hot date or snuggling up in your PJs and celebrating singledom, this Radiotopia Valentine’s playlist has something for you. We even feature a brand new show from Criminal that’s all about love: This is Love. The trailer dropped last month, and you’ll find it below, right at the top of our playlist. Get listening — and don’t forget to subscribe to This is Love on Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic or wherever you listen so you get the first two episodes as soon as they drop on Valentine’s Day.

This is Love

Some spiders eat their young, and some eat their parents … love is never simple. This is Love investigates life’s most persistent mystery. Stories of sacrifice, obsession and the ways we bet everything on one another.

The Allusionist, “Hey”

Striking up an interaction with someone is a tricky business. Why Oh Why and Longest Shortest Time host Andrea Silenzi opens up her phone to analyze the kinds of opening messages people send on dating apps, and how easily they can land badly.

The Mortified Podcast, “My Gothic Valentine”

The diary of a teen who searches for eternal love in the goth scene, discovering vampires and elves along the way.

Criminal, “In Plain Sight”

In 1849, abolitionist and attorney Wendell Phillips wrote: “We should look in vain through the most trying times of our revolutionary history for an incident of courage and noble daring to equal that of the escape of William and Ellen Craft …” Almost 170 years later, William and Ellen Craft aren’t well known anymore. In this episode: The story of this couple’s incredible escape.

The Allusionist, “WLTM Part I”

Your online dating profile is the latest spin on a 300-year-old tradition of advertising yourself in order to find a spouse, a sexual partner or someone to take care of your pigs. Francesca Beauman, author of Shapely Ankle Preferr’d: A History of the Lonely Hearts Ad, digs into lonely hearts ads to see how British society and desires have evolved over the past three centuries.

Love + Radio, “Suitcase of Love and Shame”

In this episode, the story of a clandestine tryst. A man and woman in the 1960s trade reel-to-reel audio love “letters” over the course of years. (Contains adult content.)

The Mortified Podcast, “Tom: My Funny Valentine”

This is the debut episode of The Mortified Podcast. In it, hear a tribute to teen romance with a painfully earnest love letter from Feb. 14, 1994.

The Truth, “Eat Cake”

Can coconut cake + random phone calls = love? Find out, when these two traditions collide. If you’ve ever been alone on Valentine’s Day, this story is for you.

The Allusionist, “WLTM Part II”

You’re looking for your perfect partner, but dating sites keep matching you with duds. So what do you do? Conduct an elaborate linguistic experiment, of course! At least, that was futurist Amy Webb’s response to the situation. But did it work?

The Memory Palace, “Zulu Charlie Romeo”

How can we tell if it’s love? How can we parse desire? Separate the physical — the flush, the rush of blood, the butterfly flutter — from the romantic? Anita Corsini called it love at first sight. And Mkano loved her, too.

Radio Diaries, “The Last Civil War Widows”

Daisy Anderson and Alberta Martin both grew up poor, children of sharecroppers in the South. Daisy in Tennessee; Alberta in Alabama. Both got married in their early 20s, to men who were near 80. And both those husbands served in the Civil War. But as it happens, they’d served on opposite sides. Daisy and Alberta were two of the last surviving Civil War widows.

Love + Radio, “The Boys Will Work It Out”

Since childhood, Sarz had had a deep connection to the Lord of the Rings books. After the movie version came out in 2003, that connection went several layers deeper. (Contains adult content, listener discretion is advised.)

The Kitchen Sisters Present, “The Nights of Edith Piaf”

Nearly every song Edith Piaf sang came from a moment of her life on the streets of Paris. She would tell her composer and musician lovers a story, or describe a feeling, or show them a gesture, and they would put music and words to her pain and passion. Charles Aznavour, Francis Lai, Georges Moustaki and Henri Contet recall their nights with Edith Piaf.

The Mortified Podcast, “Titanic Ruined My Love Life”

Did you, too, waste your adolescence waiting to hear someone say, “You jump, I jump”? Tales of kids whose romantic notions were totally “Jacked” by the 1997 film Titanic.

Ear Hustle, “The Boom Boom Room”

Being married in prison is common. Opportunities to get intimate with your spouse are not, and — like everything else inside — are governed by both official and unofficial rules. In this episode of Ear Hustle, Greg and Maverick share stories about keeping their relationships strong and getting close with their wives.

The Memory Palace, “Artist in Landscape”

John James Audubon is best known for his amazing images of birds, published in his book The Birds of America. But few know that the story of Lucy and John James Audubon’s marriage is woven into the pages of that text.

Criminal, “Gil From London”

Karen Miller met a man named Gil Harper on Facebook. They started flirting. The flirtation grew more serious. Eventually, they planned to meet in real life. Gil would travel from London to meet Karen for her birthday. With his arrival just a few days away, Karen’s son scrambled to learn more about Gil’s identity.

Song Exploder, “Angel Olsen — Shut Up Kiss Me”

Angel Olsen takes apart the song “Shut Up Kiss Me” from her third album, My Woman, released in September 2016. She breaks down how she recorded it live in the studio with her band, and how she tried things with her voice that she’d never done before.

The Allusionist, “Under the Covers Part I”

Escape into the loving embrace of a romance novel — although don’t think you’ll be able to escape gender politics while you’re in there. Bea and Leah Koch, proprietors of America’s sole romance-only bookstore The Ripped Bodice, consider the genre; and publisher Lisa Milton scrolls through the 109-year history of the imprint that epitomises romance novels, Mills & Boon.

Millennial, “Long Distance Love Story”

After 10 years, two people living 4,500 miles apart have to decide how and when they will physically live in the same place. Hear the long-distance love story on this episode of Millennial.

Love + Radio, “Photochemical”

Meags has loved photo booths ever since she was a kid. In this episode, she tells the story of her photo booth romance. (Contains adult content.)

99% Invisible, “In and Out of LOVE”

Though its official name is JFK Plaza, the open space near Philadelphia’s City Hall is more commonly known as LOVE Park. With its sleek granite benches, geometric raised planter beds and long expanses of pavement, its success as a pedestrian plaza is debatable. But it turned out to be perfect for those in a love affair with skateboarding.

The Memory Palace, “The Rose of Long Island”

How did Julia Gardiner, a Long Island socialite, end up as the First Lady of the United States, married to President John Tyler, a man 30 years her senior? In this episode, the making of a First Lady.

The Kitchen Sisters Present, “Braveheart Women’s Society: Coming of Age in South Dakota”

The Braveheart Women’s Society, a group of Yankton Sioux grandmothers and tribal elders, have re-established an almost forgotten coming of age ritual for young girls — the Isnati, a four day traditional ceremony on the banks of the Missouri River in South Dakota. After the ritual, the girls are given new names and presented to their community as women.

The Allusionist, “Under the Covers Part II”

Does the available vocabulary for sex leave something to be desired? Namely desire? (And also the ability to use it wthout laughing/dying of embarrassment?) Aiding in the search for a better sex lexicon — sexicon — are Kaitlin Prest, of The Heart, and romance novelist Mhairi McFarlane.

The Heart, “First Comes Marriage”

Arranged marriages, although they sound scary to our Western ears, are considered extremely successful. Divorce rates are lower. And a Harvard study found that partners in arranged marriages, over time, end up being more in love than couples who marry for love. Ryan Kailath has known this his whole life, because his parents met 15 minutes before they married.

The Mortified Podcast, “Sarah: Everyone Knows I Love You”

Hear from the diary of Sarah, a nerdy girl with an over-the-top obsession with the popular boy in school, Matt. Get the scoop on their encounters at middle school dances and her secret love letters to him.

Radio Diaries, “First Kiss”

Josh Cutler has Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable tics and involuntary verbal outbursts. Listen to his teenage diary about getting his first kiss.

Love + Radio, “WWCD?”

Since 2008, Mike Merrill has been operating himself as a publicly traded company. He puts all questions he would normally ask his friends about up to a shareholder vote. Even questions about his love life.

The Allusionist, “Post-Love”

Breaking up is hard to do — and it’s hard to put into appropriate words. Comedian Rosie Wilby seeks a better term for “ex,” and family law barrister Nick Allen runs through the vocabulary of divorce.