Embedded:   

I am going to focus on one section of Embedded that just came out – so know that this podcast is much more than just these 5 episodes, but this is a great place for you to start with Embedded…

Coal Stories – a 5 episode “story”:  Is coal coming or going or somewhere in the “in-between”?

Coal country is vast and important and changing.  Host Kelly McEvers and a few of her confidants present 5 episodes of Coal Stories:  they headed out before Donald Trump was elected to Appalachia to find out what was happening in coal country, the “war on coal” and what it really means in people’s day to day lives.

You hear things on the podcast like:  “It’s like 1980 something and it’s like nothing has changed.”.  And this gives you a perfect visual of what we think they are seeing while out in Appalachia.

This podcast will give you different points of view, and the nitty grit of what happens when a president promises to bring back an industry they all seem to know is dying.  They just don’t want it to die as soon as they felt Obama did.  Please note that mostly all environmental concerns are set aside during these episodes.  It is mentioned but it is certainly not the focus – people in real time for this series are the issue of the day.

Kelly keeps it very true to what she hears from the people without getting emotionally tied to politics – one side vs. the other, which is where we all seem to live these days.  It is a refreshing, honest look at what is really happening out there and shows the reality behind the headlines, and what impact headlines can have on real people.  I highly recommend it!

The Daily:

From the New York Times, this podcast takes a relevant and current topic from the news and gives it a 20 minute deep-dive, you guessed it, daily.  Host Michael Barbaro is calming and keeps a clear head; he avoids inserting his opinion on some pretty hot topics.  Instead, you hear a yearning in his voice for understanding and compassion amidst a pretty insane political landscape.   It is interesting, and I always walk away with a bit more knowledge than I started (litearlly, I usually walk my dog while listening to The Daily).  If you have 20 minutes to kill, this is a great way to do it.

Planet Money:

Wondering about Solar panels?  Gerrymandering?  The Tariff wars?  How our Social Security Numbers became so important?  The secret world of Art?  And on and on…  anything having to do with the economy and what shapes it.  This is a really “fun” way to get quickly educated on real life situations from a team that presents things in an inspiring and jovial way.  But don’t let that fool you – the things they deep dive into are no joke, so don’t think it is a spoof – it is real, truthful and honest reporting presented in a way that is easy to understand and soak in.  Each episode ranges in time – but generally they are 15 to 20 minutes.

Radiolab

These guys – they are just so, so good!  Great voices to listen to, incredible reporting, open, honest and filled with integrity, this podcast explores all types of things, and not necessarily about politics.  Sometimes it touches politics, but not usually.  They often steer the ship where the story takes them, to their surprise sometimes.  It is usually about 40 minutes, give or take.  And it leaves me inspired by the human race, feeling less isolated, feeling hopeful and curious.  Here is an expert from their website about the show which I thought captured it perfectly: “Since 2002, Radiolab has been devoted to investigating a strange world. Created by Jad Abumrad and hosted by Jad and Robert Krulwich, Radiolab has won Peabody Awards, a National Academies Communication Award “for their investigative use of radio to make science accessible to broad audiences,” and in 2011 Abumrad received the MacArthur Genius grant. The show has an archive of hundreds of episodes and has toured in sold out shows nationwide.”.

Criminal

That Phoebe Judge – I just love to hear her voice.  Phoebe and Lauren Spohrer are co-creators of this awesome podcast about “criminal’s” …  you sort of end up deciding at the end if you think they are truly a criminal or a victim of circumstance, a victim of personal passion or a true criminal.  I dare say that most are not the criminal we have in mind, the serial killer we see portrayed in TV series like Criminal Minds, but the “soft” criminal.  It’s about the woman who sits with people as they transition out of this life, the streaker who has been to thousands of sporting games and has run naked in front of the crowds, it’s about Sheila who became a Private Investigator after trying to solve her college roommates murder…

And Phoebe’s voice is really one of the most soothing and calming voices to hear.  I recently had the pleasure of going to see Radiotopia LIVE in Atlanta when Radiotopia did a LIVE Roadshow (which was totally awesome by the way!!!) and she and Lauren did an episode live.  It is always good to see a face with a name, but that voice!  It is unmistakable.   Criminal is a part of Radiotopia where they have many more podcasts, of which I have listened to at least half, and all of them are something to devote some time to.

Criminal is about 20 minutes long each episode, but sometimes they do go longer.  But it is worth every minute.  In the words of Phoebe, “go listen”.