Making the case for the wonderful world of podcasts

Andrew Shermoen

Podcasts are the sleeper hits of the entertainment industry.

They allow you to fill the dead air in your day with news, dramas, stand-up  routines, culture commentaries and the like. The podcast environment is almost as varied as television. Curators and artists are always trying new things and experimenting, but there’s so much content you might not know what is the best podcast for you. Here are five that are sure to entertain you.

“The Daily”

Morning news recaps are some of the most popular podcasts out there, and there are certainly several worth your time. NPR’s “Up First” and “TED Talks Daily” are popular choices, but there’s something special about The New York Times’ morning 20 to 30 minute podcasts.

“The Daily” is less of a conversation about trending topics, and more about presenting in-depth, focused think pieces. Their stories on the Myanmar genocide and Charlottesville riots sound are gripping and engaging rather than a stilted reporting of basic facts. 

Michael Barbaro and his team’s commitment to publish interesting stories about current events the morning after they occur shows not only an unshakable dedication to presenting accurate news, but to engage people by providing them with engaging and emotional stories. 


From Gimlet Media, the HBO of podcast networks, “Homecoming” resurrects the radio drama in a spectacular fashion. “Homecoming” uses a found footage style of real-life audio clips to tell the story of a newly developed branch of the Department of Defense that helps soldiers rehabilitate after their return home.

Heidi Bergman (Catherine Keener) is a caseworker at the Homecoming facility in Tampa, FL who begins to develop a close friendship with one of her more mysterious clients, the reserved but charming Walter Cruz (Oscar Isaac). 

The fact that this podcast is filled with stars with incredible vocal performances, an engaging drama and mystery, as well as some fantastic commentary on the treatment of veterans and PTSD victims makes “Homecoming” one of the most fascinating stories out right now. 

“You Must Remember This”

There are all sorts of history podcasts for you to listen to, but no one has quite tackled the illustrious mystery, crime and glamour that is Tinseltown, USA. “You Must Remember This” features former LA Weekly film critic Karina Longworth independently producing stories on the glitz and not-so-glamorous world of Hollywood.

The podcast has been around since 2014, but it’s divided into distinct, contained seasons, which is why I’m recommending it. 

This year, Longworth has delved into stories of several mysterious and gruesome deaths of Marilyn Monroe and other famous blonde actresses. 

Other episodes include the interesting connections between Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg, and ones about Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, two unknown, foreign, middle-aged actors better known for their iconic roles as Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster respectively.

“Las Culturistas”

Each week, co-hosts Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang invite comedians to discuss their roots, as well as discuss what pieces of pop culture they currently indulge in. Rogers and Yang are absolutely hilarious, and their excitement is infectious. 

Not only is it a riot to hear them talk about what new movies, shows and videogames they enjoy, but their ability to riff off of each other and keep bits moving is a testament to their talents as comedians and their chemistry as co-hosts. 

Every episode ends with a sidesplitting segment known as “I Don’t Think So Honey!” in which the two hosts and their guest rip apart a relevant cultural topic to great comedic effect. If you’re looking for a comedy podcast with a LGBTQ perspective to the culture and art of the world, “Las Culturistas” is the show for you.


“S-Town” is one part crime thriller, a million other parts unique examination of an incredibly interesting man’s life. “S-Town,” created by the team behind “Serial” and “This American Life,” is narrated by Brian Reed. The team travels to rural Woodstock, AL to investigate corruption in the local police force in the wake of poorly investigated murder of a millionaire’s son.

“S-Town” isn’t truly about the unsolved murder, though. It’s about John B. McLemore, the man who tipped Reed off about the murder. McLemore is both an eclectic mix of his hillbilly upbringing and an uncompromising genius intellect. He’s the only one in his town who believes in climate change, and his disgust and hatred for the state of the world is palpable. 

“S-Town” is about how nihilism and loneliness destroy a person. It’s a show about the prison of rural America and the horrors we do to ourselves to try and escape it. It’s a story about an incredibly fascinating man.