An NPR Host’s Favorite New Podcasts

The world of podcasts has exploded into an immersive quantum sprawl. To give us a simple list of this summer’s most anticipated new shows and seasons, we called up someone who checks out over 20 new programs a week—an award-winning public radio host and podcast producer. (We’re keeping it anonymous—no turf wars here.)

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“There have been plenty of podcast serial dramas, but for my money, there’s none better than Homecoming’s first season. Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer. What a cast of vocal acrobats! The plot dealt with an experimental veteran rehabilitation center. I was tense the whole time. Season two returns in July and two of my favorite Arrested Development actors join: Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat.”

Followers: 6,853


Classic Showbiz

“Classic Showbiz is another newish show launched by someone who came before it. It’s basically a comedy documentary, I think? I can’t tell yet. Maron’s EP’ing, so that promises a serious and searing take. A comedian hosts it. Wait—he’s not a comedian. So that’s my joke. Just kidding! The host, if I’m remembering, is a great documentarian.” [Gramlist note: the host is author Kliph Nesteroff who indeed contributed to a CNN series on comedy.]

Followers: 1,439


Call Your Girlfriend

“Two poles are tugging at anything that can be marketed: mass appeal, or specificity. I don’t mind a little bit of both, and some creative things are just going to speak to a smaller group. Call Your Girlfriend is billed as a podcast for long-distance best friends. But being whatever gender you are doesn’t really preclude you from enjoying the dense episodes. There’s a lot less banter than other co-hosted shows. Last week or so, when I listened to my first episode, I was browsing the Instagram feed and came across a photo of The Young Pope. Podcasts are killing it on Instagram.”

Followers: 15.3k


The West Wing Weekly

“I just god damn love the way media is turning the derivative into the new. West Wing rocked people’s worlds once, and then again when Netflix got its hands on a sweet syndication deal—right?—back in 2012 or 2013. But it can feel a little forlorn when you finish something you love. You’ll never experience it for the first time again. One answer to that morose longing is this slew of podcasts that act, pardon the language, like a circle jerk for big fans of things who want to relive them. The West Wing Weekly is chronologically breaking down one episode of the show each week. And it’s co-hosted by Will Bailey who’s Josh Malina in real life, and the composer Hrishikesh Hirway. I have never seen an episode of that show, and I listen to these guys every week. They are prescient, they’re succinct. Fun for everyone.”

Followers: 72.3k

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Ear Hustle

“You didn’t ask me to make predictions, but I’m betting the awe-inspiring, documentary-style, exposing-crazy-story stuff will start to grate on us. We’re all doing what’s proven to work now. Exposing wild stuff adds texture to what some people call a “flat” medium. Radiolab makes sound landscapes, but what else can you do? Most of us are still craving podcasts that blow open our worlds. Ear Hustle is about giving voice to people who live in prisons. Two of the three producers are incarcerated right now. I’m glad Radiotopia is plowing ahead, not shying away from charged topics.”

Followers: 6,725


The woven plastic tote with throwback appeal. Upgraded in sophisticated monochrome by Palorosa, just in time for summer travel.