I have spent a crazy amount of time listening to podcasts over the past several years, so people frequently ask me what I listen to and/or what they should listen to. This list evolves and rotates. I tune in, set aside, and return to a number of these. I will maintain this list with deletions and additions as new shows emerge and take the place of those with waning relevancy and quality.
Note: this is my personal list. While there is some obvious overlap with Best of the Left, these recommendations are not related to my work with that podcast and are not to be considered affiliated with my position as Social Media/Activism Director. Also, it would be impossible for me to agree with and approve of everything said on every show; that’s ridiculous. Don’t write to tell me someone said a thing about another thing that you think conflicts with a thing. This is merely a list of shows worth checking out and who I think add to the cultural narrative in a valuable way.
Obviously, I have to recommend my podcast of radio appearances: Katie Speak Live
Sex Out Loud
I prefer the Downcast app and typically listen on my iPhone. Downcast is worth every penny of $1.99. It allows you to go back through episode archives for shows that maintain them, downloads instead of streams for uninterrupted playback and saves episodes until you listen or delete them which is especially helpful for shows like Maddow that take down previous episodes. You can even save your favorites, share via email/social networks and get the show notes from the podcaster. You can access shows with paid subscriptions easily as well.
Sticher is a good option for people listening on older devices, ones with less memory or from a computer (the web platform is pretty excellent, actually). It’s also free! Most podcasts of note push their work out to Stitcher which has perfected the suggestion and search options. It also has the bonus of playing live radio that streams online. Just be sure to turn the notifications off in your settings. Seriously — the day you download it. Oh, and Stitcher has ratings now, so be sure and help out the shows you click by clicking on the stars.
Individual apps: Some shows put out their own apps. This is clutter up your device, but some of them have distinct advantages. Best of the Left and Thom Hartmann definitely have the best apps. It does help the podcaster’s stats, so if you dig their work, consider downloading and putting them in a folder.
I have a love/hate relationship with iTunes. I’m going to guess you do as well and have found this option to be frustrating, but sometimes necessary. Whether you use it or not, definitely take the time to stop in at iTunes and rate your favorite shows. iTunes is overwhelmingly how people find podcasts and a three word review with a decent star rating can boost a show in their search engine algorithm. Just search for the show’s iTunes page and click on rating.
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