These are some of my favorite things in 2017

This year, like 2016, seemed like a continuous garbage fire (and in some places, there were actual fires…). It’s been hard to stay strong, to be positive about the kind of future we have in store. Plus, with winter officially upon us in the northern hemisphere, these cold, short days are perfect for negative thinking and depressive attitudes (at least for me). So in light of all of that, I wanted to write about some of my favorite things to come out of this year.

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Rabbits Podcast.

The newest production from the teams behind Tanis and The Black Tapes finished their first season last week with a shocking twist. This show, titled Rabbits, is by far the best produced and written podcasts from the Public Radio Alliance and its sister network, Pacific Northwest Stories. Rabbits is, at the heart of it, about one person’s attempt to find their missing friend.


Carly Parker, the host of the show, usually opens each episode by telling us why she started the podcast. Her friend, Yumiko, went missing while playing a mysterious and rather ancient game, often referred to in hushed tones as ‘Rabbits’. It’s during Parker’s search for her friend that she discovers just how complex and potentially life changing that the game just might be. And it’s during her search that she learns just how potentially fatal the game could be as well.

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S-Town and Missing Richard Simmons

Recently, I listened up the popular podcast S-Town and ended up listening to all seven episodes in about 24 hours. This podcast is wonderfully produced and one of the latest projects from the teams behind This American Life and Serial. I was initially hesitant to listen to this show because I wasn’t sure how the show would go. It has been lauded as a true crime podcast and the description of it alludes to it being similar in nature to other popular podcasts like Serial and Missing Richard Simmons. And while the description doesn’t adequately describe the final product of the show, it was an interesting (and sometimes rough) listen.

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True Crime and Tragedy as Entertainment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about using real life pain, tragedy, and abuse as entertainment. A part of this comes from listening to the podcast Missing Richard Simmons, in which one journalist looks into the enthusiastic fitness instructor’s rather sudden retreat from public life a few years ago and the turmoil that the show caused. Listening to that show felt weird at so many moments and Amanda Hess over at the New York Times nailed exactly why it felt so invasive.

There are so many other examples similar to Missing Richard Simmons that are based on that same sort of premise: using and telling someone else’s story in a very public way. Many (but not all) of these productions are about events that are traumatic and violent, making them moments that I’m sure not many would want to constantly relive on a public stage.

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I’ve written about a few of my favorites before so it’s no secret that I love podcasts. My day job allows for a lot of listening time so I tend to go through a lot of episodes each week. And while I have reviewed plenty in the past, I thought I’d compile some of my favorites all together! I’ve grouped the list by category/related content so if you see one you like and are looking for more, check out the ones in the same group. This list is in no way a true reflection of all the amazing audio content that exist nowadays but just some of my favorites. Some will have easily accessible transcripts, others will also have Patreons and ways to support their work. All that information, if it’s applicable to a show, will be right below each show description.

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The LifeAfter Podcast.

170x170bbA few weeks ago, I discovered a new podcast from the same partnership that produced The Message. As I loved The Message, I was immediately on board with the new one and was not disappointed. Life.After follows FBI clerk Ross Barnes as he tries to get through everyday life and work after losing his wife in a car accident several months before. Listening to his late wife’s posts on an audio social media platform is often all that gets him through – that is, until he hears something new and rather weird.

There are only 10 episodes in the podcast, with each one about 25 minutes long. The production and sound of this show is incredibly well done and while there were times in which it fell a bit flat, the voice acting was convincingly real. According to one of the creators of the show, they would record the show outside the studio and on location, allowing for the show to be more authentic. And this is such a tiny detail and such a weird comment but the fact that they had a specific sound for VoiceTree posts made it seem more like a believable platform.

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mza_359485749806540041.600x600-75If you are anything like me and enjoyed listening to The Message, then you’ll probably also really like the podcast Limetown. It’s fictional podcast following the investigation of what happened to a place called Limetown in 2004 and seems to be a mix of Serial, NPR, and the Twilight Zone. Although if you want to listen to it spoiler free (which I would), I recommend not reading this any further.

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The Message.

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with podcasts of all kinds and I’ve written about some of my favorites a couple times before. Nowadays, podcasts seem just as popular as they were in 2005 – the year some claimed to be ‘the year of the podcast’.  And there are so many ones to listen to: news and radio programs, investigative journalism (like the popular Serial), others that aim to improve your love life, etc etc.

550373999_1280x720But there are some that hail back to the days of radio drama and productions like Orson Wells’ The War of the Worlds. One in particular is the podcast miniseries The Message, which seems to capture that same essence of radio drama but with a new digital spin.

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Podcasts (pt 2)

So several months ago I wrote about some of my favorite podcasts and since then, that list has grown! This list right now is about the podcasts  I know I love already(*) but the ones I’m excited to start listening to(**).

Last Name Basis* – husband and wife duo Patrick and Franchesa talk about what’s happening in the world as well as married life and their dogs.

Belabored Podcast** – This is one I haven’t listened to yet but Belabored is a podcast from Dissent Magazine about the labor movement.

Lore Podcast* – this is a biweekly podcast about true life scary stories and each episode looks into the truth behind a uniquely scary story. I have honestly gasped audibly and made faces at the information I learn and some of the stories. Based on this podcast, I guess it’s true what they say – sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Black Girl Dangerous Podcast** – so I haven’t listened to this one yet but Mia McKenzie started a podcast for Black Girl Dangerous and I’m so excited!