Written by #LIFTEDpodcast host and producer, Holly K

Making Rise’s LIFTED podcast means that I get to tell the stories of amazing Buffalonian’s and WNYers who are making things happen. It’s great! But I’m a podcast fan and listener first and foremost. So if you enjoyed LIFTED and want more podcasts to fill your feed, this short list of a few of my favorite shows might just do the trick. It’s a hodgepodge of genres and there are some new podcasts and some old, but hopefully you’ll find something here to fill that LIFTED-shaped void before next season. In no particular order:

Slow Burn by Slate Media

Modern History. Nonfiction.

Season 2 of Slow Burn has just wrapped, and I was addicted. It’s all about Bill Clinton’s scandal-ridden Presidency, reminding us of forgotten moments and stories along the way. I was a kid when the infamous “sexual relations with that woman” moment was all over the news, and so I have hazy memories of the saga which mostly include my Mum tutting and switching the TV channel whenever a blue dress was mentioned. This podcast pulls that scandal, amongst others, into sharp focus. Slow Burn is modern political history expertly told, and with season 1 covering Watergate, there’s a lot to explore.

Everything is Alive by Radiotopia 

Comedy. Fiction/mock-interview.

Ever wondered what goes on inside the head of a can of cola? Interested to hear the perspective of a lamppost in Brooklyn? Well Everything Is Alive, the podcast that interviews inanimate objects, is just the ticket. This show is a brilliant pastiche of earnest interview podcasts and each episode is a short, entertaining listen. But be warned, listening in public may induce embarrassing lols. Take it from someone who once listened in Wegmans.

Homecoming by Gimlet Media.

Drama. Fiction.

Most audio drama I hear on the radio sends me to sleep. But Homecoming isn’t most audio drama. And it isn’t on the radio. Such is the boundary-breaking beauty of podcasts. This show from Gimlet Media drags the genre into the 21st century. Plugging in your headphones to listen to Homecoming is like stepping straight into your favorite TV thriller. There’s no first person narrator with contrived ‘dear diary’ type monologues to spell out the plot, like in most audio dramas. Instead, you’re whisked right into the action and have to keep up with the conversations between characters to work out what’s going on. What’s more, there’s a STELLAR cast including Katherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer and Amy Sedaris.

Desert Island Discs by BBC Radio 4

Personal Journals. Nonfiction.

This is a staple of my podcast library and is widely considered a Great British Institution. DID started as a radio show waaaayyy back in 1942 and is still going strong on the airwaves. It’s also available in podcast form and sounds pretty damn fresh for a 76 year old format. Each week the presenter ‘casts away’ an interviewee to a hypothetical desert island, and asks them which eight tracks, book and luxury item they would take with them and why. Essentially, it’s an interview program with music. But the music is the key to the show’s success – it makes interviewees surprisingly vulnerable and open. Often, when introducing a song, the ‘Castaway’ describes a specific memory, person or feeling they associate with it, providing a glimpse into their life. To date, DID has only been hosted by four main presenters, and whenever there’s a change of host it usually makes the UK National News. There are THOUSANDS of episodes to download from the BBC archives, reaching right back to the show’s inception. Standout episodes include Tom Hanks, Maya Angelou, J.K Rowling, Yoko Ono and Zadie Smith, and some of the most enjoyable eps have featured people I’d never previously heard of.  

Welcome to LA by KCRW, produced by David Weinberg.

Society and Culture. Nonfiction.

Host and producer David Weinberg takes you on an L.A. Noir style tour of his encounters in Los Angeles since he moved there in 2012. Each episode tells the story of a different person or experience that somehow connects to Weinberg’s L.A. life. Episodes include the story of a Russian theremin builder’s yacht party, the tale of the court case that started off the TV empire “The People’s Court”, and the somewhat ‘interesting’ turns in the career of the former voice-actor for Ronald McDonald. The whole show has a seedy, L.A. underbelly kind of feel, which is why I like it.

Serial from the creators of This American Life.

True Crime. Nonfiction.

Serial has been out since 2014, and okay, if you’re reading this post then you’re likely to have already heard it. But some of you won’t have, and if you haven’t then OMG I AM SO JEALOUS OF YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE THIS SHOW YET TO DISCOVER AND ENJOY! Serial is the podcast that’s credited for the ‘podcast boom’. Seasons 1 and 2 investigate a different real-life case, with S1 investigating the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee and the subsequent conviction of her ex boyfriend Adnan Syed. S2 focuses on Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. S3, just released this September, (and to which I am yet to listen…) follows multiple stories and tracks a year inside one Cleveland courthouse. This podcast is highly bingeable. Don’t just take my word for it: the first two seasons have apparently been downloaded more than 340 million times.

These are just a few of my go to podcasts amongst many, and I might do another post in the future with more. Have you heard any of the shows featured here, and do you have any recommendations of your own? Let us know. And if you haven’t listened to LIFTED yet, you can get it on most podcast apps including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.