Whether you want intimate stories, cult celebrity interviews or LGBT advice, the expanding online radio world has a download for all interests
Podcasting now feels like blogging did back in the dial-up days: immediate, fun, creatively thrilling. The perfect way to tell a story. Instead of holed up behind a laptop, typing away, now people want to record what they have to share. They’re easy to make – all you really need is a laptop, phone or dictaphone and ideas.
This time last year, everyone was obsessed with true-life drama podcast, Serial. Out of nowhere, no-one gave a fuck about listening to music on the way home from work. It was all about racing through each episode with its slow-build Twin Peaks style theatrics. It didn’t matter that previously podcasts had never really flown. A new love of truly great TV almost definitely kicked it off – and here we are.
With a long winter ahead and Serial long-gone until season two, here are our favourite arts, culture and lifestyle podcasts to download and jump into:
Nasty Gal founder and all-around bad ass Sophia Amoruso has taken the title of her book #Girlboss, which focuses on her inspiring rise to the top of the fashion and business worlds, and extended the brand into a podcast. On each light-toned, hilarious episode of #Girlboss radio, Amoruso interviews other incredibly successful women who’ve left their creative mark, extracting solid advice and lessons they’ve learned on their journey.
Do you want to be a writer, journalist, or do you simply love storytelling? Then Longform is for you. It’s beautifully straight-forward – each week one of the hosts talks about their convoluted route into the world of non-fiction writing, their highs and lows, the secrets they learnt. The result is something that transcends journalism: it’s a moving mix of warm life advice and autobiography, making it a perfect listen for almost anyone.
If you love RuPaul’s Drag Race, then this podcast was made for you. If you haven’t seen it then absorb both immediately. Along with his co-host Michelle Visage, the bodacious pair discuss pop culture, life advice, beauty stuff and chat about behind the scenes gossip. The brilliance comes not from the content but from the chemistry between the two and their larger-than-life personalities.
Who is Marc Maron? He’s the “Iggy Pop Woody Allen”. Take from that what you will. The energy of his self-aware depression and depreciation adds intimacy to his funny and emotional interviews. There’s plenty to hold you over for the winter with more than 600 episodes with everyone from Nick Cave to Robin Williams. Judd Apatow once wrote about Maron and his podcast in the New York Times: “What helps him is the fact that people mistakenly think that no one is going to listen to it, when in fact a ton of people listen to it, and it will last forever.”
It’s a simple premise: thinkers, dreamers, musicians, writers and more talk for a short 15 minutes off the cuff on something they’re intrigued by. Previous subjects have been Lynne Barber on her bender with the bizarre Salvador Dalí, Matt Haig on depression and even the brilliant Viv Albertine on life in The Slits. You won’t hear these stories anywhere else; these quotes aren’t in any interviews, they’re fresh, honest and as unusual as the topic.
Ex-Parks and Recreation writer Chelsea Peretti is only a phone call away. Quite literally. The comedian sets a theme and anyone can ring up and interact with her on indie podcast. Expect a lot of humour while subjects swing from Tumblr to mental health to sweatpants to eating disorders. After a few episodes, you’ll felt like you’ve been roommates with her for years.
It doesn’t necessarily sound that interesting: a podcast considering little-explored moments in history. But just trust us on this one. Co-hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have weaved sound effects and music together to create a complex, thought-provoking world that goes beyond what we currently know to be the radio experience.
Led by passionate gay activist slash agony uncle Dan Savage, this podcast is all about being sex-positive in a stifled world. Anonymous callers leave their strange, sad and often extraordinary problems on an answerphone and Savage does everything possible he can to help – whether that be bringing in doctors or experts – and always answering with kindness and wisdom. This is an SOS line for young people and adults across the world.
Taking a new theme each week, the producers explore the fabric of American existence – there’s truth, there’s a lot of strange and there’s some very real tragedy. Frankly, it’s the ultimate podcast. It was the breeding ground for the talent of Ira Glass and Serial’s mighty Sarah Koenig.