If you run on podcasts, but sometimes run out of podcasts like me, there might be something here for you.

Masterpieces:

The podcasting medium is so young that some of these shows really shake up the format and do something altogether new . Here are my all time loves (last updated Oct 2020):

  • S-Town
    • Impossible to describe. This investigative journalism podcast is full of plot twists and tells the unimaginable story of John B of the town he calls “Shittown” Alabama. It's not a happy story.
  • Alone, A Love Story (CBC)
    • From Michelle Prise of CBC, this is a memoir about love, the bomb, and the fallout. It feels like Michelle is reading you her diary, which happens to be a gripping story. Musical elements and local Toronto references make it all the more magical. I hope more podcasts like this come to life.
  • First Day Back (season 1)
    • Montreal filmmaker Tally Abecassis tells the story of having her kids, and staying away from the work for longer than she'd expected. Again, it's deeply personal and satisfies so many curiosities about what it might mean to become a mom.
  • Against the Rules (Michael Lewis)
    • This series is well researched, well written, and well executed! Super high production value. Michael puts his finger on an important societal shift - the villainization and emilimation of referees - where is it happening and why does it matter? This one's good for a roadtrip because it can be consumed piece-meal and isn't too girly or techy.
  • Serial (season 1)
    • This was my first podcast and it is such a gripping story. The journalist looks into a missing persons case involving teenagers in Baltimore in the late 90's, examining the evidence and interviewing everyone involved.
  • Believed
    • This one is very disturbing, but digs into the important details of Larry Nassir sexually assaulted dozens of young girls, sometimes directly in front of their parents, and the girls' accusations were not believed for so long. "How did he get away with it" is such a common question these days, and this story shows how easy it can be for sexual assault to happen in front of our noses and why it's so important we believe women.
  • Homecoming
    • A well produced audio drama with high production value and a timely, political and dramatic plot. Don't blink - it's a short one! Now a tv show on Amazon Prime.
  • Unlocking Bryson's Brain (cbc)
    • Super personal story about the narrator's journey to get his son's rare disabiity diagnosed and treated. The story starts with the story of gis son's birth and includes interviews with his wife, other son, and doctors.
  • The Other Latif (WNYC studios)
    • A RadioLab producer discovers a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay has his (rare) name. In this mini-series he documents his journey into history and aroudn the world trying to uncover the detainee's story.

Favorites:

These are my go-to's:

  • Startup (season 1 )
    • In the first season of Startup, Alex Blumberg and Matt Liebier document their jouney to start a podcasting company, Gimlet (recently acquired by Sportify). It's very raw! You hear pitching their wives, pitching investors, and going to therapy together. It's refreshing to hear a founder express how inexperienced and unconfident they feel...
  • Startup (Success Academy Season)
    • This season takes a measured look at Success Academy, a controversial charter school in New York. Each episode explores a different angle of this important topic: the founder, the parents, the politics, the funding..
  • Pivot
    • Released every Friday morning to make every Friday morning refreshing. Journalist, Kara Swisher and professor, Scott Gallaway are independent thinkers who critique big tech with humour, humility, and care.
  • Sway
    • Kara Swisher's other podcast where she interviews powerful people
  • Athletes Unfiltered
    • Produced by Strava, it tells the stories of different, often unconventional runners and what drives them
  • That's a Corker
    • Produced by a brother-sister HR consulting team in Vancouver. It's hit and miss, depending on the guest, but they are lots of fun and make me feel like I'm home :)
  • The Longest Shortest Time
    • I prefer the first few seasons, hosted by Andrea Silenzi. The show explores different mom-topics, which are really only interesting because she's such a charming and empathetic story teller
  • The Big Story
    • CBC podcast that takes a deepish look at a Canadian current event
  • Recode Decode
    • Kara Swisher talks to tech people or politics people about tech things. She's not at all shy and asks the hard questions. Depending on the guest, this show is amazing.
  • Lipstories
    • Produced by Sephora, it interviews strong successful women. Some of them are pretty good, some less good.
  • Vanguard by Shopify Studios
  • Longform
    • Long interviews with writers about their work with a very earnest host. Almost always inspires me to read!

Staples

Enough good content to get you through any commute!

  • Radiolab (storytelling)
  • Without Fail (Interviews with entrepreneurs)
  • This American Life (storytelling)
  • Reply All (geeky talk show)
  • The Cut (Interviews with awesome women)
  • Metro Morning (CBC Toronto daily news)
  • The Journal (WSG daily news)
  • The Daily (NYT daily news)
  • Up First (NPR daily news)
  • The Big Story (CBC)
  • CTV News (Toronto news)