5 Podcasts Whose Hosts Might Be Your New Best Friends

1. This American Life

I know Ira Glass’s voice more than almost any other voice. Ira (we are on a first name basis) tells stories using narrative journalism. He takes news stories that pique people’s interest and dives deep into them, digging out nuggets of truth and delivering them to his audience like he just thought of the perfect sentence right on the spot. 

My personal favorite episode of "This American Life" is "Three Miles," which aired in 2015. This episode follows kids in a program that brings together two schools - one public and one private. The private school is quite wealthy, and the podcast tells the story of the public-school kids that are upset by the disparity. 


2. The Moth  

Sarah Austin Jenness does my dream job: she gets to talk to people about important things in their lives, helps them curate the stories they want to tell, and give them a platform to tell them. "The Moth" is a collection of true stories told live in front of audiences. Sarah Austin Jenness is the Executive Producer, so she creates and narrates these podcasts. I love the way that this podcast gives people the space to talk about what is important to them. In high school, I would listen to this podcast on the way to school and arrive with red eyes because I had been crying about a veteran’s war story or a young girl talking about her first day of school. The Moth helps me feel empathy for people in different situations. 

My favorite story from The Moth was told on episode 1,202 which aired on June 25th 2018. The storyteller is a performer from the Blue Man Group who tells about the show and how it rekindled his love for performing again. 


3. The Truth

"The Truth" was the first podcast that I ever fell in love with. Jonathan Mitchell conjures up fictional stories that captivate the listener and make one think. This totally fictional podcast is groundbreaking in its use of audio editing to make the listener feel like they are in an audible movie. 

The first episode I ever listened to, and the one which sparked my love for podcasts, was "Can You Help Me Find My Mom?," which depicts a little girl lost and looking for her mother. The audience later realizes that this little girl is really an elderly woman who has dementia and is confused. It is these intelligent twists and superb voice acting that make these stories so completely entrancing.  


4. The Heart

Kaitlin Prest, the host of "The Heart," somehow always knows just what to say to me. She is like a best friend (even though our friendship is one-sided), whispering truths and advice in my ear. "The Heart" is audio art about your relationships with other people, with the world, and with yourself. Whenever I listen to "The Heart," I feel wrapped up in a blanket of safety because I know Kaitlin Prest will take me on an emotional journey of self-discovery in every single episode. 

In my opinion, the best episode on The Heart is called "God and the Gays" and was written by Pheobe Wang, one of Kaitlin Prest’s collaborators. In this episode, Pheobe explores the opportunities for reconciliation and understanding between herself and her family, as well as her Christian friends. 


5. TED Radio Hour

Guy Raz is one of my favorite NPR personalities. His skills as an interviewer and producer make "Ted Radio Hour" possibly more informative than the original TED talks. He interviews the speakers and intermittently plays clips from their talks to provide a more cohesive view of the speaker and their subject. 

My favorite episode of "Ted Radio Hour" is called "The Act Of Listening." I love this episode because it elegantly ties together the different effects that listening has on people and communities.