Best podcasts of 2016...so far

Best podcasts of 2016...so far

We're already a quarter of the way through the year, which is nuts.

I thought about writing a best TV post, and maybe I still will; but for now, here's what you should be watching: OJ, Girls, Broad City, The Grinder. There are others, but that's a good list to start with. I don't want to overwhelm you. Game of Thrones starts soon.

More and more I find myself consuming podcasts. I listen to them at the gym, in the car, while making dinner and cleaning house. No matter what you're into, someone's doing a podcast about it. I tend to gravitate toward entertainment and politics-based shows.

Here are my favorites right now.

The Mincing Rascals from WGN (politics, national and local): This is John Williams's show, and he brings Steve Bertrand, Kristen McQueary, and Eric Zorn along with him. This is always such a thoughtful, measured discussion of the week's topics. (Except when they had the guest-who-must-not-be-named on a few weeks ago.)

Channel 33 (all kinds of stuff): This is the new podcasting network from Bill Simmons, and he brought a bunch of former Grantlanders on board (so the conversations tend to be quite thoughtful and well-researched). The topics range from sports to celebrity gossip. If you subscribe to the channel on iTunes, you get them all and can sift through everything they have to offer (and maybe skip over the college football shows like I do). My favorites:

  • Keepin' it 1600 (politics): Two of President Obama's former speechwriters get down to the nitty gritty of the election. Yes, the hosts are democrats, but they're more wonky than partisan, and they do bring on conservative guests to balance things out.
  • The Watch (TV): Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald talk about TV, and they do it in a way that makes you feel smarter.
  • Jam Session (gossip): Juliet Lipman and Amanda Dobbins run down the week in celebrity news.

FiveThirtyEight Elections (politics): The pollster nerds from FiveThirtyEight get together to talk about what's crazy, election-wise. It's a very numbers-based, non-partisan chat about how dumb everyone was not to see Trump coming.

Pub(lishing) Crawl (books/publishing): If you want to know more about how books are made (and how you can get your own novel publishing-ready), this is the show for you.

The Oral History Podcast (books/sex): Two YA authors, Christa Desir and Carrie Mesrobian, talk about how sex is portrayed in books. This chat gets quite in depth and graphic, so know that; but it's a great, and educational, listen.

America's Test Kitchen Radio (FOOD): On the other end of the spectrum, there's the wholesome food nerd show hosted by Chris Kimball. The audio of this show sounds like the Schwetty Balls sketch on Saturday Night Live in the very best way possible.

What are you listening to?

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