The Best Podcasts For March Madness
For those who don’t live in Auckland, “March Madness” is the term we use to describe the four weeks of hell that descend on our beloved city each year.
It’s essentially Auckland public transport’s peak-use month. And that’s because, in March, Auckland university students re-join the rest of us in the real world of accountability (okay that’s harsh, but March feels like a late start no?) and it’s also the season in which the fewest number of people take annual-leave, so we’re all just Out. Here. Doing it. Getting in each other’s way. Looking for a spare seat on the bus. Missing our train despite running across a four-way intersection. Wondering if it would make more sense to just fork out the cash and Uber.
And there’s something about a city in a permanent state of road rage that makes you want to tune out of the world and plug in to a podcast. Now, I’m not going to tell you to listen to The High Low or Serial or The Daily because you’re already doing that. Although, it’s worth mentioning that if you haven’t listened to The Daily’s episode on the Corona Virus and its similarities to the Spanish Influenza of 1918, well, you should.
Starting with one of the most profound conversations I’ve listened to in recent weeks – Ezra Klein on Krista Tippett’s On Being. The journalist, Vox Media founder and author was on Tippett’s show to discuss his latest New York Times best-seller, ‘Why We’re Polarised’. Klein’s thesis is that there is a logic to America’s current political polarisation: it was designed to be this way. His book reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction, and offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise, to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift, to the politicisation of everyday culture. But even if you’re not a political junkie, Klein’s conversation with Tippett is a frank discussion about what’s at stake, in human terms, at this historical moment in time. And If you want to stay in the realms of human design and spirituality, Tippett’s episode with Brené Brown absolutely sent me.
Motherness, hosted by Skye Ross, is a podcast dedicated to sharing mindful and empowering interviews with modern mothers and professional experts. Ross tackles subjects unique to the “fourth trimester” like postpartum depression, sleep regression, bed sharing, and recovering from the mental and physical toll of labour. I’m not a mum but found this series to be illuminating of all the different ways in which women are approaching motherhood in 2020. I particularly loved her episode with first-time mother Jess Britten.
Despite launching in 2017, there’s perhaps nothing more bingeworthy or better designed for your commute than S-Town. I first listened to S-Town (created by the team who brought us Serial and This American Life) in the summer of 2018 and could not stop listening. I was a woman obsessed. For those who don’t know, S-Town (which stands for “Shit Town”) is a seven-part documentary series about a man called John who contacts the show’s host, Brian Reed, asking him to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But the search for the truth uncovers something far uglier about John’s small, “shit”, Alabama town. It’s gripping and suspenseful and somehow incredibly poignant. By the end of the first episode you’ll be hooked.
For another gritty and grim podcast, The Dropout chronicles the incredible rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her sham company, Theranos. Once billed as the next Steve Jobs and “set to transform the world of medical testing for the better”, it wasn’t until Wall Street Journal writer John Carreyrou started digging for the truth that the fairytale began to unravel. This six-part series builds on Carryrou’s reporting.
And lastly, Bumble Australia’s hit podcast Love etc. is back for a second season, once again hosted by the wonderful Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews of Shameless Media. The show is dedicated to sharing real-life accounts of first love, lost love, sex, dating, grief, identity and all the other complicated truths that come with being a modern women. I don’t know about you, but I’ll never get sick of hearing women tell their stories. If you haven’t listened to the first season I’d recommend starting there.