The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Dishes, going for a jog, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s officially impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.
Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your two into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about a serial killer who stayed hidden for years, backyard cougars, Ashley Nicole Black, and voices from the civil rights movement.
True crime podcast
Why should I listen? These stories were ignored for too long.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? There are two episodes so far, one 40 minutes and the other a half an hour.
Describe it in one word: Heartbreaking.
Imagine your friend goes missing. He’s left behind his beloved puppy, his wallet, his phone. Imagine two more men, who superficially resemble him and hung out in the same bars, go missing. One left behind his necessary prescription medicine and a cat. Imagine the police tell you these three men, who didn’t know each other, all must have packed up and left, without telling a soul.
Uncover Season 3 is the story of these men and others who also went missing from Toronto’s gay village. It hit close to home for host Justin Ling, who researched and wrote about the disappearances in 2017. That was after two more men were reported missing. By then, Toronto’s LGBTQ community felt mistrustful of the police department, which finally turned its attention to a potential serial killer.
Why should I listen? You get up close and personal with animals with none of the danger.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? There will be 12 episodes; the first was about 25 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Bracing.
In 2007, a coyote entered a Quizno’s sub shop in downtown Chicago and plopped himself in a cooler filled with beverages. He was pretty calm about the whole thing, and animal control escorted him out after all the patrons had left.
As we encroach on animals’ territory, these encounters have become fairly routine. In the first episode of The Wild, Chris Morgan, a wildlife researcher, helps track down cougar cubs and seems positively thrilled when one pees on him. But cohabitation has become more dangerous for both humans and animals, including a fatal cougar attack last year in Washington state. Throughout the season, Morgan encounters bears, beavers, and wolves and shares his enthusiasm for all things outdoors.
Why should I listen? If you’ve ever faced any of the problems addressed in the podcast, it’s a reminder that you aren’t alone, though that’s depressing in its own way.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The six episodes are about 30 minutes each.
Describe it in one word: Intense.
Harassment, unequal pay, and gender inequality are problems that aren’t going to magically disappear anytime soon. To help raise awareness, Time’s Up and Spotify started a podcast called Noisemakers that brings together celebrities like Padma Lakshmi and Jessica Chastain with activists who are working on solutions.
Hosts/comedians Chelsea Devantez and Ashley Nicole Black (whom I already miss from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) help inject a bit of levity into the tough stuff, while also answering questions and defining terms that you were maybe too embarrassed to ask about. At the end of the episodes, they also offer some tips on how to deal with the issues raised. (They also give timestamps you can skip to if you’re not up for some of the stories that are harder to listen to.)
Why should I listen? The fight still isn’t over.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? It’s a nine-part series. The first episode was just under 19 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Testimonial.
In school, many of us were taught that Rosa Parks was tired and refused to give up her seat on a bus. The truth is far more complicated, and she was far more complex than the picture often painted of her.
Voices of the Movement helps fill in some of the broad-brush treatment some of us received in history class. The podcast, hosted by Jonathan Capehart, has episodes focusing on the women and children involved in the 1964 civil rights movement, as well as ones dedicated to events like Bloody Sunday and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. More than just the stories themselves are the testimonials of the people who were there, including Andrew Young, King’s chief strategist. He recalled his first reaction upon seeing that the civil rights leader was dead: “My first reaction was: You can’t go to heaven and leave us in hell. We should be going with you.”