Judith P. Raynault studio

The podcasters series

Drawn for pleasure.
Year: 2018
This American Life
I like to say, only half-jokingly, that I liked podcasts before it was cool. I started listening to This American Life in 2006 and fell in love with the show. The stories are virtually always captivating, even when I think the ‘theme’ doesn’t sound interesting.

Over the years other podcasts came and went as the ‘flavour of the month’, but This American Life has always been part of my playlist. It’s like my podcast equivalent of The Beatles.

Now I know Ira Glass is not the only person working on that show. In fact they have a panoply of producers and collaborators (they list 660 of them!) who help make the show great. They made ‘spin offs’ that are arguably now more popular than This American Life itself. But Glass has hosted and produced the show since 1995, and his very distinctive voice welcomes us to basically every episode.

Call Your Girlfriend
Call Your Girlfriend, the “podcast for long distance besties everywhere”, gives the word ‘bestie’ all the nobility it deserves. Far from being tacky, it is empowering. I love to hear Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s very opinionated and always sharp views of pop-culture, politics and current affairs.

Next in my ‘podcasts I love’ series is ‬Invisibilia. As they put it so eloquently themselves, they "weave incredible human stories with fascinating new psychological and brain science, in the hopes that after listening, you will come to see new possibilities for how to think, behave and live." And to that, my often clueless but always interested brain says to Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin: YES, PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW HUMANS WORK! Seriously, every single episode is good.

In Good Company
I've inadvertently become a bit of a fan of Otegha Uwagba. I have her book ‘Little Black Book’, I bought her 'Dream CV Planner’ (a tool which has massively helped me to understand where I want to go professionally), and I've been listening to her podcast 'In Good Company' since the beginning... She’s basically my go-to source for career advice.

The podcast is great, I can’t think of one disappointing episode. The interviews feel like natural conversations with the brilliant women she has on.

The Memory Palace
I have to confess that I borrowed Nate DiMeo's style to write the beginning of the historical text in my magazine about sugar shacks (would have kept the style throughout but I’m not good enough a writer...). His podcast The Memory Palace is beautiful to listen to. Every episode is a lesson in storytelling. Often moving, these stories of real people (known and unknown) are told in a truly empathic way. And the fact that they tend to have a feminist point of view is a plus.

The Allusionist
Words and language are truly fascinating, and never more so than when the brilliant and hilarious Helen Zaltzman talks about them on The Allusionist. From eponyms to portmanteaus to space between words, she and her guests cover specific words or more broadly how language evolves.


© Judith Poitras-Raynault 2024