Architects and designers love a good story. With Fall moving in, each Friday in September our staff will be rounding up some of their favorite podcasts, covering a wide range of genres and styles. Whether you listen while driving or while settled into your favorite chair, tune in and see what you think. Today’s list is courtesy of Stacy Krieg, Shreeya Shakya and Ben Garbow…
Throughline (by Rund Abdelfatah & Ramtin Arablouei on NPR)
Started in 2019, this podcast takes a look at current events and traces a line through history to help paint a more complete picture. It reminds us that oftentimes to more thoroughly assess the events of today, we need to understand what happened yesterday. The podcast also brings voices to the forefront which don’t always get accounted for, which can often change our perception of reality. The hosts are bright millennials of Iranian and Palestinian backgrounds and I really enjoy hearing their commentary as well as seeing how they research and shape the narratives of these events. I give this podcast all the stars!
Architecture is Political (by Melissa Daniel)
In this podcast Melissa very honestly shares her journey in trying to understand architectures role as a political discipline that can no longer deny it’s complacency in our current state of social justice. This podcast brings a much needed perspective on architecture from Black and brown people and is very intentionally, mostly conversations with non-architects. I find this podcast to be deeply personal, relatable and sometimes unexpectedly encouraging to be able to hear her experiences and conflicts with the discipline – and why she keeps sticking with it.
Nice Try! (by Avery Trufelman from Curbed)
This podcast has been around for a year and so far only has one season titled “Utopian”. It curiously explores stories about people who have tried to design utopias – and failed. It explores a wide range of Utopias from all around the world and is funny and insightful in breaking down what happens when creating the perfect place does not go as planned.
Dolly Parton’s America (WNYC; hosted by Jad Abumrad)
This podcast couldn’t appeal to me more if it had been made in a laboratory. It explores Dolly Parton and her cultural footprint through a huge range of lenses—politics, feminism, the history of country music, Appalachia, and, of course, her songs. Country music has been a longtime cultural blind spot for me, and more than anything this show made me appreciate what a stone-cold genius songwriter Dolly Parton is. (She wrote “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” on the same DAY!?)
My Brother, My Brother and Me (Maximum Fun; hosted by Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy)
This podcast is a small ray of goofy sunshine hosted by three good-hearted brothers. It’s an advice show with very little actual advice, filled with comedy bits and odd segments that get more elaborate as the show goes on. MBMBaM is one of the few shows where I listen to every episode the day it drops; where else will I get updates on the haunted dolls for sale on eBay?
Ear Hustle (Radiotopia; hosted by Earlonne Woods, Nigel Poor and Rahsaan “New York” Thomas)
This podcast is created and produced inside San Quentin State Prison in California and is about the realities of incarceration, as told by people in prison. Topics are wide-ranging—keeping pets, relationships, mandatory minimum sentences, death row, way more than I can list here—but the show is always interesting, vital, and brings in voices we rarely hear from directly. One of the hosts, Earlonne Woods, had his sentence commuted by then-governor Jerry Brown as a result of his work on Ear Hustle, and the show has pivoted to include stories of the challenges of post-incarceration. The show was also a finalist for the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for Audio Reporting in 2019. Ear Hustle changed the way I think about prison and the criminal justice system.
What are your favorite podcasts? We’d love to hear from you – share links in the comments or tag us on Twitter (@payettepeople).