Podcasts are all the rage right now: More than 100 million Americans have been listening to one.
They aren't new, but they have definitely morphed as they've become more popular — and celeb-filled — in recent years. Forbes reports they've become important as a news and entertainment source because some folks get tired of looking at screens, endlessly scrolling and dealing with dry eyes.
The podcast app Stitcher has some new shows launching soon:
Phil in the Blanks
– launching Tuesday, Jan. 8
Dr. Phil McGraw delves into the minds of the most interesting and accomplished people in the world today. From celebrities to ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, to the world’s leading experts and “disrupters,” every guest will be provocative, informative and relevant.
Josie & Johnny Are Having a Baby
– launching Friday, Jan. 18
Josie Long and Jonny Donahoe are two comedians who are having a baby. As new parents, Josie and Jonny bring their humor and genuine curiosity into each conversation to get actual answers to questions they’re completely clueless about. Each episode features creators of all types talking candidly about what it means to raise a baby into a full-on adult human.
What was tops for Stitcher in 2018?
“The Atlantic” ranked Stitcher podcast’s ‘ Sold in America ,” “ The Dream ” and “ Headlong ” among 2018’s Top 50 podcasts. Below are excerpts from The Atlantic article with their corresponding ranks:
Sold in America
Throughout “Sold in America,” the host, Noor Tagouri, hovers over the unsolvable puzzle of human trafficking as if it were a Rubik’s Cube. She asks listeners to leave their preconceived notions behind and stick with her as she explains how, despite her reporting on the sex trade for many years, what she thought she would understand by making this podcast changed again and again along the way. Tagouri hands over the mic to people who believe that sex work in America can never be consensual, to people pushed to the edges of society when they started transitioning genders, to sex workers who love their jobs. There’s an interview with Dennis Hof, the now-deceased owner of a brothel called Moonlite Bunny Ranch, and tense sound bites of one of his female employees sexually harassing Tagouri. The host travels to Kentucky to explore how and why people use sex work to pay for expensive opioid addictions. And she tags along with activists who are fighting pending legislation on Capitol Hill. "Sold in America" doesn’t conclude with answers. But sometimes, the best way to get people talking about something as stigmatized as the sex trade is to simply get it all on the table. “Sold in America” does just that.
While multilevel marketing, or MLM, is a murky business, “The Dream” makes it a joy to learn about. An exhaustive look into the opaque marketplace of direct selling, this 11-part series uncovers the fascinating origin story of the business practiced by numerous companies with household names, such as Herbalife and Amway. When “The Dream” looks further into the past, it discovers that the model sprang up at a time when gender roles blocked many women from entering the workforce. For some of these women, selling cosmetics wasn’t just about beauty; it was also about autonomy. The host, Jane Marie, pulls out all the stops investigating MLM: She goes home to Michigan to talk with women in her family who sold Tupperware; enlists her colleague MacKenzie Kassab, a writer and producer, to sell makeup; and investigates what kind of a living commission-only employees are making selling products for MLM firms. Enough can’t be said about how entertaining Marie is—she wisely puts her NPR voice in a drawer and instead frames the show around funny, lively conversations she has with people. “The Dream” might transform your idea of what a Tupperware party is—from a necessary evil to a time-honored example of a century-old business practice. Whether or not you believe direct selling is ethical, there’s no denying it’s rich with history.
Headlong: Surviving Y2K
You may think “Headlong” is an entirely new show given its title—and it is—but it’s also the successor to last year’s “Missing Richard Simmons,” whose host, Dan Taberski, is back at the helm. For those who tagged along on his journey to find the fitness legend, it was hard not to be impressed with Taberski’s numerous charms, even if Simmons didn’t want to be found. “Headlong: Surviving Y2K” is the perfect vehicle for Taberski’s emotional intelligence and humor. Set in the late ’90s, the show centers on the drama of the Y2K bug that people feared would be catastrophic enough to shut down power grids and fry computer processors. Taberski interviews programmers, early internet philosophers, and doomsday preppers, but then the narrative grows into something transcendent as the clock ticks toward midnight on January 1, 2000. The podcast delves into a series of life-altering dramas set just before the stroke of the new millennium, and with these stories, Y2K blossoms into a full-fledged classic.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stitcher is owned by the E.W. Scripps Company, which also owns this television station and digital content platforms.