The 10 Greatest Podcasts of 2019

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A number of the greatest podcasts of 2019 spent the yr trying backwards—on the ramifications of slavery, at corporations that imploded, at vital thinkers and celebrities who handed away. Podcast hosts retold their mother and father’ tales, revisited monumental films and re-investigated strange cultural phenomena. And each single present on this listing indulges in nostalgia—even the fiction podcast.

Maybe reaching the top of the last decade has made podcasters extra reflective and insightful than ever earlier than, or maybe we as listeners are simply craving a proof for our present second and turning to the previous to search out it. Regardless of the motive, it made for excellent listening. Listed here are TIME’s greatest podcasts of 2019.

10. Spectacular Failures

Lauren Ober recounts the epic meltdowns of corporations like MoviePass and Toys “R” Us with a wholesome dose of skepticism: when she reviews that the implosion of U-Haul was preceded by boardroom brawls between brothers, she jokes, “There’s not enough Xanax in the world to get me to go into business with my family.” In reporting on what number of of those CEOs merely rebrand or begin over, leaving legions of unemployed employees of their wake, Ober exposes the “failing up” tradition that pervades Silicon Valley, Wall Avenue and—as within the episode about Trump’s Atlantic Metropolis casinos—the White Home.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

9. Mobituaries

The 10 Greatest Podcasts of 2019 2

CBS correspondent Mo Rocca hosts a surprisingly enjoyable podcast about demise. Every episode, he eulogizes a unique individual or factor—from Sammy Davis Jr. to 2 timber whose deaths sparked an unsightly flip in a soccer rivalry between two faculties. He approaches every topic earnestly and curiously, enlisting the likes of Invoice Clinton to replicate on being inaugurated the day Audrey Hepburn died, or Tony winners to put in writing a present tune commemorating Thomas Paine.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

8. Conan O’Brien Wants a Pal

Including Walmart and Target hours
Together with Walmart and Goal hours

The jokey premise of the present is that Conan O’Brien has no actual associates and needs to make use of the podcast to drive celebrities to hang around with him. In truth, his years-long relationships with veterans of comedy like Tina Fey and Will Farrell are what make this podcast funnier and extra insightful than simply one other interview podcast with a star host. He recollects battle tales from the set of Saturday Night time Stay and embarrassing anecdotes {that a} journalist would haven’t any method of unearthing.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

7. Scattered

Al-hadji Kudra Maliro—AP
Al-hadji Kudra Maliro—AP

When comic Chris Garcia’s father died, he requested that his household scatter his ashes off the coast of his homeland, Cuba. However Garcia’s mom had little interest in returning to the nation the place her husband was compelled to work in an internment camp and acquired electroshock remedy. Garcia seizes the chance to find out about his mother and father’ immigration—however he leavens the harrowing tales with hilarious asides, like when his mom obsesses over the singer Pitbull. It’s the form of deeply private account that’s important at a second when immigration is so politicized.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

6. Decoder Ring

Slate critic Will Paskin explores a weird and pleasant cultural phenomenon every month, from “Baby Shark” to Chuck E. Cheese, to attempt to perceive what makes folks obsessive about seemingly arbitrary touchstones. These fixations can spin uncontrolled, resulting in poisonous fights on boards or basements stuffed with damaged animatronic critters. However Paskin lends a sympathetic ear to fanboys and fangirls to know how the strangest media can elicit an emotional attachment.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

5. Moonface

Almost 50 staffers with the U.N. health agency were evacuated
Nearly 50 staffers with the U.N. well being company have been evacuated

The cinematic soundscape of creator James Kim’s fiction podcast instantly attracts the listener into the eating places and dive bars of Downey, California outdoors of Los Angeles. Paul (Joel Kim Booster) lives there together with his mom, although their conversations are stilted: she speaks little English, he little Korean. Paul cites the language barrier to his associates as the explanation he hasn’t come out to his household. As he tries to bridge the emotional and linguistic hole, the present trusts that non–Korean audio system will perceive the emotions, if not each phrase, of their conversations: the wrestle to be understood is common.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

4. Final Days of August

Getty Images—2019 Getty Images
Getty Pictures—2019 Getty Pictures

This might have been a nasty true-crime sequence: When an grownup movie star named August Ames dies by suicide after writing a controversial tweet, a number of of her associates inform journalist Jon Ronson that they believe foul play. To Ronson’s credit score, he refuses to play novice sleuth and construct rigidity on a false supposition of homicide. What he produces as a substitute is a nuanced and regarded portrait of Ames, a lonely girl who had a sophisticated relationship with an business that each worshipped and abused her.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

3. Clean Verify With Griffin and David

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This constantly nice film podcast examines the filmography of 1 director at a time. However the sequence hit new heights this yr when hosts Griffin Newman and David Sims centered on Hayao Miyazaki, the person behind masterworks like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro—whose movies are usually not out there to stream, and thus criminally under-appreciated outdoors of Japan. (The movies will make their streaming debut subsequent yr on HBOMax.) Newman and Sims supplied listeners an opportunity to hunt out his films and take part in a important dialog about how People can entry and admire foreign-language movies—which, as films like Parasite generate Oscar buzz, is extra related than ever.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

2. You’re Mistaken About…

Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who was fired for allegedly attempting to make a deal with President Trump in the case of SEAL Edward Gallagher, says Trump is sending a bad message to troops.
Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who was fired for allegedly trying to make a take care of President Trump within the case of SEAL Edward Gallagher, says Trump is sending a nasty message to troops.

You would possibly assume all the things about Tonya Harding or O.J. Simpson, however as journalists Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall re-examine these and different tales from stunning new angles—like the attitude of Paula Barbieri, Simpson’s girlfriend on the time of his trial—they show even essentially the most well-known figures have unplumbed depths. Whereas they by no means sacrifice accuracy for the sake of enjoyable, their breezy tone retains even the heaviest of subjects partaking.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

1. 1619

Including Walmart and Target hours
Together with Walmart and Goal hours

4 hundred years after the frigate White Lion introduced slavery to America, New York Instances author Nikole Hannah Jones reframes the nation’s historical past via the lens of that establishment. (The podcast accompanies the New York Instances Journal’s 1619 Project.) Every episode demonstrates how our economic system, political system and common tradition are rooted within the slave commerce and constructed on the work of African People. Regardless of the podcast’s sweeping targets, the tales are intimate and conversational—as with a standout episode wherein tradition critic Wesley Morris identifies the echoes of black artists’ songs in essentially the most sudden music genres.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.



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