Podcast roundup: Our picks for the week, from What A Cartoon to Without Fail and Studio 360

Harsh Pareek

Feb 24, 2019 09:47:11 IST

Podcasts have seen a rapid upsurge in popularity in recent years. From true crime to design, popular culture and modern relationships, fiction to in-depth reportage, podcasts have proliferated to the point where no matter how esoteric the subject, there’s bound to be a show that deals with it. Amid this cornucopia of audio delights, however, how do you pick the podcast that’s most worth your while? This is where our weekly curated playlist steps in; it’s a lowdown on the best episodes from a selection of podcasts that deserve a listen. Ready to tune in?

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— What A Cartoon!
Hey Arnold! "Spelling Bee/Pigeon Man"

About the podcast:
From the creators of Talking Simpsons comes What A Cartoon!, a podcast with hosts Henry Gilbert and Bob Mackey (as well as several guests) for an in-depth look at a different episode of a different cartoon every week.

About the episode:
Maddie joins the show to discuss one of the best cartoons to come out in the late 90s — Nickelodeon's Hey Arnold!. The trio discusses the long (and at times, surprising) history, the diversity showcased, the grounded tone, and how the show was far more emotional and empathetic than most kids' cartoons of its time.

Runtime: 113 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— Without Fail
How a Revolution Turned into America’s Number One Radio Station

About the podcast:
Hosted by Alex Blumberg, the podcast showcases candid conversations with entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, visionaries of all kinds — about their successes, their failures, and what they learned from both. 

About the episode:
The show note quite nicely sums up the intriguing episode: "Before 1970, the most popular radio stations in the United States were run by white people. But that all changed when Percy Sutton helped to form Inner City Broadcasting with the mission of putting black programming in the hands of black people. Together he and his son Pierre — and later Pierre’s daughter, Keisha — built a radio empire. But it was about more than just entertaining listeners; together they changed the culture and radically influenced how radio stations and record labels treated black artists. Blumberg talks with Pierre and Keisha about the unlikely rise — and heartbreaking fall — of their family business."

Runtime: 40 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— Stuff You Missed in History Class
A Brief History of Vodka

 About the podcast:
Holly Frey and Tracy V Wilson discuss the greatest and strangest, as the name of the podcast suggests, stuff you missed in history class.

About the episode:
The duo discusses the story of vodka (closely tied to cultural identity for several countries), where it originated, how it evolved and expanded to a global market over time. They also discuss the darker side of spirit, and how alcoholism has damaged the very cultures that have embraced vodka as a recreational drink.

Runtime: 35 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


After the Fact
The Grand Canyon National Park Turns 100

About the podcast:
From The Pew Charitable Trusts, After the Fact brings data and analysis on issues ranging from our environment and the sciences, to larger economic trends and public health. Experts from Pew and other special guests discuss the numbers and trends shaping some of society’s biggest challenges with host Dan LeDuc.

About the episode:
Joined by Wayne Ranney, a geologist who has spent his career studying the Grand Canyon, LeDuc discusses the historical journey through this iconic landscape that was dedicated as a national park 100 years ago, but has been around longer than that — at least 6 million years.

Runtime: 14 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen
The Crack Monster: The Mystery Behind Sesame Street’s Creepiest Cartoon

About the podcast:
Each week, host Kurt Andersen introduces the people who are creating and shaping our culture, and explores stories from the world of pop culture and the arts.

About the episode:
It's hard to believe an episode about a cartoon segment can unfold like a mystery-thriller, but here we are. "In the mid-1970s, Jon Armond was traumatised by something he saw on Sesame Street. It was a cartoon about a little girl who encounters creatures formed by the cracks on her bedroom wall — including a horrifying, screaming face who called himself "The Crack Master." Decades later, Armond wasn't sure if the cartoon actually existed... until he discovered a subculture of obsessives who remembered the exact same thing. Armond details the bizarre rabbit hole he fell into trying to track it down. Plus, Sesame Street Executive Producer Ben Lehmann talks about the cartoon's disappearance and uncovers some of its elusive mysteries." A truly fascinating listen.

Runtime: 27 minutes

Listen to the episode here.

Updated Date: Feb 26, 2019 10:16:21 IST