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Society & Culture

The Big Listen

Updated about 1 month ago

Society & Culture
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There are tens of thousands of podcasts out there. So how do you know what to listen to? On The Big Listen — THE broadcast about podcasts from WAMU and NPR — host Lauren Ober introduces you to podcasts you might not have ever heard of, and gives you the inside scoop on shows you already love. Through interviews, listener recommendations, show snippets and more, The Big Listen helps you curate your perfect playlist.

Read more

There are tens of thousands of podcasts out there. So how do you know what to listen to? On The Big Listen — THE broadcast about podcasts from WAMU and NPR — host Lauren Ober introduces you to podcasts you might not have ever heard of, and gives you the inside scoop on shows you already love. Through interviews, listener recommendations, show snippets and more, The Big Listen helps you curate your perfect playlist.

iTunes Ratings

254 Ratings
Average Ratings
186
37
12
6
13

Where

By DMV gotta be - Aug 26 2019
Read more
Where u at bruh it was so good

Miss you

By Kristen M. RN - Aug 12 2019
Read more
What happened? Where’d y’all go?

iTunes Ratings

254 Ratings
Average Ratings
186
37
12
6
13

Where

By DMV gotta be - Aug 26 2019
Read more
Where u at bruh it was so good

Miss you

By Kristen M. RN - Aug 12 2019
Read more
What happened? Where’d y’all go?
Cover image of The Big Listen

The Big Listen

Latest release on May 24, 2018

Read more

There are tens of thousands of podcasts out there. So how do you know what to listen to? On The Big Listen — THE broadcast about podcasts from WAMU and NPR — host Lauren Ober introduces you to podcasts you might not have ever heard of, and gives you the inside scoop on shows you already love. Through interviews, listener recommendations, show snippets and more, The Big Listen helps you curate your perfect playlist.

Rank #1: It's A Stampede!

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We meet Lauren's Scandinavian doppelganger, then explode songs with the host of Song Exploder. Then we chat with the makers of the hit show, In The Dark. And radio Renaissance man Al Letson tells us what he's listening to.

Oct 20 2016

50mins

Play

Rank #2: We Need To Talk About S-Town

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S-Town has everyone hooked. But what to think about this complicated piece of aural literature? Media ethicist Kelly McBride helps us sort through our feelings. And we visit a lively S-Town Hall in Chicago. Plus, we unpack the many Muslim-American identities with See Something Say Something's Ahmed Ali Akbar. And Irish writer and comedian Maeve Higgins introduces us to some of her favorite immigration stories. Including her own.

Apr 20 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #3: 36 Questions for Jonathan Groff

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Broadway actor Jonathan Groff, Geoff Turner of CBC's On Drugs, Eleanor MacDowall of Radio Atlas and writer and domestic abuse survivor Jes Skolnik, who recently penned an op-ed about the healing power of true crime podcasts.

Sep 07 2017

50mins

Play

Rank #4: The Family That Podcasts Together

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Best-selling author Gretchen Rubin has a podcast. So does her teenage daughter, Eliza. They're basically a mother-daughter podcasting duo.

Nov 17 2016

50mins

Play

Rank #5: Roadtrippin' Across America

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We're hitting the highways and byways of America for our cross-country podcast tour. We cruise through Appalachia, hike through the deserts of Nevada and rouler on down to the Big Easy to hear what's happening across America. Buckle up!

Nov 23 2016

50mins

Play

Rank #6: Gillian Jacobs Gets Squeaky Clean With Podcasts

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Actress Gillian Jacobs lets us in on what podcasts she listens to when she's in the shower. Then we head out to sea to learn about cargo ships with Containers' Alexis Madrigal, and we tickle the ivories with some of piano's greatest young stars with The Competition. And we get fizzy with the hosts of the heavily carbonated Seltzer Death Match.

Jul 06 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #7: You Get A Podcast!

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Most producers want to keep you awake; we talk to a podcaster bent on putting listeners to sleep. Then, we interview Oprah! Just kidding. But we check out a podcast that did! Plus, Dan Savage's vanilla tastes in podcasts.

Dec 08 2016

51mins

Play

Rank #8: Malcolm Gladwell Will Make You Cry

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Malcolm Gladwell tells us why he tries to get people to cry during interviews. And podcaster Sam Sabin finds her Native American heritage by way of her estranged father's obituary. Plus, why Alec Baldwin has the best celebrity podcast.

Feb 02 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #9: Larry Wilmore Is Black On The Air (Encore)

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Larry Wilmore's got a new podcast, Black On The Air! Plus: the lowdown on a possible Powerline in New Hampshire, a Slow Burn with Leon Neyfakh about Watergate, and a new book from Bill McKibben.

Apr 19 2018

50mins

Play

Rank #10: Susan Orlean Loves To Cry

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Author Susan Orlean tells us about podcasts that make her cry, then we have a conversation about Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race (meta!) and chat with a guy who is literally Making Gay History. Plus, did you know podcasts can save your life?

Jan 12 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #11: We Need To Talk About S-Town (Encore)

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If you haven't listened to S-Town yet, hop to it! But what to think about this complicated piece of aural literature? Media ethicist Kelly McBride helps us sort through our feelings. And we visit a lively S-Town Hall in Chicago. Plus, we unpack the many Muslim American identities with See Something Say Something's Ahmed Ali Akbar. And Irish writer and comedian Maeve Higgins introduces us to some of her favorite immigration stories. Including her own.

Aug 10 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #12: Chris Gethard and the Art of Deep Listening

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Chris Gethard describes how Beautiful/Anonymous satisfies his craving for human connection. Plus: therapy with Esther Perel, poetry with Versify, and a podcaster who invites strangers to his home.

Nov 09 2017

50mins

Play

Rank #13: Getting Invisible With Hanna Rosin & Alix Spiegel (Encore)

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Hanna Rosen and Alix Spiegel on Invisibilia's new concept album, the hosts of By The Book on living by self-help book guidance, and the creator of Celestial Blood on KPCC's bilingual radionovela. Plus: Swedish true crime podcast Spår.

Sep 21 2017

50mins

Play

Rank #14: Katie Couric Is No One's Sweetheart

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Pajama-wearing podcaster Katie Couric explains why she's over being America's sweetheart. And we talk Hawaii's complicated racial history with the host of Offshore. Plus, untold stories from the Middle East from the folks behind Kerning Cultures. And a senior citizen podcast club where wine plays a prominent role.

Mar 23 2017

52mins

Play

Rank #15: John Darnielle and Joseph Fink Only Listen To The Mountain Goats

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The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle and Joseph Fink of Welcome To Night Vale talk about what it means to be a fan on I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats. Plus: Nicole Drespel mines your email InBox for comedy gold, a hotel with a radio studio in the lobby, and a podcast takes us turkey hunting.

Mar 29 2018

50mins

Play

Rank #16: Lights, Camera, Podcasts! — An Oscars Special

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We head back into the golden age of Hollywood with Karina Longworth, explore representation in film with Aisha Harris, and predict this year's Oscar winners with Erik Anderson. Plus: Paul Scheer talks about his affection for movies that are so bad they're good.

Mar 01 2018

50mins

Play

Rank #17: Adventure Times! Podcasts Celebrating Travel and Exploration

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As a species, humans love to explore. And then they love to podcast about their explorations. This week we head out on an adventure with the overlanding couple behind the podcast, Let's Not Panic. And we talk traveling while black and female with On She Goes host Aminatou Sow. Also, we hear tales of survival and derring-do from the Outside Podcast. Plus, a National Geographic explorer tells us what podcasts she's listening to when she's trekking to far-flung locales.

Aug 03 2017

50mins

Play

Rank #18: Malcolm Gladwell Will Make You Cry (Encore)

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Malcolm Gladwell tells us why he tries to get people to cry during interviews. And podcaster Sam Sabin finds her Native American heritage by way of her estranged father's obituary. Plus, why Alec Baldwin has the best celebrity podcast.

May 18 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #19: Inauguration Special: Are Presidents Really People Too?

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On inauguration weekend, we talk to two gals podcasting their way across America to D.C. Then we hit the history books with the hosts of Presidents Are People Too! and Presidential. Plus, what Ezra Klein thinks POTUS 45 should be listening to (Hint: Ezra Klein).

Jan 19 2017

51mins

Play

Rank #20: For DeRay Mckesson, It Started With A Newsletter

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DeRay Mckesson discusses going from newsletter to podcast, Uncivil tells the untold stories of the Civil War, and Trey Kay explores our divides in Us & Them. Plus: Oral history podcast Ferguson Voices.

Oct 12 2017

50mins

Play

Tegan & Sara, Podcast Super Fans (Encore)

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Musicians Tegan and Sara are podcast obsessives. This episode, we take a peek at their extensive playlist and hear about their own idea for a podcast. Also, the hosts of the LGBTQ show Nancy share their funny and tragic coming out stories. And the Pakistani-American host of Beginner walks us through all the things she never learned as a immigrant, like biking and swimming. Plus: saving podcasts for posterity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

May 24 2018

49mins

Play

John Darnielle and Joseph Fink Only Listen To The Mountain Goats (Encore)

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The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle and Joseph Fink of Welcome To Night Vale talk about what it means to be a fan on I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats. Plus: Nicole Drespel mines your email InBox for comedy gold, a hotel with a radio studio in the lobby, and a podcast takes us turkey hunting.

May 17 2018

48mins

Play

Mother's Day Extravaganza (Encore)

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We're celebrating Mother's Day with stories from all kinds of women — a single lesbian mother by choice (Not By Accident), a young woman who chose sterilization (Tie My Tubes) and a Korean mom raising a multi-racial daughter (Other: Mixed Race In America), among others. Plus, mom tributes from your favorite audio producers.

May 10 2018

49mins

Play

Nicole Byer Wants To Date You (Encore)

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Comedian Nicole Byer shares some of the tips she's learned from friends on her podcast Why Won't You Date Me. Reporter Dan Lamothe tells us about reading hundreds of letters from World War II, Heather Mizeur describes how she rebuilt her politics after losing an election, and Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin define what being Unladylike means to them.

May 03 2018

50mins

Play

Norman Lear Is All Of The Above (Encore)

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Norman Lear's work in television and movies could fit every category, which might be why he calls his podcast All Of The Above. We also hear about the culinary delights of hotdish from Senator Heidi Heitkamp, explore the many facets of veterans with Battle Scars, and phone our rage into the For A Bad Time Call hotline.

Apr 26 2018

50mins

Play

Larry Wilmore Is Black On The Air (Encore)

Podcast cover
Read more
Larry Wilmore's got a new podcast, Black On The Air! Plus: the lowdown on a possible Powerline in New Hampshire, a Slow Burn with Leon Neyfakh about Watergate, and a new book from Bill McKibben.

Apr 19 2018

50mins

Play

Chris Gethard and the Art of Deep Listening (Encore)

Podcast cover
Read more
Chris Gethard describes how Beautiful/Anonymous satisfies his craving for human connection. Plus: therapy with Esther Perel, poetry with Versify, and a podcaster who invites strangers to his home.

Apr 12 2018

50mins

Play

Jon Ronson Likes Porn (Stories) Encore

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Writer Jon Ronson traces The Butterfly Effect from the moment pirated porn became free on the web. Plus: The hosts of Terrestrial and Closer Than They Appear, and Jillian Bauer-Reese documents people in recovery with The Rooms Project.

Apr 05 2018

50mins

Play

John Darnielle and Joseph Fink Only Listen To The Mountain Goats

Podcast cover
Read more
The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle and Joseph Fink of Welcome To Night Vale talk about what it means to be a fan on I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats. Plus: Nicole Drespel mines your email InBox for comedy gold, a hotel with a radio studio in the lobby, and a podcast takes us turkey hunting.

Mar 29 2018

50mins

Play

Laura Veirs On A Musical Motherhood

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Singer/songwriter Laura Veirs talks to other musicians about how they balance work with parenthood, Annie Gilbertson investigates an officer involved in multiple shootings in Repeat, and Kameel Stanley and Tim Lloyd remind St Louis, "We Live Here!"

Mar 22 2018

50mins

Play

Denis O'Hare and the Danger of Dinner Parties (Encore)

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Actor Denis O'Hare tells us about Deadly Manners and the ingredients for a dismal dinner, Liz Plank talks feminism with Divided States of Women, and Joel Werner puts numbers on the air with Sum Of All Parts. Plus: Alice Wong of Disability Visibility describes all the voices she wants to hear on the radio.

Mar 15 2018

49mins

Play

Noshing On Food Podcasts with Francis Lam & Kim Severson (Encore)

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It's a Big Listen smörgåsbord! We'll meet Francis Lam, new host of The Splendid Table, taste chocolate with The Slow Melt and hear which food podcasts New York Times food writer Kim Severson favors. Plus: Lauren enters brunch hell with Brendan Francis Newnam.

Mar 08 2018

49mins

Play

Lights, Camera, Podcasts! — An Oscars Special

Podcast cover
Read more
We head back into the golden age of Hollywood with Karina Longworth, explore representation in film with Aisha Harris, and predict this year's Oscar winners with Erik Anderson. Plus: Paul Scheer talks about his affection for movies that are so bad they're good.

Mar 01 2018

50mins

Play

Nicole Byer Wants To Date You

Podcast cover
Read more
Comedian Nicole Byer shares some of the tips she's learned from friends on her podcast Why Won't You Date Me. Reporter Dan Lamothe tells us about reading hundreds of letters from World War II, Heather Mizeur describes how she rebuilt her politics after losing an election, and Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin define what being Unladylike means to them.

Feb 22 2018

50mins

Play

For DeRay Mckesson, It Started With A Newsletter (Encore)

Podcast cover
Read more
DeRay Mckesson discusses going from newsletter to podcast, Uncivil tells the untold stories of the Civil War, and Trey Kay explores our divides in Us & Them. Plus: Oral history podcast Ferguson Voices.

Feb 15 2018

49mins

Play

Keep Listening, PyeongChang: An Olympic Extravaganza

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Lauren Shehadi shares the stories behind the Olympics with The Podium, Dan Zirin explains the dark side of hosting the Olympics, and ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates tell us about their sport and their favorite podcasts. Plus: Learning to curl with Ed Scimia!

Feb 08 2018

49mins

Play

Norman Lear Is All Of The Above

Podcast cover
Read more
Norman Lear's work in television and movies could fit every category, which might be why he calls his podcast All Of The Above. We also hear about the culinary delights of hotdish from Senator Heidi Heitkamp, explore the many facets of veterans with Battle Scars, and phone our rage into the For A Bad Time Call hotline.

Feb 01 2018

49mins

Play

JD Samson On Making Podcast Music "More Boring"

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Le Tigre's JD Samson talks composing music for podcasts, Nora McInerny says she's Terrible, Thanks For Asking, Helen Zaltzman unpacks annoying language. Plus, we check out the Potluck, a collective of Asian American podcasters.

Jan 25 2018

49mins

Play

Ira Madison III Wants You To Keep It

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"Keep It" is pop culture writer Ira Madison's way to say "No thanks" to, well, anything. Also: Breasts Unbound on everyone's favorite body part, Seeing White on the history of race, and Harry Leslie Smith on being a 95-year-old podcaster.

Jan 18 2018

50mins

Play

Abbi Jacobson Is A Piece Of Work (Encore)

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Abbi Jacobson gets artsy with her podcast A Piece Of Work; Leila Day and Hana Baba of The Stoop dialogue about the diaspora; YouTube provocateur Dylan Marron confronts his online bullies and Kathleen Barber dishes on her debut suspense novel, Are You Sleeping.

Jan 11 2018

50mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

254 Ratings
Average Ratings
186
37
12
6
13

Where

By DMV gotta be - Aug 26 2019
Read more
Where u at bruh it was so good

Miss you

By Kristen M. RN - Aug 12 2019
Read more
What happened? Where’d y’all go?