2015 was the year I finally got into podcasts and public radio (read: NPR, specifically WBEZ in Chicago). In April, my girlfriend landed close to her dream job in Los Angeles. Two weeks later, we drove from Chicago to see her parents in Alabama, pick up a new car, and then drove to LA. All in all, in was about 44 hours in the car.
Both of us are music nerds. Plenty of great new music to try and dive into this year, everything from Kendrick Lamar to Sufjan Stevens, as well as new discoveries like Joni Mitchell and Jim Croce. But between all that, we discovered Serial. They’re onto season two now (episode four to be exact), but Season One is a game changer and will get you hooked. This is hands down the best podcast for a road trip. 12 hours will be gone in an instant. I would recommend binge listening in a road-trip style environment, or maybe when you’re running or riding your bike.
Marc Maron is by far the best podcast out there. And take it from myself and Koppelman, start at episode one. Episodes 1 – 100 is the best thing to happen to quote-unquote radio. He is over 600 now. In the beginning of the series, he is at the end of his rope: His career is going nowhere, going through his second divorce, handful of years sober, zero prospects. And then he starts talking to his friends in his garage, and the thing takes off. It’s fucking incredible. And did I mention he is a renaissance man? He can essentially talk to anyone about anything. His guests typically include creatives: comedians, writers, musicians, etc. Oh, and President Obama.
Koppelman’s “The Moment” can be more hit or miss, but he has an interesting story as well (also, check our Maron on Koppelman, and vice versa). Koppelman was a big time music exec until the age of thirty (he discovered Tracy fucking Chapman and Irving Azoff handpicked him to work with his record labels. Google both of those people if you don’t know who they are). At the age of thirty he decided he wanted to be a creative, and wrote the movie Rounders starring Matt Damon and Ed Norton. So, the podcast contains various interviews with creatives about The Moment the guests decided they can no longer ignore their creative impulses. I find it very inspiring and interesting, but to be honest if they dive too far into it with actors or film makers, I sometimes lose interest because I have no interest in making films. Three amazing interviews that jump out to me are with Killer Mike, Amy Schumer, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
Here’s the Thing w/ Alex Baldwin is almost always incredible. Everyone knows Baldwin, but did you know he is also a renaissance man? He can talk to anyone about anything, and he has all different types of people on, from policy makers to Jerry Seinfeld.
Some honorable mentions for me include Joe Rogan (although I find it too repetitive with a lack of direction in most conversations), Tim Ferriss (when the subject matter interests me), Bret Easton Ellis (his current take on our culture and climate are very interesting. Check out his talk with Quentin Tarentino), Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross (Maron as an interviewer is her only competition, otherwise she is the best), and Waking Up w/ Sam Harris is incredibly interesting week in and week out.
I would absolutely love to find something in the vein of Maron and Koppelman that focuses on more writers. Ellis is almost there, but he speaks to everyone (and is a lot to handle). If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.