Nick Quah is the host of Servant of Pod, LAist Studios’ weekly podcast that explores the culture and business of podcasting. He also publishes and edits Hot Pod, a podcast industry newsletter, which appears as a regular weekly column on Harvard University’s Nieman Lab. Nick put together a list of shows that he’s listened to in a 72-hour window. Check out Nick’s personal listening diary.
Initially, I thought I was going to be fancy and build a list around a big theme like “Desert Island Pods” or “Pods I Won’t Have to Explain to My Mom.” But then I got really into the weeds, and decided to throw the whole conceit out the window in favor of something more basic: a selection of stuff I listened to over the past… let’s say three days. A listening diary, basically.
Episode: What’s Ours
I really love this show. David Weinberg is an excellent writer in addition to just being a really interesting guy. The tales in this show are told with economy and elegance, organized around a sense of place-specificity and a clear love of the city it’s thinking about. In this story, Weinberg ties several narrative threads together to tell a story about redlining in greater Los Angeles, embedding the hopes and dreams of individuals within the deplorable realities of structural inequality.
I’m plenty terrified of Jay Caspian Kang, who is an excellent writer and journalist, but I really admire his work, especially when it has to do with race and politics, the condition of Asian Americans, and weird takes on sports. This recently-launched show, with fellow writers Tammy Kim and Andy Liu, started out with a focus on Asian Americans and the pandemic before shifting more towards the politics of protests as the wave of anti-racist demonstrations washed over the country. This episode, in particular, possessed another element of interest to me: an interview with Nikil Saval, the former n+1 editor who successfully ran for state senate in Pennsylvania as a social candidate.
In a previous life, I was going to work on films. In my current life, I’m just a garden-variety film buff. On that note, I’m a huge fan of Elvis Mitchell, and I’m particularly interested in his on-air interviewing quirks. For example, “You really like to [INSERT EXCEPTIONALLY ACUTE OBSERVATION HERE], don’t you?” Damn.
Podcasting has its Ken Burns, and her name is Karina Longworth. I’m topically biased, obviously: see aforementioned note on film buffery. I imagine others would make the argument for Dan Carlin, maybe Mike Duncan, but I’ll leave that for the dads.
Episode: Robe and Ritual
After a fantastic season on the Biggie-Tupac saga, Slate’s big ol’ podcast franchise has returned to politics with its fourth entry to tackle the rise of David Duke, the white supremacist and former KKK leader who made strong pushes for senatorial and gubernatorial positions in the ’80s and ’90s. As expected, it hits, and it hits good.
I’m from Malaysia, and am still very much Malaysian by nationality, and this is the radio show-also-distributed-as-a-pod that I rely on to keep tabs on what’s happening at home.
Episode: Like it never went away
Life-long Liverpool fan here, inherited from my dad, though they haven’t won a domestic league title since the ‘89-’90 season, which coincidentally is the season within which I was born. Anyway, the reason why I checked out this podcast — which I haven’t heard before — is the fact that it was recently brought into The Ringer.
Episode: Building a Village
Another research listen. Last week, WBUR announced that, due to pandemic-instigated budget shortfalls, it’s laying off a ton of people and cancelling a few shows, one of which is Kind World. I’m writing about this development for the newsletter this week, and I’m relatively unfamiliar with the show, hence the listen.
Episode: Should I follow my partner to Mars?
Rose Eveleth, creator and host of Flash Forward, has just launched Flash Forward Presents, an umbrella entity that will house her many projects under one holistic banner. One of those projects is this newly-launched spin-off show, an advice show that still sits within her futurist tradition. This debut episode features an appearance by Why Oh Why’s Andrea Silenzi, and for what it’s worth, I’d probably follow my partner to Mars if it ever comes to that, provided we take the cat with us.
Not sure how common this is, but I’m not a huge video game person, though I do listen to a ton of podcasts about video games. I can’t really explain why I find listening to people talk about games more fun than actually playing the games themselves, which is probably yet another data point that supports why I’m in the podcast business. Anyway, I’ve followed the work of all three hosts — Kirk Hamilton, Maddy Myers, and Jason Schreier — for a while now, and I’m glad they continue to host a podcast together.