Megan Tan is an award-winning audio producer with a background in photojournalism and documentary film. She started her own audible-visual style while hosting, producing, and managing Radiotopia’s Millennial, which made The Atlantic’s “50 Best Podcast” list for three consecutive years. She is back in the hosting chair with her podcast Snooze from LAist Studios.
Here, Megan and members of the Snooze squad (the staff behind the LAist show) share their podcast episode recommendations.
Favorite Episode: All of it (Lol).
I’m biased (because I’m the creator and host of this show), but I do love Snooze. It’s a show that I wanted to create in reaction to the intense amount of information that was flooding us during peak Pandemic. I wanted to make a show that physically helped people. Snooze is a show about things people put off. On every episode, a guest comes on the show with something they’ve been “snoozing.” Big or small. It can be getting a driver’s license or posting a video to Instagram. We workshop their block, give them deadlines, and (hopefully) they do this thing they’ve wanted to do. Every episode is heartful and beautiful. Immersive and inspiring. It’s a feel-good show — made to encourage every person who listens.
Favorite Episode: How Do I Move On? Starring Erick Galindo (To listen to this episode, you have to start at episode 1)
Hosted by Erick Galindo, WILD is a beautiful snapshot of what it was like to grow up during the peak of the pandemic. Every episode feels like a different take, woven together by Erick’s artful writing. This is a time capsule full of joy. It reminds us of who we are and what kind of resilience we have.
Favorite episode: What you do isn’t who you are
What I love about this podcast is it takes Buddhist concepts and distils them into everyday life. Also, every single guest on the show is incredibly honest about their experiences and has beautiful heartfelt stories to tell. I highly recommend it to anyone who has big questions about life and wants to know how other people are maneuvering them. Like, “What is Love?” “How Do I Become a Great Parent?” Etc.
Favorite Episode: Episode 01: Voices
Sharon Mashihi (also goes by “Sha”) has always been an incredible creator. For years, she’s worked closely with The Heart podcast and The Shadows — and is truly an artist who pushes the audio medium forward. Appearances was one of the most inspiring audio docu-dramas of our time. Based on Sha’s real life, it merges fiction and non-fiction in a way I’ve never heard before. AND it’s funny. Sha plays multiple characters, takes us into the world that is the Iranian community within New York City, and chews on what it’s like to be the daughter of immigrants who is deep in defining what love means to her.
Favorite Episode: His Saturn Return
I love this episode! The writer, creator and performer Sai Sion — will blow you away. Not only is this episode sonically brilliant, and it immerses us in the world of Science Fiction, equipped with rich storytelling, hilarious comedy, and it will literally take you to places you’ve never been before. It’s refreshing and smart. Highly recommend to anyone who has ever experienced a Saturn Return and loves fiction podcasts.
Favourite season: Mississippi Goddamn
Reported and written by Al Leston and the Reveal team, this mini-series within Reveal is the show I send to the creator who wants an example of how to tell a hard story with grace. At the center of this series is a murder that is complemented and steeped in history, personal relationships, and beautiful writing. Through Al’s lens, we look at systems within our system from a personal vantage point. Another thing I like is the structure and style of writing (I really nerd out on that). It feels like a TV show in podcast form. This series is a labor of love. It’s heart forward, and you can feel it every time you push play.
From Snooze Squad Member Emma Alabaster
Favorite Episode: P Line
Before I worked on Snooze with Megan Tan and Erick Galindo, I was a fan of their work. In particular, I love the ‘P Line’ episode from the California Love podcast. Host Walter Thompson-Hernández guides us through a party phone line that he and other teenagers used in Los Angeles for semi-anonymous explorations in flirting and fighting. It has some universal teen plot lines — searching for opportunities to be understood and desired, posing as the the most exciting versions of themselves (that may not be entirely truthful), playing on the lines between danger and safety. But above all, the time, place and space are so specific, which is what makes the show storytelling gold. Also, the Party Line setting of the story is an inherently auditory world – I can’t imagine a topic more perfect for audio! The intimacy of audio is what I love about the podcast medium. This intimacy is also what is special about the vanishing art form of speaking on the phone and, therefore, the P Line itself. In an era where teenagers rarely pick up the phone and everything is image-based, this story has extra significance.
Slow Burn: Biggie and Tupac
From Snooze Squad Member Donald Paz
Favorite Episode: Dead Wrong
Who killed Biggie and Tupac, and why they were never caught.
From Snooze Squad Member Kyle Chang
Favorite Episode: Not David Chang (feat. Chris Ying, Writer)
Comedians Youngmi Mayer and Brian Park dissect issues regarding Asian identity and… feelings. Every episode is always a breezy, easy listen because Youngmi and Brian have great comedic chemistry: Brian with his neurotic self-doubt and Youngmi with her over-the-top, out-of-control mood swings. It would be trite to call a talk show unhinged. But this pair manages to ground their crazy tangents in empathy and astute questioning.
In this episode, Chris Ying and team talk about San Francisco food history and shifts in the media landscape.
From Snooze Squad Member Anjuli Sastry Krbechek
Favorite Episode: Man Choubam (I Am Good)
It’s no surprise why The Heart and Sharon Mashihi get another shout-out on this list. This episode is what I love most about audio. It’s the kind of personal, narrative-driven storytelling and conversation that resonates on a deeper level – something The Heart consistently does when telling stories about love, relationships, and sex. Once you finish listening to Appearances, go back and listen to this episode for more context about the relationship between Sharon and her mother. While on a Persian self-help cruise, the mother and daughter get real about their issues – and there’s nowhere to go, so they’re forced to KEEP talking it out. I cried when I first heard it, especially thinking about my relationship with my own parents. It will certainly tug at your heartstrings too.