You guys. I have recently discovered podcasts, and I don’t know why it took me this long to start listening! In the past, I would listen to NPR on the commute to and from work, but often the timing would result in me catching repeat stories after a while, so I would switch to a music station. But then my sister recommended a podcast to me, and I turned to that instead of music the next time. And now I’m hooked! Below are the shows I’ve listened to so far (in order of when I listened) and some thoughts.
Bundyville: I have lived in the West my whole life, but I don’t personally have the sense of connection to a land over generations in the same way that some do (neither of my parents grew up where I grew up). So this podcast was immediately captivating, and a bit terrifying. It’s from Longreads and Oregon Public Radio and very well reported. It goes deep into the Bundy family history and its distrust of the federal government – both for religious persecution and government testing in Nevada’s Area 51. At points I almost felt empathetic to their issues knowing their history. But without spoiling too much, the reporting also goes beyond that into some of the reasons they’ve drawn people on the fringe to their cause, and how they have emboldened some extremists. It’s definitely worth a listen. And timely.
Missing & Murdered: This podcast is so eye-opening. A part of the CBC project on Missing & Murdered indigenous women in Canada, each season focuses on a different case. I listened to both seasons currently available and both were captivating. They get into the details of each case through interviews and records, but also take a deeper look at root issues – such as the residential schools indigenous children were sent to, and the Sixties Scoop, where native children were adopted into white homes – and the long-term, negative affects of both of these practices. This podcast is very well done, and – IMO – a must listen. When the news stories started coming out about the current practice in the U.S. of separating migrant parents from their children, I thought a lot about the trauma that forced separation caused the families in these stories.
Missing Alissa: This story centers around the cold case of a 17-year-old Phoenix girl who went missing in 2001. After listening to the two podcasts above, it’s obvious that this one was not produced as professionally as the others, but the story is fascinating nonetheless. Alissa, who has never been found, was raised by her stepfather, who was sentenced to federal prison for a large cache of homemade bombs that were discovered when a warrant was served after Alissa’s case received national attention several years after her disappearance.
My Favorite Murder: This show is basically two women who are into true crime stories retelling them, discussing them, and inviting their listeners to send in stories about the murders that occurred in their own hometowns. I wouldn’t call myself a major true crime fan, but something about this show really appeals to me. Part of it is probably the mystery surrounding the most infamous (and unsolved) true crime story from my hometown. Part of it, I think, is that the co-hosts are both from California and pretty close to my age. I feel like they really capture what it was like to grow up in California in the ’80s and just the way they talk is so familiar. (And I’m only on episode 10 but every description of Sacramento so far has made me lol. No offense, Sacramento.) But speaking of episode 10, it creeped me out so bad that I had to take a few days off from listening. I also couldn’t finish episode 11. Anyway, it’s a dark subject matter that somehow manages to be both funny and terrifying, in a way that makes you feel like you’re chatting with your friends. Their sign-off is, “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered.”
Cover-Up: My mom grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, so the Kennedys were a super big deal (in her house growing up, and also while I was growing up). But somehow, while I always had this vague notion of a scandal involving Ted Kennedy where someone had died, I never knew many of the details. This podcast, done by People, makes it clear there are some details the world may never know. But it’s a captivating look at a very powerful political family in the 1960s. When the event occurred in 1969, the news media was pre-occupied with the moon landing, and I also realized that was the same summer of the Stonewall Riots and Woodstock. There are still new episodes being released, and I look forward to them every week.
Have you listened to any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and also your podcast recommendations!