Opinion: Pleiad Staff Podcast Recommendations

A phone, surrounded by different types of headphones, plays “Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff,” Dallas senior Juan G. Rodriguez’s favorite podcast of all time. Podcasts offer a different type of listening experience from music or audiobooks, which the Pleiad staff enjoys (Photo illustration by Bonnie Lord).

As staffers of the Pleiad, a multi-media news publication, it should come as no surprise that we are avid media consumers. We love all types of media, but podcasts hold a special place in our hearts.

Below you will find a collection of podcast recommendations from members of our staff.

Editor-in-Chief, Bella Bakeman

Favorite Podcast Right Now: “The Colin and Samir Show:” Colin and Samir are stellar storytellers. Over the past few years, they’ve interviewed some of the biggest names in the YouTube media industry: MrBeast, Emma Chamberlain and Hank Green to name a few. These aren’t short and sweet interviews either; Green’s was two hours and 10 minutes long. As a member of the Pleiad, I am a media creator in my own right. “The Colin and Samir Show” allows me a unique glimpse into the realm of content creation.

I highly recommend this podcast – and their YouTube channel – for anyone interested in learning more about content creators and their processes.

Favorite Podcast of All Time: “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link:” This podcast has been around forever. Good Mythical Morning Hosts Rhett and Link were doing this podcast in 2014 when nobody else had one; when it wasn’t a cool thing to do. In their words, “Ear Biscuits” is “two lifelong friends talking about life for a long time.” And honestly, that’s sort of how every episode feels; just two old friends chatting. It’s comforting, their voices soothe my soul.

If you want to dive right in, I highly recommend going on their “spiritual reconstruction” journeys with them – each is a multi-episode story. They do a check-in every so often, and each of their thoughts on God, spirituality and life are incredibly insightful.

Managing Editor, Bonnie Lord

Favorite Podcast Right Now: Ologies with Alie Ward:” If you’re looking for a quiet podcast that will teach you something, this podcast latches on to your curiosity and gives you the CliffsNotes of some specific field of science you’ve never heard of before. Our world is a wonder, our bodies are a mystery and if you think there isn’t an expert for everything, you’d be wrong; they’re all off talking to Alie Ward.

The last episode I really enjoyed was about Road Ecology, specifically road kill. If that gets you even a little interested, then this would be a great addition to your library.

Favorite Podcast of All Time: Distractible:” This is a podcast produced by YouTube superstars Markiplier and his friends Bob and Wade. This podcast isn’t anything prophetic, but it makes me laugh and gives me comfort when I’m down. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

The best episode of this podcast has to be a tie between “F— You Energy” and “Bob’s Fridge.” “Bob’s Fridge” is maybe the most infamous episode in the whole podcast; if you listen to “Distractible,” even just one episode, it has to be this one.

I also recommend “I Spent a Day With…” and obviously “The Magnus Archives.” I mean, come on. It’s popular for a reason.

Features/Opinions Editor, Juan G. Rodriguez

Favorite Podcast Right Now: Behind the Bastards:” This podcast focuses as much on the unknown worst people in history as it does on the more well-known names. Episodes like those of the “Behind the Insurrections” mini-series demonstrate this. We hear about the insurrectionary attempts we’ve all sat through in history class, such as Adolph Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, as much as the one’s history class neglected to mention, such as the Business Plot within the United States.

That’s without mentioning the range to be found in the “Bastards” feed. You want cults? Synanon is there. You want dictators? Rafael Trujillo is there. You want to hear about someone  relevant to the current political landscape? Benjamin Netanyahu and his family are there. It all just depends on what bits of history you want to learn about.

“Bastards” is what I listen to when I want a cautionary tale on the dangers of power and hierarchies. I have to be in a particular mood for it; it’s depressing, grim and sickening at times. It reminds me there is as much great evil in the world as there is the banal sort, absolutely. 

It also helps me reconsider what is deemed “right” in the world; where the flaws in our current society lie. I take it upon myself to do the work of critiquing what’s been considered a given in order to make room for new possibilities; I dig up the weeds and clear the field to create a space – informed by what came before – consecrated to the idea of starting anew. Winter comes eventually, and I’ll deliberate once more on what stays and what becomes memory. I’ll ask myself why some ideas thrived while others withered, and I’ll do a better job come the next planting season.

Favorite Podcast of All Time: “Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff:”

“Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff” is the sister show to “Bastards”. Instead of focusing on the worst in human history, “Cool People” focuses on the people throughout history who made an effort to fight injustice and inequality, even if the individuals were fundamentally flawed. 

It follows a similar structure to “Bastards”. Do you want to hear about how anarchists fought and died for the well-being of their fellows? The Haymarket episodes are the first episodes ever released. You wanna hear about West Virginian rednecks going to war with the coal companies and the US Government? The Blair Mountain episodes are compelling listens. You wanna hear some history that’s been erased from modern history books? Try the Great Trancestors or the Stonewall episodes.

If “Bastards” is what clears the field for me, “Cool People” is what nourishes my hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. It’s what urges me to plant something new come springtime. 

I’m reminded that a better world is possible; that hope is delicate and difficult to maintain, but it’s never naive. Anyone who says that you’re a fool for trying to make the world a better place – that such a thing is impossible – doesn’t know their history. Nothing is impossible when you’re merely one of a million dedicated to the dream of a better tomorrow; of a sunrise whose warmth lasts an eternity. 

Hand in hand, we’ll make the impossible happen together; it’s a comfort knowing I’ll be in good company all throughout.

News/Sports Editor, Killian Altayeb

Favorite Podcast Right Now: Having been a devoted fan of the spoken word and podcasts since my youth, I’ve exhausted the list of them on Spotify. As my interests have evolved from narrative-driven podcasts to news, “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” has captured my heart time and time again. Since my first time listening in 2010, I’ve witnessed its remarkable transformation from three brothers sharing personal anecdotes to engaging in discussions about the broader world. 

Podcasts with a long timeline create a unique connection, making me feel like I’m growing alongside the hosts. At its core, it’s a spoken word podcast centered around the McElroy brothers, known for creating “The Adventure Zone” and collaborating with the Green brothers among other achievements. This podcast delves into current events while also addressing questions from its audience.

Digging through a podcast archive boasting an impressive 682 episodes makes singling out a favorite moment quite the challenge. However, amidst this vast collection, the annual January tradition of the brothers unveiling a theme for the year never fails to make me laugh. The whimsical nature persists, with 2024 embracing the title “Twenty-Fungalore: He Heard Your Wish.” What elevates these episodes to the front of my brain is their consistent commitment to yearly themes centered around love and family. 

Favorite Podcast of All Time: Over the years, my auditory explorations have fostered journeys through cassette tape recordings chronicling eerie encounters, mysteries involving lost zebras, and fathers stumbling into foreign realms on a quest for their missing sons. Despite the many journeys, my wandering ears consistently lead me back to The Penumbra Podcast

Set in a vast expanse of space, this podcast details the story of a detective navigating not only a crime-ridden cityscape but the heart of a thief uninterested in their pursuit. Offering a distinctive flavor, The Penumbra Podcast stands out with its all-queer cast, spotless soundwork, and short episodes. For those in search of a podcast that combines a captivating narrative with inclusivity and audio excellence, The Penumbra Podcast is a perfect choice. 

Media Editor and Co-Marketing Coordinator, Katherine Simpkins

Favorite Podcast Right Now: “CHEERS! with Avery Woods:” I first discovered Avery on TikTok last year and immediately fell in love with her life. She keeps things real when it comes to advice and being open and vulnerable –  she doesn’t sugarcoat it. So when she started her podcast three months ago, I knew I had to listen. She’s a super genuine person, and it’s always a joy to listen to her and the guests she brings.

Watch any episode with her husband, David Woods! They are a match made in heaven, and seeing them together always makes the pod better.

Favorite Podcast of All Time: My favorite podcast of all time is “The Basement Yard,” started by Joe Santagato and now co-hosted with Frank Alvarez. I have watched Joe on YouTube since I was 15 and have never stopped. He is a pure genius when it comes to comedy, and his best friend Frank just helps create a more comedic environment. I don’t tune in every week but when I do, I know I’m in for a good laugh.

Literally every episode is a blast. But when Frankie became a co-host back in November, that’s when I’d say to start watching.

Copy Editor, Heidi Faramelli

Favorite Podcast Right Now: The Broski Report with Brittany Broski:” I recently discovered this podcast, and I love it so much. Broski is so funny, and she’s so authentically herself, which I really admire.

I can’t even choose a favorite moment from The Broski Report; I feel like there’s a quotable moment every five seconds.

Favorite Podcast of All Time: “80/20” by Lily Rakow is my all-time favorite podcast. My favorite episode is titled “I Ditched The ‘THAT GIRL’ Mindset To Become ‘THIS WOMAN.’” This episode is all about accepting and loving yourself as you grow into the person you are now, rather than trying to change yourself for various societal trends.

Photographer, Lizzy Kelley

Favorite Podcast of All Time: “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast:” I stopped listening for a while but have recently started listening again because I find that it is the perfect podcast to listen to while I work on my homework. It has become something that I can look forward to after a long day of classes.

This podcast is something that I have listened to since they started recording in 2018, and over time though I’ve listened to it on and off, I always come back to catch up on the episodes I missed. I really enjoy listening to the banter between the hosts and learning about different criminals and true crime cases that I never would have heard about otherwise. 

My favorite episodes are the listener tales, where the hosts read submitted stories from their listeners. They are my favorite episodes to listen to because it’s really cool to listen to the hosts engage with their listeners.

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