As we slide later into those summer months, some of us find ourselves looking for new podcasts to fill those air-conditioned commutes and that less-air-conditioned yard work. Here are seven more new (or new to us) podcasts we recommend.
Welcome to ProvincetownFamous for its LBGTQ vacationers, this series introduces you to the people that make the destination tick. Mitra Kaboli, spent the summer of 2021 in Provincetown talking to artists, vacationers and locals to hear how the area has changed. It gets into LBGTQ culture and how it became so connected to the place—and so popular that it’s almost unaffordable for other tourists and potential residents. Kaboli really takes you there, describing all the sights, while the sounds of the ocean, birds, cabaret performances and wind swirl in the background. Those lucky enough to live or visit, can enjoy charity events, wild parties and lots of debauchery. But it’s the touching stories of survival that keep you listening and making new friends along the way.
I Was Never ThereJamie Zelermyer and her mother Karen are retracing their steps of the hippy commune life they lived in the ’70s. Karen’s best friend Marsha “Mudd” Ferber was beloved in her West Virginia community. They lived off the land, smoked a lot of weed and listened to great music. She opened businesses and bars and seemed to be everyone’s hero until, one day, she disappeared. Her body was never found and no one really knows what happened to her. I Was Never There tries to solve Marsha’s mysterious disappearance by talking to the people that knew her best. Some of what they found out about the era was not at all what they expected. From suburban family life to free loving hippies, I loved the dynamic of the mom and daughter reliving the era. What was Marsha’s real deal? Listen and find out.
First PersonThis is a new interview show from The New York Times featuring former NPR reporter Lulu Garcia Navarro. The first few episodes feature conversations about abortion, parents rights, gun control and the Log Cabin Republicans. What makes this interview podcast different is that Garcia-Navarro gives the guests time to breathe and express themselves. Her questions provoke raw emotion, even when the topics are polarizing . Sometimes Garcia pushes back on a controversial opinion but she’s never condescending. No matter what you feel about the subject at the beginning, you finish the interview with a new perspective. It’s excellent guest curation and conversation.
Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder MysteryAfter the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan—a prominent political couple with ties to three governors—their family tries to find out what happened. Even the most hardened politicos were shocked by this murder/suicide and subsequent fire in such an exclusive, affluent community. Host WNYC’s Nancy Solomon gets people to speak with her who rarely go on the record, while others avoid her completely. New Jersey politics have deep, dark histories that include corruption, trading favors and shady business. This crime scene was no different. There are more twists and turns in Dead End than a season of The Sopranos.
The SeductionTrue-crime king Keith Morrison reports the saga of a love triangle gone deadly wrong. It starts with Jaime Ramos, a 21-year-old with a troubled past. He takes a lover, 47-year-old Patty Presba. She manipulates him into doing terrible things. He is under her spell, straight out of a film noir plot. Presba concocts an idea for him to kill her husband. She deceives everyone involved in a twisted, gruesome, shocking plan. It’s like true-crime candy—it’s morbidly delicious and probably bad for you, but you can’t stop. If you like this kind of series, don’t miss Morrison’s other podcasts, The Thing About Pam, Mommy Doomsday and The Thing About Helen & Olga.
Project UnabomThis eight-part series reveals new details about The Unabomber, Ted Kaskynksi. He killed three people and injured 23 others in multiple, nationwide, bombing terrorist attacks. It took authorities almost two decades to catch him because he was so good at living off the grid. Journalist Eric Benson conducts in-depth interviews with his brother. He recognized Ted’s writing style in his manifesto which is what ultimately got him arrested. Benson presents new details you haven’t heard before like Dungeons and Dragons players accused of being a part of the crimes, John Prine songs and how Kaskynksi might have struggled with his sexual identity. This is a really well-done series.
Good Ship BrewdogIf you liked the We Work, Uber or Theranos stories, this is right up your alley. BrewDog Brewery started off as a “punk” beer company in Scotland touting that they were doing it their own way. They promised employees that they’d empower them with options to be a part of this rock star lifestyle brand. They had a cult-like following. What was happening behind the scenes was the complete opposite. Payoffs, secret investments, toxic corporate culture and sexual harrassment plauged the brewery chain. In 2021, more than 100 people wrote an open letter about the feeling of fear from the staff which prompted an investigation. Myles Bonnar of BBC Scotland talks to current and former employees presenting all the uncomfortable details. You may want to listen while drinking a cold one—maybe from a brewery that doesn’t treat its workers like crap.
Mara Davis is a media personality based in Atlanta, Ga. In addition to hosting the VoteHer podcast with Senator Jen Jordan, she also is a senior talent booker for various television networks and podcasts.