Each month, Podcast Review’s staff offers recommendations on the best new podcasts to listen to. Here are our favorites for January:
The Assignment with Audie Cornish
The latest podcast from CNN finds Audie Cornish interviewing a panel each week centered around a new topic (thus far, school boards, OnlyFans, objectivity in journalism). The idea is to give headlines more breathing room than they get on the cable news airwaves. In the first episode, Cornish speaks with two recent school board electees about whether or not they view their mission as centrally political.
Lights Out, a new documentary podcast from BBC Sounds, homes in on small stories from disparate corners of the world and makes them feel big. Listening to an episode, of which there are six so far, is like putting in the earpieces of a stethoscope. Like a heartbeat, the stories aren’t loud. They wouldn’t necessarily grab headlines, but they’re quietly full of awe, and Lights Out magnifies that quality of wonder by simply giving it space and attention. The episodes aren’t narrated by a host, so they can feel a bit unstructured and meandering, but if you’re in the mood for a subtle meditation on an unexpected story, this is the podcast for you.
The titular statue of WHYY’s The Statue is of Rocky, who you may know from Rocky. Paul Farber, whose life work is the study and celebration of statues through his organization Monument Lab, questions why the once-rejected movie prop has taken on a life of its own and become Philadelphia’s top tourist attraction. The podcast takes a loving and serious approach to the goofy monument to film’s most famous training montage.
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