Best Podcasts of 2020 by TIME

A curated podcast list by
Creation Date November 30th, 2020
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  1. If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents. A five-part series from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.
  2. What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story. "We're talking to people who have been marginalized and underrepresented for so long, who are so hungry to see themselves represented fully and with nuance and complexity," says Shereen Marisol Meraji, co-host of Code Switch, Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year for 2020. "People recognize that, because we had been having these conversations for so many years in advance, we're a trusted place where they could go to better understand all the stories about race filling up their newsfeeds and social channels." Their weekly podcast launched in 2016 but truly came into its own during this historic, transformative year, as Meraji and co-host Gene Demby examine issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity through frank one-on-one discussions and incisive non-fiction. In a year dominated by discourse about race, this indispensable show furthered them by providing powerful and timely insight, offering diverse and empathetic personal perspectives to a broad audience. "There are certain lenses that we are bringing into, both as journalists and the people that we're bringing to these stories," Demby says. "But also, we are specific people with specific fascinations and broad curiosity. If we're telling these stories, you should assume that they're going to look and sound like us."
  3. In this podcast — whose profits go to charities helping those affected by Coronavirus — Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani are uniquely qualified to lead you through this forced quarantine situation. They are both writers who work from home. Emily was a therapist and currently is a chronically sick person (see: The Big Sick) who often has to quarantine herself, and Kumail is her main caretaker. Plus, we both just like being at home. Let us advise you on how to stay calm and avoid cabin fever. Let us give you entertainment recommendations. Let us give you constant updates on the squirrel vs. bird war happening right outside our window. Let us not talk about the C word at all. And most of all, let us take all of the proceeds from this podcast and spread it amongst charities that are helping those who are hit hardest by this quarantine. 100% of the Net Revenue* from the podcast will be donated in equal portions to the following charities to support their efforts to assist those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org/ https://disasterphilanthropy.org/ https://www.feedingamerica.org/ *"Net Revenue” is defined as the “Advertising Gross Revenue” received by Hyperobject Podcast and Three Uncanny Four less agency fees and actual costs incurred to produce, distribute, and promote the Podcast. “Advertising Gross Revenue” is calculated by the (cost per thousand) rate times the total impressions delivered.
  4. You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. It’s the brainchild and passion project of Karina Longworth (founder of Cinematical.com, former film critic for LA Weekly), who writes, narrates, records and edits each episode. It is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction: navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Karina tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars and scandals of the 20th century.
  5. This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.
  6. Some call it Hurricane Katrina. Some call it the Federal Flood. Others call it the day the levees broke. On August 29, 2005, the city of New Orleans was submerged. That story of hubris, incompetence, and nature's wrath is now etched into the national consciousness. But the people who lived through the flood and its aftermath have a different story to tell. A story of rumors, betrayal, and one of the most misunderstood events in American history. Hosted by Vann R. Newkirk II.
  7. Actor/comedian Connor Ratliff (The Chris Gethard Show, UCB, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) embarks upon a quest to solve a very stupid mystery that has haunted him for two decades: why Tom Hanks fired him from a small role in the 2001 HBO mini-series, Band Of Brothers.
  8. From Samin Nosrat (chef and author of the cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat) and Hrishikesh Hirway (creator and host of the podcast Song Exploder), Home Cooking is a mini-series to help you figure out what to cook—and keep you company—during the quarantine. If you need help or just want some creative inspiration for your kitchen, we’ve got you covered. Do you have a quarantine cooking question, story, or anxiety you want to share with us? Send a voice memo to us at alittlehomecooking@gmail.com, or call us at 201-241-COOK.
  9. Remember when Monica allegedly punched Brandy right before they performed live at the MTV Video Music Awards? When Freaknik took over Atlanta, and changed the game for parties everywhere? When tasteless critics panned Mariah Carey’s Glitter? (#JusticeforGlitter!) When Beyonce told Farrah that someone could send her luggage? We do! Back Issue tells the stories behind formative moments in pop culture. In each episode we look back at some of the moments that shook us, that changed us. Join Tracy Clayton (host of Netflix’s Strong Black Legends, Mailchimp’s Going Through It) and Pineapple Street Studios Producer Josh Gwynn as they reckon with some of culture’s biggest questions, from "How did we let this happen?" to ‘Why do we still love this?" Because nostalgia is more than just a feeling. Got an issue you’d like us to investigate? Hit the Back Issue Hotline at (678)-74ISSUE.

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