We’re big believers in the power of story – all the more when that story is narrated by a voice that brings the plot twists, punch lines, and bizarre trivia to life. When we’re not talking about traveling, the Virtuoso editorial team is tuning in to our favorite podcasts to make daily home happy hours and lunch preps more entertaining – and to banish bouts of socially distanced ennui.
I started listening to podcasts to stay awake while driving. My daughter is (well, was) in college three hours away, and crime podcasts such as Crime Junkie and Serial keep me alert on interstate road trips. A colleague recently recommended the Bon Appétit Foodcast, which is next in the queue, since I won’t be driving far anytime soon.
– Melanie Fowler, design director
I was thrilled when true-crime TV classic Dateline ventured into the podcast space last year. The six-episode series, The Thing About Pam, is a gripping mystery about the murder of Betsy Faria and the strange circumstances surrounding her death. This bizarre story, told by Mr. Dateline himself, Keith Morrison, is a must-listen for any true-crime fan.
– Veronica Rosalez, senior designer
I love a good story, and maybe the best-ever example of a story well told is S-Town by Brian Reed. It starts as what sounds like a run-of-the-mill murder mystery but by the end of the first episode it veers into strange, riveting territory. It’s not new, but if you’re new to podcasts, this is a great place to start.
Heavyweight host Jonathan Goldstein helps people revisit pivotal moments from their past in search of resolution. It’s gratifying, weird, entertaining, and funny.
– Marika Cain, managing editor
Since the late 1990s, NYC nonprofit The Moth has brought people from all walks of life to the stage to share true anecdotes, told live and without notes. The Moth Radio Hour replays all new performances and draws on its vast archive to remind us that life is bizarre and wonderful – and truth is often stranger than fiction. From cheek-hurting comedy to hands-gripping-your-seat drama, this podcast will transport you.
– Samantha Falewée, assistant editor
Second Life, hosted by Hillary Kerr (former fashion editor turned co-founder of fashion website Who What Wear), features women who have made career pivots to create some of our most beloved brands. The podcast tends to feature women in fashion, food, design, and beauty.
Good Food by Evan Kleiman examines how food influences all aspects of life. With in-depth discussions on single topics – from geopolitical issues to an individual ingredient or dish – and chef interviews and recipes, this pod is a must for any foodie.
– Korena Bolding Sinnett, art director
If you’re in the mood for some female-empowerment, Bad on Paper and Going Through It are two favorites when I need a “You got this” pep talk. And like my TV-watching habits, sometimes I really just want to laugh: Who? Weekly’s tagline is “everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t.” Pop-culture fans will love Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger’s snarky commentary on obscure celebrity gossip.
– Amy Cassell, digital content manager
Brew a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and let New York Times’ best-seller Brené Brown guide you through moments of uncertainty. The trailer for Unlocking Us with Brené Brown hit No. 1 on iTunes in January. The apt topic of its March 20 debut: How to find peace in unprecedented situations.
Radiolab is the gateway podcast. An NPR radio show available as a podcast, it covers slice-of-life topics and weaves in cocktail talk gems, like the color spectrum visible to mantis shrimp and the language capabilities of prairie dogs.
Made to ward off late nights of scrolling screens and runaway thoughts, Sleep With Me tells rambling stories that help listeners drift off.
– Lara Hallock, associate editor
If you want to dominate your next (virtual) trivia night, The Weirdest Things I Learned this Week has a ton of less-than-useful but exceptionally interesting facts that could come in handy when you’re asked, “How many calories are in a human tooth?” The answer: 36. And like it or not, that fun (and super creepy) tidbit is staying with me for life.
– Eva Seelye, social media specialist
As a working-from-home and – as of March 12 – homeschooling father of two young children, I’m infinitely grateful for educational family podcasts. One of our favorites is the newly launched Kids Ask Authors with Grace Lin, where children’s books’ authors and illustrators answer questions posed by young readers. We’re also getting into NPR’s science- and tech-focused Wow in the World and are looking forward to Coin Trick, a soon-to-launch series about the adventures of a 12-year-old girl and the Native American trickster god, Kokopelli.
– Joel Centano, senior editor