What happened with podcasting in 2016? Certainly there was no runaway hit like “Serial” Season 1 that we can use as a tentpole to draw conclusions about The State Of Audio Today. When I think of this year’s water-cooler conversations on culture, the things that come to mind are “Stranger Things,” “Westworld” or “La La Land” — at least in my experience, no one podcast has yet to reach the critical mass of Sarah Koenig and co.’s serialized investigation of a murky Baltimore murder.
In an episode of Chris Gethard’s podcast “Beautiful/Anonymous,” he tells someone that in doing his show (wherein anyone can call in anonymously to a number and Gethard will give them one hour of his time to listen and chat), he hopes that people find solace in having a platform and feeling listened to. And in turn, listening to people reminds him that his everyday trials and anxieties are part of a larger whole.
That is part of why I find podcasts so appealing — they help me remember that there are millions of experiences and perspectives I have yet to learn from, or appreciate. In short, in 2016, I spent a lot of time listening to people.
Below is a selection of podcasts that were born (or reborn) in 2016 that I loved, and hope you will, too.