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5 Podcasts to Keep You Company


Article by Sue G. Collins

Photography by Sue G. Collins

When I was driving from Atlanta to Nashville a few months ago, I decided I'd better get into the groove and listen to some country music. I stumbled upon the most delightful podcast, sprinkled with music, but mostly conversation and a very thorough introspective about the importance of Dolly Parton's music and its cultural parallels. The amiable host, Jad Abumrad and professional producer, Shima Oliaee, not only kept me company on my drive, but also opened my eyes to the Dollyverse and all its wonder. The quality is excellent (my podcast pet peeve is poor production) and the series has that NPR vibe without being presumptuous or needy. I highly recommend Dolly Parton's America from WNYC Studios and available most anywhere you get your podcasts.

Gimlet Media is the Hollywood of podcasts, if you ask me. And Heavyweight is its Bradley Cooper—attractive, a little mysterious, surprising (who knew he kept up with Lady Gaga in A Star is Born?), leaving you wanting more. The initially annoying then entirely endearing host, Jonathan Goldstein, holds the hands of his interviewees, who go back in time to unearth an event or person that forever left them wondering, "huh?" I listened to every single episode last summer when I drove nearly 1,000 miles from Atlanta to Bay View, Michigan, for summer vacation. Goldstein is a skilled storyteller, and you'll want him to be your best friend, calling you with random questions and nonsensical reports, as he does at the start of every episode.

Whether or not you like to cook, if you have any personality at all, you'll like this FOODCAST (see what they did?) featuring writers and editors from Bon Appétit magazine. I've been a magazine subscriber for decades and find their recipes to be manageable and tasty. This podcast is entertaining and gives insight without being overly complicated or scholarly. There are kitchen conversations and solid ideas for entertaining.

I admit to tuning into Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast because I loved him in Parenthood, way back when. I was pleasantly surprised to find he's a skilled interviewer, succinct and downright eloquent at times. He chats with celebs and media superstars like a pal might, except this pal has done his homework and knows insightful things like when the interviewee had his/her first kiss. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the conversations are peppered with Hollywood gossip and behind-the-scenes natter. I like it!

Georgians, Sylvia Huron and Diane Campbell have a collective two whole years in the sport of fly fishing, and they want to share struggles, stories and resources with other women (and men) anglers in their podcast, Fly Girl Fish. I met them both at my first meeting of Georgia Women Fly Fishers and have been welcomed into the fold, as you will be if you listen to their interviews with other anglers from all over the country. Kudos, ladies!

What happens when we wonder in person, instead of using the internet? Portland, Oregon, radio producer and musician Jim Brunberg takes his two young daughters (full disclosure, my nieces) on adventures to uncover answers to the questions that kids ask and grown-ups find interesting. They met author Cheryl Strayed and asked her about telling lies. She said lies were among the baggage that blocked her happiness until a long backpacking trip afforded her the strength to bring them in to roost somewhere healthy. I hope they make another season of Roam Schooled and invite you to catch up on the 25 episodes already in the podsphere.