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In today’s world, podcasts are highly underrated. With the rise of social media, many tend to forget about the wonderful benefits of listening to a podcast on a mobile device. Podcasts are intriguing and can be great sources of both news and entertainment. Due to their obscurity, I want to let you in on the five best podcasts out there.

1. Serial


Serial has quickly become a cult phenomenon. I started listening to it on a car ride back to school and became intrigued with season one. Adnan Syed is accused of killing his high school ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee and the podcasts follows their relationship, personal lives, and Hae’s murder. It lays out all of the evidence for you, making you wonder if he is innocent or truly guilty. Adnan was recently ordered a new trial based off of evidence that his original lawyer did not give Adnan the best defense that he has the right to. After a 12 episode first season, season 2 begins with covering Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 where he then left the base which, according to him, was to show the flaws with the security and instead is captured by the Taliban. After five years, he is released through a trade for five taliban members being held at Guantanamo Bay. Currently, Bowe is being tried by general court-martial under charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Similar to the first season, Sarah Koenig presents all evidence related to Bergdahl and interviews not only Bergdahl, but people who knew him and had joined on the search for him in rough conditions. Sarah Koenig’s voice was made for podcasts, Serial all started because she was approached by Adnan’s friend’s older sister, from season 1, who asked her to do some digging. She became just as curious as the rest of us, which led to this amazing podcast that we all cannot stop listening to or talking about.


2. The Buck Sexton Show


The Buck Sexton Show is a radio show on TheBlaze Radio Network, which is also available as a podcast for you to enjoy all the time (another plus of podcasts). Buck Sexton previously worked for the CIA Counterterrorism Center in Iraq and Afghanistan before resigning. He now works at TheBlaze, where he hosts a radio show and at CNN, where he is a contributor. His show covers everything from current events to hot topics to miscellaneous news that tends to be overshadowed by the mainstream media. The podcast episodes range from ten minutes to two hours and are witty, factual, and make becoming informed easy and digestible. This podcast is great for anyone who wants to become more knowledgeable on foreign affairs and the Middle East. Don’t know where to start? I would say the episode, “Buckshot: Race Relations in 2016 w/ Derryck Green” from June 29, 2016. Derryck Green is a member of Project 21. He and Buck discuss not only the change in race relations during the current campaign cycle, but also in the past 8 years under President Obama. Before you know it, Buck will have you aggressively nodding you head in agreement on the way to work.


3. NYT Modern Love


I began reading Modern Love awhile ago and always enjoyed the articles ranging from young relationships, marital struggles, and even a love between a father and child. Every article is well articulated, thoughtful, and–no matter the topic–filled with relatable lessons for everyone. It was then turned into a podcast where popular celebrities choose essays from the Modern Love column on the New York Times. I recently listened to an episode, “My First Lesson in Motherhood” narrated by Connie Britton. It tells the story of a mother faced with an impossible decision while in the process of adopting her daughter from China. Ms. Britton said she chose this article because of the personal connection of also adopting her son. My favorite part of the episodes are the part where host Meghna Chakrabarti interviews editor of Modern Love Daniel Jones on not only how he picked the article, but then interviews the author of the essay on the story and updates related to the story. Modern Love is exactly what the title depicts–essays on the modern love we all face, and the lessons we can take from it.


4. LadyGang

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The show is regularly hosted by Keltie Knight, Jac Vanek, and Becca Tobin–all celebrities who are under the Hollywood spotlight and have worked hard to get where they are in their respective careers. Every episode has guest star who is there to share not only more information about their personal life, but advice they could give to listeners. Two of my favorite episodes are when the ladies have Lea Michele as their guest. After meeting on the hit TV series Glee, Becca Tobin and Lea Michele became great friends, so it was no surprise to hear her voice on the show. In 2014, Becca’s long time boyfriend had passed away and it was reported that Lea really stepped in to be there for her as a support system, since she knows what it is like to lose someone you love. Lea Michele lives an incredible lifestyle; she is healthy (but can balance indulging occasionally), exercises (but more for serenity), and knows how to surround herself with good people and not let the fame get to her head. After talking for awhile about what it is like being an A-List celebrity, they turned to listener questions and the advice was realistic while remaining sincere. These are women who have worked hard and created their own empires all while staying true to themselves.


5. The West Wing Weekly

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The West Wing Weekly is hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina, who starred as Will Bailey on The West Wing. Each episode of the podcast is filmed after the hosts have re-watched an episode from the series, while remaining in chronological order, and then discussing it in a style that they call a “TV show book club with only two people who can talk.” It is set up with the premise that you have already seen the show, and analyzes the different story lines, dialogue, and characters. If you are a West Wing super fan, this podcast is a dream come true. Just to clarify, I am said super fan so could be considered a tad biased. How could you not love the West Wing, though? President Bartlet and Dr. Abigail Bartlet are literal relationship goals, the bro vibe from Toby, Sam, and Josh is hilarious (while at times being cringeworthy), and the strong chief of staff, Leo, there to push them to do their best. I should add in honor of host Joshua Maline that Will Bailey also made an excellent addition season 4 with his awkward but funny tendencies as a campaign manager for a man who already had passed away. But, anyone who enjoyed the show will jump at the opportunity to listen to this podcast and reminisce in the memories of the staff working with President Bartlett. Even if you did not agree with the policies, you always found yourself rooting for the team. With only fifteen episodes thus far, it is the perfect time for you to start listening and remember why you loved it so much in the first place.

Victoria F
FFL Contributor
Victoria is a North Eastern girl with a southern heart, style, morals and the hair to match it. She loves movies with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, pre-ordering her drinks at Starbucks, and obviously America the beautiful.

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