In my latest project, Dead Air, Mackenzie Walker investigates a decades old crime and shares what she finds on her college radio show / podcast. As we were writing the book, my co-authors Gwenda Bond, Rachel Caine, and I started talking about how cool it would be to actually produce Mackenzie’s podcast. We approached the publisher, Serial Box, about it and they jumped on board. So now you can read the book and listen to the podcast which is just super cool! I love that Serial Box was willing to try something new like this — to break the wall about what a story can be.

Plus, I love podcasts, so it was super cool to be involved in writing one.

In honor of Dead Air’s release, I wanted to share some of my own favorite podcasts. Obviously, Dead Air has its roots in true crime podcasts and I’ll be sharing my favorites of those next week. But this week I wanted to start with everything else.

Planet Money
Planet Money — if you’d told me years ago that I’d love a podcast focused on economics, I’d have laughed. I’ve never been much of an economics person, but I’m so glad I didn’t let that get in the way of trying Planet Money! I first got turned on to it via This American Life and their episode Giant Pool of Money. It explained the financial crisis and it blew my mind. Suddenly, I understood it!! The hosts are funny, they’re smart, and they really know how to tell a story. Here are some of my favorite episodes to get you going:

Giant Pool of Money (explains the financial crisis)
Mechanical Turks (there are people inside your machine! sort of…)

More Perfect
More Perfect — from the folks at Radiolab, this is a podcast about the Supreme Court. I know for a lot of you that may sound boring, but again, these are amazing storytellers and they have a way of explaining and talking about SCOTUS in such an entertaining way!
Inside Jaws
Inside Jaws — I fell into a bit of a Jaws hole this year. Currently, you can listen to the audiobook for free on Audible and for weeks this is what I listened to falling asleep at night (it took weeks because I tend to stay awake for only 5-10 minutes so I have to jump back and re-listen the next night). The book is so different from the movie — the elements are all there, but it’s a much deeper dive into the characters which I found really interesting. So when I came across this podcast, I couldn’t resist giving it a try. It’s a little different from what I’m used to — it’s from the points of view of the people involved which took a little getting used to. I’m used to podcasts that are more explaining, whereas this was far more storytelling. I liked it!
Making Oprah
Making Oprah — my mom actually recommended this one – lol. It’s a limited series podcast about how Oprah got her start. I only listened to it because my mom really wanted me to and let’s just say there’s a reason moms are so often right! I loved it. In fact, I even teared up several times because of the sheer joy of the story.
How Did This Get Made?
How Did This Get Made? — I’ve been listening to this for years. Each episode the hosts take a look at a different movie. Not the ones at the top of the charts, but the ones that often leave you scratching your head. Sometimes they’re movies that shouldn’t work but do. And sometimes they’re movies that just utterly fail. This isn’t one of those educational podcasts that actually looks at how the movie got made. It’s a discussion between the hosts, often in a live show, that’s irreverent, freewheeling, and funny. If you’re looking to learn about movies… probably not the podcast for you. But if you’re looking to be entertained? This one is great..
Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss Show — Tim Ferriss interviews folks — that’s about it. I first listened to this one when he interviewed middle grade author Soman Chainani and I really learned a lot. It’s a fantastic episode. Ferriss is really good at taking a deep dive and asking interesting questions. I haven’t listened to a ton of these yet, but so far I’m a fan. Here’s a link to Soman’s interview.

Because of Tim Ferriss’s interview with Soman Chainani, I was reminded how much I love listening to other authors discuss their lives and craft. So I went looking for other podcasts and found several that I enjoy:

First Draft with Sarah Enni
88 Cups of Tea

And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this one…

Dead Air
Dead Air podcast — Mackenzie Walker wasn’t planning on using her college radio show to solve a decades-old murder, but when she receives an anonymous tip that the wrong man may have taken the fall, she can’t resist digging deeper. Before long, Mackenzie is in too deep, and determined to find out the truth, even if it destroys her. A riveting Serial Box original podcast from New York Times bestselling authors Gwenda Bond, Carrie Ryan, and Rachel Caine.

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