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Podcast Playlist

CBC Podcasts & Radio On-Demand

Hosted by Leah-Simone Bowen, Podcast Playlist's podcast obsessed producers help you find the best podcasts out there. Each week we curate fresh, exciting and thoughtful stories to help you unearth new podcasts to add to your rotation. From true crime to comedy, from current affairs to audio fiction and everything in between. Each week we take you on a journey with lots of discoveries along the way.


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Hosted by Leah-Simone Bowen, Podcast Playlist's podcast obsessed producers help you find the best podcasts out there. Each week we curate fresh, exciting and thoughtful stories to help you unearth new podcasts to add to your rotation. From true crime to comedy, from current affairs to audio fiction and everything in between. Each week we take you on a journey with lots of discoveries along the way.




Jane Marie on the MLM-to-life coach pipeline, and her favourite podcasts

This week our guest is Jane Marie, creator and host of The Dream. Can a life coach really solve your problems, or is it all just a big hustle? That’s the question at the heart of Season 3 of the Dream. Leah and Jane will sit down to talk about the show, plus, we’ll listen to some of her favourite podcasts. Like the story of three friends who took what was supposed to be a 45-minute pleasure cruise, and wound up trapped on a deserted island…all within sight of the Empire State Building. Featuring: The Dream, This American Life, My Year In Mensa, Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Decoder Ring's Willa Paskin on solving cultural mysteries, and her favourite podcasts

This week we're joined by Willa Paskin, the creator and host of Decoder Ring. It's a show that takes the questions on culture you never knew you had, and always finds the answer. Leah and Willa talk about solving cultural mysteries, that time Peter Falk quelled a Romanian uprising, and Willa's favourite podcasts. Featuring: Decoder Ring, The Turning: Room of Mirrors, Appearances, Hi-Phi Nation, Terrestrials For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Stories from Syria, plus new podcasts for the fall

In 2011, the Arab Spring was sending shock waves across the world. Amid the many activists demanding change, one Syrian blogger wrote about her life as a lesbian, in a country where homosexuality is illegal. Her blog, Gay Girl in Damascus, drew countless readers inspired by her search for freedom. But, the blog wasn't all that it seemed. The new podcast Gay Girl Gone reveals the startling truth. Host and producer Samira Mohyeddin joins Leah to discuss the series. Plus, we'll share more of our favourite pods released this month. Featuring: Gay Girl Gone - "Journalist Samira Mohyeddin investigates what actually happened to the infamous Gay Girl in Damascus. The result is a twisted yarn that spans the globe and challenges our thinking on love, politics and identity in cyberspace. What happened to Amina and uncovers a dangerous world of secret police, forbidden love, and deception on the world wide web." Serial: The Kids of Rutherford County - "A four-part series about a Tennessee county that was arresting and illegally jailing children for over a decade." The Closer: Deals Change the World - "We take you inside the final days of Toys R Us with Lauren Hirsch, the reporter who first revealed the iconic company's impending bankruptcy, and explain what drove the company out of business." A Race Around the World - "On November 14th, 1889, Nellie Bly left Manhattan to go on a race around the world in under 80 days. In this episode, host Adrien Behn will delve into the background of this extraordinary woman. She will explore Nellie Bly's upbringing and aspirations, the obstacles she somersaulted over to become a female investigative journalist, her groundbreaking reporting, and what drove her to embark on a journey that defied the norms of her time." Bloodlines - "Syria. 2018. ISIS is on the brink of defeat. Two-year-old Salmaan disappears amid the bombardment. In London, his grandfather desperately searches for answers." What new releases are you enjoying? Email our team at podcastplaylist@cbc.ca. Or find us at cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Straight to the source: We ask three hosts why we should listen to their podcasts (w/ Mark Chavez, Amy Westervelt & Jo Firestone)

This week, we’re going straight to the source and asking three podcasters to sell us on their shows. First, Mark Chavez gives us the pitch for Let’s Make A Horror. Can three comedians write — and make — a decent horror movie? Next, Amy Westervelt tells us about the latest season of Drilled. It’s a true crime podcast about the climate crisis, and in their latest season they’re looking at the worldwide crackdown on climate protest. Then, Jo Firestone tells us about Murder on Sex Island, a podcast about an undercover detective who has to solve a murder on the set of a trashy reality TV show. Those interviews, plus excerpts from the podcasts, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Let's Make A Horror, Drilled, Murder On Sex Island For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Halloween Spooktacular: A ghost in the family, haunted clothing, Furby's revenge, and more spooky stories

It's our annual Halloween Spooktacular episode! We’ll hear a fabulously frightening selection of stories today. We’ve got tales about toys that go bump in the night, a haunted pair of pants, an interview with a legendary horror movie director, and more. Like this story from Tristan Redman: He doesn’t believe in ghosts, but Tristan remembers weird things happening in his teenage bedroom. Later, he learned the people who lived there after him were visited by the ghost. That’s not all. It turns out that Tristan’s childhood home is right next door to the house where his wife’s great grandmother was murdered. Could she be the one who haunted his childhood dreams? That scare and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: I Talk To Ghosts, Spooked, Ghost Story, Weird Distractions, Unspookable, American Hysteria For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


CBC's David Common on catching scammers and the new Marketplace podcast

As a foreign correspondent, David Common's reporting has taken him to more than 80 countries, including warzones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine. But these days he's staying a bit closer to home. David has recently taken over hosting duties on CBC Radio's morning show in Toronto, Metro Morning. He's also the co-host of the consumer watchdog show, Marketplace, on CBC Television. And Marketplace now has its very own podcast. David will tell us about how his first week at Metro Morning, and what it was like turning a TV show into a podcast. Plus, he'll share some of the podcasts in his rotation. Featuring: CBC Marketplace, The Secret Life of Canada, Wind of Change, Yo Is This Racist?, War On The Rocks For links and more info head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Producer Picks: A punk rock mystery, a gossipy podcast about literary greats and more you may have missed

To make this show, our team listens through hours upon hours of audio. But sometimes, a few excellent shows will slip through the cracks. This week, Leah is joined by the Podcast Playlist crew to share some amazing podcasts that you may have missed. Like Once upon a time...at Bennington College. Our senior producer Kate Evans likes it because listening feels like, "a summer page turner, but for a podcast." The show shares the history of the unique Liberal arts college where authors Brett Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem and Donna Tartt all went to school together. Plus, Producer Julian Uzielli shares a heartfelt podcast about a group of Armenian soliders who survived months of being trapped behind enemy lines. That and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Once Upon a Time...at Bennington College (Kate's pick) - "Bennington. Autumn, 1982. Donna, Jonathan and Bret arrive on the campus of the school nicknamed "The Little Red Whorehouse on the Hill." One of them comes with a steamer trunk. One of them comes with a Kangol cap. One of them comes with a "suitcase full of drugs." Freeway Phantom (Leah's pick) - "On April 25th, 1971, 13-year-old Carol Spinks mysteriously disappeared from her neighborhood in southeast Washington D.C. Six days later, her body was discovered off a nearby freeway. Investigators assumed this was a one-off murder. Little did they know, Carol was the first victim of D.C.'s first serial killer." The Ballad of Billy Balls (Kelsey's pick) - "It's 1982, and a man bursts into an East Village storefront apartment and shoots punk musician Billy Balls. Author and activist iO Tillett Wright and Crimetown Producer Austin Mitchell unravel a mystery of love and loss, the tender binds of family, and the stories we tell ourselves just to survive." Country of Dust (Julian's pick) - "This podcast from a multinational team of producers tells the stories of a changing Armenia. A lot has been happening here: revolution, war, immigration, a shifting economy and so much more. We capture what life is like here right now and explore the odd, inspiring and sometimes perplexing ways in which this country keeps going, despite the odds." For more visit: cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Paul McCartney explains his lyrics, teaching kids about happiness with Sesame Street, and more great new podcasts

It’s a music fan’s dream: Imagine you’re handed hundreds of hours of never-before-heard tapes of Paul McCartney talking about all the lyrics he’s ever written. Those tapes showed up on the doorstep of one lucky team of podcast producers. McCartney: A Life In Lyrics is a new podcast telling the stories behind the lyrics of some of McCartney’s most famous songs, from the early days all the way to the present. Leah sits down with executive producer Justin Richmond to talk about the project. Then, Leah talks to Laurie Santos, host of The Happiness Lab, about collaborating with Elmo, Grover and the rest of the Sesame Street gang to teach kids about the science of happiness. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: McCartney: A Life In Lyrics, Rough Translation, The Happiness Lab, Academy For links and more info on everything in today's episode, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


The best true crime podcasts this October

For years, Alana Chen harbored a deep secret. As a teen, she confessed to her priest that she was attracted to women. She was told to never tell her parents, and over the next seven years, Alana received conversion therapy in secret. Her story is told in the new podcast Dear Alana. Host Simon Kent Fung joins us to talk about the series. That and more great new true crime on this week's episode. Featuring: Alphabet Boys, Dear Alana, Crime Story, Someone Knows Something, You're Wrong About For more info on everything on today's episode, head to cbc.ca/podcastplaylist. Get in touch! Email us at podcastplaylist@cbc.ca


Nana aba Duncan, Garvia Bailey and Hannah Sung on starting a podcast company

Media Girlfriends began in 2016 as a podcast hosted by Nana aba Duncan, where in each episode she spoke with other women working in media. Today, it has evolved into a full-fledged podcast production company, which Duncan created along with co-founders Garvia Bailey and Hannah Sung. Today, Nana aba, Garvia and Hannah come on the show to tell us about their journey, and share their favourite podcasts. Featuring: Humans Of The House, Authentic: The Story of Tablo, You Didn't See Nothin, Shameless Acquisition Target. For links and more info on all the podcasts featured in this episode, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Ear Hustle's Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor on podcasting from prison

Ear Hustle, co-hosted by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, got its start in 2017 by documenting life inside California's San Quentin State Prison. When the show launched, Earlonne was an inmate at San Quentin, serving a sentence of 31 years to life for attempted second-degree robbery. Nigel is a visual artist and university professor who got involved with San Quentin as a volunteer. In November of 2018, Earlonne's sentence was commuted after 21 years, and he now co-hosts the podcast from the outside. Ear Hustle launched their latest season earlier this month, and Nigel and Earlonne joined Leah from their studio in San Francisco to share a few of their favourite podcasts. Plus, they give us a sneak peek at their new season, where they speak to women incarcerated in the California Institution for Women. Featuring: Ear Hustle, Wrongful Conviction, Everything Is Alive For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Was Jar Jar Binks misunderstood? And more great new podcasts for fall

Jar Jar Binks became one of the most polarizing figures in cinematic history when he debuted in the 1999 movie Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He was so hated that it sparked a viral, decades-long internet hate campaign. The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks is a new series that explores what this story can teach us about today. Host Dylan Marron joins us to tell us more about the show. Plus – men open up about body image. We’ll hear from Mark Pagán, the host of Other Men Need Help, about how the standards of masculinity affect all of us. All that and more on this week's show. Featuring: The Redemption Of Jar Jar Binks, Other Men Need Help, Hang Up For links and more info on everything on this episode, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


FLASHBACK: Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway on the rewards of facing the music

As a musician himself, Hrishikesh Hirway knows how much thought goes into a song. So, he created Song Exploder, the series where all kinds of musicians – from big names like Madonna to lesser known indie acts – take listeners through the making of their greatest hits, piece by piece. This week, Hrishikesh joins Podcast Playlist host Leah-Simone Bowen as guest curator. He's sharing what he's learned from the performers he's hosted on his show, and what's gained from looking beyond a song's hype or genre. Then, he'll take us through his favourite podcasts: the comedy talk show he listens to when he's hitting the gym, fictional stories that will crack you up and a series where interesting people read poetry. All that, and more, on this week's episode of Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Song Exploder: "Monica Martin is a singer and songwriter based in Los Angeles. Before that, she was based in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was part of the indie rock band Phox. She's been a featured guest vocalist on songs by James Blake and Vulfpeck. In this episode, Monica breaks down her song "Go Easy, Kid," along with the tracks's producer, Khushi. It's a pretty meta story, as she talks about making a song that's in part about how hard it can be to make a song. And more generally, how hard it can be to let go of things we get hung up on." Everything is Alive: "Atsuko is a set of bagpipes, and she's looking for some peace and quiet." Hello from the Magic Tavern: "The premise of the show is that the host, Arnie Niekamp, fell through a dimensional portal behind a Burger King, into the fantastical land of Foon. In this episode, a lovely fox gives Chunt a mysterious box with a voice inside." How Did This Get Made?: "Dom's never before mentioned brother, the return of Han, a car in space, and magnets. The HDTGM/Fast family is reunited as Adam Scott joins Paul, June, and Jason to discuss the ninth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise F9. So you know what that means…" Interesting People Reading Poetry: "In this episode, Grian Chatten reads "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Chatten is the frontman of the Irish post-punk band Fontaines D.C., recently described by NME as "the new heroes of the rock resurrection." The members of the group met while attending music college in Dublin and initially bonded over a shared love for Irish literature. Their second album, A Hero's Death, has been nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album."


FLASHBACK: Inside a forgotten tragedy, misinformation in the wellness world and the pleasures of travel writing

On Mother's Day in 1985, police dropped a bomb in a Philadelphia neighbourhood. Residents of Osage Avenue were instructed to leave their homes and stay away for the next 24 hours. Authorities were there to bring an end to a years-old conflict with a family of Black activists known as MOVE. There were 13 people in the Africa home that morning, including six children. By the end of the day, most of them were dead. CBC's new podcast The Africas VS. America tells the remarkable, and long forgotten, story of a national war waged on one family. Reporter, producer and host, Matt Amha joins Leah-Simone Bowen this week to talk about the making of the seven-part series, and the story's relevance today. We've also rounded up more novel picks to pique your interest this February. From the wellness influencer who became a leading source of COVID-19 misinformation, to an inside look at the gangs that exploit people to sell drugs around the UK. Plus, a conversation with the host of Not Lost Chat, Brendan Francis Newnam about the show's second season, and sitting down with fellow travelers to talk about their experiences abroad. Featuring: The Africas VS. America: "In the early hours of May 13, 1985, police direct residents of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia to leave their homes, and not return for 24 hours. It's Mother's Day, and authorities have come to resolve a years-long conflict with a family of local revolutionaries — the Africas, collectively known as MOVE. There are 13 people in the Africa home that morning. Six of them are children. By the end of the day, most will be dead, and a neighbourhood will lie in ruins." Plus, an interview with host and producer Matthew Amha. Imperfect Paradise: "Guru Jagat starts the pandemic with an understandable skepticism of official medical advice, but quickly grows to embrace an array of far-right conspiracy theories." Lights Out: "Four people recount their involvement with 'county lines' – gangs that exploit children and vulnerable adults to sell drugs around the UK. Underneath their stories lies a series of unspoken, unanswered questions. Who gets to decide the boundary between criminal and victim? Why do we view 'county lines' through the lens of crime and punishment? And how well does the system support individuals and families devastated by the impact of 'county lines'?" Not Lost Chat: "New York Magazine described "Not Lost" as having the "slight energy of Andrew Sean Greer's Less" so Brendan calls the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the comic, road trip novels "Less" and "Less is Lost" to find out if they should be offended." Plus, an interview with host and OG podcaster Brendan Francis Newnam.


Are rich people bad? Plus more new podcast releases for August

Here's a question you probably don't get asked very often: How would you describe your social class? Working class…middle class…upper class — or maybe something else? If thinking about this question makes you feel kind of uncomfortable, well, that's pretty normal. Especially if you're in a different class now than the one you grew up in. Jonathan Menjivar grew up working class, but now that he's an adult, that label doesn't really apply anymore. He likes eating oysters and wearing cashmere. He owns a house. And he feels kind of guilty about it. Jonathan took his mixed feelings and turned them into a podcast about all the ways class shows up in our daily lives. It's called Classy. Then, the story of the composer Raymond Scott. Raymond journeyed on a lifelong quest to build an automatic songwriting machine. The podcast The Last Archive explores where the songwriting machine fits in our present AI-addled, ChatGPT world. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Classy with Jonathan Menjivar - "Jonathan has some hangups about class. In the first episode of this series, he takes us from a nightclub outside LA to the halls of a fancy Manhattan prep school, and asks sociologist Rachel Sherman 'are rich people bad?'" The Banned Teacher - "He says it was consensual sex. She says it was rape. He was her music teacher. She was a teen. And it wasn't just once, with one girl. He had sex with students in closets, classrooms, and cars. The Banned Teacher begins with one victim's search for justice but turns into a full investigation by host Julie Ireton." The Last Archive - "The story of the composer Raymond Scott's lifelong quest to build an automatic songwriting machine, and what it means for our own AI-addled, ChatGPT world." The Headwaters - "Before our insatiable addiction to the almighty car, getting around B.C.'s Columbia River Basin was a much different affair. We were transported on trains and paddle-wheelers, a mode of travel that was often an adventure in itself." Without - "People love coffee, but climate change is fundamentally altering where and how coffee is grown. Because of the damage being done to the planet, coffee is in trouble. And so are the farmers who grow it."


FLASHBACK: Internet sexologist Shan Boodram answers your dating questions

Shan Boodram describes herself as the "Walmart greeter" of sex and relationships. If you have a question or concern, she can point you in the right direction. Her advice, teachings, and personality have made her a viral internet sensation. She wears so many hats: YouTuber, bestselling author, scholar, consultant, wife, mother. Now she's added "podcaster" to that list with her new Stitcher show Lovers and Friends. Who better to stop by our show just in time for Valentines' Day? Shan tells us about life as an internet personality, new motherhood, and how she makes sex ed fun and approachable for her audience. And we thought we'd take advantage of her sexpertise, if you will, to get some expert sex and dating advice. We asked you, our listeners, to submit your questions — and Shan has some really thoughtful answers. Of course, you'll also hear some of Shan's favourite podcasts. The episodes she chose offer even more good advice: on setting up boundaries, dealing with rejection, and working through resentment in a relationship. Featuring: Lovers and Friends with Shan Boodram: "It's storytime! Shan takes you down memory lane in order to answer the question she is asked most often throughout her career: When and how did you decide that you were going to be a sex expert? In this special edition episode and for the first time ever on the Podcast, Shan brings in the woman who witnessed it all. None other than Olivia Boodram, aka Mom." Enjoy the Podcast: "This podcast is all about the male perspective. Dealing with relationships to vulnerability, here you will hear everything he hasn't told you." Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel: "This time there is no couch, but instead an unexpected phone call from Esther to a woman who is struggling with the differences between her and her partner's upbringing. He grew up in a comfortable suburb, she grew up having less, much less. She loves her boyfriend but wants to get past the resentment she feels towards the opportunities he's had. Esther helps her think through how these differences might also play into new strengths between them." Podcast exclusive: Almost 30: "In this episode, Nedra Tawwab lays the groundwork for implementing and integrating boundaries for yourself and your community."


FLASHBACK: Sam Sanders, Said Jones and Zach Stafford help us make sense of the headlines

This week we're revisiting one of our favourite episodes from January. A pop culture podcaster, a poet and a Tony award-winning journalist sit down for a chat. No, this isn’t the lead up to a joke, it’s the premise of the podcast Vibe Check. The weekly news and culture series is hosted by Sam Sanders, Said Jones and Zach Stafford as they make sense of what’s making headlines. Sanders is the former host of NPR's It's Been a Minute and the host of Vulture’s Into It, Jones is the author of the award-winning memoir How We Fight For Our Lives, and Stafford is not only a journalist but he picked up a Tony Award in 2022 for co-producing the play, A Strange Loop. Every episode captures the energy and spirit of a group chat: It’s a lively conversation among friends (who’ve done their research) as they go deep on the issues of the day and figure out in real time how they feel, what they understand and what questions remain. The trio sits down with Leah this week to share how they made sure they got the right vibe with the show. They also share their favourite podcasts – from a documentary storytelling podcast that dives deep into family history to a pop culture show that breaks down method acting. FEATURING: Vibe Check || Decoder Ring || Death, Sex & Money || Family Ghosts For links and more info on all the podcasts on today's show, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Old love letters reveal new secrets, plus why MPs have such high divorce rates: best podcasts for July

Daryl Allen had always wanted to be a playwright. But that dream was cut short when he lost his life to AIDS in 1991. Before he died, he left bundles of love letters and scripts with an ex-boyfriend. Twenty-five years later, Daryl's writings found their way to Dane Stewart. This inspired him to make the new podcast Resurrection. Dane has spent the past five years uncovering who Daryl was through the writing he left behind. Part investigation, part historical documentary, and part love story, the podcast is a tribute not only to Daryl but the generation of gay men who were lost to the AIDS epidemic. Then: hockey. It's Canada's favourite winter sport. But right now, it's going through a reckoning. Allegations of racism, corruption, sexual misconduct and so much more are rocking the billion dollar industry behind it. The latest season of COMMONS from Canadaland digs into the dark side of Canada's beloved sport. Plus, what is Parliament Hill like as a workplace? Former MP Lisa Raitt shares the pressures of working in Parliament and how it affected her career, sanity and marriage. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Resurrection, Scamanda, COMMONS: Hockey, Flipping The Bird, Humans of the House, The War on Cars For links and more info on everything on today's show, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


How do other people handle their money? Podcasts about personal finance (ft. Maya Lau)

This week on Podcast Playlist we’re listening to stories about personal finance. First up, Leah sits down with Maya Lau to talk about her new podcast Other People’s Pockets. It’s a show where she interviews people from all walks of life about how much money they have in the bank, and all the other financial questions you were taught not to ask. Plus, how much money do you really need to have kids? Carrie and Natalia both want a baby, but they can’t agree on whether they’re financially ready. On the podcast This Is Uncomfortable, we’ll listen in on their conversation with a financial therapist. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Other People's Pockets, This Is Uncomfortable, Teach Me How To Adult, Planet Money, Half Banked For links and more info on all the podcasts featured on this week's show, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Reimagining fiction podcasts with James Kim

This week on Podcast Playlist we're joined by James Kim. You may know him as the creator behind MOONFACE – a heartfelt fictional series about a Korean American son who wants to come out to his mom, but can't because they don't speak the same language. The show was named a Best of 2019 podcast by various outlets. His latest series You Feeling This? is billed as a podcast mixtape about love. It's an anthology that centres stories about life and love in Los Angeles, pulling sonic inspiration from artists like Kendrick Lamar and the independent creators who helped to shape this show. This week, James joins Leah to discuss what goes into making a fictional podcast, and share why indie podcasters inspire him. Plus we'll listen to a few of his favourite shows that explore love, friendship and nostalgia. Featuring: You Feeling This?, Paper Radio, The Truth, UnReality - Projected Reality: The Sound Collector, Threedom. For links and more info on everything on today's show, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.