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22 Podcasts We Loved in 2022
What the LAist staff found inspiring, entertaining, heartbreaking and generally had very strong feelings about in the past year — beyond our own excellent work.
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Our enthusiasm for great audio storytelling extends far beyond our own work.

Here are 22 podcasts the LAist Studios team (and our KPCC and LAist colleagues) found inspiring, entertaining, heartbreaking and generally had very strong feelings about in the past year, including at least a little bit of envy and admiration for such great work.

The Last Cup/La Última Copa

From NPR and Futuro Studios

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This got many recommendations from our team. Antonia Cereijido, LAist Studios executive producer, says:

“Even if I wasn’t personally overjoyed by Argentina’s World Cup win, this podcast is a gorgeous chronicle of one of the most important athletes to ever live interwoven with a deep and poignant memoir. It gives context and scope to an epic sports story with a tremendous ending!”

Mother Country Radicals

From Crooked Media

Emma Alabaster, LAist Studios producer, says:

“Two of my faves of this year are our own Forgotten Revolutionary and Mother Country Radicals, which is about the Weather Underground and hosted by Zayd Dohrn, whose parents were leaders in the organization. I think of them as a great duo since both tell resonant stories of leftist history from the perspective of hosts who are deeply personally invested.”

Pink Card

From ESPN’s 30 for 30

Natalie Chudnovsky, LAist Studios senior producer, says:

“Just finished Pink Card, which is about Iranian women's relationship to soccer, used as a lens to explore Iran’s history and women’s resistance to oppressive regimes. So beautiful, personal, and really made me think about the power of symbols and joy in resistance movements!”

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The Trojan Horse Affair

From Serial and The New York Times

Monica Bushman, KPCC/LAist producer, says:

“Basic answer, but I really enjoyed The Trojan Horse Affair. It raises lots of interesting questions about objectivity in journalism and I think pairs well with Forgotten Revolutionary in that way. And for people who feel weird about true crime, this one at least doesn't involve a murder.”

Invisibilia

From NPR 

Anjuli Sastry Krbechek, LAist Studios senior producer, says:

"I love the new seasons of NPR's Invisibilia with hosts Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse. Appreciate how they're tackling stories around issues like power, race, and intergenerational trauma — through a fresh lens and with representation — with their usual strong longform narrative structure and distinct ear for sound design."

Normal Gossip

From Defector Media

A fave of many staff. Anjuli says:

“What a simple concept — easy to execute, but done very well with a great host and producer. So smart because — let's be real —gossip can be currency in our world.”

Or as Kyle Chang, LAist Studios producer, put it:

“Really proves that humans were built to love stories.”

Authentic

From iHeartPodcasts and VICE 

Another pod with multiple staff recs. Kyle says:

“The story of Tablo was great. It frames itself as one of the first instances of internet misinformation x cancel culture because South Korea’s internet infrastructure was so advanced.”

World Corrupt

From Crooked Media & Men in Blazers

Donald Paz, LAist Studios music producer and audio engineer, says:

“I loved World Corrupt. Episode 1’s title sums it up well: ‘A Toxic Love Affair between Politics and Sports.’” Rebecca Stumme added: “I loved World Corrupt and I’m not even a soccer fan! It was an excellent deep dive on corruption in FIFA and the issues around the games being in Qatar. And also very funny at times!”

Offline with Jon Favreau

From Crooked Media

Marina Peña, LAist Studios producer, says:

“He brings on really interesting guests to discuss how online trends and conversations are affecting our daily lives — how we relate to each other, work, build community, etc."

Stolen: Surviving St. Michaels

From Gimlet

Emily Elena Dugdale, KPCC/LAist criminal justice reporter, says:

“I just think it’s so powerful to have Connie Walker, a Cree journalist, investigating her heritage and telling these stories to a wider audience. I think the mix of personal commentary with solid journalism on an intense topic made it not only both accessible and educational, but really just a good listen. To me, this is one of the gold standards of investigative podcast journalism.”

You Must Remember This

Antonia says:

Karina Longworth is always able to thread the past with the present in exciting ways. This erotic '80s series provides such fascinating cultural context for the moment we are living through with regards to reproductive rights.”

Where Should We Begin

From Gimlet

Taylor Coffman, LAist Studios operations manager, says:

"Esther Perel has taught me how to love. Brilliant, intimate, and so, so wise."

Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra

From MSNBC

Mike Roe, LAist associate editor, says:

"Great reporting highlighting a series of little known historical events, with deep relevance to our current moment."

Witnessed: Mystic Mother

From Campside Media

Mariana Dale, KPCC/LAist early childhood education reporter, says:

“Was the Phoenix Goddess Temple a brothel or a church? This podcast doesn't offer a definitive answer, but a thoughtful meditation on the intersection of religious freedom, sex work and the criminal justice system.”

Idolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sanchez

From Sonoro and Futuro Studios

Jens Campbell, LAist Studios intern, says:

“This podcast traces the story and impact of one of regional Mexican music’s most prominent singer-songwriters through interviews with the people who knew him, from both a Mexican and Mexican-American perspective. The English version features LAist Wild host Erick Galindo. Like Erick, I grew up with older family members who would play Chalino’s music, and I was always intrigued by false claims that Chalino had been assassinated at El Parral in South Gate (where I grew up).”

Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam Rivera

From Wondery

Also from Jens:

“A docu-series about the life and death of Miriam Rivera, one of the first transgender women to be the star of a reality dating show. This podcast reveals the dirty tactics that were employed by the reality dating show’s producers, and how the public humiliation of Miriam Rivera, a young trans woman, may have been what led to her untimely death.”

Vibe Check

From Stitcher

Multiple staff recs, including Mariana, who says:

"A reminder that we can talk about the news, the deeply problematic and the delightful all in one show. I love how much the hosts care for each other's wellness.”

Screening Ourselves

From NPR and Pop Culture Happy Hour

Antonia says:

“Aisha Harris does a great job not just in talking about representational politics in a nuanced and fun way but also she has great curatorial skills. I love that she picked The Godfather and Basic Instinct as the first two movies because they are somewhat unexpected.”

FT Weekend

From the Financial Times

Ariel Zirulnick, KPCC/LAist senior editor of community engagement, says:

“Someone described it in a review like Sunday brunch with a good friend and I think that’s spot on. The host is so warm and she’s a great interviewer.”

Articles of Interest

From 99% Invisible

Two votes for this, from Mary Hawley, vice president of underwriting sales, and Natalie, who says:

“Not really an under the radar pick but the new season of Articles of Interest has been really good! All about the origins and impacts of ‘ivy’ style.”

Finding Raffi

From iHeart, with Chris Garcia

Kristen Hayford, brand communications manager, says:

“It was so sweet and timely.”

Heavyweight*

From Gimlet

Though technically not new in 2022, this hit many best of lists and personal faves, including Carla Wohl, senior vice president of development, Anjuli, and Monica, who says:

“I think it's a little Snooze-esque — also a fave! In both cases, a person comes to the show with something that's been weighing on them, that they're looking for help to figure out or work through. Sonically, they're different beasts, and the approach to a solution is different too, but some of the core ideas — people helping people — are similar.”

LAist Studios 2022 Releases

And don't miss our own terrific work released this year:

  • LA Made: Blood, Sweat & Rockets: Season 1 tells the hidden story of the fearless, groundbreaking and ambitious crew who shaped our quest to reach outer space and ushered in the early days of space exploration at CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.
  • The Big Burn: How To Survive the Age of Wildfires: As the world enters a new age of wildfires, science reporter Jacob Margolis dives deep into personal stories that illuminate the history of how we got here, why we keep screwing things up, and what we can do to survive and maybe even thrive while the world around us burns.
  • How To LA: Host Brian De Los Santos brings you stories about L.A., for L.A., by L.A. — with your help. Like you, we know this city is unique, and that’s why it’s one of the reasons we love it.
  • Imperfect Paradise:
    • Season 1, Home Is Life, sheds light on divisive housing issues in Orange County.
    • Season 2, The Forgotten Revolutionary, investigates the death of Chicano activist Oscar Gomez.
    • Season 3, The Sheriff, unravels the controversy surrounding L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
  • Snooze is a show about things people put off and how they conquer them, but most importantly, how they conquer themselves. In each episode, host Megan Tan, the Snooze Squad and guest celebrities will strategize an action plan for people like you and me to face our fears.
  • The Academy Museum Podcast: “And The Oscar Goes To…" goes behind the scenes of touchstone years of the Academy Awards.
  • Retake with John Horn asks: do the stories that Hollywood tells about itself really reflect what's going on?
  • Off-Ramp scoured SoCal for the people, places, and ideas whose stories needed to be told, and the show became a love letter to Los Angeles. John Rabe is sharing selections from the Off-Ramp vault.
  • The L.A. Report is your daily update on the top news stories in the L.A. region, brought to you by the reporters and editors of LAist and KPCC, L.A.'s top NPR station.
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