In case you haven’t (literally) heard, we are living in a golden age of podcasts. In a time when the world is full of entertainment multi-taskers, we use up every spare minute and second with some sort of media, whether it’s playing on our phones, listening to music, reading a book . . . or all of the above. Our days are broken up into specific increments of time and we like to get the full extent of our entertainment out of those increments. Podcasts are a great way to do that. As your friendly neighborhood mailman, I have a lot of time during the day while prepping and delivering mail to be able to dedicate to listening: sometimes it’s music, but usually it’s audiobooks and podcasts. At last count I’ve subscribed to and listen to 12 podcasts.
Varying in lengths from ten minutes to a half hour, to 45 minutes, to an hour or longer, you can find a podcast for just about anything right now, and with the handiness of iTunes, you get each new episode automatically downloaded as it’s released. Also there are podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale and Lore, as well as many others, that have shown it is possible to make some good money with sponsors and donations through sites like Patreon. Night Vale has gone on to an unprecedented level of success with their production, seemingly always on tour with the show, taking it worldwide, along with the recent release of a novel and the first two years of transcripts in book form which have become instant bestsellers; and somehow they’re still able to crank out new episodes every two weeks
I’m discovering new podcasts all the time. I must’ve tried over 50 of them. I give them an episode or two to pique my interest and get me hooked, though they usually reel me in within the first ten minutes. But like so many forms of entertainment in our world today, many podcasts are written by men and feature the male sex as the main characters. In the podcast I’m currently working on (@ostiumpodcast) coming out January 2017, I’m certainly guilty of this because Jake was the character I came up with initially, though I was quick to add a female character.
Basically: there are a lot of dudes writing and talking about other dudes in podcasts.
BUT . . . there are also a good number of podcasts written by and featuring women that are some of my favorites and I wanted to just highlight these today, because it’s important and . . . they’re awesome podcasts you should be listening to.
Black Tapes: A fascinating podcast about the supernatural and unexplained. Alex Reagan is a journalist working with Dr. Richard Strand and investigating his “black tapes,” which are recordings of strange events that he cannot explain. The show is very well produced, with great sound effects and an ambiance that totally sucks you in. The listener soon starts caring a lot for Alex, as you journey along with her into these unexplained mysteries.
Ars Paradoxica: Dr. Sally Grissom is a physicist who through a lab experiment gone bad is transported back to 1943. After accepting that she’s stuck in this time period, she joins a secret government group to continue her research on the time machine she invented which accidentally transported her back to the forties. Sally’s voice reminds me of Jodie Foster in Contact, intelligent and fascinating and powerful. Sally’s not someone you want to mess with, and if you do, she’ll be sure to let you know what she thinks. The storyline is compelling. The productions values are great and listeners really feel drawn in. Plus there’s the character of Anthony Patridge (voiced by Robin Gabrielli) who sounds like Chris Parnell to me, and when I hear his voice all I can think of is Cyril from Archer.
The Bright Sessions: Dr. Bright is a therapist who has patients that are unusual and different, which she calls atypicals. There is the woman who under stressful situations travels to a different point in time. A young man who can empathically feel what another person is feeling. Each of these patients has a supernatural ability and Dr. Bright’s history and experience has given her the tools to help these people. The voice acting on this show is fantastic, with a varied cast that makes each character clear and distinct, and just when you think things might be getting a little slow, the plot kicks into high-gear as storylines start to come together and the listener gets more and more addicted.
The Bridge: The newest of the four, the bridge in question is a trans-oceanic bridge of the future connecting Europe with North America; it’s the new way to travel! Along the way are watchtowers in place to protect travelers on their long journeys. This podcast focuses on Watchtower 10 where Etta is a DJ for the radio station providing news, updates and weather for those traveling acrossing the very long bridge. But there’s never that much traffic news to tell, so Etta tells stories instead, stories about the history of the bridge and it’s not so successful attractions and its not so glamorous past.
As a reader, I’m fascinated by the “What if?” question, and each of the podcasts explores this question in completely new and fascinating ways that makes my imagination for the unknown and unexplained go into hyperdrive. The fact that each of these shows are mainly written, or at least feature women writers, makes them all the more entertaining and compelling in this golden age of podcasts.
Now, I’m sure there are more great podcasts out there written by women and featuring female leads that I’ve not heard about. Feel free to Tweet @bookbanter or leave a comment on this blog post.