Goodbye music! Hello podcasts! 7 podcasts to fill your summer

Doug Smith/Staff

Getting sick of the songs on your summer playlist? We at the Clog know another way to fill the long, hot days of summer — podcasts. Podcasts are the perfect way to pass the time on the road or at your desk, and they can provide both laughter and life lessons while you listen in. Here are our recommendations for great podcasts to listen to this summer.

Left, Right & Center” (KCRW)

With the midterm elections coming up, you might be wondering how you can become an informed voter at the polling station this November. Left Right & Center, hosted by Business Insider’s Josh Barro, invites commentators from Slate to the National Review to engage in thought-provoking debate about political issues such as foreign policy, trade, immigration and more. By offering nuanced perspectives from both sides of the political spectrum, this podcast is an excellent way to break out of what Barro calls “self-contained opinion bubbles” and gain a broad understanding of important issues.

Ask Me Another” (NPR)

Looking for a way to kill time on a long road trip? Play along with the puzzles and riddles on Ask Me Another.” Host Ophira Eisenberg, along with her musical guest stars and puzzle gurus, challenges contestants to trivia and word games while she and her guests provide comedic quips. The show also welcomes a guest star on each episode, ranging from musical artist Jason Mraz to Broadway star Anthony Ramos, each of whom shares tidbits of inspiration and life advice.

Armchair Expert

In every episode of the “Armchair Expert,” actor-turned-comedian Dax Shepard sits down with a big-name guest to discuss how even the stars among us face struggles and shortcomings on the road to success. Previous guests include Ellen DeGeneres, Katie Couric and Ashton Kutcher, and everyone who sits down with Shepard, the self-proclaimed Armchair Expert, shares the challenges they have overcome throughout lifefrom losing loved ones to facing the fallout after coming out to the general public. Shepard’s sharp comedic timing combined with the inspirational stories shared by his guests sprinkle lighthearted yet profound wisdom into every episode.


Whether you’re a die-hard DC Universe fan or just an “Infinity War” bandwagoner, “#WhoWouldWin” is guaranteed to entertain anyone remotely interested in sci-fi, comics, fantasy or fictional battles between fictional characters. The nerdiness might be overwhelming, but the way Jay Sandlin and James Gavsie talk through imagined standoffs between popular heroes and villains make the characters and made-up scenarios accessible to all audiences. Appease your inner geek and decide for yourself — who would win?

Nobody Told Me!

There’s a lot of wisdom out there that we often have to learn the hard way, but “Nobody Told Me!” offers some of these lessons for free. Jan Black and Laura Owens talk with friends, writers, doctors, businesspeople and car enthusiasts in casual, cozy interviews to uncover pieces of knowledge that will teach you something about the world you didn’t know before. Learn to become an extrovert or how far an apology can go so you don’t find yourself down the road saying, “Nobody Told Me!”

How It Is

While the #MeToo movement may have lost momentum in popular media, keep yourself engaged with women’s issues this summer with season one of “How It Is,” a podcast exploring the kinds of hard-hitting challenges that women face in everyday life. Hosted by and featuring women, this podcast gives voices to stories about marginalization and freedom shared by women of all backgrounds. The dialogue conducted on “How It Is” is informed, articulate and relatable, and after listening, you’ll feel empowered to stand up for equality and freedom for women everywhere.

Song Exploder

Did you know that MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” originated in a dorm room? Or that Arcade Fire was influenced by ABBA? Hear about how popular tracks from a wide variety of musical genres came into existence on “Song Exploder.” Each episode features an artist who deconstructs one of their hits into its origins, inspirations and implications for future music. Gain a deeper appreciation for the artistic journey by following along with singers and songwriters as they discuss how thoughts in their heads become popular tracks on the radio.

So go forth, Cloggers, and tune in to the wisdom and wits of others this summer. Whether you’re hunched at a desk or stretched out by a pool, there’s a podcast out there for you.

Contact Hannah Nguyen at [email protected].