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Pick a pair of podcasts to start '20

by Jerry McLeod | January 7, 2020 at 1:40 a.m.

This week, as we dig out from the holiday rubble while trying to silence the jingle bells still ringing in our heads, we will rely on podcast suggestions from others.

Podcaster and author Paul Kondo ( sends out a weekly Podcast Gumbo newsletter recommending three podcasts or podcast episodes. The Jan. 1 newsletter recommended three episodes of podcasts he had suggested before. Hey, the holidays are tough.

Podcast and episode: ESPN Daily — "The Chess Grandmaster's Extreme Workout," 22 minutes.

Kondo says: "What most people don't realize is that to become a master mover of little figurines around a board is how much of a physical toll it takes. As with many other more physically grueling sports, champion chess players of today are taking their fitness and diet regimens to extreme levels."

Podcast and episode: Decoder Ring — "Bart Simpson Mania," 48 minutes.

Kondo says: "As I sat down to write this recommendation, I came to a horrible realization. When I was younger, I had a Bart Simpson Underachiever T-shirt and Eat My Shorts boxers. In the last few years, my family has given me two Simpsons related presents: a) Homer Simpson slippers and b) Homer Simpson socks. When did this shift happen? Maybe it's because I'm old enough to have seen the very first Simpsons episode ever. I saw it take over the world, and I was perfectly fine with that. But for a lot of people, they weren't. This was not just a TV show — this became a massive part of our culture, whether we liked it or not. For me, this episode is a fun memory ride down through my youth (and maybe yours) with a bunch of my favorite cartoon friends."

Podcast and episode: Kind World — "The Gift of Kindness," 25 minutes.

Kondo says: "It should be no surprise that I'm a sucker for stories of people doing nice things for others. What would be a surprise if people in general aren't as well. Here are four diverse short stories of thoughtfulness and kindness. Do you want sisterhood? Baseball? Voicemails? Ministry? You got 'em all."


Another free subscription newsletter is from To join in the fun, just visit that website and type in your email address. Until you get your own, here are the Dec. 27 suggestions, from Sebastian Arciszewski.

Podcast: Minor Adventures with Topher Grace

Arciszewski says: "You remember Topher don't you? He was Eric in That '70s Show. Now, he's taking on the podcasting world with this comedy podcast in which he brings on a wide variety of celebrity guests ... . Not sure where to start? Try this episode: 'Catching up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt'"

Podcast: The Real Story

Arciszewski says: "If you're looking for a distinctly non-North American show to give you a bit of a different perspective on global news and affairs, you could do a lot worse than the BBC's The Real Story. Not sure where to start? Try this episode: 'The Future of Oil'"

Podcast: Photofocus Podcast

Arciszewski says: "You've probably heard of Photofocus before. It's one of the most prominent photography focused websites on the web, and now, they have a more or less weekly accompanying podcast that serves as a great supplement to their excellent website. Photographer friends, give it a listen!"

Podcast: Odd Ball

Arciszewski says: "Alien artifact? Top-secret government weapon, simple piece of industrial machinery? Or a complete hoax? Make up your own mind when you listen to this six-episode podcast about a mysterious metal sphere that was discovered on a family's property in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1974."

Podcast: 3 Hours Later...

Arciszewski says: "Check out this podcast by three friends who accept a new challenge each week of trying something new for at least 3 hours and then debating whether it's worth your time. Start with this episode: 'Dungeons & Dragons.'"

NEW PODCASTS's "Podcast News Daily" column is a valuable resource for podcasters and anyone interested in them. It's a collection of most of what's happening in the industry. This week, new podcasts were highlighted, and I'm passing them along.

Podcast: The Killing of Jon Benet: The Final Suspects. Another generation of listeners will now know a whole lot or maybe way too little about the 1996 slaying of 6-year-old Jon Benet Ramsey in Boulder, Colo.

On Dec. 26, 1996, a distraught Patsy Ramsey, the girl's mother, called to report her missing. The girl was later found dead in the family's basement. The mystery surrounding her death has never been solved, though so-called experts have been trying for years. This 12-episode podcast that debuted Dec. 26 will apparently try again. It's from American Media's Broad + Water Studios and Endeavor Audio, who enlisted help from Jon Benet's now-adult brother, John, other members of the Ramsey family and their friends, to do what so many others have failed to do. There is supposedly new evidence, new suspects and new DNA evidence. We are skeptical.

Podcast: Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein

Another podcast devoted to the late billionaire and sex trafficking suspect launches Thursday and seven more will follow in as many weeks. This one is told from the perspective of his alleged victims and what they've done to move on with their lives. ABC News is launching the podcast as a companion to its two-hour documentary of the same name that will air Thursday night with the podcast publishing the same day.

Podcast: The Daily Show Podcast Universe

Comedy Central, doing what the TV channel does best, will launch a limited series to parody the podcasting industry. The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, with 100 million downloads and counting of the podcast version of his TV show, will parody popular podcasts such as The Daily, This American Life and Pod Save America.

There will be five episodes to start with, dropping on Monday. Here are the subjects, followed by Comedy Central's description.

Pod Save Little Creek Elementary — "They won't take this lying down — unless it's nap time."

These American Lies — "Stories about lies and the presidents who tell them."

#Crushing: A Success Podcast For Winners — "So much epic, so little time."

Podcast Today — "Podcasting today's podcast, today."

Slowbama — "Mystery. Scandal. Lattes."

Podcast: Five Things with Lynn Hirschberg

A new podcast from the W Magazine editor has her interviewing celebrities about "five things that have made them who they are: a person, an object, one positive event and one negative event." Actress Margot Robbie was the first guest on New Year's Eve; Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan and Quentin Tarantino are forthcoming.

Podcast: Playerz From the South

A new hip-hop-based fictional podcast series is hosted and created by writer Nathan T. Rideaux, a music mogul turned real-estate investor. says: "The first season follows the music mogul turned real-estate investor who details his struggles and how he and his crew, from the unlikeliest of places, became dominant forces in the music industry and how they still battle similar obstacles in current times, including urban redevelopment, corrupt political pressure and old money." Look for the first episode on Friday.


The NPR Student Podcast Challenge opened on Jan. 1 and ends March 24. It's a contest to encourage innovation among students in fifth through 12th grades. Podcasts can be on any subject and can be a collaboration between a class or an extracurricular group, but they can only be between 3 minutes and 12 minutes.

NPR's website offers ideas for podcast subjects, like introducing your school or community, a debate, a history lesson or current affairs. This year, the rules on music have changed to allow use of originally composed music with careful attention paid to copyright laws.

Find more information, rules and how to enter here:

Tell us about your podcast, share your favorite podcast or ask questions about podcasts by writing to

Style on 01/07/2020

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