From politics and hip-hop to soccer in the Dirty South, here are 20 podcasts to offer some respite from COVID news and quarantine—all recorded and/or produced in Atlanta and described by their hosts.
Genre: History, True Crime
Hosts: Hank Klibanoff and the students in his civil rights cold cases class at Emory University
The show in 6 words: Stories of unpunished, racially motivated murders
If you liked season 2 of In the Dark, you’ll like this show.
Start with: Season 2, episode 1 sets the story’s stage with Otis Redding, James Brown, and Little Richard.
Ideal cohost: an Emory student immersed in historical research
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? Greater acceptance as legitimate historical research
Favorite local podcast: Breakdown
Storytime with Legendary Jerry
Hosts: Jerry Clark and Jaimee Paige
The show in 6 words: Cutting edge interviews with music royalty
If you like Drink Champs, you’ll like this show.
Where is the show recorded/produced: The Swag Shop on Edgewood and the Gathering Spot
Favorite episode: Jerry: Killer Mike. He’s like my brother, and it was recorded live at the Pandora Atlanta office with a huge audience.
Most difficult part: Getting guests to show up on time for interviews
Waiting on Reparations
Genre: Music, Politics
Hosts: Mariah Parker (Linqua Franqa) and Kedrick Mack (Dope Knife)
The show in 6 words: It’s where hip-hop and politics connect
If you like Citations Needed and The Breakfast Club, you’ll like this show.
Start with: Episode 2, “Wiretap Rap”
If you could get anyone to listen to this show, who would it be? Linqua Franqa: Everybody’s got that one racist uncle. I’d want it to be him.
Favorite podcast of all time: Dope Knife: The Majority Report with Sam Seder
Best feedback: “Chip on shoulder put there by dems. Bless yo heart.”
The Atlanta Podcast
Hosts: Christian Andrews, Myron Green, and Justin Wilson
The show in 6 words: Black. Culture. Atlanta. Beer. Comedy. News.
If you like The Breakfast Club, you’ll like this show.
If you could get anyone to listen to this show, who would it be? Killer Mike. We are collaborating with Pontoon Brewing to release a beer in his words called “Plot. Plan. Strategize. Organize. Mobilize.” It’s the first part of a beer series called “Brewing Conversations” focusing on inclusion in the beer community and social equality as a whole. A portion of the proceeds will go to funding positive Black organizations.
Favorite episode: #92. WSB-TV anchor Jovita Moore popped into the Beer Basement to learn more about craft beer, play a friendly game of “Guess the Race,” and engage in a deep conversation of ethics in journalism and the beginnings of her career.
Hosts: Stacie Hieronymus and Alicia Mintz
The show in 6 words: A good podcast about bad relationships
Start with: Scroll the catalog and find a person or couple you like (or hate!) and start there.
If you like that, you’ll like this: We’re a great palate cleanser for true-crime diehards who need a break from stories about women getting murdered. The drama levels are often similarly high, without the unfortunate body count—in most cases. (Looking at you, Henry VIII.)
Best feedback: Someone left us a negative review complaining that one of us sounded like Elizabeth Warren. We’re desperate to know which one of us that person meant, and also how anyone could think that’s a bad thing.
Host: Victoria Lemos
The show in 6 words: Events, people, places that shaped Atlanta
Start with: Ward System (#57) talks about the beginnings of Atlanta and how and why the city’s government was structured the way it was. Spoiler alert: It’s always about race and class!
Best feedback: When someone tells me I’ve sparked an interest in them to learn more or I’ve inspired them to visit a neighborhood or drive to see a specific building, those are the comments that make my heart explode.
Where is the show recorded/produced? I record in a basement closet at my home in Smyrna. (I used to record in my daughter’s spaceship pop-up tent.)
Bottom of the Map
Hosts: Christina Lee and Dr. Regina Bradley
The show in 6 words: It’s Southern hip-hop: Explored. Explained. Exalted.
If you hate The Breakfast Club, you’ll love this podcast.
Start with: Our debut episode, “There’s a Trap for That”
Ideal co-host: André 3000
If you could change one thing about the podcast industry, what would it be? Celebrities being the face of the podcast boom when so many enterprising “nobodies” actually paved the way
Initially invested: $13 for a movie ticket. Our unaired pilot was about Director X’s Superfly remake, coproduced by Future.
What’s next? Christina: I’m currently working on another podcast featuring the 2001 Gold Club trials.
Therapy for Black Girls
Host: Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
The show in 6 words: All things Black women’s mental health
Initially invested: $100 for equipment
Start with: Session 14, “What Are Boundaries & Why Do I Need Them?”
Favorite episode: Session 50, “This Isn’t What I Imagined,” tackles the strain that can come with trying to live a life that others want for you versus the one you’d truly like to cultivate for yourself. I think this happens with Black women a lot.
If you could get anyone to listen to your podcast, who would it be? Beyoncé
Favorite local podcast: While Black
Genre: True Crime
Hosts: Bill Rankin and Christian Boone
The show in 6 words: Compelling, in-depth coverage of court cases
If you liked In the Dark, you’ll like this show.
Best feedback: One woman said she decided to go to law school because of what she heard while listening to our first season, “Railroad Justice In A Railroad Town.”
Ideal guest: Breakdown’s resident legal expert and Atlanta criminal-defense attorney Don Samuel. His ability to clearly and succinctly break down complex legal issues so just about anyone can understand them is a godsend.
Current season: The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
Genre: Society & Culture
Hosts: Payne Lindsey and Rainn Wilson
The show in 6 words: Weird, scary, strange, funny, pulpy, dark
If you loved Outer Limits, the Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, or Are You Afraid of the Dark?, you’ll love this show.
Start with: #1 explains our premise the best
Favorite episode: Payne: The second story in #4, called “Laura of the Woods.” To me, it’s by far the creepiest story. I remember getting chills when I was recording it.
Most difficult part: Finding the stories. They’re out there, but you really have to dig—sometimes through the depths of Reddit.
Best feedback: “This podcast is for real spooky bois.” It was literally one of the first reviews on Apple podcasts. We still quote that around the office.
Host: Vince and Art
The show in 6 words: Awareness, information, inspiration for Black America
If you liked Just Mercy, you’ll like this show.
Ideal cohost: Vince: If Art wasn’t available, I guess I could settle for Michelle or Barack.
Favorite episode: “Ahmaud Arbery—Can I Live?” brings to light the real emotions and feelings of four successful and established Black men. How does it really feel to be a Black man in the country today? Are we hopeful or hopeless, fearful or fearless, do we fight or cower? Will we succeed? Will we live?
The Fall Line
Genre: True Crime
Hosts: Laurah Norton and Brooke Hargrove
The show in 6 words: Amplifying the Southeast’s overlooked cold cases
Initially invested: A few hundred dollars and had absolutely no idea what we were doing. We sounded like we recorded in a bathtub.
Favorite episode: In Season 4, we covered the 1996 murder of a housekeeper who was killed on the job at a luxury hotel. We learned about issues facing housekeeping staff—danger, physical toll, unfair wages—and the measures that many companies have failed to implement to improve safety and working conditions.
If you could get anyone to listen to the show, who would it be? Raymond Green. We featured him in Season 3. He was kidnapped at just five days old. He is out there somewhere, and his mother, Donna Green, is waiting. She’s been searching for him for 40 years.
Hosts: Anney Reese and Lauren Vogelbaum
The show in 6 words: Nerding out about food and drink
Who is your ideal guest? Lauren: Julia Child. Wit, poise, and complete dedication to both silliness and science.
If you could get anyone to listen to your podcast, who would it be? Anney: Any marginalized young person who for whatever reason has a negative relationship with food or believes that the world of food is not for them.
Best feedback: We love the nostalgic food stories people share, thanking us for bringing back memories of loved ones. Also: “I never thought cauliflower could be so interesting.”
Hosts: Skeets, Tas, Trey, Leigh, and JD
The show in 6 words: The only NBA podcast you need
Favorite episode: “Justice for George Floyd” because we all spoke from the heart
If you could get anyone to listen to this show, who would it be? Skeets: My wife.
Best feedback: We’ve had a few fans over the years tell us how our podcast saved their life. It turns out listening to a bunch of friends talk hoops and crack on one another can be therapeutic for someone suffering from severe depression.
Host: Denis O’Hayer
The show in 6 words: Civil, often funny, inside political analysis
If you like the NPR Politics podcast, you’ll like this show.
If you could get anyone to listen to your podcast, who would it be? Anyone who fears that we can’t have thoughtful conversations across the political divide.
Start with: “Can Intentions Turn to Action in Pursuit of Racial Justice?”
Best feedback: The most recent one that made me smile was from someone who got a good laugh when he heard guest Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson describe what he imagined was the dress code for a weekend GOP strategy session (flip-flops, shorts, UGA shirts, and visors).
Host: B.T. Harman
The show in 6 words: True crime meets Atlanta’s racial history
What would your next podcast be about? The Corpeswood Manor Murders. In the late ’70s, two men built a mansion deep in the woods of north Georgia, and, in 1982, they were violently murdered. That story has a high creepy factor as well as some interesting LGBT themes. I’m a gay man who loves true crime, mystery, and Atlanta, so that would be a storytelling dream for me.
If you could get anyone to listen to your podcast, who would it be? Donald Trump. I’m not sure he knows much about American history, and I think Catlick would be very helpful for him.
Best feedback: A particularly salty reviewer said that I made her want to “gouge her eyes out from boredom.” I got a chuckle out of that one.
Listen to “E1: The Forgotten Vault” on Spreaker.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
Hosts: Holly Frey and Tracy Wilson
The show in 6 words: A little light into history’s shadows
If you could get anyone to listen to this show, who would it be? It would be great to get to tell the Lumière brothers, who invented the cinematograph but thought movies were a passing fad, that films today make billions of dollars.
Favorite episode: Tracy: Butter vs. Margarine. It was silly and fun, but it also connected to culinary, legal, and business history.
Best feedback: More than one person has written in to tell us that we’re dog whisperers and that they can only get their pupper into the bath if they have our podcast on.
Dirty South Soccer
Hosts: Five Stripe Final: Joe Patrick, J. Sam Jones. Mouths of the South: Eric Quintana, Sam Franco, Josh Bagriansky
The show in 6 words: Atlanta United insight, analysis and commentary
If you love Miguel Almiron, you’ll love this show.
Ideal guest: Alexi Lalas. He plays his role as a hated U.S. soccer-media talking head and loves putting on a performance on podcasts and on TV.
If you could get anyone to listen to this show, who would it be? Jeff Larentowicz
Best feedback: Anytime someone isn’t calling us idiots, we’re pretty proud of ourselves!
To Live and Die in LA
Genre: True Crime
Host: Neil Strauss
The show in 6 words: Seeking justice for missing of LA
If you loved Serial, you’ll love this show.
Most difficult part: These are real lives and people’s loved ones at stake, so it’s the pain of families going through the worst nightmare conceivable.
Best feedback: The best comment is a tip. And thanks to the reach of the podcast, someone was brave and empathic enough to provide a tip that provided powerful answers and closure.
What’s next: Season Two, which I’m not able to reveal too much about right now, is very intense. It will continue to explore mysteries within the Hollywood world, this time focusing on a new missing persons case set in another subculture of LA.
Hosts: Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin
The show in 6 words: Stay curious. Build empathy. Raise hell.
If you like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, you’ll like this show.
Start with: Episode 34, “How to Slam Dunk.” Even if you couldn’t care less about basketball, the gender politics wrapped up in the move are fascinating and resonate way beyond the sport.
If you could get anyone to listen to this show, who would it be? The woman who complains about political correctness and/or assumes that issues like sexism, racism, and homophobia are other people’s problems.
This article appears in our August 2020 issue.