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Inside Podcasting (Aug 1st, 2017)

For the second episode of Time's "Countdown" podcast, the show covers the March 16, 1965 accident that almost took the lives of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott. The day marked the pair's first ride to space via the two-man Gemini 8 spacecraft. What was meant to be a 3-day mission ended after eleven hours, when a malfunction came close to marking them as NASA's first crew lost during a mission. The piloting of Armstrong and Scott won the day, but a different outcome would have meant a different "first man on the moon" four years later. The "Countdown" podcast covers "the ten most harrowing space missions of all time." – TIME

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"Backseat Rider" is a non-fiction podcast from former television journalist Anthony Ponce, who quit his job to become a Lyft driver. Ponce, who comes from a family with a history in local TV news, quit his job at NBC affiliate WMAQ-Channel 5 in Chicago to create the podcast after becoming disillusioned with working in traditional media. For the series, Ponce picks up passengers and asks them off-beat questions like, "What keeps you up at night?" Asked about his transition from local TV to podcasting, Ponce says, "I feel like there’s this formula for local that gets repeated over and over again. It felt like I was a part of this machine that helped create that dynamic, and I didn’t feel good about that. I noticed that I would find myself talking to my Uber or Lyft driver all the time, and I kind of had a light-bulb moment." – CJR

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The "Sincerely, X" podcast, from the group behind TED Talks, offers anonymous speakers telling "deeply personal, sensitive or potentially damaging" stories. In the first episode, a doctor talks about professional burnout, a serious taboo in the medical professions. For the second, a PTSD sufferer reveals the story of her own breakdown, and offers some ideas regarding how society might better care for people with mental health issues. The series was available exclusively on Audible last year, but now debuts every Thursday on most podcast sources. – USAT

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"Local gem" Iowa music podcast "Pants OFF!" has put together a kind of greatest hits collection for new listeners. While this writer wasn't aware of any specifics of the Iowa music scene, the podcast makes a good case for the folk, metal, hip-hop, and pop currently emanating from the state's local music clubs and indie studios. Host Brian Campos' enthusiasm for the topic is convincing and palpable, and his intimate interviews with the state's youthful musical element remind one of the kind of classic, passionate, scene-centric rock-pop journalism that fed the counterculture for decades. The "Pants OFF! Mixtape Vol.1" samples the best of Campos' interviews and the best tracks he's played on the show, and serves as a perfect intro to the series. – LITTLE VILLAGE

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"Drinky Fun Time" is a new drinks podcast launched today, hosted by top wine and spirits author Dan Dunn and entertainment journalist Emma Patterson. The series is a combo of "adult beverages and celebrities," and the first episode features “Rick and Morty” creator Dan Harmon and pop star Halsey. Future episodes will see visits from Kurt Russell, Allison Janney, and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. Dunn, one of the "longest tenured" drinks writers, says of moving into the talk show format, "I come from a family of marathon talkers back in Philly... So ya, I’m very comfortable with the idea of spewing nonsense for hours on end. I feel as though it’s my calling." – HUFFPO

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PODCAST SPOTLIGHT

What if your conversations with your best friend were publicly aired? Would the world want to hear what you think about dating, television, and societal issues?

WNYC Studios thought real-life best friends Phoebe Robinson (“Broad City”) and Jessica Williams (“The Daily Show”) had some pretty good chemistry going – so much so that they helped them launch “2 Dope Queens,” a podcast about everything under the sun.

But it wasn’t always a big production. As Robinson explained in an interview with Glamour magazine, she had been doing a solo podcast herself before she invited Williams to try bantering with her on the air.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I have this podcast that I tape out of my apartment where I interview funny people. Wyatt Cenac has done it, so it's not janky or anything. If you ever want to do it, that would be cool,’” Robinson explained. “And she said, ‘Yeah.’ And so she came up to my place. We did the podcast.”

Fast forward to today, and it appears Robinson and Williams’ efforts are paying off. WNYC is producing “2 Dope Queens,” now in its second year, and it’s going strong with new episodes almost every week. But it isn’t just about what Robinson and Williams think about sex, race and life in New York City – it’s about delivering laughs, too. Each episode features guest comedians who banter with the hosts, often revealing never-before-seen sides of themselves to listeners.

“The popularity of ‘2 Dope Queens’ just showed there was like a hunger for new stories because we have alternative comics on our show that wouldn't normally be featured on, like, a white guy's comedy show,” Williams told Glamour. “We like to have a lot of women and women of color. We like to have people of different sexual orientations.”

And with a solid five-star rating on iTunes, it would appear that listeners are eager to see what Robinson and Williams have lined up next. 

— Krystle Vermes

THE BASICS
Title: "2 Dope Queens""
Episodes Available: 36 plus bonus episodes
Episode Length: 10-60 mins
Where to Download: WNYC
Hosts: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams 

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