Podcasts are all the rage right now. In the wake of radio-friendly hosts and mixed CDs of the aughts past, a new era of broadcasting has emerged– The podcast. While anyone can do it, few can do it well. There’s a surprising number of hidden gem podcasts about our beloved Chicago out there. Here are the top podcasts that feature the Windy City (in some way!).
This daily podcast covers all the news starting at 6 AM sharp. Dubbed an essential must-listen, the host Jacoby Cochran regales listeners with the top news of the hour and features a full range of ever-changing topics for a brief yet perfect 10-15 minute period.
2. Curious City
If you’ve ever had a query about Chicago, the Curious City podcast is the place to ask it. Listeners are able to log online a pose questions with a vote cast as to what questions get asked. The innovative investigative journalism team will get to work, compiling new investigations alongside archival WBEZ stories. It’s guaranteed to be a particularly fascinating ride.
Prepare for a food-tour of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. That’s right, hosts Sara Faddah and Dario Durham are on a mission to visit all of the historic neighborhoods in the city and try the best food of course. They also discuss the neighborhood’s heritage, and tell some truly intriguing stories along the way.
4. Open Stacks
Run from the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, this winding podcast features writers, book spotlights, and readers themselves. If you’re an indie bookstore lover, this ones for you with an ever rotating list of books to talk about, booksellers to interview and knowledge to uncover.
If you’re about the Chicago music scene, this podcast is definitely your type. Featuring some of the best songwriters and musicians in Chicago, this podcast lets you listen in on all the amusing, insightful interviews with local musicians. Each episode features a new musician and a new point of view as guests join host Michael Teach for a fun chat and a performance.
This podcast makes for easy listening, because who doesn’t love to talk about your favorite foods? Hosted by Chicago Tribune’s Louisa Chu & WBEZ’s Monica Eng, this tastefully done podcast features an always-compelling weekly story that covers a range of food and health related topics. You can expect sweet stories about food, local recommendations, recipes galore, and interviews with legendary chefs. Go on, dig in!
Whether you’re looking to destress after work or listen in on your morning commute, Nerdette host, Greta Johnsen is there to discuss it all– from conversations with advice columnists, authors, and yes, astronauts. Lizzo and Tom Hanks were once guests, too! Here, you’ll find witty conversations, enlightening ideas, and a slew of delightful recommendations.
8. Improv Nerd
Ah. yes. Chicago is the birthplace of improv comedy, haven’t you heard? Host Jimmy Carrane directs each episode with an informative nature. Listeners really understand and get to know his guests– from documentary makers to improv comedians themselves to authors and more. He most recently interviewed improv teacher and writer Aretha Sills. She is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin, AKA the inventor of improv itself.
Calling all history buffs! Windy City Historians has got you covered in the podcast department. Hosts Patrick McBriarty and Christopher Lynch offer up lengthy deep dives into Chicago’s lengthy history in a way that’s endlessly compelling and keeps you looking forward to next weeks topic already. From local saloons of the past to the railroad system and reversing the Chicago River. Oh my!
10. Sound Opinions
Known as Chicago’s only rock n roll talkshow, longtime rock critics, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, have teamed up for a one of a kind take on today’s rock music scene. Featuring must-listen rock music, record reviews and extensive interviews with musicians, this podcast is a great way to up your rock knowledge and it’s firmly planted in the city of Chicago. Where else would it be?
11. Da Chicago 60
It’s classic Chicago in podcast form! Complete with thick Chicago accents from Justin Jawor and Ron Russell (don’t forget about sound booth expert Norman!). This podcast delves deep into everything from covering local news and artist interviews, to politics and tourist-talk alike. It’s a humorous take on Chicago from a completely unique perspective you won’t find anywhere else.
[Featured image from Curious City Facebook]