ICYMI: You live in an amazing city. We’re known for lots of things: rainy weather, odd social habits, bookworminess, and, unfortunately, our road rage-inducing traffic. Thankfully, our local leaders are working to improve our transit system to better connect all corners of our city. In the meantime, we have some solutions for making your commute — typically about 30 minutes each way — more bearable. Namely, brain-tickling podcasts to help you stay tuned to your city. Whether you’re new to Seattle or an Emerald City lifer, you’re bound to learn something new from these episodes.
1. For when it’s been raining for months and you need something to brighten your day.
Podcast: Sound Effect
Episode: Up In The Air: Sound Effect, Episode 107
Background: This is one of podcast host Jennifer Wing’s recommendations. It’s about a man who operates the Space Needle elevator. This should be required listening for any Seattleite who gets even a tiny bit sentimental any time they see the Needle towering in the sky.
2. For when you want an insider’s perspective.
Episode: ‘I wasn’t comfortable’: Being a student of color in Garfield High’s advanced classes
Background: KUOW’s RadioActive program trains and introduces 16- to 18-year-olds to the radio biz. Two folks at KUOW recommended this episode, and if this is the future of journalism, we’re golden.
3. For when you want to get real about homelessness.
Podcast: The Other Washington
Episode: Homeless in Seattle
Background: This year’s count found that 11,643 people were experiencing homelessness in King County. Hear what some key players in our state have to say about this question: “How does Seattle, which claims to be a beacon for the future of America, deal with our homeless crisis?”
If you like it, try this: Check out this story from KUOW Radioactive, which was produced by a young Seattleite who was once homeless.
4. For when you want to laugh and learn quirky Seattle history.
Podcast: The Seattle Files with Chris Allen
Episode: Episode 40: The Love Israel Cult
Background: Federal Way native Chris Allen is a local history buff, a tour guide for Bill Speidel’s underground tours, and an improv comic. So, of course he hosts a pod that teaches local comedians about local history. Chris loves this episode about a cult that used to live on Queen Anne Hill.
5. For when people keep talking about local schools, but you don’t know enough to chime in.
Podcast: Nerd Farmer
Episode: Episode 3: Claudia Rowe, Seattle Times – A Frank Talk About K-12 Ed and Serial Killers, No Really
Background: Nate Bowling, Washington’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, hosts Nerd Farmer from Tacoma. In this episode, he talks to Claudia Rowe, an education reporter for The Seattle Times, about her reporting on “cultural gaps in school, the danger of mediocrity in Washington State, the dysfunction of the ed bureaucracy, and who is benefiting from the status quo in K-12 education.”
6. For when you’re like “What’s the deal with crows?”
Podcast: Here Be Monsters
Episode: HBM038: Do Crows Mourn Their Dead?
Background: Seattle’s home to tons of crows, and this episode goes deep into the dark corners of their “strange behaviors” with a professor and grad student from the University of Washington.
7. For when you’re hungry for some Seattle music history.
Podcast: Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle
Episode: Sir Mix-A-Lot, Texas Redfish Pontchartrain
Background: Rachel Belle hosts celebs and asks them what they’d choose to eat for their last meal, then digs into the background of the foods they choose. In this episode, she interviews Seattle native Sir Mix-A-Lot and we learn the backstories of “Baby Got Back” and Cajun/Creole food.
8. For when you want a geek’s take on Amazon.
Podcast: Week in Geek Podcast
Episode: Analysis: Amazon’s second headquarters
Background: The nerds at Seattle-based GeekWire dive into Amazon’s decision to open a second headquarters in another city. Feeling all conflicted about what this means for our city? This’ll give you some fodder for those water cooler conversations.
9. For when you’re curious about what’s being done locally to combat sex trafficking.
Podcast: Rise Seattle
Episode: #1.4 Edward Sumner on Seattle’s Dark Secret: Sex Trafficking
Background: This interview with Edward Sumner, the director of development at local non-profit REST (Real Escape from Sex Trade) talks about one of our city’s biggest challenges and how REST is working to end it.
10. For when you want to be a fly on the wall in a local convo.
Podcast: TBTL (Too Beautiful to Live)
Episode: Episode #2443: Stuck Between A Yaris And A Lighthouse
Background: Several people recommended this conversational, daily pod. One of the hosts, Andrew Walsh, pointed us to this episode that looks at The Seattle Times’ scathing review of the Space Needle restaurant, which they produced out of his Wallingford studio.
Don’t see your fave episode? Send us your favorite local podcast episode of all time and why you think all Seattleites should listen to it at [email protected] and we’ll check it out.
Got more you think deserve to be on the list? Let us know at [email protected] or in the comments below.