Rachel Strange

It’s summer time, so maybe for you that means its road trip time. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with listening to the radio or your favorite spotify playlist over a long drive to your destination, another great way to make that drive more bearable is the perfect road trip podcast.

Now what that means might not be the same for everyone. For example, how many people are in the car? What’s their taste? Are they more into NPR or MTV? How old are these people? If I was sitting down with you right now, I’d ask ten or some questions and then provide you with the perfect podcast pairing. Like a pop culture sommelier. Or a nerdy, kinda lame genie whose only gift is to summon the perfect podcast for your drive to that campground. Whatever.

Either way, for those with kids in the car, I’d recommend Story Pirates. Actors whose voices you might sometimes recognize act out stories that real live kids send in to the show. Its silly, well done, and hopefully won’t drive the grown ups in the car to crazy. It honestly reminds me of the Comedy Central show Drunk History but without the drinking or the history. Storynory is another good one that adapts folk stories, fairy tales, and other classic feeling narratives into a kid friendly and interesting set of stories. If your family is a fan of fantasy adventures, this is probably a great one for you.

If you have a car full of grown ups who love interesting perspectives, my first recommendation is Ear Hustle which is produced by prisoners in the San Quinton prison and tells their stories. Its subject matter can get very mature, which is to be expected given the setting. But, it’s eye opening, engaging, and never fails to spark conversation if you listen to it with a friend or family member. Along the same lines, Breakdown, a more journalistic focused podcast put out by the Atlanta Journal does exactly what the title says. It breakdowns crime stories while also focusing on the way the system can sometimes breakdown. It always focuses on stories that take place in Georgia, but these stories also always easily connected to other national topics. This one is also a great conversation starter.

If you are looking for something more narrative based, Lore is great for those looking for slightly spooky folklore. The Bright Sessions, about a therapist that helps super powered people learn to control their powers is extremely compelling. The Message/Life After are fun listens although the endings on both of these GE produced podcasts are a little anticlimactic. Sandra, about the people who secretly answer all the questions for an Alexa like device, is also interesting even though it loses steam a little at the end. Last but not least, Wolverine: The Long Night is an incredible bit of storytelling and better than most of the movies about Wolverine. If you love that character, or are simply interested in the concept of audio dramas it's where you should start.

If you are looking for fun takes on pop culture related things, the Popcast and Switched on Pop can be good places to go. Each of those episodes stand alone, so just pick one that sounds good. If you want to learn, RadioLab, Stuff You Should Know, and 99 % Invisible might be for you. For the true crime enthusiast, there’s Dirty John, Serial, and Someone Knows Something. No matter what you are craving to fill your ears during your road trip, I’m sure you can find it. So turn the AC up, get some episodes downloaded for those times you lose service while driving through the middle of nowhere, and enjoy your summer.

Strange Perspective is a unique weekly look into today's pop culture by Progress columnist Rachel Strange.