• Erin Zaranec

Winter Warmers: My Favorite Podcasts

I started listening to podcasts pretty late into 2018 and immediately became obsessed! I found some amazing storytelling podcasts that captivated me and left me wanting more. Since then, I have constantly been on the lookout for my next big listen.


I'm sure I'll find more listens throughout the snowy season, but here's the ones I've loved so far!


True Crime / Crime Related Listens

  • Dr. Death by Wondery: My sister had been raving about this show for awhile but I wasn't sure how much time I wanted to spend listening to crime stories. While I'm still hesitant to have all my listening focus on crime, I'm glad I incorporated Dr. Death into my listening. Dr. Christopher Duntsch is a man who is almost... too dedicated to his career. The entire podcast I was grappling between so many emotions - is he mad? blind to his own shortcomings? does he have a mental illness? is he truly heartless? how did our medical system not support his patients sooner? It's a story of 33 patients - some of whom never made it out of the operating room. But, it's also a story of a system much larger than one man and the failures of our medical system.

  • Dirty John by Wondery: When I started listening to this podcast, I didn't even know it was being made into a show! I still haven't tuned in, but the podcast was enough for me. John Meehan is... well, a maniac. He's a master scammer and is basically a pro at finding the women who will work well into his grand plans. This worked for him, until he met Debra Newell and her family - who uncovered all of his lies. The ending was a twist I didn't expect. This is one of those stories that gets so intense you nearly forget you're listening to a story that actually happened in someone's life.

Lifestyle Listens

  • Beautiful Anonymous by Earwolf: This podcast was recommended to me at a conference and I started listening on my flight home. And - wow - these stories are powerful! The premise of the podcast is pretty simple - host Chris Gethard picks up the phone and talks to a total stranger for an hour. There's no names or identifying information shared, which seems to up the intimacy callers feel because, man, things get personal! This is one of those podcasts that definitely depends on the episode, but I have yet to listen to one I dislike.

  • Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: In case it wasn't obvious, I'm basically obsessed with Big Magic. The book was so amazing for me to read that I just couldn't leave it alone once I closed the cover. The podcast plays off the ideas Gilbert writes in the book and puts them into action in real life. Gilbert has students who take her Magic Lessons - ranging from a mom struggling to become a full-time blogger to a poet feeling lost after getting rejected from MFA programs. The stories are all different, but all center around creativity. Gilbert pairs each student with a celebrity in their respective field - from Cheryl Strayed to Michael Ian Black.

  • Don't Keep Your Day Job: While I'm a dedicated fan of Magic Lessons, Don't Keep Your Day Job is my secondary love. It follows a similar message of Magic Lessons and focuses on the central theme on unlocking your full potential as a creative. Cathy Heller focuses on those who have made it in their respective field. I do love listening to these stories. It's definitely a podcast that inspires.


Local Listens

  • Museroom Podcast: Katie has a good thing going here! I love listening to the stories of some of my favorite local brands (Hi, Anne of Oceanne!!) and bloggers I follow around Cleveland. It's so honest and humble - everyone on the podcast is so real with their story and how the got to where they are today.


On my listening list...

UnErased: The History of Conversion Therapy: Over 700,000 people in America have been subjected to conversion therapy, the dangerous and controversial ex-gay treatment. UnErased tells their stories.


Hidden Brain: Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.


Unladylike: Hosts Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin investigate how sisters are doin' it for themselves in spite of all those unwritten but all-too-real bullsh*t expectations of how we should live our lives. Each episode starts with a question that C&C tackle through their trademark obsessive research, stories from rule-breakin’ ladies and a solid dose of delightful feminist rage.