Each year, the radio audience decreases, while the podcast audience increases. In 2010, 93% of Americans listened to the radio, while 12% listened to a podcast. Now it’s 83 percent radio versus 41 percent podcast. Just as the web has replaced print newspapers, podcasts appear to be fast becoming our primary form of sound media consumption. Chicago is on top of this trend, with excellent podcasts on news, sports, politics, music, books, and history. Here are 10 of our favorites.
City of Chicago Cast: Chicago’s go-to podcast. Every morning at 6 a.m., host Jacoby Cochran gives interviews on the city’s most talked-about topics. So far this week, he has discussed the fight to save the Mercy Hospital, the Chicago public school bus shortage and the Bulls’ 6-1 departure. In the past he has spoken with Ali author Jonathan Eig on Muhammad Ali’s stay in Chicago. Cochran has been a longtime South Sider, so City Cast brings a perspective from his side of Madison Street. Episodes are typically 10 to 15 minutes long – the perfect breakfast length.
Madigan’s rule: A five-part series on the master of Illinois machine politics, produced by the Better Government Association. That doesn’t sound nice, does it? In fact, The Madigan Rule is admiring in its portrayal of how former Speaker of the House Michael Madigan came to and wielded power. Former Governor Jim Edgar – one of four former governors interviewed – said Madigan never lied to him. State Representative Kelly Cassidy says Madigan taught her that constituent services are the mother’s milk of politics. It’s not just a lesson in how Chicago politics works, but how politics works, period.
Chicagoland disappeared: Podcasts are meant to have an anti-radio aesthetic. We hear people who don’t look like Bill Kurtis – they’re unscripted, unedited, and speak with local accents not smoothed out by the training of the presenters. The charming Vanished Chicagoland is the ramble of Pete Kastanes, a middle-aged man who remembers his upbringing on the South Side. In her Halloween episode, Kastanes told Ashburn about trick-or-treating; living in a Roseland apartment above a shoe store, while her father worked nights at the Conrad Hilton; shopping at Kresge, which was just down the street from Gately on South Michigan Avenue; attend Bogan High School; move to the suburbs in 1995; his love of the tv series Dark shadows; and his recovery from prostate cancer.
Windy City Historians: Long discussions on the history of Chicago, moderated by Patrick McBriarty, author of Chicago River Bridges, and Christopher Lynch. In Episode 7 (of 25 so far), they traveled back to the very beginning of Chicago history with an hour-long interview of three men who re-enacted Marquette and Joliet’s canoe trip on occasion. on their 300th birthday, in 1973. (When they made it to Chicago, they were greeted by Mayor Richard J. Daley and other dignitaries.) Other episodes covered LaSalle and The Voyageurs, Stockyards, the Pullman Strike and “George Ade and the Old-Time Saloon”.
Improvisation nerd: Chicago was the birthplace of improv comedy, so it should be the home of an improv podcast, right? In the most recent episode of Improv Nerd (# 277!), Host Jimmy Carrane spoke with Jude Leak, director of documentary Viola Spolin Invent improvisation. (Spolin was literally the mother of improvisation, inventing a style of dramatic training called acting plays, and giving birth to Paul Sills, who founded Compass Players and The Second City.) Carrane is an improvisation instructor and alumnus. WBEZ host Studio 312.
Hoge & Jahns: Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns – both Adams – are, respectively, a Bears reporter for NBC Sports and a Bears Beat for The Athletic. That Monday morning, they looked like two brothers from Lake View hungover after a long night in a tavern as they dissected the Bears’ 33-22 loss to the 49ers. The verdict: Justin Fields has improved, but “the Bears defense has spent too much time on the court,” said one Adam.
âExcept after the 49ers score,â the other Adam said.
This was the first half of the podcast. In the second half, they called off the Bears’ season, as Football Outsider gives them a 2.6% chance of making the playoffs, and talked about who the team can get for running back David Montgomery and the defenseman Eddie Jackson. So at least they’re more realistic than Superfans about a certain team from a certain city that starts with a C, ends with an O, and has “HICAG” in the middle.
Curious city: WBEZ’s investigative series, in which she answers listeners’ questions about life in Chicago, is actually a radio show, airing on Thursdays during All things Considered – hence the productive and journalistic values. In the most recent episode, Curious city looked at an urban legend surrounding a level crossing on Munger Road in Bartlett. Supposedly, a bus full of school children was killed by a train there, and their ghosts appear to be pushing the cars out of the tracks to get them to safety. The verdict: Never happened, but the legend may have been based on a 1930s Utah school bus crash that made national news. Some other recent surveys: “Why are cicadas so strong? and “What are these giant structures in Lake Michigan?” “
The Chicago Acoustic Metro: This podcast has music! Some other local music podcasts only interview musicians, which is not very interesting. We want to hear musicians sing, not talk! Chicago Acoustic Underground seems to understand this. In Episode 750 (there are a lot of folk singers in the Chicago area), the host began by asking Ryland Foxx about his upbringing at Hoffman Estates. It wasn’t a very exciting subject, so Foxx was invited to play some of the tunes he would perform at Space in Evanston that night. Other recent guests: Modern Daybreak, The Long Farewells with Aaron Rester and Gabrielle Schafer, and Taylor Steele and the Love Preachers (who are actually from Effingham).
Some of my best friends are …: White journalist Ben Austen and black professor Khalil Muhammad grew up together on the South Side. Austen is the author of Skyscrapers: Cabrini Green and the fate of American public housing. Muhammad – a great-grandson of Elijah Muhammad – is a professor of history at Harvard. They come together to discuss racial issues on both sides of the color line. A recent episode was devoted to the memories of Obamas: Michelle’s To become and that of Barack A promised land.
âYou have a theory that Barack speaks slower when he talks about race than other issues,â Muhammad told Austen.
âHe doesn’t want to shoulder the burden of making white people feel like they’re all racists,â Austen said.
To become, said Austen, is “specifically to be black and working class on the south side of Chicago – after civil rights.” Both men enjoyed Michelle’s scream towards the # 6 bus, as they also took it.
Austen and Muhammad are both very accomplished in their fields, so Some of my best friends are … is smoother than most podcasts recorded on a phone here. They even run ads for California Closets and Anheuser-Busch.
Open batteries: Do you miss the old underground bookstore of the Co-op Seminar? Open the batteries, the bookstore podcast describes it as “a maze of rooms in the basement of the Chicago Theological Seminary” that cluttered a mile and a half of shelves over 1,800 square feet and wrapped tennis balls around pipe knobs. of steam so that browsers wouldn’t blow their heads off. The episode “A Cave With Windows: Bookstore as Building” featured an interview with former manager Jack Cella, now retired and living in Duluth. Then it continued with a discussion of “conservatory versus commercial” (LeRoi Jones’s Black music remains on the shelves, even if he does not sell a copy for two and a half years, because âhis presence there gives him that historic authenticity. If you want to know how Sem Co-op offers section titles like “Commodity Aesthetics,” this podcast is for you.