Two podcasts to listen to this week: '13 Minutes to the Moon' and 'Code Switch'
Do you love podcasts, but don’t know how to find new shows? Are you new to podcasts, and don't know where to start?
Welcome to “Thanks for Listening” — a column about the absolute best podcast episodes to listen to this week according to two producers at KUOW who make podcasts for a living. Every Monday (give or take), we'll both suggest a podcast that we really enjoy listening to and tell you why we like it.
You’ll hear about shows that span (and overlap) a variety of topics and genres: investigative journalism, fiction, food, feminism, comedy, history, true crime, mental health, Harry Potter and much more.
Clare’s Pick: 13 Minutes to the Moon
Suggested Episode: Start with the first episode — "We choose to go"
Length: 45 minutes
Listen while: In transit—on a walk, in the car, etc.
Brainpower required: 3/5
Family friendly? Yes
I’ve been vaguely paying attention to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the moon landing, but as I hit play on the first episode of 13 Minutes to the Moon, I realized I didn’t actually know much about it. That was about to change.
This podcast tells the story of how we managed to put the first person on the moon, reaching back to the roots of the technology and politics that made it happen. But it focuses on the dramatic and, by all accounts, disastrous 13-minute descent to the lunar surface that held the world on the edge of its seat in 1969.
The story is fascinating, and the production of the show is really interesting. A huge amount of the audio you hear is archived audio — engineers relaying information inside mission control, key players sharing insights on what was happening in real time, and so on.
It’s also scored by Hans Zimmer which is... weird? Definitely interesting. It lends the show a cinematic feeling. And the host, Dr. Keving Fong, is a medical doctor with an expertise in space travel.
All those different components create a cool mix of ways to learn about and understand this story.
Special shout-out to our coworker, Matt Martin, for suggesting this podcast to me! Just goes to show that people with a good ear are the best way to find new shows. Matt produces The Wild, a podcast about our relationship to wild places.
Listen while: On your commute
Brainpower required: 3/5
Family friendly? No, due to foul language
One exhausting aspect of the news cycle is the conversation about how to discuss comments that are racist, especially when coming from the president, in news stories.
Code Switch, NPR’s podcast about race, tackled this issue in its most recent episode where they talk about why in the case of President Trump’s recent tweets about four congresswomen of color, NPR decided to use the ‘r’ word, when in other cases they have not.
Code Switch host Shareen Marisol Maraji interviews standards and practices editor Mark Memmott and Keith Woods, NPR's senior vice president of newsroom training and diversity, about this decision and whether it was the right one. For me, the most fascinating part of the episode was near the end where Woods asked why we spend so much time discussing whether language is racist and don’t apply the same thinking to label policies that target specific groups as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.