14 East Staff Picks: Radio Issue

14 East Staff Picks: Radio Issue

A collection of some of the 14 East staff’s favorite radio stations, segments and podcasts, and the memories we’ve made listening to them

“Lin’s Bin,” 93.1 WXRT

Cam Rodriguez, Managing Editor

In high school, I was frequently, chronically, laughably late. I’d be running out the door with my shoes untied and my uniform shirt half-buttoned, spilling hot coffee on my hand and yelling a muffled “luhffvyouhbye” around a granola bar that was just barely hanging on between my teeth, and hop into a usually-freezing car (courtesy of parking outside without a remote start, thank you Chicago winters) for a twenty-minute race through the burbs to my school. I racked up a remarkable amount of excused and unexcused tardies my senior year, and if you know me, this should not surprise you.

If I got my act together, I could catch 93.1 WXRT anchor Lin Brehmer’s morning segment, “Lin’s Bin.” At the time, it aired at 7:15 am, around the time I should have left for school. The segment itself is a sentimental, intimate thing: a listener submits a question, usually philosophical, and Lin responds in a well-crafted essay full of personal anecdotes, good music and advice that only a trusted teacher or mentor could provide. Lin’s Bin was something I grew up with, and when I started driving myself to school, it was a welcome companion on chilly, windshield-fogged mornings.

Now, Lin’s Bin airs at 11:15 am — much more suited to a college lifestyle — and if I’m able to get my act together, I still tune in and listen to the wisdom he has in store.

Last Podcast on the Left

Bridget Killian, Illustrator

As someone from St. Louis who now lives in Chicago, I have had to take a lot of road trips across Illinois to visit family. While music is always a great and relaxing thing to listen to on a road trip, around the three-hour mark driving through Bloomington-Normal is right around when my sister and I start to lose it on these trips. If you’ve ever driven from Chicago to St. Louis, or vice versa, you know how incredibly boring the drive is. It is one flat road for five hours. One of these trips, my sister decided to play a podcast. She had been listening to podcasts for a while, but I typically stayed away from them. This time, however, I was kind of bored of listening to the songs we had been playing so I gave this podcast a shot.

Clare, my sister, turned on a comedy true crime show called Last Podcast on the Left. This podcast features three guys who talk about and make jokes about various true crime stories, cult stories and conspiracy theories. The premise of the show is two of the guys do tons of research on the topic and then the third guy just listens to the story and reacts to what he is hearing. The three of them are hilarious, and I was hooked from the first episode. They have a great ability to take horrible events such as serial murders and joke about them without being insensitive to the event. True crime is now a guilty pleasure of mine thanks to this podcast. I could listen to it all day, and sometimes, I do.

NPR’s Up First

Francesca Mathewes, Editor in Chief

You guessed it –– I start every morning with NPR’s Up First. In the past year, hosts Rachel Martin, Noel King and Steve Inskeep have somehow made talking about the sometimes very, very bleak news of the past year totally palatable over my morning coffee. Their voices signal to me that it’s time to start my day and settle into what I’ve managed to cultivate as a work from home routine. So, thank you, NPR, for helping me hold it together each day this year!

The Daily, The New York Times

Kate Linderman, Staff Writer

While I love the idea of going to class from my bed, there was something about listening to a podcast on the train that simplified my life. I spent the majority of my train rides to the Loop listening to The Daily from the NYT and looking out the window of the Brown Line. I would stare off into the Chicago skyline as Michael Barbaro discussed the day’s top stories. The 30 minutes on the train were a break in my day, whether I wanted it to be or not. With online classes, I don’t get that long “break” in the day where I have to sit down and wait. It’s been difficult to fit The Daily into my daily life.

The Black Tapes

Elly Boes, Associate Editor

As much as I love news podcasts — plugging in Barbaro’s soothing voice on the L and snooping around for book recommendations via my fellow passengers — I don’t go much of anywhere to really enjoy them anymore. Lately when the screen fatigue lands all of my roommates and I on our living room floor we listen to reruns of Alex Reagan’s The Black Tapes podcast, a roller-coaster of ghost stories, murder mysteries and (of course) captivating investigative reporting. It feels reminiscent of my grandparents’ stories about sitting around the Depression waiting for Little Orphan Annie to come on. Yet each season Reagan covers is somehow wilder than the last, making it a perfect way to unwind for the night, take up knitting and prepare for some haunting dreams.

The Generation Why

Ally Daskalopoulos, Staff Writer

I don’t know where I’d be without my NPR and WSJ podcasts — less informed, for sure. However, I don’t think I could remain sane if it weren’t for my trusty true crime podcasts. More specifically, The Generation Why podcast. My love for true crime podcasts dates back to my college days, when I’d have to make the trek from Bloomington, Illinois back to Chicago for the holidays. While I’m one of those people who loves to drive and enjoys long car rides, listening to Justin and Aaron discuss an unsolved mystery just makes the time fly. These two friends discuss some of the most notorious and mysterious murder cases of all time. Usually, they are cases you haven’t heard of but demand to know more about. You get the facts, the theories, their opinions and plenty of room for your own conclusions. Perhaps what makes this podcast stand out more than other true crime podcasts is the level of analysis that goes into every episode. I guarantee you’ll find yourself asking questions to an imaginary audience in your backseat.

The details that fill your speakers are so real, that you might even find yourself glancing in your rearview mirror more than usual, just in case. I know I do.

NBC’s Dateline podcast

Claire Malon, Associate Editor

I have been a true crime fan for as long as I can remember — in fact, probably way before I should’ve been. As far as true crime shows go, one of my all time favorites has to be Dateline NBC. Growing up, it was customary that come Friday night, my family and I would be cuddled up on the couch watching Dateline and listening to Keith Morrison recount the details of some inevitably gruesome and mysterious crime. I found the reporting so engrossing and always loved anticipating who the culprit was — it was great entertainment, pure and simple.

It was to my great surprise, then, when I discovered that many of Dateline’s broadcasts had been converted into podcast form for audio listeners. At first I was hesitant, afraid it wouldn’t be the same without its visual elements. However, I actually found myself enjoying the podcast version even more. With most episodes featuring Morrison’s prominent drawl and distinctive inflection, it’s no wonder that Dateline lends itself greatly to the audio format. For me, great investigative crime stories such as these make for the perfect background noise, whether it be to your daily commute, when folding laundry, during your runs to the grocery store or while at home cooking dinner. With no shortage of backlogged episodes, and new ones uploaded almost every day, there’s practically an endless supply of episodes for listeners to choose from. So if you’re a true crime fanatic, or even just a fan of the show, make sure to check out the Dateline NBC podcast.

AirGo Radio podcasts

Grace Del Vecchio, Community Engagement Editor

AirGo Radio, which is described as a weekly podcast and cultural media hub, covers a range of topics from music, movements, culture, education and beyond. Hosted by Damon Williams and Daniel Kisslinger, the two host a large array of guests over their longform (around an hour) with one of their recent podcasts featuring the one and only Angela Davis.

Their conversations with their guests are fun and light but also cover extremely intricate and deep subjects. You know how some people have voices that you can kinda listen to all day? That is definitely them and I always, without fail, learn something too.

You can catch AirGo on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud and just about anywhere you listen to your podcasts.


Header image by Bridget Killian