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Sunday Reading: The Proliferation of the Podcast


The podcast form has proliferated so much that there seem to be more podcasts now than there are stars in the summer sky. Some are excellent, most are not, and a few dominant ones, such as Joe Rogan’s show, have become as central to the national discussion as anything in print or on television.

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In “Reasons to Abandon Spotify That Have Nothing to Do with Joe Rogan,” Alex Ross, who usually writes about music, considers the platform that hosts the misinformation-spreading, slur-using host. In “Brené Brown’s Empire of Emotion,” Sarah Larson, who contributes to The New Yorker’s Podcast Dept. column, profiles the author, speaker, and podcaster from Texas, and analyzes her gift for storytelling; elsewhere, Larson interviews Melvyn Bragg, whose endlessly fascinating and stubbornly academic show ranges from the War of the Roses to the history of coffee. In “George the Poet’s Undefinably Good Podcast,” Rebecca Mead writes about an unconventional—and unpredictable—British podcast that is delivered almost entirely in rhyme. In “Can Podcasts Improve Our Well-Being?,” Alexandra Schwartz explores how this media revolution has affected our understanding of our bodies and minds. Finally, in “The Rise of the Athlete Podcaster,” Hua Hsu reports on the rising popularity of sports podcasting, a particularly crowded and obsessive field. “Athletes rarely got the chance to speak their minds from inside the fishbowl,” Hsu writes. “It’s not surprising that players from this era have taken to podcasting, and that they produce some of the richest, most vibrant work in the form.”

David Remnick


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