My April 2021 Podcast Recommendations!

Still staying home, still listening to Podcasts! I am trying to keep on top of my Podcast recommendations so here are my April picks, all of which I have been listening to in March. As always, I only recommend those that I have enjoyed so there are always more that I have listened to but never make it on any of these lists!

1. Against The Odds: Thai Cave Rescue - Hosted By Mike Corey & Cassie De Pecil for Wondery.

Against The Odds: Thai Cave Rescue is, as the name suggests, a Podcast that tells the story of the:

“… daring rescue of a soccer team trapped in an underwater cave in Thailand.” (Source here).

In June/July 2018 a boys Thai soccer team (12 boys aged 11 to 16 years) and their coach became trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai Province of Thailand. Even though I remember this event and knew the great outcome, I found this Podcast gripping. I did not know the in-depth details of how the rescue evolved and was eventually carried out. The good news is that all four episodes that tell this story are available now. There is also a fifth episode that includes an interview with Rick Stanton who was one of the lead divers involved in the rescue.

2. Stolen: The Search for Jermain - By Connie Walker for GIMBLET.

Stolen: The Search for Jermain is an investigative Podcast series into the 2018 disappearance of Jermain Charlo:

“In 2018, a young Indigenous mother named Jermain Charlo left a bar in Missoula, Montana, and was never seen again. After two years and thousands of hours of investigative work, police believe they are close to solving the mystery of what happened to her.” (Source here).

This Podcast examines:

“… what it means to be an Indigenous woman in America.” (Source here).

I am a fan of the host journalist Connie Walker, I previously listened to another Podcast that she worked on and hosted Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo for NBC, a Podcast which I recommended in my Forgotten Podcasts Blog back in April 2020. For this Podcast Connie Walker:

“… travels to Montana to retrace what might have happened to Jermain.” (Source here).

The Podcast is packed full of interviews with the family of Jermain, detectives involved with the case and the many people who knew and loved Jermain.

3. Astray - Hosted By Caroline Slaughter for iHeartRadio.

The theme of the Astray Podcast from iHeartRadio is “How far would you go for enlightenment?”:

“Westerners have long been drawn to the spiritual mystique of India. While many find what they’re looking for and return home, some vanish without a trace or even end up dead. Astray investigates those who pay the ultimate cost in search of spiritual awakening.” (Source here).

This Podcast takes a deep delve into the dark side of what can happen to those searching for enlightenment, known as “seekers” and the truth surrounding a psychosis known as “India Syndrome”:

“India Syndrome, a psychosis that’s said to affect Westerners seeking some sort of spiritual enlightenment in India, is identified as the cause for both a suicide and disappearance of two Westerners called to India, and ultimately led astray there.” (Source here).

This Podcast is so interesting. It highlights the potential dangers of the wellness industry, being a seeker, mindfulness, deep meditation and examines different theories regarding the existence or non-existence of “India Syndrome”. In the latest episode we hear the heart breaking story of Irish man Journalist Jonathan Spollen who disappeared in India in 2012:

“Journalist Jonathan Spollen disappeared in Rishikesh, India in 2012, and though there’s still no evidence of his death, what was found where he went missing has raised many questions and keeps this cold case shrouded in mystery.” (Source here).

We hear from the families of some of those missing in India as well as experts in the different fields discussed.

4. Transmissions: The Definitive Story of Joy Division and New Order - Hosted By Maxine Peake.

This Podcast tells the story of Joy Division, from their inception onwards. This is an eight part series. In the episodes you hear from the band directly as well as some big names in the music industry such as Bono, Damon Albarn, Liam Gallagher and Pet Shop Boys to name but a few. The whole series is narrated by Maxine Peake and she does an excellent job.

“The first series of eight episodes, or ‘Transmissions’, will cover the journey from Joy Division up until 1983’sBlue Monday. The Manchester group wrote a monumental chapter of music history and were integral to British culture over the past 40+ years, influencing some of the greatest musicians alive today.” (Source here).

More about what to expect:

“… Bernard Sumner says “Nothing would’ve stopped us - nothing did stop us, did it? Ian’s death didn’t stop us, Martin’s death didn’t stop us, getting all the equipment stolen didn’t stop us … There was nothing to go back to. There was no plan B.” (Source here).

I really enjoyed this Podcast, all eight episodes are available now.

5. The Assassination - By Owen Bennett-Jones for BBC World Service.

The Assassination Podcast is:

“An investigation into the death of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.” (Source here).

This Podcast includes interviews with those accused of her murder.

“Her killer was one of many Pakistanis who, for one reason or another, thought they were doing the right thing by blowing themselves up.” (Direct quote from the Podcast).

Her killer was a suicide bomber who was a teenager, only 15 years and 6 months old at the time. His short life was:

“… dominated by the forces of violent jihad-ism.” (Direct quote from the Podcast).

The Podcast focuses on:

“… key events that led to Bhutto’s return to Pakistan in the hope of re-entering national politics and the fatal consequences of that decision.” (Source here).

As this Podcast was released in 2018, all ten episodes are available so it is a great one to binge!

6. Business Wars: Late Night Wars - Hosted By David Brown for Wondery.

Although this Podcast has been around for a while and the fact that I am a big fan of Wondery Podcasts in general, I only got around to listening to Business Wars in March. So far I have listened to Estee Lauder vs L’Oreal, TikTok vs Instagram, Uber vs Lyft and Pizza Hut vs Domino’s. Their series Late Night Wars only aired in March 2021 and as the name suggests it is looking into the “cut throat evolution” of late-night talk shows - scandalous! The Late Night Show battle is:

“… a long and fierce battle for advertising riches, ratings and sheer egotistical triumph. It’s the early 1980s and NBC’s Tonight Show is the unbeatable standard in its class, and its long-time host Johnny Carson the indisputable god of late night. Hosts David Letterman, Jay Leno and later Conan O’Brien all worship Carson. Each of them desperately covets the Tonight Show seat and will stop at nothing to get it. As fickle audiences demand increasingly cutting-edge entertainment after dark, the fight to win late night will be redefined. And it will be ugly.” (Source here).

Really enjoyed this Podcast. The only downside of Wondery Podcasts is all the advertising throughout all their episodes and there is no variety in the adverts played either so you get to know them word for word! Next up from Business Wars is KFC vs Chick-fil-A and there are two episodes now available.

7. The Doodler - By Kevin Fagan for SF Chronicle, Ugly Duckling Films & Neon Hum Media.

In the 1970s San Francisco was known as a “haven for queer people” however, at this time, it was also home to a serial killer nicknamed “The Doodler” who has never been caught.

“Between 1974 and ‘75 he killed at least 5 gay men in San Francisco and got away with it. But ever since, the case has been mostly overlooked. Until now. SFPD re-opened the case in 2018, with investigator Dan Cunningham at the helm.” (Source here).

In this Podcast, award winning reporter Kevin Fagan is the host and also carrying out an investigation of his own. In episode one, we learn about the Doodler’s first known victim Gerald Cavanagh. In episode two, Jae Stevens is introduced to us, he was the Doodler’s second known victim. Jae was:

“… an up-and-coming San Francisco drag queen named Jae Stevens. In the present, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan recruits private investigator and former Chronicle colleague Mike Taylor to help him track down some of Stevens’ friends and family. Through Jae’s story, we learn how the contentious relationship between police and the gay community complicates the original investigation.” (Source here).

In episode three:

“Kevin and Mike dig deeper into the lives of the first three Doodler victims, and a clear pattern begins to emerge around the method and location of these deaths: brutal stabbings in remote hookup spots.” (Source here).

Another enthralling investigative crime Podcast.

8. American Scandal: Bernie Madoff - Hosted By Lindsay Graham for Wondery.

The scandalous life of Bernie Madoff - this is good one!

“Bernie Madoff is an American financier who ran a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that is considered the largest financial fraud of all time.” (Source here).

In this Podcast, we hear “the story of Bernie Madoff” and how he:

“… conned some of the smartest people in the world, from savvy investors to famous artists. All the while, he deceived government regulators. So how did he fool so many people, and for so long?.” (Source here).

Once the chairman of NASDAQ, Bernie Madoff is now fighting kidney disease while serving a 150 year jail sentence in the Federal Correctional Complex Butner, a United States federal prison complex for men in Butner, North Carolina.

Looking forward to getting stuck into the next American Scandal series already!

9. American Greed Podcast - Narrated By Stacy Keach for CNBC.

This true crime Podcast (which I think is also a US TV Show) takes you:

“… inside the amazing real-life stories of how some people will do anything for money.” (Source here).

As this Podcast has been around since 2018 there are lots of episodes available. Each episode is 20-40 minutes in duration and tells a different story, from fake heiresses to fraudulent financial advisors - scammers of all shapes and sizes. Easy listening for the most part and a handy Podcast for fitting into your busy daily life with no need to commit to an entire series. You can pick and choose whatever episodes you fancy.

10. FRAMED: An Investigative Story (Season 1) - Hosted By Aaron Habel - Generation Why Podcasts.

Season 1 of Framed is an investigation into the disappearance and murder of Brian Carrick:

“On December 20th of 2002, Brian Carrick disappeared, leaving nothing behind but a pool of blood and a trail of clues to follow. Two theories have divided the once close-knit community of Johnsburg, Illinois. Fifteen years later, people are still asking … Who killed Brian Carrick?”. (Source here).

This is a crime that has:

“… divided a community for more than a decade.” (Source here).

Brian worked at a grocery store named “Val’s Foods” which was located across the road from his home. It was a job that he loved and gave his all to. One evening, Brian:

… walks into Val’s Foods and never leaves again. Who sees him? Brian’s coworkers tell us where they were and what they saw during the last fifteen minutes of Brian’s life.” (Source here).

There is a huge amount of information presented in each episode of this Podcast but the host does a great job of clarifying and explaining any/all the discrepancies as we hear the varying versions of the story from the different suspects.

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