Arts & Life
KUOW Producers Caroline Chamberlain Gomez and Clare McGrane are introducing you to your new favorite podcast.
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KUOW Producers Caroline Chamberlain Gomez and Clare McGrane are introducing you to your new favorite podcast.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Two podcasts to listen to this week: 'Hot & Bothered' and 'Overheard at National Geographic'

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. We have a special guest this episode: Producer Matt Martin! He's one of the brains behind The Wild, a KUOW show about exploring the wild places around us.

Today, Matt and I are each suggesting a podcast that we really enjoy listening to and telling you why we like it. Pop some headphones on next time you take a walk in the sun, or on your plane flight out of town, and join us in listening to these two shows:

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Clare’s Pick: Hot and Bothered

Suggested Episode: Ep. 2 -- "Dump Him: Alyssa Cole"

Length: 32 minutes

Listen while: Daydreaming about your perfect romance

Brainpower required: 2/5

Family friendly? Yes

Hot and Bothered is a podcast about romance novels, something I don’t have a huge affinity for. I think the last time I read a romance novel I was 14.

Frankly, until a few days ago, “romance novel” made me think of lonely older women and the stacks of gaudy, mass-produced paperbacks you can find in your local Costco. My creative writing degree turned its nose up at the very words.

But this podcast has absolutely put me in my place. I’m now converted to the idea that romance novels are not only a woefully undervalued branch of literature, but also that they can be therapeutic – they let us envision a happy story, a world where we are valued and loved. There’s nothing bad about that!

In this episode of Hot and Bothered, host Vanessa Zoltan* (also co-host of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, an all-time favorite of mine) gives romance advice to a random internet user who posted a question on Reddit. Her advice (spoiler) is: “Dump him!”

She also talks to romance author Alyssa Cole about the trope of rich and/or powerful men falling in love with your average, run-of-the-mill female protagonist (a la Cinderella, or Twilight) and why this fantasy is so powerful.

*Zoltan also co-writes the show, along with Ariana Nedelman, the executive producer of both Hot and Bothered and Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.

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Matt’s Pick: Overheard at National Geographic

Suggested episode: "Humpback Whale Song of the Summer"

Length: About 20 minutes

Listen While: On your morning bus commute

Brainpower: 4/5

Family friendly? Yes

If you are anything like me, you’ve always fantasized about being a photographer for National Geographic: traveling the world, having adventures, seeing the most incredible sights — who wouldn’t want that to be their job? Well, this new podcast is probably the closest I will ever get to living that dream.

Overheard at National Geographic is like eavesdropping on the conversations the writers and photographers of the magazine must have around the water cooler at the office. The show is hosted by Vaugh Wallace, a senior photo editor with Nat Geo, and he says this podcast will introduce you to the explorers, photographers, and scientists at the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world.

The first episode dives into the culture of humpback whales and how they create new songs that get repeated by other whales all across the globe. I get excited for each new episode because I know I will learn something new and that lesson will be served with humor and a sense of discovery. No photographs needed.