I love storytelling podcasts (you know the kind, people tell true stories from their lives, without notes, not a reading, a telling). I've always loved to hear people's stories, but living in Japan, I especially now enjoy the treat of hearing stories in English via podcast. Well, let's be truthful--there are days I could listen to someone read the phone book if only it was read in English. But storytelling podcasts are the best antidote to my yen (ha ha, get it?!) for my native tongue. When the gap between the weekly The Moth podcasts had me going into withdrawal, I went on the hunt for more podcasts with archives I could satisfy my craving with.
I found quite a few storytelling podcasts out there, and quickly realized that some are better (much much better) than others. So today I will share the best of the storytelling podcasts (that I've found thus far--if you have any I've missed to recommend, do not collect $200, do not pass go--tell me immediately!)
1. Obviously The Moth is the gold standard in storytelling podcasts. If you haven't listened to any before, start here. Even if you have listened to some before, this is still the place to go so that you are never disappointed.
2. The Monti Podcast is North Carolina-based storytelling series hosted by Jeff Polish. They have a Signature Series, for which a storyteller must pitch a story in order to receive an invitation to a themed event, and they have the StorySLAM, where audience members show up and put names in a hat to see if they get time onstage. I don't know if the staff coaches their storytellers, but the quality is as high as other shows that do. And there are plenty of stories in the archive to keep a listener happy. Finally, each podcast is a single story (or at most two) so you can skip one if you are not interested, in contrast with shows that are a full hour per podcast. Oh, and the music is all written by the amazing Django Haskins and performed by The Old Ceremony--worth listening just for that!
3. Porchlight: A Storytelling Series, with the hosting duo of Arline Klatt and Beth Lisick, who do coach their storytellers (they remind the listener frequently of chances to take classes and get some coaching), is based in San Francisco. Great stories in two formats: scheduled storytellers at themed shows, and the Open Door, an open mic event. Scheduled shows have six storytellers each with a 10-minute story, all in one podcast, while Open Door participants are limited to 5-minute stories. This show has an eleven-year history, and while not all eleven years are archived, there are plenty to keep your ears happy.
4. While not as slick a show as the ones above, The Story Collider has the advantage of being all stories about science all the time. Okay, that may not strike you as an advantage, but if it does, as it does me, this is the podcast for you. They podcast a single story a week, and it's well worth the wait.
5. Finally, RISK!, Kevin Allison's podcast, is great, but only for the not-faint-of-heart. This show gets graphic, down-and-dirty, shocking, etc. I've heard things on this show that never would have occurred to me as possibilities in real life. So if you have any qualms about anything intimate or violent or perverse, this is not the podcast for you. On the other hand, if you are up for the possibility of such things, this is a one-hour podcast that will leave you laughing, crying, and shocked. (There are also classes, both traditional and online, offered for potential storytellers by this organization.)
So those are my recommendations as of now (all of which are available on iTunes, as well as at the sites linked to above). Let me know if you can add anything as good.