Podcast Playlist-logo

Podcast Playlist

CBC Podcasts & Radio On-Demand

Hosted by Leah-Simone Bowen, Podcast Playlist's podcast obsessed producers help you find the best podcasts out there. Each week we curate fresh, exciting and thoughtful stories to help you unearth new podcasts to add to your rotation. From true crime to comedy, from current affairs to audio fiction and everything in between. Each week we take you on a journey with lots of discoveries along the way.


Canada, ON


Hosted by Leah-Simone Bowen, Podcast Playlist's podcast obsessed producers help you find the best podcasts out there. Each week we curate fresh, exciting and thoughtful stories to help you unearth new podcasts to add to your rotation. From true crime to comedy, from current affairs to audio fiction and everything in between. Each week we take you on a journey with lots of discoveries along the way.




Pitch, please: three history podcasters tell us why we should listen to their shows

This week, Leah sat down with the hosts of three history podcasts to learn about their shows. Martine Powers from The Washington Post's The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop, Tim Harford from Pushkin's Cautionary Tales and Ramtin Arablouei from NPR's Throughline. First, Martine Powers tells us about The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop. In 1979, there was a revolution on the Caribbean island of Grenada. The new prime minister was a young, charismatic, socialist named Maurice Bishop. Bishop introduced a wave of social reforms, like free public healthcare and paid maternity leave. Though he was a popular leader at home, U.S president Ronald Reagan was not a fan. Less than five years after he took power, Bishop was executed in a coup. Days later, the U.S. invaded Grenada. In the chaos that followed, the bodies of Bishop and his supporters disappeared, never to be seen again. The Washington Post set out to solve the mystery. What happened to the bodies of Bishop and his supporters? Then Tim Hartford tells us how voice actors and sound design bring history to life on Cautionary Tales. He also shares a clip from an episode where a competition goes terribly awry. Finally, Ramtin Arablouei tells Leah about how Throughline has evolved over the years. From documentary style episodes about reality TV to an episode about music that was designed to fall asleep to. Throughline is just scratching the surface of what it aims to achieve. Featured podcasts: The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop, Cautionary Tales and Throughline.


FLASHBACK: Normal Gossip host Kelsey McKinney on how gossip brings us all closer together

*This episode was first broadcast June 2023 This week on Podcast Playlist: Gossip. Whether you’ve been a part of spreading it or have been at the centre of it, we’ve all had experience with gossip in one form or another. Some may argue that dishing the dirt can ruin lives, but it also has a unique ability to bring people together. The podcast Normal Gossip has shot to fame within the past year all thanks to the unifying power of gossip. On the show, host Kelsey McKinney shares listener-submitted gossip from the lives of everyday people. From weird neighbours, to sorority wedding drama, to secret workplace romances, each story is equally trivial, hilarious and unbelievable. Kelsey joins Leah to talk about why we love to gossip and looks at how it can actually keep us safe. Then, she’ll share her favourite podcasts. We dive into scammers, Taylor Swift, Bachelor Nation, and more! Featuring: Normal Gossip, ICYMI, Articles of Interest, Scam Goddess, Who Weekly, Love to See It For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Hollywood's communist blacklist and more February favourites

This week on Podcast Playlist we’re sharing some of the best new and notable podcasts. Charlie Chaplin is one of the most important people in the history of cinema. But he wasn’t universally admired in his heyday, and he had some powerful enemies, including J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Hoover became obsessed with Chaplin, and was certain he was a communist. We’ll hear the story of how he drove Chaplin out of the country on a new podcast hosted by Chaplin’s granddaughter, Hollywood Exiles. Plus, if it feels like the country is going a little nuts, it’s not just you. According to a recent poll, as many as one in four Canadians believe in online conspiracy theories. On the new season of Screen Time, we’ll hear how and why that’s happening, and what we can do about it. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Hollywood Exiles, Screen Time, In Her Defence, Canadaland: The Newfoundlander, Murder in Boston, Sports Explains the World For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Dan Harris says you're actually not as bad at meditation as you think

When former ABC News anchor Dan Harris had a panic attack on live TV, he knew he needed a change. He took up meditation, and wrote a book called Ten Percent Happier. Ten years later, that book is an international bestseller, and has morphed into a popular meditation app and a podcast of the same name. This week on Podcast Playlist, Dan Harris joins Leah to talk about meditation and listen to his favourite shows. Rick Rubin is a legendary music producer, but did you know he’s also a lifelong meditator? We’ll hear some of his interview on Dan’s podcast Ten Percent Happier. Plus, for many of us, Netflix is still the default streaming platform. But how does that affect the wider TV industry? That conversation on The Watch. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Ten Percent Happier, Pivot, The Watch For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


How an investigative podcast helped get justice for an Ontario family, plus new and notable podcasts for January (ft. Yusuf Zine, Ronald Young Jr. & Ian Coss)

This week on Podcast Playlist we're sharing new and notable podcasts for January, along with some interviews from the podcast world. First: In 2016, Soleiman Faqiri was killed by guards at an Ontario jail. An inquest last month determined his death was a homicide, but the podcast Unascertained reached that conclusion more than two years ago. Leah sits down with host Yusuf Zine to talk about the case. Then: Weight For It is a show that unpacks the nuanced thoughts of fat folks, and of anyone who worries about their weight. Host Ronald Young Jr. joins Leah to talk about body image and how we can challenge weight bias. Plus: Boston's "Big Dig" was the most expensive highway project ever built in America. Construction lasted nearly two decades and the project ended up going billions of dollars over budget. But was it worth the outcome? Host Ian Coss of The Big Dig weighs in, and shares what this project can teach us about how to build better cities.


Who? Weekly hosts Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber on celebrity Whos and Thems in the age of social media stardom

This week Leah sits down with Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, the co-hosts of the popular pop culture podcast Who? Weekly. It’s a show that, as they put it, tells you everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t. They chat about modern celebrity culture, rank semi-obscure Canadian stars, and listen to some of their favourite podcasts. Featuring: Who? Weekly, Celebrity Book Club With Steven & Lily, The Secret History Of The Estonia, Pop Pantheon, This Had Oscar Buzz For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


FLASHBACK: Reimagining fiction podcasts with James Kim

This week on Podcast Playlist we're joined by James Kim. You may know him as the creator behind MOONFACE – a heartfelt fictional series about a Korean American son who wants to come out to his mom, but can't because they don't speak the same language. The show was named a Best of 2019 podcast by various outlets. His latest series, You Feeling This? is billed as a podcast mixtape about love. It's an anthology that centres stories about life and love in Los Angeles, pulling sonic inspiration from artists like Kendrick Lamar and the independent creators who helped to shape this show. This week, James joins Leah to discuss what goes into making a fictional podcast, and share why indie podcasters inspire him. Plus we'll listen to a few of his favourite shows that explore love, friendship and nostalgia. Featuring: You Feeling This?, Paper Radio, The Truth, UnReality - Projected Reality: The Sound Collector, Threedom. For links and more info on everything on today's show, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


FLASHBACK: Gavin Crawford makes Alzheimer's funny, plus the best new releases

This week we're sharing one of our favourite episodes from May 2023. Gavin Crawford used to talk about his mom a lot. But since she began to lose her memory, he found it harder to tell the old funny stories. But that's changing with his podcast Let's Not Be Kidding. Leah sits down with Gavin to talk about his mom's dementia, and how sometimes, even Alzheimer's can make you laugh. Plus, Alaska's Iditarod sled dog race is one of the toughest sporting events in the world. In 2011, for the first time, a pair of New Zealanders crossed the finish line. They made history, but they left behind a trail of broken promises, burned bridges and unpaid debts. We'll hear their story on Outside/In. Then we head back to 1968. It was an eventful year, when new ideas were clashing with old traditions. In Toronto, the spirit of the times was brought to life with the opening of an experimental housing project called Rochdale College. Part apartment building, part hippie commune, and part school, Rochdale was a hub for Canada's counterculture movement. The podcast Darts & Letters told the story of the building in an episode called "The Hippie High-Rise." Those stories, and more, this week. Featuring: Let's Not Be Kidding, Outside/In, Darts & Letters, PlayMe For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


FLASHBACK: Cosy stories for the holidays

This week we're sharing one of our favourites from the archives: An episode full of stories sure to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside this holiday season. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a holiday staple for many. But when you think about the legacy of Dickens’ it is a bit surprising that we associate him so closely with the holidays. For much of Charles Dickens' writing career, he wrote about the plight of the impoverished and destitute members of British society. On The Allusionist, host Helen Zaltzman asks the question: how did Charles Dickens name become a synonym for “rosy-cheeked, full-stomached, fattened-goose, hearty, merry, "God bless us every one" Christmas?” Then: there are a lot of weird jobs out there. Dog food taster. Snake milker. But what about the guy who writes the lyrics to the songs your kids’ toys sing? We hear from the premiere “toy songwriter” on how he comes up with ear worms for kids. Those festive stories and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Every Little Thing, The Allusionist, The Secret Life of Canada, The Moth. For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


FLASHBACK: Podcasts about the joys and struggles of parenthood

This week on Podcast Playlist, we're revisiting one of our favourite episodes from this past year. We love to tell our kids to follow their dreams. But what do we say to them when that doesn't work out? The hosts of Dear Old Dads wrestle with how to encourage our kids to shoot for the moon, without making them feel like failures when real life butts in. Then: You know what we don't hear enough about? What pregnancy and childbirth actually do to the human body. We'll meet someone trying to change that on Embodied. Plus: how do you raise confident kids in the age of diet culture? We'll hear a conversation about weight and parenting on What Fresh Hell: Laughing In The Face of Motherhood. All that and more on the show this week. Featuring: Death, Sex & Money | Dear Old Dads | Embodied | Mom and Dad are Fighting | Unlocking Bryson's Brain | What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood


Our team shares the best podcasts of 2023

Our team listened to so many great podcasts this year (a podcasting app told producer Julian Uzielli he listened to 175 different shows and 466 episodes...with a total listening time of 10 days 1 hour. Totally normal, right?). So this week we've rounded up our absolute faves to share with you. From executive producer Cesil Fernandes we have Ghost Story, a podcast that seamlessly integrates family lore with investigative journalism. It's incredibly engaging (and a little spooky, if we're being honest). Then associate producer Kelsey Cueva explains why she loved The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks. It's a deep dive from Dylan Marron on why Jar Jar was so maligned, while also exploring the early days of internet backlash. Listen to the episode to hear our thoughts on why we chose the shows we did, and to listen to some sample clips. Ghost Story: "Their team did a real investigation into the history of the house and the families involved. They sift through documents from the time and really do a thorough — and entertaining — job to recreate the world this murder took place in." – Cesil Fernandes, Executive Producer The Retrievals: "What makes the story compelling is the women who shared their stories. They showed strength and courage to revisit their experiences so that we could hear and learn from their stories." – Kate Evans, Senior Producer Bloodlines: "I learned so much listening to this series and about the thousands of children like Salmaan — [children] with roots in Canada, the U.K., the U.S. and beyond — many of whom are still trapped in camps in the Syrian desert and without a way back home." – Leah Simone Bowen, Host The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks: "The show looks at themes like racism and representation in media, and internet culture. Particularly, dogpiling online and its real life effects on people...I really appreciate the care and nuance [Dylan Marron] brings to his shows." – Kelsey Cueva, Associate Producer If Books Could Kill: "The hosts have great chemistry. It's really funny and intelligent, and it's easy to dip in and out of. Every episode is self-contained." – Julian Uzielli, Producer For more, visit cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Celebrating indie podcasts with 6 great independent shows

This week on Podcast Playlist we’re celebrating indie creators. We’ll meet one woman who turned to the great outdoors to help cure her depression. We’ll follow her from the desert of Utah to the mountains of Colorado to find peace. Plus, can we fall in love with the sound of someone’s voice? We’ll hear from a podcast matchmaker that only lets couples talk through voice memos. That and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Out There, It's Nice To Hear You, Shannon Cason's Homemade Stories, F---ing Sober: The First 90 Days, This Isn't Therapy, Matriarch Movement For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Jane Marie on the MLM-to-life coach pipeline, and her favourite podcasts

This week our guest is Jane Marie, creator and host of The Dream. Can a life coach really solve your problems, or is it all just a big hustle? That’s the question at the heart of Season 3 of the Dream. Leah and Jane will sit down to talk about the show, plus, we’ll listen to some of her favourite podcasts. Like the story of three friends who took what was supposed to be a 45-minute pleasure cruise, and wound up trapped on a deserted island…all within sight of the Empire State Building. Featuring: The Dream, This American Life, My Year In Mensa, Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Decoder Ring's Willa Paskin on solving cultural mysteries, and her favourite podcasts

This week we're joined by Willa Paskin, the creator and host of Decoder Ring. It's a show that takes the questions on culture you never knew you had, and always finds the answer. Leah and Willa talk about solving cultural mysteries, that time Peter Falk quelled a Romanian uprising, and Willa's favourite podcasts. Featuring: Decoder Ring, The Turning: Room of Mirrors, Appearances, Hi-Phi Nation, Terrestrials For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Stories from Syria, plus new podcasts for the fall

In 2011, the Arab Spring was sending shock waves across the world. Amid the many activists demanding change, one Syrian blogger wrote about her life as a lesbian, in a country where homosexuality is illegal. Her blog, Gay Girl in Damascus, drew countless readers inspired by her search for freedom. But, the blog wasn't all that it seemed. The new podcast Gay Girl Gone reveals the startling truth. Host and producer Samira Mohyeddin joins Leah to discuss the series. Plus, we'll share more of our favourite pods released this month. Featuring: Gay Girl Gone - "Journalist Samira Mohyeddin investigates what actually happened to the infamous Gay Girl in Damascus. The result is a twisted yarn that spans the globe and challenges our thinking on love, politics and identity in cyberspace. What happened to Amina and uncovers a dangerous world of secret police, forbidden love, and deception on the world wide web." Serial: The Kids of Rutherford County - "A four-part series about a Tennessee county that was arresting and illegally jailing children for over a decade." The Closer: Deals Change the World - "We take you inside the final days of Toys R Us with Lauren Hirsch, the reporter who first revealed the iconic company's impending bankruptcy, and explain what drove the company out of business." A Race Around the World - "On November 14th, 1889, Nellie Bly left Manhattan to go on a race around the world in under 80 days. In this episode, host Adrien Behn will delve into the background of this extraordinary woman. She will explore Nellie Bly's upbringing and aspirations, the obstacles she somersaulted over to become a female investigative journalist, her groundbreaking reporting, and what drove her to embark on a journey that defied the norms of her time." Bloodlines - "Syria. 2018. ISIS is on the brink of defeat. Two-year-old Salmaan disappears amid the bombardment. In London, his grandfather desperately searches for answers." What new releases are you enjoying? Email our team at podcastplaylist@cbc.ca. Or find us at cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Straight to the source: We ask three hosts why we should listen to their podcasts (w/ Mark Chavez, Amy Westervelt & Jo Firestone)

This week, we’re going straight to the source and asking three podcasters to sell us on their shows. First, Mark Chavez gives us the pitch for Let’s Make A Horror. Can three comedians write — and make — a decent horror movie? Next, Amy Westervelt tells us about the latest season of Drilled. It’s a true crime podcast about the climate crisis, and in their latest season they’re looking at the worldwide crackdown on climate protest. Then, Jo Firestone tells us about Murder on Sex Island, a podcast about an undercover detective who has to solve a murder on the set of a trashy reality TV show. Those interviews, plus excerpts from the podcasts, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Let's Make A Horror, Drilled, Murder On Sex Island For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


Halloween Spooktacular: A ghost in the family, haunted clothing, Furby's revenge, and more spooky stories

It's our annual Halloween Spooktacular episode! We’ll hear a fabulously frightening selection of stories today. We’ve got tales about toys that go bump in the night, a haunted pair of pants, an interview with a legendary horror movie director, and more. Like this story from Tristan Redman: He doesn’t believe in ghosts, but Tristan remembers weird things happening in his teenage bedroom. Later, he learned the people who lived there after him were visited by the ghost. That’s not all. It turns out that Tristan’s childhood home is right next door to the house where his wife’s great grandmother was murdered. Could she be the one who haunted his childhood dreams? That scare and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: I Talk To Ghosts, Spooked, Ghost Story, Weird Distractions, Unspookable, American Hysteria For links and more info, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.


CBC's David Common on catching scammers and the new Marketplace podcast

As a foreign correspondent, David Common's reporting has taken him to more than 80 countries, including warzones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine. But these days he's staying a bit closer to home. David has recently taken over hosting duties on CBC Radio's morning show in Toronto, Metro Morning. He's also the co-host of the consumer watchdog show, Marketplace, on CBC Television. And Marketplace now has its very own podcast. David will tell us about how his first week at Metro Morning, and what it was like turning a TV show into a podcast. Plus, he'll share some of the podcasts in his rotation. Featuring: CBC Marketplace, The Secret Life of Canada, Wind of Change, Yo Is This Racist?, War On The Rocks For links and more info head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Producer Picks: A punk rock mystery, a gossipy podcast about literary greats and more you may have missed

To make this show, our team listens through hours upon hours of audio. But sometimes, a few excellent shows will slip through the cracks. This week, Leah is joined by the Podcast Playlist crew to share some amazing podcasts that you may have missed. Like Once upon a time...at Bennington College. Our senior producer Kate Evans likes it because listening feels like, "a summer page turner, but for a podcast." The show shares the history of the unique Liberal arts college where authors Brett Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem and Donna Tartt all went to school together. Plus, Producer Julian Uzielli shares a heartfelt podcast about a group of Armenian soliders who survived months of being trapped behind enemy lines. That and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: Once Upon a Time...at Bennington College (Kate's pick) - "Bennington. Autumn, 1982. Donna, Jonathan and Bret arrive on the campus of the school nicknamed "The Little Red Whorehouse on the Hill." One of them comes with a steamer trunk. One of them comes with a Kangol cap. One of them comes with a "suitcase full of drugs." Freeway Phantom (Leah's pick) - "On April 25th, 1971, 13-year-old Carol Spinks mysteriously disappeared from her neighborhood in southeast Washington D.C. Six days later, her body was discovered off a nearby freeway. Investigators assumed this was a one-off murder. Little did they know, Carol was the first victim of D.C.'s first serial killer." The Ballad of Billy Balls (Kelsey's pick) - "It's 1982, and a man bursts into an East Village storefront apartment and shoots punk musician Billy Balls. Author and activist iO Tillett Wright and Crimetown Producer Austin Mitchell unravel a mystery of love and loss, the tender binds of family, and the stories we tell ourselves just to survive." Country of Dust (Julian's pick) - "This podcast from a multinational team of producers tells the stories of a changing Armenia. A lot has been happening here: revolution, war, immigration, a shifting economy and so much more. We capture what life is like here right now and explore the odd, inspiring and sometimes perplexing ways in which this country keeps going, despite the odds." For more visit: cbc.ca/podcastplaylist


Paul McCartney explains his lyrics, teaching kids about happiness with Sesame Street, and more great new podcasts

It’s a music fan’s dream: Imagine you’re handed hundreds of hours of never-before-heard tapes of Paul McCartney talking about all the lyrics he’s ever written. Those tapes showed up on the doorstep of one lucky team of podcast producers. McCartney: A Life In Lyrics is a new podcast telling the stories behind the lyrics of some of McCartney’s most famous songs, from the early days all the way to the present. Leah sits down with executive producer Justin Richmond to talk about the project. Then, Leah talks to Laurie Santos, host of The Happiness Lab, about collaborating with Elmo, Grover and the rest of the Sesame Street gang to teach kids about the science of happiness. All that and more, this week on Podcast Playlist. Featuring: McCartney: A Life In Lyrics, Rough Translation, The Happiness Lab, Academy For links and more info on everything in today's episode, head to http://cbc.ca/podcastplaylist.