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The Top Five Podcasts You Need In 2017

By Tim Scahill

In a hustle and bustle world, it's often hard to get things done around the house with SO much news going on. Let's not forget about our friends across the aisle constantly telling us "Lame Stream Media" is part of the problem. So why not kill two birds with one stone and try some independent podcasts! That way you can enjoy a long car ride or mow the lawn and get the most up-to-date media fed directly into your brain. 

I have an iPhone, so I just open the purple "Podcasts" app and hit the "Search" icon on the right, but I'm pretty sure most of these are available on any podcast app... like Stitcher. (Here is a tutorial for Android.) Also, a lot of the podcasts I'm going to mention syndicate their shows over to Spotify, or are available via a plain old web browser. So if you already use one of those methods for your media, subscribe and enjoy!

1. Pod Save America
From the Crooked Media podcast network. Four former President Obama staffers give a run down of the news of the day and what you can do about it. This podcast posts twice a week and always hits on great information from people who have worked in the WH.

2. Pod Save the People
Activist, DeRay Mckesson, forms a great roundtable of trusted friends. He also has extremely thoughtful interviews with all the smartest people in government, the sharpest activist of the day, and even a politically active celebrity or two. If you want to get deep into the policy side of activism, this is your best bet. 

3. Lovett or Leave It
Just need a laugh while living through all this craziness? This is your jam right here. Former Obama speech writer and comedian Jon Lovett (not Jon Lovitz) hosts a panel with comedians, activists, and politicians. This is my favorite podcast at the moment. Audio quality is live, so you will want to get a comfortable set up so you can kick back and have a chuckle on a Saturday.

4. NYT's The Daily
I listen to this every morning. This is just as important as a well-balanced breakfast in the morning. The production and content value is off the charts good. I plan on subscribing to the NYT just to show my appreciation for this podcast. Great stuff. 

5. BBC Global News Podcast (BBC World Service)
If you want to hear how the world sees America in the headlines, this is a great podcast. Though, you may not like the headlines coming to the forefront these days. The segments get a bit duller toward the end, but a great podcast for 15-20 minutes of world news never hurt anyone.

Here are some runners-up:

FiveThirtyEight Politics
NPR Politics
NPR UpFirst
OPB Politics Now* (For Oregonians)
OPB Think Out Loud* (For Oregonians)
The Axe Files with David Axelrod
Slate Political Gabfest
DecodeDC
Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air
Stay Tuned with Preet* (Coming soon)
The Young Turks (I haven't listened in quite some time)

Non-political but offers alternative perspectives
Fresh Air NPR
On the Media
Radiolab
2 Dope Queens
NASA | Houston We Have a Podcast
NPR's Science Friday
Marketplace
Marketplace Tech
Marketplace's Make Me Smart

I had to stop listening to Democracy Now because I just don't have time (and the headlines are so brutally sad it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at times), but I do my best to listen to Chris Wallace via FOX News Sunday via podcast just to make sure I'm informed. He is also as fair and balanced as they come from FOX. Also, he has the best WH officials that we need to be paying attention to as well. I've been pleasantly surprised at the integrity of Chris Wallace's push back when it's needed.

Do you have a recommendation that's not on this list? Leave a comment - knowledge is power!