In A Pod of One’s Own, Caitlin Thompson is your go-to guide and curator of the best shows from the world of podcasts.
As someone who’s spent a lot of time on every part of the podcasting spectrum – developing, making, hosting and consulting – I often tell people who are looking to make money podcasting to launch a business show. For podcast listeners, that means it’s no accident that the business category is much broader than what concerns Bay Street or Wall Street and packed with entries, from shows about investing and personal finance to career advice and weekly, even daily, explanations and explorations of cryptocurrency. These shows usually attract a listenership that is highly coveted by advertisers, and blue-chip ones at that. We’re talking cars, watches and financial service firms, all trying to reach the type of people who listen to business shows – we’re looking at you.
From a maker’s standpoint, creators are more easily able to secure the type of support that allows them to financially sustain their efforts. But as a listener, this means that most of these shows are at best repetitive and at worst dubious. Despite being enthusiastically pitched cryptocurrency from everyone and their mother in the past few years, I’m not convinced it’s a real thing that anyone understands, much less a subject requiring daily podcast coverage. But I’m picking an easy target – there are many legitimate mainstream business shows and if you’d like to find one to listen to, you don’t need my help.
Instead what I’m choosing to highlight here are the outliers, the quirky shows that technically cover business, but also enlighten and entertain, and in some cases advise. And as always, I’m particularly interested in amplifying shows with non-traditional business hosts, as they’re the ones doing the most work to bring in new listeners to the podcast space.
You can search for all of these shows by name on your favourite podcast app.
Pragmatic, funny and super real: self-taught financial experts Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett host this podcast about, in Cardi B parlance, millennials "making money moves.” They give money advice, interview experts and answer listener questions on this weekly show. I love listening to Paychecks & Balances because it makes the kind of eat-your-vegetables topics such as debt management, budgeting and other topics I barely understand fascinating. As a bonus, it comes with a fun hip-hop theme song. Start with the episode The First Time I Fell in Love with Debt, Garrett’s story of accruing tens of thousands of dollars in bills and digging his way out.
Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland host this career-oriented chat show, but listening to it feels like two friends who just happen to have their lives totally figured out extend you the same favour by explaining how it all works. The hosts also have a penchant for design, travel and fashion, so guests are often entrepreneurs who’ve created interesting businesses and have inspiring advice for those who want to follow in their footsteps. Start with their episode Wanderlust, which features traveller and journalist Janel Martinez on creating inclusive workplaces and decoding corporate speak.
This new show is what inspired me to write this column. I’ve been a fan of Jane Marie from her days at This American Life and seminal lady-blogs The Hairpin and Jezebel, so imagine my excitement when she started a podcast studio, Little Everywhere, a few years ago. She hosts their latest effort, a co-production with podcasting giant Stitcher, that explores multilevel marketing from the big picture to the personal. It’s a storytelling tour de force.
Ashley Milne-Tyte created this thoughtful show that covers issues specific to women in the workplace, from managing parenthood (or the lack thereof) to sexual harassment. In this very necessary #MeToo era, it’s required listening for male leaders. Start with episode 118, A Year for Women.
Comedian Lindsay Goldwert created this show to address the lasting shame around discussing our money problems and she does it through rollicking conversations with other comedians and entertainers, many of whom have learned “how to get a financial life” creatively, thanks to intermittent income and a lack of the safety nets normally provided by more stable careers. It’s a must listen if you’re scared to open your bills and you want a funny, human companion to getting back on track.