The Best Podcasting Microphones for Every Budget

Casey Wright

January 2023

If you're a podcaster, streamer, gamer, or content creator of any kind, picking the right microphone is very important. With the recent rise of individuals podcasting and live streaming, more and more people are looking to begin their own production with little to no knowledge about what they need to thrive. 

Here are the top 5 microphones to get you started:

Blue Yeti 

Price: $99.00 (avg.)

blue yeti podcasting microphone

🔌 Connection: USB

🎤 Type: Condenser

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

A Blue Yeti is a USB-powered microphone that comes with 4 different pattern settings and a desk stand. This budget mic was built for podcasting and is a popular choice in the podcasting, gaming, and streaming communities. From the look, to the USB Connectivity, all the way down to the internal hardware, this microphone makes for a great desktop audio device with a wide range of uses.

Blue has a reputation for developing high-quality microphones for podcasting, videos, and even music. They're affordable, use quality parts, and for the most part are pretty simple to use.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that as a USB microphone, the Blue Yeti will have some limitations. However, even the base version is packed with features that produce decent sound quality, which is hard to complain about with the price tag.

Buy it here.

HyperX QuadCast S

Price: $159.00

HyperX QuadCast S microphone

🔌 Connection: USB

🎤 Type: Condenser

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The HyperX Quadcast S is an ultra-credible USB mic that is comparable to other microphones around the $200 price range. The microphone records 48kHz/16-bit audio and has three 14mm condensers, which provides enough data for post-production if you want to go that route. Despite its technical limitations, it can effectively record a podcast, live-stream, or other musical needs just short of a professional recording. The HyperX QuadCast is very easy to set up yet a little difficult to get the audio exactly right.

As great as this microphone is, the QuadCast S has one glaring issue that might be a dealbreaker. HyperX's software to control the microphone called Ngenuity is not available on Mac devices. This means you can't customize the RGB lighting when using the QuadCast S with your Mac, so you're stuck with the rotating rainbow pattern. 

While it isn't the cheapest or most expensive microphone out there with most of the same features, the QuadCast S is a solid choice for anyone looking for a multi-purpose USB microphone.

Buy it here.

Shure MV7 

Price: $224.00

Shure MV7 microphone

🔌 Connection: USB or XLR

🎤 Type: Dynamic

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The Shure MV7 is a great dynamic microphone for those looking to podcast and stream. Its hybrid USB and XLR connectivity allows users to keep it simple or utilize more advanced options. The "natural" tone doesn't add any sort of boost, leaving your audio in a raw state that's better suited for conversations or anyone who prefers to clean up audio in post-production processes. 

The MV7 can act as its own interface when connected directly to a computer or iOS device. This interface is impressive when it comes to modern features that are controllable both on the mic and with the ShurePlus Motiv desk-top app. There is also an auto-leveling mode which allows the microphone to mix your level in real-time. Preferences like near or far mode allow you to adapt the mic to suit your recording style, with saveable presets, so you can be comfortable and know this is working to record you accurately. It is not the cheapest microphone on the market, but the quality and features definitely live up to what you pay for.

Buy it here.

Shure SM7B

Price: $359.00

Shure SM7B microphone

🔌 Connection: XLR

🎤 Type: Dynamic

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The SM7B is a testament to Shure's attention to detail, high and long-lasting quality, and top-notch construction. The mic is XLR with a detachable close-talk windscreen, internal shock mount, and toggle switches on the back panel with a graphic display of the setting. Many professional hosts and podcasters such as Alex Cooper from the Call Me Daddy podcast and Hasan Abi from his daily political live-streams on Twitch utilize this top-of-the-market microphone. 

The large diaphragm and housing are designed for an extended low-end and wide frequency response as well as loud bursts of sound. The heart-shaped cardioid polar pattern is impervious to background noise and is forgiving when it comes to precise mic placement. If the Shure SM7B is in your budget, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Buy it here.

Electro-Voice RE20

Price: $449.00

Electro-Voice RE20 microphone

🔌 Connection: XLR

🎤 Type: Dynamic

👍 Pros: 

👎 Cons: 

The Electro-Voice RE20 is an industry standard dynamic broadcast microphone that offers maximum background rejection without sacrificing the quality and tone of the voice. It was originally developed to compete with the rising number of condensers being found within every recording studio, and the level of performance is outstanding. 

The RE20 is considered the industry standard for audio equipment and surpasses many other broadcast mics when it comes to signal quality. The downside is the mic is more expensive than any others on this list and may require other pieces of equipment, such as preamp to be on par to get the best of it. Whether you are in the world of podcasting, streaming or the music industry, look no further than the RE20 because this mic is truly one of the best out there.

Buy it here.

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Looking to level-up your podcast? Connect with us by sending a message below! 

How Can You Use Twitch To Market Your Business?

When you hear the word Twitch what do you think of? Live streaming? Video Games? Unless you're already a successful content creator, business opportunities may not be the first thing that come to mind but it should be! 

Originally designed for gamers, the Amazon-owned platform has recently made a big shift into all different categories, from politics to music, and even sports. Have a talent or passion you want to share with the world? This is a platform designed for building communities!

Here's how you can use Twitch to take your business to the next level.

Build Your Brand

Twitch can open you and your company up to engaging with potential and current customers. For example, the 1,000 Dreams Fund non-profit did a partnership with Twitch where they were able to introduce an entirely new audience to their brand. 

In the partnership they offered some female Twitch streamers currently attending university grants to assist with their educational expenses. Twitch promoted the content on its social media channels, helping drive awareness for their brand. 

Influencer Marketing Opportunities

Twitch has more than 15 million daily unique visitors with an average watchtime of 95 minutes of content every day. The platform is literally designed for connection and community building which is the perfect environment for influencer marketing strategies to thrive. In recent years, Twitch and TikTok are the only social media platforms that have seemed to increase focus on influencer marketing. Meanwhile, more traditional platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have only seen a decline. 

Finding the right Twitch influencer to partner with is a great way to expose your brand to an established community of loyal followers. 

Unlike other platforms, Twitch looks at interaction much differently. Both the streamer and the audience get to see the chat and engage with each other in real time and hold a one-on-one discussion. This is especially great for gaining feedback on a company or product as well as learning about your audience.

Create Your Own Content

Behind Closed Doors

Consumers are often curious about what goes on behind the scenes of their favorite brand, so why not give them a little taste? Is there something exciting happening at the office or a work event? Want to show the world what it's like to be a CEO? Set up your camera and take them along for the ride!

Q&A Session

Whether you have a topic in mind or not; Just Chatting is a great category for your viewer to get to know you. If you're nervous about low attendance, you can always request questions in advance and have some in your back pocket just in case. Once you establish a regular schedule, it'll be easier to get questions and viewers on a regular basis. (NOTE: Even if viewers missed your live stream, they will be able to watch a rerun VOD”Video On Demand”on your main page.)

Online Classes / Webinars

 If your business model contains any educational aspects, running an online class or holding a webinar are great ways to build your audience. If your audience likes what they learn, it provides you with the opportunity to connect them to your landing page where they can find more of your content. Think of it like a free sample. You can also repurpose your VOD recordings for clips and content on other social platforms or newsletters.

While Twitch can be an intimidating platform for marketers or business owners to include in their content strategy, those who are willing to put in the effort to build a community have gotten encouraging results. Even though live streaming is now a prominent feature on multiple social platforms, Twitch's ability to customize the user and viewers' experience truly makes it the best. 

Interested in putting your business on Twitch? Connect with us by sending a message below!

5 LGBTQ Podcasts You Need in Your Life

Happy Pride Month! These 30 days are about honoring the past and current contributions LGBTQ people have made to our world. Visibility is crucial for both finding community and celebrating individuality. Queer people being able to share their stories is one of the most powerful forms of visibility, and podcasts are one of the most powerful platforms for storytelling we have today. 

Whether you're a history nerd or obsessed with pop culture, here are 5 of the best LGBTQ podcasts you need in your life this Pride Month (and year-round, really).

1. QUEERY with Cameron Esposito

For the classic podcast lover.

This show is full of humorous, yet intimate, hour-long conversations between stand-up comic Cameron Esposito and LGBTQ artists, musicians, authors, actors, and more. Some notable guests include Brandi Carlile, Nyle DiMarco, and Hayley Kiyoko. Together, the interviewer and interviewee cover what it means to be queer in creative industries and in the modern world as a whole. 

Check out this episode:

2. Making Gay History

For the history buff.

This podcast is a series of portraits of LGBTQ trailblazers told through the host's recorded archives. Many of the episodes highlight the long-forgotten heroes and witnesses of the AIDS crisis and gay rights movement, including Randy Boyd, Jill Johnston, and Meg Christian. Their website even includes more background information and archival photos for each episode. Making Gay History is an incredibly necessary and enlightening project for both LGBTQ+ people and allies looking for a better glimpse into the history of the queer community.

Check out this episode:

3. Keep It

For the pop culture lover.

This show features fun banter about everything from the newest blockbuster movies to the best destinations to travel to as a gay person. Even with high-profile special guests like Gabrielle Union and Kristen Chenoweth, listening to the episodes feels like you just happen to be dropping in on a casual conversation between friends. If you're looking for a podcast that explores music, movies, and pop culture moments through a queer lens, this show is perfect for you!

Check out this episode:

4. Teenager Therapy

For a coming-of-age audience.

This relatable, heartfelt show is made by and for teens and young adults. In their own words, the hosts are five stressed and sleep-deprived teens, covering a wide variety of mental health topics. Their episodes span from dealing with confrontation to understanding your gender identity and sexuality. The short episodes are a must-listen for high school and college students who want to know they are not alone in the struggles they are facing.

Check out this episode:

5. One From the Vaults

For the history buff, again.

One From the Vaults is a powerful look into a topic that is still in the process of being uncovered and relayed: trans history across the Americas and Europe from the last 150 years. Host Morgan M. Page brings you all the dirt, gossip, and glamor from trans history. These stories remind us that being trans is an identity that has existed since the beginning of time. And until history books start including the stories of trans and gender nonconforming people throughout history, this show stands in as a great teacher.

Check out this episode:

What LGBTQ podcasts have you been loving lately? Give us some recommendations in the comments!

5 Things To Do When Editing A Podcast

The world of podcasting has expanded beyond belief, becoming a diverse and dynamic method through which people can share new stories with the world. Podcasting is relatively accessible, with basic equipment, editing programs, and hosting software being a small but worthy investment. For those who are interested in starting a podcast or are already in the midst of things, here are five general things to do and keep in mind while editing. 

1. Outline

Before you edit”or even record an episode”you should have a good understanding of how you want the episode to sound and some basic topics you'd like to cover. The specificity of this outline depends on the structure of your podcast. Even if your format is a free-wheeling discussion, it's important to nail down a basic narrative arc to keep in mind when recording and editing. How will the episode begin? What are the transitions from topic to topic? What's the episode's climax? Where are the ad breaks, if applicable? What's the episode's resolution? Keep track of this outline when you edit, making sure your edits help further your proposed narrative arc.

2. Listen

Whether you sat in on recording or you're listening to the raw audio afterward, you should always take notes of specific phrases, words, or times that need the most attention in post-processing. Listen for unrelated tangents that don't contribute to the conversation or for short excerpts that can be distributed on social media. 

3. Clean

Depending on the sound your show is going for, you may decide to heavily edit the audio or take a more hands-off approach. Um's, coughing, and heavy breathing are not listeners' favorite noises and might warrant a select-and-silence. We're all guilty of starting sentences we don't finish. Obviously, everything is context-dependent, but more often than not, these half-baked phrases should be removed to tighten up the discussion and keep things flowing. Did your guest say something that shouldn't be aired? Something that's factually incorrect? Depending on your podcast's guidelines you can either cut these sections, record an insert during post, or update your show notes with disclaimers or corrections. 

4. EQ 

Besides cleaning up the spoken word, it's worth taking a few extra steps to improve the quality of your audio as much as possible. Equalization, or EQ, is the process of modifying specific frequencies. There are many different aspects to EQ editing. One thing you can do is use a high pass filter to remove low-frequency noises, like the AC running, fans, or other room/white noise. 

5. Listen

Take a break. Return to the podcast with fresh ears. Now, listen as an audience member. Are there any missed coughs, bumps, or half-finished cuts? Can you follow along with the conversation? Are there any sections that feel too long? Did the podcast episode meet or exceed your initial expectations?

These five basic steps and concepts are important for ensuring that your podcast sounds as good as possible. Of course, it's always nice to have upgraded audio and recording equipment, but there are many pre-and post-processing tips and tricks you can use to optimize whatever you may have.

If you're ready to level up your podcast, reach out to us hello@thatrandomagency.com

5 Best Websites for Free Podcast Music

With the meteoric rise in podcast popularity, integrating music into your episodes is more important than ever. From Beethovan to Billie Elish, music is a transcendental method of communication. We hum the opening to Beethovan's 5th Symphony, radio jingles, and our favorite pop refrains. Check out these free music sites and give your podcast the recognizable theme song it deserves today. 

Pixabay

Pixabay is a well-known site for free and royalty-free images, videos, and music. They have a variety of search parameters to help narrow your search, including duration, mood, speed, and theme. You can search for songs labeled Intro / Outro, which gives you a smaller selection of songs specifically edited to be 0.5-1.25 minutes long. Their database contains a wide variety of songs, all licensed through Pixabay and free for modified commercial and non-commercial use. Artist attribution is appreciated, but not required. One feature that stands out is the option to donate directly to the artists. 

Incompetech

Incompetech offers free royalty-free songs for commercial use, attribution required. The free plan only allows you to download files as mp3's, which should be sufficient for most editors. Their site is visually simplistic, with the options to search by keyword, feels, tempo, genre, and duration. They provide the required attribution information, which you can copy and paste into your credit section and/or verbally announce. Incompetech offers extended licenses, which give you access to premium songs, a PDF license, and different file formats. 

Free Music Archive

Free Music Archive (FMA) is a collection of open licensed, free music. Their search parameters allow you to search by artist, duration, genre, type of license, or trending tracks. The trending tracks feature is a fun addition. Even if you don't use one of the trending songs, it's a great way to stay up-to-date with popular audio trends. Since songs are licensed through the artists and not the database as a whole, make sure you double-check the specifics for each song. Many require artist attribution and are free for commercial use with modification. A good choice for podcasting! Additionally, FMA partners with a Tribe of Noise PRO, which offers guaranteed royalty-free music for a per-song, tiered licensing fee. 

ccMixter

Similar to FMA, ccMixter is a collection of remixes and samples individually licensed under the Creative Commons license. The license and usage varies by song, so double check to make sure you pick one cleared for commercial use. Since many of the songs are remixes, many of the songs have very unique sounds. While ccMixter lacks the smooth search and sort functionality, taking the time to sort through their library is sure to uncover some hidden gems. 

Purple Planet

Last but not least is Purple Planet. Besides arguably having the coolest looking website among these top pics, the England-based team hosts a moderate collection of self-composed music. You can search by keyword and mood, or explore trending tracks. Their free tier gives you access to a 92kpbs MP3 download for limited use, including podcasts. As long as you credit them, all is cool. Purple Planet's Standard and Broadcast Licenses grant you access to more use flexibility and do not require attribution. They have a simple FAQ section and licensing chart to answer any further questions you may have. 

Remember, before you add random songs into your podcast, make sure you read up on the licensing specifics of the artist or database. Just because you can download a song doesn't mean you can use it commercially in a podcast. When in doubt, ask permission, or go custom-made. Ultimately, if you have room in your budget, the best option is hiring a quality sound designer to compose custom music for your podcast. 

Whether you go free or paid, securing theme music is another step towards sounding like a professional podcast. 

Are you ready to take your podcast to the next level? Reach out to us hello@thatrandomagency.com

5 Things Every Podcast Needs

In 2021, there are now 80 million Americans listening to podcasts weekly. There has never been a more optimal time to launch or revamp a podcast than right now, and it has never been easier to do so. Whether you're launching or revamping, there are five things every podcast needs. Of course, there are the essentials: high-quality equipment, energetic hosts, and something (interesting) to talk about, but aside from those elements, here are five more podcast basics. 

1. A niche

So you have a topic to base a podcast on, but do you have a unique one? If you want to talk about financial advice, awesome! But there are hundreds of other podcasts out there with that same topic and some that already have large followings. A podcast needs a niche, then”not something so specific that it'll alienate the listeners, but specialized enough to bring in an audience that will come back for every new episode. Brands and businesses have unique selling propositions that make them stand out from the competition. A podcast's niche should be like that: an original idea or concept that sets it apart from other podcasts with similar big picture topics. It's crucial to find that perfect niche.

2. A consistent schedule

Once the niche audience has been discovered, the podcast needs to run on a regular schedule. If you release episodes twice a week sometimes and once every three months other times, there isn't consistent content that the listeners can count on. You have to focus on building up the audience and then retaining that audience. This is not to say all podcasts need to have daily or weekly episodes, but there should be a dependable schedule. People will fit listening to their favorite podcasts into their schedule, so the creators have to ensure there is a steady stream of content available for the listeners. 

3. Storytelling

While audio on its own definitely has limitations in its narrative abilities compared to visual and audio content combined, podcasts present a great opportunity to get creative. Whatever industry or topic you're discussing, there has to be an element of storytelling. Podcasts are meant to be entertaining, after all. Storytelling doesn't necessarily mean crafting a work of fiction for the listeners. It is as simple as the word suggests: telling a story. Telling stories that relate to the topic of the podcast is essential to engaging the audience and making them feel like they are part of the experience, like they're just having a conversation with a friend. Storytelling also means having a logical structure to the podcast. Listeners need to be able to follow along and understand where the episode is going. 

Read more about incorporating storytelling in your podcast: https://www.podcast.co/create/podcast-storytelling-101#scroll.

4. Great guests

You can have the most entertaining host in the world, but a podcast needs occasional guests. And not just any random guests, but ones that are experts on your topic and have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation. You shouldn't completely rely on high-profile, well-known guests to keep the podcast afloat in regards to numbers of listeners or viewers”they should be additions to episodes in ways that make sense. Welcoming guests to the podcast is necessary for a change of pace for the audience. It's important for the listeners to hear from someone other than the host in order to get different perspectives on topics and also to just hear a new voice. 

5. Fun segments

Many podcasts already incorporate fun segments into each episode, but it's something every podcast needs. Whether it's a five-minute Q&A session where questions from the listeners are answered or a spotlight piece where a certain relevant individual or topical news story is highlighted, you should include at least one segment that elevates your podcast. And it shouldn't just be a time-filler. Having listeners send in questions, suggest episode ideas or ask for advice with a unique hashtag, for example, drives audience engagement. The segment should have a purpose, even if it's just to entertain. At the end of the day, podcasts need to give people a way to feel like active participants in the conversation.

What Facebook's New Audio Features Mean for Podcasters

via Facebook

While intimate entertainment experiences in their own right, podcasts inherently lack a level of audience interactivity and social connectivity. Facebook's Live Audio Rooms and podcast integrations offer a way to change that. 

Designed as a Clubhouse competitor, Facebook's new Audio Rooms feature circular profile pictures, active speaker highlights, reactions, and a virtual front row reserved for paying audience members. Hosts have the ability to pre-select fellow speakers or bring members of the audience up to the panel. Audio Rooms incorporate live captions, as well as a hand-raise function. Users can join active Audio Rooms or set reminders for scheduled events, similar to the pre-established webinar format. Capitalizing on the new wave of social media activism, Live Audio Room organizers have the ability to feature a specific donation cause and display a progress bar throughout the event.

Unlike Clubhouse, whose brand centers around exclusivity and access codes, Facebook Live Audio Rooms will soon be available to all Facebook users - 2.85 billion active monthly users at the time of publishing. That's a big pool of potential audience members.

Traditional podcasts are planned, recorded, and edited in advance. Live audio events take away that buffer”which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective”and open up space for a potentially more authentic experience for your audience. Live audio events enable speakers to engage an audience, without the extra pressure of being on camera. We're on Zoom long enough, there is no need to film ourselves more. 

Podcasters can take advantage of Live Audio Rooms to strike up a conversation with their guests and audience about a recent episode, topics that didn't make the final cut, current events, or even use the function as a live podcast recording. 

However, if you prefer to stick with pre-recorded audio content, Facebook offers Soundbites and a new podcast integration. Soundbites are marketed as short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven't yet imagined. Users will be able to record, edit, and publish short audio clips, all in-app. Soundbites is currently under development and will be released later this year. 

Facebook's podcast integration is potentially the most relevant update for current podcasters. Podcasts will be streamed through Facebook via RSS feed, allowing users to discover, interact with, and listen to podcasts and creators, all without leaving the Facebook app. This streaming method enables podcasters to continue individually tracking listening metrics. According to Facebook's Podcast Terms of Service, by using Facebook's podcast service, creators agree to the caching and production of derivative works. One can assume this refers to Facebook-generated promotional content and Soundbites, however this is left unclear. 

So what does this mean for podcasters? All these new services and features offer a more direct way for audio to become a social experience. As Audio Rooms, Soundbites, and podcasts will be curated and highlighted in users' existing feeds, it will be easier than ever for Facebook users to discover and interact with new audio content. 

The live aspect of audio rooms means speakers will receive immediate feedback on their content. This can be used as an experimental and/or rehearsal space. Podcasters can test out new formats, topics, and guests, all from the comfort of the Facebook app. Audio Rooms can also be a way of sharing current, well-performing content in new, accessible ways. 

Clubhouse and other podcast apps are sometimes overwhelming for users, who exit before finding the right audio experience for them. Podcasters can harness the power of Facebook's algorithm first-hand to reach audiences on one of the largest social networks in the world. Marketing and outreach will still be important, but it can be done in-app, rather than through extraneous third-party methods. 

Not all podcast listeners use Facebook and not all Facebook users listen to podcasts. Maximize your reach by interacting and creating for both spaces. Facebook's new audio features and functions will be rolled out to established creators and groups, with their general user base coming soon. 

Here at Random, we push our creative and comfort zones to create the best content we can. And so can you. Try out Facebook's new audio features for your podcast to tap into new levels of social and community interaction. 

But don't do it all alone. Are you ready for some podcast support? Reach us at hello@thatrandomagency.com

10 Black Podcasts that You Need In Your Life

If you believe that #BlackLivesMatter, it's not enough to merely post a black square or post protest photos and links on your Instagram Stories. As allies, it is imperative to support and advocate for Black People in America through our votes, our donations, and the media that we choose to consume. You can sign a petition, donate to your local bail fund or Black Lives Matter, purchase from Black-owned restaurants, stores, and businesses. Start at home by having tough conversations with friends and family members who may be either blissfully unaware or militantly vocal about their implicit biases. Stream movies, support Black artists on Patreon, and subscribe to podcasts from Black creators. 

We've curated a list of podcasts to get you started and would love to hear additional recommendations you all may have. At Random, we are committed to educating ourselves and our clients on how to be better allies and responsible global citizens. While you make your way through these trailers, take a moment to ensure that you are registered to vote for the upcoming primary and general elections. And while you're at it ” fill out the 2020 Census. It's never been more important. 

1. Scam Goddess

Scam Goddess is a podcast dedicated to exposing fraud and all those who practice it. Each week, host Laci Mosley keeps listeners up to date on current rackets, digs deep into the latest scams, and breaks down historic hoodwinks alongside some of your favorite comedians. Every episode starts with a recent scam, funny story, or letter from a listener. My favorite episode so far featured Jameela Jamil and was released during quarantine. Together they broke down the scam from Caroline Calloway ” the Instagram influencer who launched a "creativity workshop" that failed in a spectacularly public fashion. Some even called it a one-woman Fyre fest.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/09S0PCArMmrvnogyL0uX3c?si=ur8CvqNvQ0KjQWtl-x_5EA

2. What A Day

What A Day is a daily podcast that cuts through all the chaos and criminal activity to help you understand important initiatives and how you can contribute“ all in just fifteen minutes. The show is hosted by comedian Akilah Hughes and reporter Gideon Resnick. Episodes are available at 5 am every day, so it's a perfect addition to your morning routine. 

3. Keep It!

Keep It! has been around since 2018, which means there are SO MANY great episodes to binge. Each week, hosts Ira Madison III, Louis Virtel, and Aida Osman discuss the ways pop culture and the entertainment industry intersect with politics and society. They're joined by insanely popular guests on every episode ” Issa Rae, Tim Gunn, Ronan Farrow, and Angela Bassett just to name a few. In a recent episode with Bowen Yang, the Keep It! hosts discuss #BlackLivesMatter protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder, #BlackoutTuesday, and more. If you're a white person with questions about substantive allyship, give this episode a listen.

4. Nerdificent

This podcast is a must-listen for the inner nerd inside us all ” whether you like virtual reality or Dungeons & Dragons. Each episode focuses on a nerdy topic and is hosted by Dani Fernandez and Ify Nwadiwe. Whenever I listen to an episode of Nerdificent, I feel like I'm nerding out with friends and it's just pure, unadulterated fun. And if that wasn't enough, they also break down the history, culture, and future of every topic. Below is one of my favorite episodes on my guilty pleasure: Pokémon

5. Margaritas & Donuts

If you love romantic comedies, this podcast is for you! Faith McQuinn created this sensational  audiodrama about dating over age 40. The story centers around Josephine, her best friend Katrina, and her love interest named Malik. The casting, sound effects and masterful storytelling really sucks you in ” I'm not even embarrassed to say that I binged all 6 episodes in one day.

6. Code Switch

NPR's Code Switch tackles the subject of race head-on ” how race impacts politics, pop culture, history, sports, and everything in between. It's an extremely impactful and important examination of the structures that shape our lives, whether or not we are conscious of them. To keep up with the latest around the protests, #BlackLivesMatter, and policing, subscribe to the podcast, but also follow @CodeSwitch on Twitter. You won't regret it. 

7. Boom

If romcoms aren't your thing, you should definitely check out Boom: A Serial Drama, another audiodrama created by Faith McQuinn. BOOM is an exploration of  loss and recovery. Porter, a computer technician and outdoor enthusiast, must come to terms with the tragic murder of his best friend”and love of his life”Genevieve. It's far from an easy road for Porter who suffers through a harrowing  physical recovery as well as a mental one. The lead detective on the case believes Porter is the killer, and his two best friends are trying their hardest to get him to resemble  the guy he once was. This story was a great commute podcast for me, and I highly recommend it as a switch up from Audible.

8. The Nod

While this podcast is no longer actively producing episodes, it's still on our top 10 list due to  the amazing stories of Black life and culture that don't get told anywhere else. The show ranges from an explanation of purple drink's association with Black culture to the story of an interracial drag troupe that traveled the nation in the 1940s. They celebrate the genius, the innovation, and the resilience that is so particular to being Black ” in America, and around the world. If you're a white person looking to expand your knowledge and understanding of the Black experience in America , this podcast is a must-listen. 

9. Why Won't You Date Me?

I have been a fan of Nicole Byer since her days on Girl Code in 2013. Her career in TV has skyrocketed since then, and like her other projects, this podcast doesn't disappoint. Perpetually single, Nicole invites her friends, comedians, and ex-lovers to interview them about their love lives. Below is one of my favorite episodes with Ann Payne where they discuss a guy she met in AA who ended up in prison for arson. And when you're finished binging her podcast, check out Nicole Byer's original show on Facebook Watch called Loosely, Exactly, Nicole. It ended 2 years ago, but it's worth every second of your attention.

10. Ear Hustle

Ear Hustle is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with former San Quentin resident Antwan WilliamsThe show takes a deep dive into the life of prisoners at San Quentin State Prison with most episodes recorded inside prison walls. Ear Hustle reveals deep insight into the American prison system and the cultural factors that influence recidivism in the U.S. One of my favorite episodes in the latest season is called "Hold That Space." In this episode, Nigel and Earlonne interview four women in relationships with incarcerated men and the unique challenges they face.