LA Podography; or, A Guide to Podcasts About Los Angeles

What follows is intended to be an exhaustive directory to podcasts in which, broadly speaking, Los Angeles is the subject. I’d like to apologize for my neologism, “podography,” but I’m not sure how else to refer to the podcast equivalent of a bibliography, discography, filmography, or webography.

We can thank Ben Hammersley for coining the term “podcast” in 2004, a portmanteau of “iPod” and “broadcast.” Although I’m generally opposed to genericized trademarks (e.g. aspirin, band-aid, chapstick, coke, google, hoover, kleenex, speedo, velcro, xerox, &c), by 2005 “podcast” was so widely adopted that most today would probably struggle to recognize the meaning of the generic “netcast.” Of course, there are undoubtedly still those, in 2018, who are unaware of what a podcast is, for that matter, despite the medium pre-dating the term by several years. Some trace the birth of the podcast back to Adam Curry‘s long-defunct “audioblogs,” whilst others, (including the program’s host), trace it back to Christopher Lydon‘s still excellent Radio Open Source.

Nowadays there are so podcasts that almost never listen to the radio (except for “old time radio” dramas, and even then I stream them online). There are so many good podcasts that I usually listen to them at either 1.5x or 2x, thus allowing me more time to enjoy silence or music. And unlike radio, where one either mutes the station or changes it when confronted with an advertisement, with a podcast one can merely hit the fast forward button to avoid hearing the host or intrusive advertiser promoting their innovative mattresses, underpants, web services, or (most useless of all) shirts designed to be worn untucked.

In recent years, a handful of podcasters have turned to Los Angeles as subject. Usually, the format is similar. A host — or more often two co-hosts — share some Los Angeles history deemed sufficiently obscure. The tone varies between jokey and academic. Even when formulaic, I enjoy all of them but compiling this podography has me wondering about what else a Los Angeles podcast could be… perhaps something less explanatory, more immersive, and more abstract — albeit less challengingly abstract than, say, Glenn Gould‘s experimental radio documentaries of the 1960s and ’70s. For now, however, consider the following.


Notebook on Cities and Culture (2007-2015)

NoCaCAfter the conclusion of his radio program, Marketplace of Ideas, essayist and host Colin Marshall launched a podcast, Notebook on Cities and Culturein which he conducted in-depth discussions with artists, explorers, critics, editors, radio hosts, and other cultural creators. Notebook on Cities and Culture wasn’t exclusively focused on Los Angeles, however, and over time he explored to Mexico City, Japan, the Pacific Northwest, and Korea, where he now lives.


You Can’t Eat the Sunshine (2013-present)

You Can't Eat the SunshineYou Can’t Eat the Sunshine is the monthly podcast created and hosted by Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, who also lead guided bus tours as Esotouric. In the podcast, the married, native Angelenos advocate for the preservation of Los Angeles’s pre-1980s built environment and interview other Los Angeles historians and preservationists.


Hidden History of Los Angeles (2013-present)

Hidden HistoryHidden History of Los Angeles is native Pasadenan Robert Petersen‘s podcast which he “explores the lesser-known aspects of Los Angeles history” with the aid of voice-over actors.

 


L.A. Meekly (2013-present)

L.A. WeeklyL.A. Meekly is co-hosted by Daniel Zafran and Greg Gonzalez, two native Angelenos and comedians who joke and explore the lesser-known aspects of Los Angeles history.

 


Valley of Smoke (2015-present)

Valley of SmokeValley of Smoke is Downey-native/Cypress-raised Alex MacInnis‘s series of audio documentaries about various aspects of Los Angeles culture. Painstakingly constructed, only a few episodes have aired each year.


Home: Stories from L.A. (2015-2017)

Home.jpgHome: Stories from L.A. was Philadelphia-born Bill Barol‘s podcast which documented famous, infamous, and non-famous residences in Los Angeles and in the process examined notions of home and more. In 2017, Barol announced that the program was going on indefinite hiatus.


SGV Connect  (2016-present)

SGV-Connect-Logo-Black-2.jpgSGV Connect is Damien Newton‘s podcast about mass transit and active transportation in the San Gabriel Valley. Prior to June 2017, it was known as DamienTalksSGV.

 


Off Peak (2016)

Off Peak.jpgOff Peak was Metro’s promising but very short-lived podcast designed to challenge the “car-centric narrative of Los Angeles” by focusing on the rich history of the county’s mass and active transit as well as its future. 

 


LA Podcast (2018-present)

LA Podcast.jpgLA Podcast is a podcast in which Hayes Davenport, Scott Frazier, and since July 2018, St. Louis, Missouri-native Alissa Walker joke and discuss news and politics in Los Angeles. 

 


Órale Boyle Heights (2018-present)

Orale Boyle Heights.jpgÓrale Boyle Heights is the podcast in which host Erick Huerta (former blogger behind LA Eastside) conducts long interviews and jokes with various cultural creators from Boyle Heights and elsewhere in Los Angeles’s Eastside.


Welcome to LA (2018)

Welcome to LAWelcome to LA was St. Louis, Missouri-native David Weinberg‘s podcast in which he recounted tales of  “movie stars and Hollywood hopefuls whose stories seem too crazy to be true.”

 


239976Our/Los Angeles is a podcast launched in September 2018 hosted by Courtney Nichols. According to their website, “LA is a city of many cities. Diversity in its people, it’s [sic] places and its poetry. Each episode will feature an in depth look into a specific side, layer, tangent, fascination of Los Angeles. That only someone who lives and loves LA as much as we do would know.” The podcast is sponsored by Our/Vodka and therefore listeners must be 21 and over to stream or download.


ALSO OF NOTE

Never 30 (2017-present) is the Ventura County Star‘s history podcast, hosted by Andrea Howry.

Jo Kwon Reporting (2017) was journalist Jo Kwon‘s podcast in which she produced three episodes which explored various aspects of Southern California’s cannabis culture but seems to have been put on hold.

Los Angeles Webography… Wayfarers All


Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of Brightwell’s maps are available from 1650 GalleryHe is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiTwitter, and Weibo.
Click here to offer financial support and thank you!

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