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I love hearing people tell stories, especially about the lives they’re living and the things they know a lot about. Podcasts are one of the best and easiest ways to engage with storytellers from all walks of life. More than that, podcasts are an intimate intermediary between content creators and those who listen. People choose, at any time of day or night, to plug hosts directly into their ears to hear what they have to say.
If you’re plugged into the Apple ecosystem, they have a podcast app native to the devices. And ever since Spotify acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor FM, it’s become one of the most important places for podcast creators to make their shows available. Like with Apple’s podcast app, Spotify doesn’t require users to have a paid subscription to listen to podcast content.
Be inspired, learn something or simply enjoy the voices and stories curated in these 13 Detroit podcasts—with one extra we’re looking forward to when it launches later this year.
Ready to listen? Check out a curated Spotify playlist with one of my favorite episodes from each podcast.
This story is part of Detour’s winter survival guide, where we’re pulling together all our recommendations for getting through this season. Know another podcast we should be listening to, have a tip for a fun way to spend a cold afternoon or have a question about Detroit winters? Share it here.
Podcasts from Detroit storytellers
“Twisted Storytellers” with Satori Shakoor
Satori Shakoor describes herself as “a midwife of stories and storytellers.” According to her, everybody has one story to tell, but they don’t all know how to tell it well. Shakoor is the founder of the Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers, and host and curator of the “Twisted Storytellers” live events and podcast. Listen to this show to laugh, shout, cry, learn and experience humanity.
Shannon Cason’s “Homemade Stories”
Shannon Cason is a storyteller in every sense of the word. He is utterly transparent, meaning he won’t share unless he’s going to tell the great, the trouble and everything in between. Even more than that, as he speaks it’s easy to hear the delight he takes in engaging listeners. Besides Homemade Stories, Cason hosted another podcast, “The Trouble.”
Podcasts for advice — and meeting life’s challenges
“Same Same Different” with Bryce Huffman
Huffman’s show is “about identity and how to survive ‘otherness’ with our humanity and sanity intact.” Episodes covered topics like how to confront people who other us and parents who allow their children to teach them how to change the ways they think about identity.
“The Best Advice Show”
Zak Rosen is a veteran audio and podcast producer who wanted to offer listeners advice on getting through the pandemic. Since April, Rosen has done exactly as the title suggests. In each episode, he presents great advice from contributors all over the world, offering encouragement, fun and comfort for listeners. If you’ve got something to share that’s helping you get through this ongoing global challenge, you can submit your best piece of advice for a chance to be on the show.
Podcasts about life in and around Detroit right now
“We Lived It”
This podcast is an audio project between the Detroit Free Press and the Michigan History Center, chronicling the stories of everyday Detroiters and their experiences enduring the COVID-19 pandemic. Episodes feature stories from adults, children and even Santa Claus.
“Dearborn Girl” is a podcast that primarily features the stories and perspectives of Arab and Muslim women in Dearborn to inspire courageous conversation in the community. Stories address dating, being silenced in public education, finding resources to support mental health, the Dearborn accent and being “Dearborn” outside of the city. In June, the show hosted a series of episodes that discussed racial trauma and anti-Blackness in Dearborn.
One podcast about the coronavirus pandemic and science
“America Dissected” is a podcast featuring Dr. Abdul El-Sayed—physician, public health professional and a 2018 Democratic candidate for Michigan governor. In its first season, the show covered topics such as the Flint water crisis and health care for all. Now in its second season, the podcast is focusing on COVID-19: the science around the virus and the development of a vaccine, as well as managing school, work, healthcare and mental wellness.
One excellent cooking podcast
“Ann Delisi’s Essential Cooking”
WDET’s Ann Delisi and James Beard-nominated Chef James Rigato host conversations with incredible chefs and other culinary experts to empower listeners in the kitchen. Get great recipes, drink pairing guidelines, tips on how to sharpen your knives and inspiration from people who use cooking to renew their lives.
Podcasts tackling motivation and mindset
“Brave By Design” with Laura Khalil
This podcast is all about providing listeners with tools to strengthen a positive and resilient mindset, while offering concrete strategies to live and lead well now. Episodes focus on subjects such as finance, making good choices and how to speak with people who strongly disagree with you.
“My Peace is Non-Negotiable” with Marlin Williams
Marlin Williams is a powerhouse Detroit-based tech leader who uses her power to share how she lost everything and, to borrow a phrase from the new White House administration, built back better. Williams’ style on the show is straight talk from someone who’s journeyed the roads of which she speaks and is ready to jolt listener’s spirits to reveal their worth.
“The Sunday Jumpstart” with Jessica Lauren
Jessica Lauren is a Detroit-born, Chicago-based blogger, goal coach and podcast host. Her show “The Sunday Jumpstart” is designed to “help goal getters ditch the excuses, do the work and make ish happen!” I’ll add that she also just sounds great on the audio, with a voice that is warm and approachable—a lot like the tone of the podcast’s website. She doesn’t interview guests every week either, making the show more personal for listeners seeking a strategy and uplift session between friends.
“The Dream Studio” with Danielle D. North
Danielle D. North is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the Detroit Women’s Leadership Network and The Blend. Danielle has said it plenty of times before—it’s her IG handle, for goodness sake—“My only gift is doing,” and she wants listeners to be active in the creation of their lives, too. The podcast is brand new (and not currently on Spotify), but it’s all about lulling people spending too much time dreaming about what can be into taking action.
Podcasts about Detroit history
“The Detroit History Podcast”
Longtime journalist and communications professor Tim Kiska is also a student of history, and he takes listeners on all kinds of Detroit-specific journeys from the 19th through the 21st century in this podcast. Episodes profile well-known Detroiters like Lottie The Body, beloved neighborhood institutions like the Cadieux Cafe and true crime events like the Evangelista Occult Murders.
Coming soon… “Our Father: Faith and Fascism in the Heart of Detroit”
Journalist Andrew Lapin has worked for several years to produce this important and somehow still timely narrative podcast about Detroit’s own Father of Fascism, Charles E. Coughlin. Coughlin was known as the “radio priest” who used his platform as leader of the Shrine of the Little Flower parish in Royal Oak to spread anti-semitism and other messages of hate during the Great Depression. The podcast is slated to premiere in the first half of 2021.