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Here Are Seven Local Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Binge on these shows as the busy travel season begins.

Richard Steele records Vocalo’s Barber Shop Show at Carter’s Barber Shop in North Lawndale.   Photo: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

It’s holiday travel season, snow is in the forecast, and Serial’s second season hasn’t started yet. To pass the long hours in trains and planes, here are some great podcasts created in or about Chicago. (Disclaimer: Nerdette, Bad at Sports, Outside the Loop, and How to Do Everything are also great, but they’re not included here  because Chicago has endorsed them before.)

Curious City

A cast of Chicago journalists and history buffs investigate listener queries such as “What if the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 never happened?” and “Why do CTA buses arrive in bunches?”

The Axe Files

David Axelrod spins stories from his days on the Obama campaign and beyond. This week’s guest is former Obama speech writer Jon Favreau, who relays his famous first encounter with the president, during which he had to pluck the then-state senator’s favorite line from his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Homemade Stories

Detroit transplant Shannon Cason, a podcaster by way of Chicago’s live lit scene, spins narrative brain food á la a one-person Moth Radio Hour. This week’s episode is particularly rooted in Chicago, with vignettes set in Bronzeville, Austin, North Center, and the Loop.

The Barber Shop Show

WBEZ’s Richard Steele and a rotating cast of locals discuss the week in culture from Carter’s Barber Shop in North Lawndale.

It’s All True!

Comedian Tim Barnes interviews local performers (mostly standup comics), peppering edited stories (think Radiolab but less science) throughout. His interview with South Side legend Dwayne Kennedy (of the late Totally Biased) is a good place to start.

The Nerdologues

This for-nerds-by-nerds series of podcasts was launched primarily by members of Chicago’s sketch comedy scene,. After starting with the live-story show Your Stories it has branched into video games (Talking Games) and small-talk–averse interviewing (MBSing). The gang doesn’t post embeddable episodes online, but you can preview here and listen to an interview with the founders below.

The Distance

Local tech company Basecamp profiles businesses that have operated for at least 25 years, including Eli’s Cheesecake to Ashland Addison Florist.

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