If the endorsements of Ira Glass and PJ Vogt are not enough to sway you, there ain't a chance this will, but we lend our voices, nevertheless, to the chorus of praise attending comedian Chris Gethard's podcast, Beautiful/Anonymous. Premise: Chris opens the phone lines from a studio in New York and an anonymous caller is put through at random. The two proceed to have an hour-long conversation. The guest can hang up whenever they like, but Chris is locked in for 60 minutes, no matter what, and all contact ends when the phone call does; in theory, they'll never speak again. The result is something magical, confessional, mysterious, an experience of blinking into our collective humanity. From the nurse who's just come off shift, to the 28-year-old guy who worries his wife no longer loves him, to the man you heard on This American Life, who wants to do something but can't quite imagine what: the veil of anonymity, paired with Chris' warmth and wonder, allows them to air terrifying insecurities, secret dreams and unflattering rumination, sometimes for the first time in their lives. It's just as special as everyone says it is and a new staple in our audio diet.
Gateway episodes: Episode #1: Ron Paul's Baby (15 Mar 2016) / Episode #8: Running Down a Stapler (26 Apr 2016) / Episode #10: 4 Kids 0 Sex (10 May 2016)