‘The Mastercast’s’ best finds of September 2021

The+Mastercasts+best+finds+of+September+2021

Marie Tanksley

Description:
“The Mastercast” reviews “Your Brain of Facts,” “Patient Zero,” “Short History of…,” “Strangeville,” “My Amazing Body” and more.

Transcript:
Hey Pod lovers, if you’re joining us for the first time, Welcome! The Mastercast is a podcast recommendation show that consists of seven non-spoiler, binge-worthy reviews of the best podcasts in a short and sweet two-to-three minute summary on everything you could want to know, from the number of hosts to on average how long you can expect each episode to be. For more details and more reviews, I highly recommend checking out the first four episodes. We have some lengthy reviews, which means I was very excited about these podcasts, so let’s get started.

“Your Brain on Facts”

Trivia nerds rejoice! “Your Brain on Facts” is an educational podcast about facts and the stories behind them. Host Moxie LaBouche, covers a wide range of well-researched topics with perfect delivery that hooks you in every time. Subjects covered in the past have included music, history, parties and so much more.

The writing and production are phenomenal. It’s well-structured and informational with no small talk. Despite this, there is a fair bit of comedy in how the stories are told.

While many people have credited the show with getting them into podcasts, LaBouche is also known for her amazing radio voice and does voice-over work as well. At first, I found her perfect radio voice a little too calming for work, but the facts are too interesting to make it a sleep podcast. Even the commercials are entertaining, and on a more important note, at a leveled volume.

She also has a book out similar to the podcast worth checking out. Apple Podcasts has 4.7 out of 5 stars and 133 ratings. So far the show has 202 episodes all about half an hour long with new ones coming out weekly on Fridays.

Some of my favorite episodes so far have been “We Can’t Have Nice Things: Art & Antiquities Edition” and “Project Pigeon and Acoustic Kitty” (trigger for violence against animals). OwlTail’s most popular according to listens are “Meeting New Peoples” and “hiStory.”

The music is brief, as are commercials. The pod also has a great website with all of the episodes, scripts and sources. As a long-time listener, I highly recommend the show. Facts truly don’t get much better than this.

Similar Pods: “Damn Interesting,” “Historical Blindness” and “The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong”

“Patient Zero”

“Patient Zero” produced by New Hampshire Public Radio is a deep dive look at Lyme disease; its history, origins, but also the precariousness that comes with the diagnosis. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that causes symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, skin rash and, when left untreated, heart, nerve and joint issues.

I didn’t know there could be so much controversy around a disease. I thought that in the medical profession there were knowns and unknowns, but it makes sense there are things up for debate. This podcast confronts this and so much more, like misinformation of this understudied illness.

No matter what you’re into, this podcast touches it a bit. It listens like true crime, but instead of crooks, the offenders are bacteria. That being said, I don’t think the show is gross when it comes to the medical details at all.

The eight-part series has three really great bonus episodes, but they should all be listened to in order. It’s chock-full of compelling reporting and solid production quality, which comes as no surprise seeing as it came from the same team that produced “Bear Brook.”

Host and reporter Taylor Quimby is also a senior producer for NHPR’s widely popular “Outside/In” podcast and comes to “Patient Zero” with personal experience. In 2017, Quimby had his own confrontation with the infection, which he speaks about lightly throughout the pod. The search for answers about the condition was a major motivation for the show.

Apple podcasts has 4.1 stars and 1,300 ratings. It was also named one of the best listens of 2019 by the same. The average episode length is 33 minutes, and the music is discreet. The script involves some interviews and the host narrating the story of the disease. Sound effects were barely noticeable to me but bothered some. Trigger warnings for hopelessness and medical scenarios.

Similar Pods: “This Much is True,” “This Podcast Will Kill You” and “Emerging Infectious Diseases”

“Doomsday: History’s Most Dangerous Podcast”

I love “Doomsday: Historoy’s Most Dangerous Podcst” so much! The morbidly funny 2020 show covers some of the most shocking days and disasters in history with wit and solid production quality. All of the episodes cover events I had never heard about. It’s solo hosted by Brad Choma and part of the Funeral Kazoo Productions. Funeral Kazoo seems to pride itself in being different and also has another show, “Sleep Manuals: A How-To Guide to Sleep,” which is intended to guide you to sleep.

Watch out for their newest shows, “Inventors of Death” and “Spilled Milk,” set to come out this year. I really love Choma’s voice and humor. He also has a brilliant voice for radio, making the show something I can fall asleep to but also be entertained at work with.

A bit of a warning though: the subject of this podcast and banter surrounding it is not for the fainthearted. I don’t find it offensive or disrespectful in any way, but if jokes about disasters are not what you’re trying to sign up for, maybe skip this one. That being said, this is one of the few podcasts that can actually make me laugh out loud.

Apple Podcasts has an incredible 5/5 stars, 23 ratings and 12 written reviews. So far the show has 26 episodes, all about 24 minutes in length, with new ones coming out bimonthly on Fridays.

OwlTail isn’t able to calculate the most popular episodes yet with too few episodes, but the most entertaining to me have been “The Great Boston Molassacre of 1919” and “The Mandhradevi Temple Apocalypse of 2005.” Music is minimal.

Similar Pods: “Short History Of…,” “This Is A Disaster” and “Black Box Down”

“Short History Of…”

I know I review a lot of history podcasts, but “Short History of…” one is something special. Host Paul McGann, who some may know from his other popular podcast, “Real Dictators,” could make reading from the dictionary entertaining.

It’s as if he was born to narrate, but this, coupled with the brilliant writing and detailed sound design Nosier is known for, makes each episode feel as if you’re watching a documentary instead of just listening to audio. It inspires vivid emotion as only the best-produced podcasts can. It dives into deeper questions of events instead of just retelling stories we’re all familiar with. For example, how did the people of the time perceive the aftermath of the black death?

Apple Podcasts has 4.9 stars and 532 ratings. Although the show description says new episodes come out every Monday, they have been every Sunday for me. This might be because of a time difference. So far there are 13 episodes that have an average length of about an hour: Perfect length if you have an hour commute.

The most played according to OwlTail are “The Gladiators” and “Pompeii and the Vesuvius Eruption.” While I really enjoyed those episodes as well, my favorites are “Rosa Parks” and “The Space Race.”

Expert guests are featured on the show, but their integration is so seamless I honestly never noticed they were there until I thought about it. Commercials are super short. I’m used to skipping a minute and a half of commercials, so quick 20 seconds to 45 seconds is great.

Sound effects are present as mentioned but not distracting or annoying. Readers of my reviews might know that I usually wait for a podcast to have about 20 episodes before reviewing (I do this to make sure it’s consistent for what I’m reporting and to make sure it’s going to stick around), but for this one, I couldn’t let you sleep on it. I hope it never stops!

Trigger warnings for violence and death, but kid-friendly (older kids) and graphic.

Similar Pods: “Flashback: History’s Unintended Consequences,” “American History Tellers” and “Killer Psyche”

“Killer Psyche”

“Killer Psyche” is true-crime podcast from Wondery hosted by Candice DeLong, who is a retired FBI agent, and focuses on cases through a behavioral science/psychology perspective. The forensic nurse-turned-profiler spent 20 years leading investigations and is now known worldwide as an expert in homicide.

Before this podcast, which launched in 2021, DeLong was widely known as the host of “Deadly Women.” Looking at what led the criminals to do what they did, she covers with confidence cases she was a part of and others she can only apply speculation to. This confidence — I’m sure — is something needed to work in such a field.

Some listeners have expressed not caring for speculation, but it’s a podcast about psychology, and psychology is a new science that, while based on research and experimentation, is still developing, so I think some speculation from a profiler is within reason.

As with every podcast, there are some growing pains, and people need time to catch their strides. Earlier episodes are more of the stories of what happened as opposed to deep dives into the psyche involved. I think the show recognized the general disappointment in this and now concentrates a lot more on it.

The host is a professional with opinions and sometimes bias. I’m sure she realizes that, but it is important for listeners to keep in mind as well. This isn’t the gospel but rather a podcast with this professional’s experience influencing it.

She also shares distinct methods and techniques that are used to understand, predict and catch some of the country’s most devious. The descriptions are clear and distinct but also explained in a way that even someone like me who has no training can understand. It’s respectful but insightful.

DeLong doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the crimes but doesn’t bog down in the gruesome details either. So far the show has 18 episodes with new ones releasing weekly on Tuesdays. OwlTail needs more episodes to figure out the most popular, but my favorite two are “The Lipstick Killer” and “The Tylenol Murders.”

“The Case of Gabby Petito” (which I suspect will be the most popular, at least for a while) is a drastically different format from how the other episodes are done. This one has a cohost while the others are just DeLong leading a narrative analysis of each case.

I’ve seen a few places that have said the podcast had gone paid, but I checked Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Pocketcasts and have had no paid prompts on any of them.

No audio issues. I don’t like the heavy emphasis on words to make a point, but that’s just my preference. It’s really common in true crime and not a deal-breaker. There’s no topping first-hand experience and a peek inside!

Similar Pods: “The Philosophy of Crime,” “The Forensic Psychology Podcast” and “True Crime Psychology and Personality”

“Strangeville”

“Strangevilile” is a brand new 2021 podcast from Vault Studios made up of strange, weird and crime-adjacent stories from around the United States with the high standard of production and storytelling Vault is known for.

Vault Studios is the same network that created “Bardstown” and “The Officer’s Wife.” Will Johnson is the show’s main host, but fellow “True Crime Chronicle” host Reed Redmond also makes an appearance.

One thing I really like about it is that the topics aren’t as dark or gruesome as they usually are with true crime. No one dies (although in one episode someone was already dead).

Season 1 is complete, but there are eight episodes to catch up on while you wait for season 2. So far the episodes have been about 45 minutes in length and when releasing come out weekly on Thursdays.

My favorite episodes were “The Missing Tiger” and “The Hidden Painting.” The script is a lot like other shows from the network, with people involved or close to the event detailing the story.

Apple Podcasts has the show at 4.8 stars out of 5 with 168 ratings. Music is a spooky-cute theme and the same every episode. It can really only be heard in the intro and outro. The commercial amount is average.

Trigger warning for dealings with the deceased and possible animal cruelty.

Similar Pods: “Criminal,” “Mystery Show” and “Decoder Ring”

“My Amazing Body”

The health science podcast “My Amazing Body” covers a different part of your body every episode with the help of medical professionals and stories from everyday people.

The Australian podcast is produced by Queensland Health and started in 2019. Sadly, it looks like the podcast has ended or is on a very long hiatus. Before its untimely departure, 26 episodes were published, all on average about 30 minutes long.

OwlTail has the most popular episodes for the show being “The Liver” and “Gender.” My favorites are “The Ears” and “The Gut Microbiome.” The last five episodes focused on mental health and were done really well. They have a Youtube channel, but I only saw a full episode or two posted.

Apple Podcast has 5 out of 5 stars but only 6 ratings, which is crazy for such a well-done show. The script is narrative, with each episode starting out by explaining what the body part or system does and how it functions.

I love the music and sounds used in the podcast. While there is an outro jingle, the intro is done with the sound of a beating heart, which I think is super cool.

The only trigger warnings for this show are health-related and pretty clear by the episode title. So if you have a hard time hearing someone describe anxiety, that might be a good episode to skip.

I really love this podcast and hopefully, with enough interest in it, we can get it to come back.

Similar Pods: “Meat,” “Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter” and “Life Kit: Health”

That’s all for this week, but remember if you want to see any of the podcasts I’ve mentioned on the show, be sure to check out the show notes or KCSUFM.com. There you can tell us if you have music you would like played on the show or submit a podcast to be recommended. You can find my sources in the show notes there as well. Remember to share “The Mastercast” with the pod lovers in your life and lookout for the next episode. This week’s music came from various artists on gameart.org/. Thanks for listening!

Music by:
Hardmoon / Arjen Schumacher
Tausdei
Patrick de Arteaga at patrickdearteaga.com
Vishwa Jai
Matthew Pablo
“Blueberries” composed, performed, mixed and mastered by Viktor Kraus