If you have any doubt that podcasts are the new radio, the latest data indicate that there are more than 700,000 podcasts on the Internet offering a collective 29 million episodes. That’s a mighty forest of audio, with most of its trees falling unnoticed by most people. As a service to eager ears looking for something new—and local—we sought out the funniest, grisliest, most important and most outrageous Florida-based podcasts for your listening pleasure.
The Dick Jones Show
- Launched: August 2019
- Genre: Comedy
- Host: Gregg Weiner
About: Gregg Weiner juggles multiple careers—he’s a Carbonell-winning actor in South Florida theatre and a DJ on 102.7-FM The Beach—but his side gig as a podcaster is his most gonzo venture, a romp through his own psyche as refracted through multiple personas. Inspired by “The Phil Hendrie Show,” the pioneering radio program in which the host interviewed outrageous “guests” also voiced by Hendrie, Weiner plays both himself and a peanut-gallery panel consisting of Dick Jones, a rotund African-American “food critic;” Dr. Bill Phil, a folksy, linguistically challenged health professional modeled after a certain daytime TV personality; and Tony Soprano, who apparently outlived that night in the diner. Like a ventriloquist trying to manage his interjecting dummies, Weiner deftly balances the tower of babble in his head. Though the humor of their interactions pokes politically incorrect fun in its riffs on black, Jewish, redneck and Italian mobster tropes, the show’s best segments exorcise Weiner’s own neuroses, possibly serving as entertainment therapy. “The Dick Jones Show” is an outgrowth of Weiner’s previous podcast, “The Weiner Sheikh Show,” a collaboration with fellow-actor Imran Sheikh, whose 54 episodes, still amusing and accessible, are cut from a similar cloth.
The Exes Nexus
- Launched: July 2018
- Genre: Entertainment
- Hosts: Krystina Parker and Jim Brogan
About: “We used to date, and then we hated each other, and now we make a show together.” That’s Brogan’s pithy history of his relationship with Parker, and the gimmick behind this podcast’s title. The hosts have known each other for 20 years and not only became friendly again after de-coupling; they also share an infectious chemistry as the creators of this pop-culture chatfest. Potent potables help: On each of their weekly shows, a bartender colleague mixes them bespoke libations with, preferable, delectably dirty names like the Slow Screw and Sand in the Crack. (You know they’re drinking on the job, because you can hear the ice cubes clink in the glasses.) The cocktails leave the exes verbally lubricated to discuss entertainment both breaking and vintage—the buzziest movies, the coolest Netflix shows, the trashiest celebrity gossip. Brogan and Parker describe their show as “irritainment,” but it’s superior to that. It’s a weekly meeting, with your friends, in a bar, to discuss what you’ve seen that week. Pour me another.
- Launched: May 2018
- Genre: Comedy/crime
- Hosts: Joel Lounds and Phil Godbold
About: The Sunshine State has cornered the market on dumb criminals, and we’re cool with that. No publicity is bad publicity, right? Florida transplants Joel Lounds and Phil Godbold, born in Michigan and Mississippi, respectively, host this official podcast of Florida Man, the enormously popular Reddit forum, and they skewer the dumb denizens of their adopted home with deadpan audio forensics. They describe their program as “part true crime, part comedy, all weird.” A sample of the stories they cover includes: “Florida Man Says 3 Syringes Found in His Rectum Aren’t His” (episode 37) and “Florida Man Arrested For Allegedly Throwing Corn at Mom’s Head” (episode 63) and “A Florida Man Threw His Feces at a Miami Judge. Then, the Jury Acquitted Him” (episode 77). Florida Man being our state’s most robust renewable resource, there’s never a concern that the hosts will run out of bonkers material. Links to all the news stories covered in each podcast appear on its website, so you rest assured knowing they’re not making this stuff up.
The Flow Down
- Launched: Oct. 2018
- Genre: Educational
- Hosts: Jessica Weiss and Stefanie Kleinburd
About: You might classify this podcast about menstruation, hosted by two best friends in Miami, as niche programming, but that niche comprises 50.8 percent of the population. Periods are inevitable to the reproductive health of women, yet they’re really discussed in polite company. As Weiss says in episode one, they are “still so shrouded in shame and mystery in our culture. It’s too messy, or too personal, or too gross. It’s incredibly stigmatized.” The Flow Down aims to reverse that stigma by featuring experts on a broad spectrum of “periodical” topics: menstrual cups one week, premenstrual dysmorphic disorder another week. Weiss and Kleinburd have interviewed a filmmaker about her 2019 Oscar-winning short “Period. End of Sentence,” and an activist advocating free period products in prisons, and a gynecologist on how best to navigate period pain. The podcast has attracted listeners from around the world, and while it serves as a vital fount of information, the hosts have fun, too, as evidenced by their theme song, a bouncy surf rocker by Tacocat called “Crimson Wave.”
- Launched: April 2018
- Genre: Crime
- Host: EmmaKate Austin
About: Felonious Florida is our homespun version of Serial, the addictive episodic podcast that revolutionized the medium. Produced by the Sun Sentinel in collaboration with Wondery, the world’s largest independent podcast publisher, it’s hosted by a real reporter, EmmaKate Austin, and features other real reporters repurposing their true-crime journalism into audio form. They draw on court documents, interviews, police reports and media coverage to perform podcast postmortems on some of the tri-county’s most compelling crimes of the past 30 years—like the killing of the owner of Casey’s Nickelodeon in 1994, and the Town Center mall murders of 2007. Borrowing from television’s playbook, the creators divide their content into seasons; the second, which concluded last November, patiently featured just three cases over seven episodes, including the surreal two-part “Killer Clown of Wellington.” Unlike the “turn on the microphones and chat” simplicity of most podcasts, Felonious Florida has the editing tools and resources to bring these dark corners of the Sunshine State to light, and it can as heartbreaking as it is harrowing.