March was a great month for podcast listening, wasn't it? There were some fantastic episodes from both new and old shows alike. Here are six of my favorites in no particular order, all (unintentionally) featuring some seriously fearless individuals. I'd highly, highly recommend each one to anyone and everyone.
1. What's Your Worth? from The Intern [March 8, 36 minutes]. Allison Behringer bravely takes listeners along as she negotiates her salary as host and producer of The Intern, and the episode is really eye-opening. She asks tough questions of her coworkers and peers, like "What's your salary?" and "How much do you think I make?" Their conversations are captivating. And when Allison finally sits down with her boss James to ask the big question, the nervous energy is so palpable, I could feel it all through my earbuds.
2. Standing Over the Bed from Nocturne [March 28, 29 minutes]. This has to be the most terrifying podcast episode I've ever heard, and it's not a fictional audio drama. Host Vanessa Lowe interviews a man named JD who's suffered through years of sleep paralysis and night terrors. He describes the lucid dreams he's endured night after night -- dreams that eventually tear his family apart -- and Vanessa brings them to life with brilliant and haunting sound effects.
3. I Never Talk About Politics from Millennial [March 14, 36 minutes]. Host Megan Tan interviews 30-year-old Ben Chin, a progressive Asian-American millennial. He decides to run for mayor in one of America's whitest states against a two-term incumbent who's been known to discriminate openly against the city's immigrant population. Things turn ugly after someone anonymously plants racist signs around town, but Ben's message remains hopeful. And when he gives his closing campaign speech, I may have shed a tear or two.
4. School (Parts I and II) from How to Be a Girl [March 9 and 24, 26 and 29 minutes]. Both parts of this episode are pure perfection. Host Marlo Mack and her transgender daughter talk about her first days as a second grader at a brand new school where none of her classmates know her secret. They chat about who to tell and how, all while carefully considering the delicate balance between safety and happiness. I'm in awe of Marlo for being such an incredible parent after listening to this one, and of her child for being such a thoughtful and wise seven-year-old.
5. Debatable from Radiolab [March 11, 58 minutes]. The fast-talking world of competitive debate is turned on its side by Ryan Wash, a queer, black, first generation college student from Kansas City. He questions everything about the system, even throwing aside assigned debate topics, and manages to win against some of the biggest "name-brand" teams out there. He's incredibly talented and passionate, and I still get chills when I think about his performance at his final competition.
6. Mom/Not Mom/Aunt from Modern Love [March 23, 20 minutes]. Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson reads the most beautiful essay about sibling love, which was written by Jerry Mahoney for The New York Times almost six years ago. After searching high and low for an egg donor, the sister of Jerry's partner volunteers to give them the greatest gift. It's a heartwarming story of total selflessness. And at the end, Jesse talks about the reason he chose the piece, plus Jerry gives gives an update about his life as a father that put the biggest smile on my face.
So tell me -- what were your favorite episodes from the month of March? Any of these? I'd love to hear!