April has been a fantastic month for podcasts, hasn't it? A few of my longtime favorite shows aired incredible new episodes, and three brand new podcasts blew me away with fresh and original uploads. Below are six of my favorites from the month of April. If for some reason you haven't heard them yet, hop to it! And I'd love to know -- what were your favorite episodes this month?
A Body In A New Place from Archive 81 [April 6, 17 minutes]. The brand new audio drama's first episode sets the scene perfectly. Dan is starting a new temporary assignment for a historical society in New York. He's been tasked with archiving a mysterious set of conversations that took place in a high-rise apartment complex in the 1990s. He's in an isolated building in the woods, and he's forced to record everything that he does. The tapes are creepy -- they're not at all what Dan expects to hear. He sends them off to his friend Marc, and then poof, he's gone. I'm so intrigued by this new found-footage show, and I cannot wait to hear the story unfold.
Abraham Lincoln: His hand and his pen from Presidential [April 24, 54 minutes]. I'd been looking forward to episode sixteen of this great show ever since it started back in January, and it did not disappoint. Host Lillian Cunningham talks with Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin -- author of Team of Rivals -- and historian Michelle Krowl about Lincoln's love of language and his gift for leadership. They also talk about his life before the presidency, his struggles with depression, and how he'd feel today about the legacy he created. The last few minutes of this episode had me covered in goosebumps. Even if you haven't heard any others from this great show, I'd highly recommend checking this one out.
Standard Out Cue from Hyphen [April 4, 19 minutes]. Hyphen's first episode is all about names, and it's really good. Host Parth Shah -- an Indian-American reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio -- chats with friends and family who deal with mispronunciations on a daily basis. He also talks about the tough choice he had to make when he was asked to record a standard out cue for his first big radio story. How would he pronounce his own name on air -- the way his peers do, or the way his family does? It's a powerful (and pretty surprising) moment when he plays the recording at the end of the episode.
Struck by Lightning from Outside Podcast [April 11, 42 minutes]. In its second upload ever, Outside Podcast tells the story of Phil Broscovak, a rock climber whose life was turned upside down in an instant one afternoon many years ago. He was hit by lightning while climbing with his family, and he's been a different person ever since. Many who've survived lightning strikes develop talents they never had before -- they become phenomenal pianists or award-winning writers -- but not Phil. This episode includes some incredible sound effects, and I'm pretty positive I'll forever be afraid of thunderstorms after hearing it.
Terry Gross on Not Having Kids from The Longest Shortest Time [April 20, 38 minutes]. Host Hillary Frank throws some seriously tough and personal questions at Fresh Air's Terry Gross, and her answers to them are honest and insightful. She talks about her childhood growing up with great (but not super affectionate) parents, her decision to prioritize her career over having a family, and her role as a feminist pioneer in the radio world. If you're a fan of Fresh Air and haven't tuned in to this great interview yet, you have to.
When I Almost Died from Death, Sex & Money [April 20, 33 minutes]. The podcast's listeners tell host Anna Sale about their near-death experiences. They share stories about airplane crashes, cancer diagnoses, suicide attempts, car accidents, and many other brushes with death. They also talk about how their priorities shifted afterwards (for better or worse), and whether or not they view death differently having been so close to it before. Their thoughts are fascinating to hear, and I'm so grateful they were willing to share them. It has to be one of the show's most powerful uploads yet, I think.