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The best podcasts for challenging yourself with music and ideas that you did not know you might like...

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Who am I?

I am the host of the podcast Spotlight On. Throughout my career I have worked with, and on behalf of, a variety of entertainment artists and brands to help them grow and shape their relationships with their fans. This work has included producing and executive producing dozens of websites, online events and campaigns, film and video projects as well as Grammy-nominated and Clio-winning products. Even a pair of experiential pop-up retail locations for a global music icon. As a commentator, I have been featured in Rolling Stone, Billboard Magazine, Hollywood Reporter, Wall Street Journal and many others. My speaking and panelist engagements have included repeat appearances at the Billboard Touring Conference, among others. I am a published writer on both business and cultural topics and am involved as a charity board member and volunteer within my community. I have loved music from a very, very young age and I have been fascinated with the music business, its characters and history for almost as long. I have particular interests in artists, how they take their creative vision to fans and how that is made easier (and more complicated) by the realities of the 21st century marketplace and media ecosystem.

My Show

What is my podcast about and/or how does it relate to the playlist topic you chose?

Spotlight On takes listeners on a behind-the-scenes exploration of the past, present and future of modern culture and entertainment, through discussions with artists, musicians, thought leaders, industry pioneers, tech innovators and more. My podcast is essentially self-indulgent in that I explore topics I want to know more about. I just happen to assume other people share my interests. This playlist is an extension of that thinking.

What is my podcast playlist about?

As I said, I have loved music from a very, very young age and I have been fascinated with the music business, its characters and history for almost as long. So there's that. I have also been interested in freak culture, non mainstream science and philosophy. I love music, art and ideas that force my brain to consider the world and my reality in different ways. Letting these things in makes me a more open, empathetic person and makes life much more interesting.

The podcasts I picked and why

1. Podcast | Greenleaf Music by Dave Douglas

Why this podcast?

This podcast features interviews with important musical artists who do most of their work with little-to-no mainstream press or coverage. While some of the music can be challenging or obscure, this is not necessarily so nor does it mean the music and voices should not be heard. I do not listen all the way through every episode, but I always get turned on to new and interesting sounds, which is something I value.

Jazz Recordings and Podcasts

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2. What Had Happened Was

Why this podcast?

The 2021 Season is ostensibly a walk through the career of rapper/producer El-P (widely known as one half of Run the Jewels). What we really get is a sprawling history of New York left-of-center hip hop, mostly from the 90s on. It's a great lens through which to view a terrific era of music from one of the movers and shakers of the scene.

What Had Happened Was

What Had Happened Was

Stony Island Audio & Talkhouse

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Season 4 of What Had Happened Was features host Open Mike Eagle in conversation with legendary drummer, band leader and Oscar winner Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson. Throughout the course of the season, Questlove shares the stories behind the first four albums of the Legendary Roots Crew. Along the way, we hear Questlove’s personal rise alongside legends like Black Thought, Dilla, D’angelo, Jill Scott and many more.

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3 Listeners

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3. Hilaritas Press Podcasts

Why this podcast?

This podcast takes a deep dive into the lives and ideas of the writers, philosophers, mystics, conspiracy theorists, scientists and total kooks who influenced and inspired one of my psychonautic heroes, Robert Anton Wilson, a writer and thinker who helped me challenge my notions about the nature of reality...

Hilaritas Press Podcasts

Hilaritas Press Podcasts

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Exploring the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson and the influences that shaped his reality.

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1 Listener

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4. Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Why this podcast?

This podcast probably does not need my help getting heard, but there is something very sweet I find about Sam's style (and something admirable about the work he puts into interview prep). The guests are all pretty mainstream, but Sam has a knack for having "different" conversations, catching his guests off-guard with deeper questions - due to his prep - and eliciting responses different from the usual talk show circuit banter. If you see a person you are interested in or think you are familiar with on his episode list, have a listen. Chances are high you will hear something new for you.

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

iHeartPodcasts and Pushkin Industries

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4.8

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate conversations with artists, activists, and politicians. Where people sound like people. Hosted by Sam Fragoso. New episodes every Sunday.

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7 Listeners

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5. Robot or Not?

Why this podcast?

Because dorm-room level discourse and overly-obsessing about unimportant things never goes out of style.

Robot or Not?

Robot or Not?

John Siracusa and Jason Snell

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Jason Snell asks John Siracusa to rule on the meaning of various words and concepts. It’s not just about robots anymore. Have a question for John? Email [email protected].

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