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10 PR Podcasts to Enhance Empathy, Expand Your View of the World, and Help You Get Better at PR

Mai Le

Jun 13, 2023

PR pros are always looking for ways to get inspired and become more productive and like many professionals, they're increasingly tuning into podcasts while they work. Podcasts are an excellent medium for busy working people as they can be consumed on-the-go, whether on your commute, working out at the gym, cooking, or other activities.

Seeing another’s perspective is an important skill we need to nurture as PR professionals. Seeking and digesting information about the world around us, helps us expand our worldviews and learn more about industries that we work in.

These PR podcasts are sure to inspire, inform, and help you become the best PR professional you can be!

If you're a podcast novice, here are some of we recommend.

10 Great PR Podcasts

1. Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics Radio PR podcast logo

Freakonomics Radio is an award-winning weekly podcast. Host Stephen Dubner produces a 45-minute show that “explore(s) the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports.” Through the course of each show, Dubner talks with Nobel laureates, social scientists, economists, entrepreneurs, and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.

High production values and edited in a tapestry of music, interviews, media snippets, this is podcast storytelling at its best. If you’ve ever considered producing a podcast, (along with This American Life,) Freakonomics is the gold standard.

2. Code Switch

The hosts of Code Switch don’t mince words: “Remember when folks used to talk about being “post-racial”? Well, we’re definitely not that. We’re a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity, and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.”

Put together by a stellar team of journalists from public radio, including Kat Chow, Gene Demby, Adrian Florido, Karen Grigsby Bates, and Shereen Marisol Meraji; they ponder questions such as: “When do you call someone out for micro-aggressive racism and when do you let it go?” As PR pros, having an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and see issues from multiple perspectives is always a good thing.

3. Startup

Startup follows the experiences of the host, Alex Bloomberg, formerly a producer of This American Life and Planet Money, as he goes through the steps necessary to launch his podcasting startup. Early on, Bloomberg nods at his credentials and lets us in on his mission to support longer format podcasts.

Told in the style of interviews, conversations with his wife, and potential partners, Startup is a serial–not necessarily an ongoing podcast. With his NPR experience and a deft hand at pacing, you get sucked in, rooting for Bloomberg to succeed. Listen in to understand how founders approach building a business from the ground up.

4. Design Matters

Host Debbie Millman’s PR podcast is about “design and inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other luminaries of contemporary thought.”

Think of Design Matters as “Fresh Air” for creatives. Since Millman converses with influencers, she gives PR professionals insight into their everyday worries and concerns. Perhaps hearing influencers in conversation (259 episodes are available) will help us reach out to the ones that matter to our community.

5. Reply All

The shorthand description for Reply All is that it’s a show about the internet. Host PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman investigate stories that begin online, but have very offline human repercussions. In a recent episode, they tackle how spammy locksmiths, with the help of a call center, are enabled by Google Ad Words to be everywhere local at once.

The joy of Reply All is that though each story starts with the internet, each segment is well-researched through distinctly analog or IRL means, including phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and interviews with those impacted by the story. Reply All sometimes feels like This American Life, but smaller in scope. Looking at stories from multiple angles is a helpful exercise in PR, as we attempt fresh angles to similar campaigns.

6. Invisibilia

Hosts Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller, and Hanna Rosin are expert storytellers from NPR and the Atlantic who specialize in storytelling about invisible things that happen all around us, including those things that are existential in nature. With their episode Outside In, they come to us with the question of “Can you change from the outside in?”

In familiar podcast storytelling style, they highlight three real-life stories of people making the conscious choice to be different than who they are because of something (outside of them) that has occurred. The answer at the end of the episode is, Yes.

Told in a long narrative format, you’ll find yourself rooting for the protagonists appearing in Invisibilia in each segment. Listening to how these journalists craft their stories can help PR pros with insight on how to pitch to other journalists.

7. Call Your Girlfriend

Call your Girfriend podcast

Call Your Girlfriend" is a podcast for long-distance besties everywhere. These are the influencers you want to represent your brand. They’re also your audience personas come to life. Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow are girlfriends that live across the state from each other. (It used to be across the country.)

And in their weekly catch-up conversation, they tackle issues such as menstrual cycles, pop culture, and political news. On alternating weeks they feature in-depth interviews with their “impressive besties,” past besties include Melinda Gates, Huma Abedin, and Tavi Gevinson.

8. 99% Invisible

Host Roman Mars is the all-knowing voice of inquiry who poses a question and invites a variety of experts to chime in. The 99% Invisible team goes deep into various topics in exactly the way you need. Want to know about trend forecasting? Or specifically, more information about one of the major players in the industry, WGSN?

Listen to episode 229, The Trend Forecast; it is an unpaid commercial for WGSN and details their impressive impact on the fashion, home decor, and lifestyle industries.

If you also think: “Why does everything on the High Street looks the same?” then this episode has your answer. This podcast offers digestible sound bites while still offering the kinds of deep insights that you'll get from a newspaper article. Get smarter with each subsequent listen.

9. Dear Sugars Radio

Dear Sugars PR podcast

In their Dear Sugars Radio podcast, Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild), the Sugars tackle questions about life that listeners send in. They do so with such radical empathy that we’re reminded of our shared humanity when faced with the trials and tribulations of life.

Almond and Strayed often acknowledge the difficulty of making decisions, but they are clear in what they advise listeners to do. Beyond answering listeners’ questions, Strayed and Almond look for the question behind the question, calling this out with an acute empathy that is heartwarming. Acknowledgment of our shared humanity can only help us in our PR work.

10. On Top of PR

On Top of PR is the perfect podcast for when you want to stay sharp, grow professionally, and learn from other experts in the PR world. Each week, host Jason Mudd invites a "featured guest to discuss PR and marketing topics, tips, and trends".

How to stay on top of PR Podcasts with Meltwater

The Meltwater PR suite offers great opportunities for all PR persons out there. You can monitor and find relevant PR podcasts using our media monitoring capabilities:

  1. Set up Relevant Keywords: Identify keywords related to PR, communications, marketing, or any specific topics of interest within the PR industry. These keywords could include terms like "public relations," "communications strategy," "media relations," "branding," or specific podcast names. Use these keywords to create search queries within the Meltwater platform.
  2. Set up Podcast Monitoring: Meltwater provides media monitoring capabilities, which you can utilize to track mentions and coverage of specific podcasts. Set up monitoring alerts for relevant keywords or podcast names to receive notifications whenever new episodes or discussions related to those podcasts are identified.
  3. Identify Key Podcasts: Identify the PR podcasts that are of interest to you or relevant to your industry. This could include podcasts hosted by industry experts, influencers, or thought leaders in the PR field. Make a list of the podcasts you want to track and include their names, hosts, or any other specific details that will help you in monitoring them effectively.
  4. Create Custom Alerts: Within the Meltwater platform, set up custom alerts based on the identified keywords. These alerts will notify you whenever new content, including podcasts, mentions the keywords you have specified.
  5. Monitor Social Media: Keep an eye on social media platforms using Meltwater's social listening capabilities. Follow relevant hashtags or accounts related to PR podcasts and monitor the conversations happening around them. Meltwater can help you track mentions and discussions on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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