Podcasts to Keep You in Good Company During Social Distancing

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Podcasts to Keep You in Good Company During Social Distancing ((littlehenrabi/iStock by Getty Images)

With the new "shelter in place" order in six Bay Area counties, even more people will spend their days working from home, avoiding public spaces and switching from a handshake to an elbow bump in the coming weeks. Social distancing can be a big adjustment, and staying connected is a key part of maintaining a sense of normalcy.

With the help of our listeners, we’ve rounded up a number of podcasts that offer great companionship during these isolating times. With pods that heal, keep the important news coming and spotlight people doing great things in their communities, we’ve put them all in a Spotify playlist you can follow at the bottom of the page.

Have a recommendation for a show you want to add? Drop a comment in this Twitter thread.

A show for healing
Truth Be Told

KQED's advice show for and by people of color, Truth Be Told, is back for a second season with host Tonya Mosley, and the first episode dives into the question, "How are black Americans expected to overcome and thrive in this country without the necessary mechanisms of healing?" Mosley and her guest, author Kiese Laymon, talk about family, trauma and healing in today’s world. Plus, the show’s latest Spotify playlist features extra loving music.


Other recommendations: Call Your Girlfriend and Oprah’s Super Soulful Conversations.

For understanding history
The Kitchen Sisters Present: The Keepers

The first part of The Kitchen Sisters' new two-part special, The Keepers, shines a light on the people preserving history—archivists, librarians, historians and curators. Host Frances McDormand introduces us to the “guardians of history, large and small. Protectors of the free flow of information and ideas.”

Other podcasts with historical takes: Throughline and Slowburn: Biggie and Tupac.

On loving yourself and your community


"I don't get paid to do this. I think it's just personal fulfillment," says artist Yasmin Arreola in an episode of Rightnowish, a KQED arts and culture podcast hosted by Pendarvis Harshaw. The episode is all about showing up for yourself, your people and the larger community. 

Other recommendations: Rebel Eaters Club and By The Book.

Quick listens

Netflix is a Daily Joke

For when you need a quick laugh—or ten—Netflix is a Daily Joke pulls one joke from a comedian on Netflix, keeping it under five minutes, and publishes daily. Hasan Minhaj’s joke on landlines is a must-listen. 

Other shows that keep it short: 10 Things That Scare Me and Ghost Stories.

For staying informed

Bay Curious

KQED's Bay Curious explores listener questions about the Bay Area every week. In the latest episode, host Olivia Allen-Price answers questions about the novel coronavirus in the Bay Area, such as "How long does the virus last on a doorknob?" and "Will we be quarantined?"

For more Bay Area coverage, check out KQED's The Bay podcast. The latest episodes about the impact of coronavirus—such as "Working From Home? Not an Option for Gig Workers" and "The 'Disease Detectives' Tracing the Spread of the Coronavirus"—are essential listening. 

Other podcasts to keep you in the loop: Today, Explained and The Daily.

For the deep dive convos
Reply All 

Reply All, Gimlet’s "podcast about the internet" that’s actually about modern life, takes listeners on the search for a missing song when a California man is determined to find a tune from his youth that’s disappeared from the internet. Check out "#158 The Case of the Missing Hit."

Other recommendations: Sooo Many White Guys and Snap Judgment.

YOUR podcast recommendations

We asked you over the weekend about what podcasts you are listening to. We heard from readers who are into shows like Ear Hustle, Spirtual AF. . . or Whatever, Dolly Parton’s America and more. Check out the Twitter post for the more, and drop a comment with your favorites.