Marvin Yueh is the Associate Director for the Kollaboration Global Organization, Managing Editor for the Kollaboration Blog, Host/Producer of the KollabCast, and Producer of Kollaboration’s video projects. In between those responsibilities, he manages to squeeze in time for food, sleep, and the occasional trip, and yup he really did just write his own intro in third person.
It’s no secret that I love podcasts. As an Angeleno, I spend a lot of time in my car, and I’ve found that having people talk at me is a great way to pass the time. That’s part of the reason I was excited to launch the KollabCast this year, throwing my own hat into this emerging media format. Besides the KollabCast, 2015 has been a really great year for podcasts featuring Asian American hosts and it’s been great having more APA perspectives out in the world for people to consume. Here’s my top 5 (in no particular order) podcasts that I think followers of Kollaboration should check out!
1. Bullet Train
Ada Tseng, the mastermind behind the Haikus with Hotties calendar and Managing Editor of Asia Pacific Arts, hosts this fun and informational podcast that launched earlier this year. Ada provides narration on an interesting topic in Asian American pop culture, ranging from gender representation all the way to dating sims. Along the way, we hear excerpts from interviews with other subject matter and pop culture experts while Ada refuses to apologize for anything. We’re still waiting for episode 5, but if you have a few hours to kill, you can’t go wrong with this podcast.
2. What Just Happened
David Chang started as a fan of podcasts like Serial, eventually deciding to launch his own. The premise is simple. Pick a topic David wants to learn more about, and then research the crap out of it. The result is a very informative, easy to listen to podcast that leaves listeners better informed. David’s clear articulation and neutral perspective is a breath of fresh air in today’s media environment. Need a primer on the “Black Lives Matter” and California’s common core so you can sound smart at parties? Give What Just Happened a listen!
3. Drunk Monk
Re-watch podcasts, where pocasters recap already departed shows episode by episode in real time, have started to become quite popular as streaming services have started to bulk up their TV catalog. This podcast, which recaps the Tony Shaloub neurotic detective show Monk, is hosted by improv partners Keiko Agena (of Gilmore Girls fame) and Will Choi (who had never watched Monk prior to the podcast). As the title suggests, Adult beverages are consumed in the course of recording, and hijinks ensue. You won’t need to even like Monk to listen to these two riff on each other.
4. Good Muslim Bad Muslim
The Good Muslim Bad Muslim podcast started with a hashtag conversation discussing what makes a good and bad Muslim in the eyes of society. Writer/activist Taz Ahmed and actor/comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh host this monthly podcast where they fearlessly shatter preconceptions on what a Muslim American, and specifically a Muslim American woman, can be. With some comedy, some social commentary, and a whole lot of attitude, this podcast is a refreshing look into a uniquely American story that isn’t seen much in mainstream media.
5. Explain Things to Me
Ever wonder what a professional Santas does or how some people remember stuff better than others? Internet personality Anna Akana and her partner Brad Gage host this podcast where they find an expert to explain these things to them. The result is an always fascinating conversation where listeners learn about cool stuff happening in the world of entertainment, science, art, and more from awesome and interesting people who made them their life’s work.
Of course these aren’t the only podcasts out there hosted by Asian Americans. I’ve limited my top 5 list to Podcasts that launched this year, but there are a few other great shows in my podcatcher hosted by Asian Americans that I wanted to give a shout out to!
This is Only a Test
The official podcast of Tested.com, This is Only a Test is an awesome podcast about tech, pop culture, and science hosted by Norman Chan that’s been running for 332 episodes (that’s almost 5 years). This was the second podcast that I started to listen to regularly and it’s been fascinating watching Tested go from an indie tech website to being attached to Adam Savage and Jamie Hyman of Mythbusters fame. One of the founding members, Norm Chan recently ascended from co-host to host when longtime host and co-founder Will Smith (the tech editor, not the actor) decided to leave Tested to pursue a personal startup project in VR.
Sound and Fury
The official podcast of Angry Asian Man, this is an interview-style podcast a la Marc Maron, where host Phil Yu (the eponymous Angry Asian Man) conducts a intimate one-on-one interview with esteemed members of the APA community from what one can only assume is his kitchen table. Phil’s been in the game a long time and it’s telling how much respect his guests have for him. Listen to this podcast to learn more about the man behind the blog as well as interesting stories from his amazing guests.
Pop Rocket, part of the NPR affiliated Maximum Fun network, is a podcast that brings you hot takes on current pop culture trends and news from a variety of minority perspectives. While not exactly hosted by Asian Americans, Pop Rocket features one of our community’s coolest (and smoothest) voices in Oliver Wang as one of their regular panelists. An academic, author, and DJ, Oliver brings a cool and collected persona to an otherwise fiery panel, and always seems to have the hottest of jams to contribute during their weekly “What is your Jam” segment. Host Guy Branum and the two other regular panelists Wynter Mitchell and Margaret Wappler are no slouches neither, each bringing a unique perspective from their own backgrounds and areas of expertise, and listeners are always left with a more well-rounded understanding of current pop culture issues.
This is a shameless plug, but it’s my list so deal with it. The KollabCast, hosted by myself and Kollaboration Executive Director Christine Minji Chang, is a podcast about pop culture and social commentary from an Asian American Perspective. We talk about a wide variety of topics and it often turns out to be interesting. You should listen in sometime!