In this time of social distancing, podcasts can provide a feeling of comfort and connection that you aren’t able to get elsewhere right now. Whether you’re looking for some screen-free time or a bit of company while you walk the dog or doing some housework, podcasts are a perfect way to learn something new, be entertained and help pass the time.
To listen to a podcast, you’ll need either a smartphone or your computer. Most podcasts are broadcast through an app like Stitcher or Spotify or can be accessed through Apple or Google music, but many can also be listened to online directly from their own websites.
Milwaukee has a great local radio and music scene which has beget a great set of local podcasts, local sports teams and journalists do a great job of offering up access and information and there’s plenty of local history to explore, as well. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a Milwaukee-focused podcast to fit your tastes.
Local life and culture
WUWM is the Milwaukee affiliate of NPR. They produce nine different podcasts covering everything from news and politics to education, society and culture. WUWM Lake Effect is a daily show that covers everything happening in the city. The magazine-style show covers the most important topics of the day, from serious news to light-hearted stories.
WUWM Bubbler Talk is a weekly podcast that publishes on Fridays. Bubbler Talk answers all kinds of interesting listener questions about Milwaukee. These quick and short episodes give history and background to all kinds of quirks about our home. Recent episodes looked at why so many area homes are built on hills. They also answer what happened to the fresh springs of Waukesha and delved into the history of the Mitchell Park Domes.
The Disclaimer was a half hour show on local radio station WMSE that covered a little bit of everything, but especially music and the arts in the city. The show no longer airs, but the hundreds of episodes are available on iTunes/Apple Podcasts and are definitely worth listening to.
Another gone, but not forgotten Milwaukee podcast is The Friday Fish Fry. There are 60 episodes to go back and enjoy on iTunes/Apple Podcasts. You’ll find a lot of talk about local beer and breweries, but also great food talk, day trips, sports and great bits of local information.
The Milwaukee Record provides all kinds of irreverent, sarcastic and fun commentary on the city on their website. Their On The Record podcast is no different. You’ll find great music and culture discussions, plus interviews, reminiscing and banter. Episodes are generally an hour to 90 minutes, perfect for a long walk around the neighborhood.
88Nine Radio Milwaukee has six different podcasts covering food, drink, history, culture, music and more. You can access all of them here.
The best of the bunch is Urban Spelunking, a podcast extension of a online series of stories local journalist Bobby Tanzillo began at OnMilwaukee.com. He digs into the history of the city by heading into abandoned or shut down buildings as well as places the public doesn’t normally get to go. At 10-20 minutes, these are great for a short commute or while you’re doing dishes.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel produces a number of different podcasts covering news, politics, the Packers and Bucks. If you’re a true crime fan, the standout is Unsolved. There are three different seasons, each with a different local cold case crime discussed.
One of the biggest transformations in Milwaukee over the past two decades has been a culinary one. Learn all about the people and places who’ve helped made Milwaukee a dining destination on the Milwaukee Magazine Food Crush podcast,which features interviews with local chefs, writers, historians, brewers and other players in the local food and drinks scene.
If you’re a local sports lover, the Milwaukee Brewers have their own podcast called Brewers on Tap. Radio play by play announcer Lane Grindle gives listeners inside access to our favorite local baseball team. Most episodes feature player and coach interviews, but there’s also off-season trade chatter and more.
If you want to keep up with all things Milwaukee Bucks, you have to listen to Kane Pitman’s Locked on Bucks podcast. The podcast itself is great, but Pitman’s backstory as a Bucks fan from Australia that liked the team before Giannis or Andrew Bogut ever put on the uniform is just as good. You’ll love his enthusiasm and that the team is really open and talkative with him.