Like Pod Save America But With Less Swears & Irony
February 16, 2018 1:37 PM   Subscribe

ISO: Current events, history, and social justice podcasts appropriate for listening to with a five-year-old.

I grew up listening to NPR and watching the evening network news with my parents every single day. In this current timeline we are living in, though, NPR and network news just make me incandescent with rage and I get most of my news in the form of podcasts (Crooked Media, Vox, etc...) and reading the internet. Since the internet and podcasts don't have to conform with broadcast standards, they are mostly not kid-appropriate.

My son is 5, and a pretty immature 5 even by the standards of five-year-olds. He has a history of blurting out shit he hears but doesn't understand (which I know is a standard feature of the five-year-old OS). I also don't want to, like, traumatize him with 24/7 news about school shootings or nuclear war, but I do want him to be exposed to political discourse, as well as history and social justice concepts. It doesn't have to be a specifically-for-kids podcast (though if one of those exists, that would be most excellent and I want to know all about it), but I'd like to find some things I can listen to when I'm in the car with him that aren't full of swears, sexual innuendo, and irony/sarcasm (do not get me wrong, I personally love all those things, but my kid can't deal with them without getting himself into a heap of trouble at school due to his complete lack of brain/mouth filtration or understanding of the concept of sarcasm). From a left/center-left perspective. Bonus points if it would be legitimately educational for a young child rather than just background noise that mom is listening to.
posted by soren_lorensen to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Some podcasts might fit the bill:

Stuff you missed in History Class is g/pg.
Science Friday has its own podcast and is informative
Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me is one my kids attend to and I believe is available as a podcast
posted by childofTethys at 1:55 PM on February 16, 2018

Not 100% clear on your question - are radio programs available as podcasts OK if they don’t pander to conservative viewpoints? If yes, here are two suggestions:

BBC’s The World. Of course you need to watch out for the super gruesome stuff (child soldiers or what have you), but it’s mostly fine and exposes my kids (and me) to stuff other than American politics...

NPRs Planet Money has some good pieces - some of it is boring numbers stuff unintelligible to kids, but at least it’s not inappropriate, and it mostly comes from a center-left perspective, I think (at least it’s rarely rage-inducing, IMHO).

2nd ing Science Friday.
posted by The Toad at 2:00 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Radiolab and their spinoff More Perfect. They're far from breaking news, but they give a lot of background explanation about current events, and they warn if something will be unsuitable for kids.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 2:55 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I feel the same about listening to Pod Save America with my kids in the room but Pod Save the People is one I love having them hear. Deray is the best.
posted by biggreenplant at 3:13 PM on February 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

I listen to the Daily, which is put out by the New York Times. I really enjoy it because it's so timely/topical. I think it's meant to give you basically the same experience as quickly reading the morning paper.

A new episode comes out every weekday morning (at around 5 or 6am), and each one is around half an hour long. The first twenty or twenty-five minutes are background information (interviews, discussion, etc) on currently relevant or developing stories, and then there's a five or ten minute rundown of anything that's breaking or that happened too recently to make the regular show.

It's probably a bit dry and sophisticated for a five-year-old, but it's definitely not too risque for him.
posted by rue72 at 3:29 PM on February 16, 2018

Slate Political Gabfest is great and doesn’t have swears or irony (but I’m not sure a 5 year old would get a lot out of it).
posted by valeries at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2018

I also grew up on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and ABC Nightly News over dinner. I've gotten a little tired of the CONSTANT ARGH in Pod Save America, although swears aren't as big an issue in my adult-only home. I listen to NYT The Daily on weekday mornings, along with NPR's Up First. The Daily does a deep dive on one story, plus a quick summary of the day's headlines, while Up First is a general morning news roundup. In the evenings and on weekends, I listen to the podcast versions of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and Marketplace. I also like Planet Money and Make Me Smart. Another fun NPR podcast is It's Been A Minute, which is like a friendly conversation about the past week, and the NPR Politics Podcast. That should be more than enough current events to fill your time! There's lots of cool history and science podcasts, too, but the only ones I listen to regularly are Sawbones and Stuff You Missed In History Class, which I believe are also clean.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:20 PM on February 16, 2018

If you don't mind it being not current events-related, WaPo has had a great Presidents series and *just* finished up with Constitutional, which was amazing and regularly had me in tears in my driveway. It's the kind of thing that gives me hope when things are feeling particularly bereft.
posted by honeybee413 at 9:42 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy backstory which is current events as viewed through history. Their back catalog has some fascinating episodes too.
posted by motdiem2 at 11:39 PM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

You also might consider some kid-friendly podcasts. My 5yo and I have enjoyed Wow in the World (though I think the target age is probably closer to 7)
posted by chrisamiller at 6:35 AM on February 17, 2018

I just found Pod Save America and I love it, but I understand not wanting to listen to it with a 5 y/o in the car.

Vox's The Weeds covers current politics from a similar political stance but less /no swearing.

NPR's Code Switch covers race issues.

I enjoy The Economist's podcasts as well -- they bring a British point of view to current events.

Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting does deep dives on single issues.
posted by elmay at 8:02 AM on February 17, 2018

Have you tried Slate's Political Gabfest or Stay Tuned with Preet? Both great political insight, swearing is much more rare than PSA.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 9:41 AM on February 17, 2018

Pantsuit Politics is my favorite political podcast, and I don't hesitate to listen in front of my kids. (They think it's boring, but oh well.) It is very informative, while also conversational and warm. Very low on swearing or snark. My kids legitimately love Wait, Wait and Ask Me Another.
posted by hessie at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2018

Try Stay Tuned with Preet. It's hosted by a U.S. Attorney who was fired by Trump (or Sessions, more directly). It takes a somewhat dry, legalistic approach to the news, but it's interesting. And it's clean.
posted by Leontine at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2018

« Older Where'd THAT come from, person search edition   |   ID these shoes! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.