As we approach the end of the first week of 2018, we’ll finish off a look at my favorite podcasts of the past year.  I spent a lot of hours last year listening to shows, from politics to sports to entertainment. So what stood out the most? Let’s take a look!

I mentioned last time, I fell out of regularly listening to music a while ago, and over the last couple of years I’ve used my commuting time to catch up on what’s going on in the world, or what’s funny or random stories. I spent a lot of hours listening to podcasts over the last year and a complete list of my favorites would need to spread out over a couple of days. So, much like the backlog of podcasts on my iPhone, we should get to it.

You can read PART 1 right here. Be sure to check that one out, too.

The Dollop

Hosted by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, The Dollop is a “bi-weekly American history podcast” where, every week (that’s the joke, don’t bug me) Anthony picks a story from the country’s history and relates it to Reynolds, who reacts accordingly to the craziness being told to him. The show started back in 2014, but it was just recommended to me earlier this year. After a couple weeks of playing catch-up, it quickly became a favorite subscription.

In 2017, Anthony and Reynolds discussed topics like the pirate Blackbeard, the Newsie strike, former presidential candidate and crazy person Ross Perot and Harriet Tubman. The best (or worst) history lesson of the year, though, came in a two-part 300th episode special about President Donald Trump, detailing a lifetime of… well… you should really download and listen to the two-parter and hear the stories Anthony tells about the current leader of the free world.

Bronx Pinstripes

As a New York Yankees fan, I was shocked that it was so hard to find a quality podcast about my favorite team. Thankfully, I came across the Bronx Pinstripes podcast sometime during the 2016 season, and listening to the show allowed me to commiserate with other fans who shared the same passions and frustrations I did. The show, hosted by Scott Reinan and Andrew Rotondi, is a partner of the YES Network – the cable home of the Yankees – which probably helps with getting some access to the players the pair has interviewed over the past year.

The show has grown significantly since I started listening as Scott and Andrew have grown more comfortable in their roles as podcast hosts. The best part is regular shows during the offseason, when I’m craving information about the team and desperately counting down the days until Opening Day (March 29 at Toronto… I can’t wait!).

Jeff Learns Wrestling

There are so many great podcasts as part of the Place To Be Nation podcast network, covering pro wrestling and pop culture, but my new favorite is easily Jeff Learns Wrestling. The show is an educational experience, as host JT Rozzero teaches his lifelong best friend, Jeff Machado, about the ins and outs of professional wrestling. Starting in the mid-1980s, with the boom created by Hulkamania and slowly working their way up (with a couple of quick looks at modern matches), JT is showing off some of the fun matches and angles that turned many of us into fans.

It’s a great primer for people who don’t know about professional wrestling and an even better refresher course for those who’ve been fans for a while.

The Roommates

This is the most recent addition to my podcast rotation. After putting out a call for recommendations a few weeks ago, the guys who run the show’s Twitter account reached out and suggested their show, which I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. I’m glad they did, as what I’ve heard from the show has been very enlightening and entertaining.

The show is based out of Houston, Texas, and features roommates Chris and Hafeez as they figure out life, women and… well, a lot of it is the two of them figuring out women. The show is a very real conversation between two Black men who are discussing the things that entertain them and the things that affect their lives the most. I’ve only listened to a handful of shows so far, but I’ve really enjoyed the ones I have and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 has to offer for the Roommates.

FiveThirtyEight Politics

With so much going on in the world, it’s a good idea to get some supplemental information from trusted sources, and the team that makes up the FiveThirtyEight have been my go-to for a while now. Back in October 2016, I even went to a LIVE SHOW here in the City. The politics team takes a regular look at the biggest news of the week and breaks it down from several perspectives, not the least of which is how the news affects polls. As we head toward the 2018 midterm elections in November, I imagine there will be a lot of politics to discuss.

My new favorite part of the show’s feed, though, is the new miniseries, The Gerrymandering Project, which is taking a look at the way government has been shaped in several states because of gerrymandering – the act of manipulating the boundaries of a district in order to affect an election – and how those states react to it. As a nerd about local politics, hearing more about gerrymandering in other states is a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to finishing it off.