Updated May 8, 2020
Pittsburgh is home to more than two dozen podcasts on everything from activism to mental health to careers to music.
For many local podcasters, they started out simply by loving the medium of audio.
For Aaron Watson, for example, it all clicked when he realized he was learning more by listening to podcasts on his walks to class than he was in the actual classroom. He now runs his own show with a goal of changing people’s career outcomes.
For the women behind The Broadcast, they wanted to amplify women’s voices, and the male-dominated industry of podcasting fit the bill.
For Sound Check PGH, the duo of hosts wanted to demystify Pittsburgh’s music scene.
For all of these podcasts and more, you can listen for free online.
We chatted with seven of Pittsburgh’s most active podcasters and pulled together a list of every Pittsburgh podcast we could find. (Tell us what we missed, so we can add to the list.)
Victory starts every show with: “We’re talking about art and activism. That’s AAA for your soul, baby. Let’s change the world.”
The show operates as an interview podcast with artists discussing the way “art impacts our community,” she said. The subject matter is usually tied to an event, so listeners can participate in activism by attending the event, whether that’s a show or a political rally.
Victory, a musician herself and a member of The Incline’s Who’s Next: Music class, carefully crafted all the details about the show, including its name.
“I am reclaiming the word broad for all femme kind,” she said. “It’s mean to be a playful feminist action. So, ‘broad’ can be very negative but also one of the definitions I found was something like the ’50s or ’60s, a broad was a woman who said things she wasn’t supposed to say and that was the one that really stuck with me, and I thought was so perfect.”
Natalie Bencivenga and Kim Lyons
Featuring Pittsburgh women, this podcast is dedicated to passing the Bechdel Test with every episode, Lyons said. So far, the duo of reporters has interviewed photographers, businesswomen and entrepreneurs.
“We thought of a podcast being a male-dominated space. There aren’t a lot of female voices,” she added. “Women were feeling like their voices were not being heard, and this was a small way for us to amplify them. … We really wanted it to be a safe space for women to talk about things they’re excited about, they’re proud of, they’re working on.”
Muhammad Abdul Hafith (DJ Motormane) and Scott Sabatasso (DJ Spillz)
The DJ duo launched the podcast about a year ago to “cover the platform of music and entertainment and speak with creatives,” said Hafith, a full-time DJ and dad. The show has highlighted artists such as Who’s Next: Music honoree Mars Jackson, photographer Chancellor Humphrey, shoe designer John Geiger and even rapper Wiz Khalifa.
Expect a mix of humor and current events on the show, he said.
“I like to shed light on the good things that people are doing,” Hafith said.
Watson, who’s now CEO and co-founder of Piper Creative, started the podcast while job searching because he wanted to learn about the most interesting jobs in Pittsburgh and beyond. Throughout the course of his 290 episodes, he’s interviewed an all-star cast including Mayor Bill Peduto, community leader Gisele Fetterman, 412 Food Rescue’s Leah Lizarondo and innovation expert Rasu Shrestha.
“The core goal is to change other people’s career outcomes,” he said.
If you’re new to the podcast, he recommends starting with Episode 231 with Andy Rachleff, CEO of a start-up called Wealthfront and Benchmark Capital.
Corcoran, a nationally recognized motivational speaker, mental health advocate, and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) keynote speaker, founded Listen, Lucy five years ago as an outlet for people to express themselves creatively (and anonymously). She created the podcast this year as a new way to continue her quest to be “a major resource in the mental health community.”
“Our slogan with Listen, Lucy Live is an unfiltered conversation about mental health in a very filtered world,” Corcoran said. “I want to talk about these issues in a raw, informal conversational way.”
The show shares stories, talks about stigmas and encourages community leaders on ways to make change.
So who should listen to these stories?
“Everybody,” Corcoran said.
“I think that you aren’t someone that battles mental illness, you know that someone is,” she said. “This issue is relevant, it’s important. I think some of these comments that we’re seeing on a national platform are hurtful and stigmatizing and I think it’s a lack of understanding because it’s not personal for them.”
Marita Garrett and Monica Hershberger, with Jessica Kaminsky as producer
The show highlights “stories of extraordinary women shattering the glass ceiling — interviews with women in leadership doing amazing things,” Hershberger said.
Among the women they’ve interviewed: Composer Hannah Ishizaki, Chef Jamilka Borges and Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner.
With a love for podcasts and an interest in starting her own, Hershberger thought, “What could I envision myself talking about endlessly? Ah, feminism.” So she teamed up with Garrett and Kaminsky and released the first episode right after Donald Trump’s inauguration “as a little jab.”
“Equality is something we have to endlessly work for. And why not make more stories accessible to more women?” Hershberger said.
Start with Episode Eight, with Dominique Luster, archivist for the Teenie Harris Archive, and then you’ll be hooked, Hershberger said.
Jack Dougherty and Pete Kraus
This brand new show focuses on uncovering Pittsburgh’s music scene.
“Our mission is two-fold. One: We’re looking to bridge the gap between the general public and the local music scene. We found the local music scene can at times feel very insular,” Dougherty said. “The second part is highlighting the local talent that is here. We want to be a platform where artists can come to get their story out there.”
So far, they’ve featured Benji, a local rapper/singer/musician/producer, in an interview that included a debut from the artist’s upcoming album.
“I think this is a city that doesn’t have as much of a local music reputation,” said Dougherty, who books bands during his day job for Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership events. “I think there’s a lot of talent here that people just don’t know about.”
More Pittsburgh podcasts
- 24 Hour Hustle
- Ask the Photographers
- Bardic Mystery Tour
- Broken to Barbell
- The Business Equation
- Caffeinated Innovation
- Criminal Injustice
- Drinking Partners (read more about their plans in Four One Brew)
- The Earth Friendly Gardener
- Future Grind
- Get Creative with Evan Schmitt
- The Greatest Moments in the History of Forever
- Hazelwood Diversity Dialogue
- I Got the Hell Out
- If This Goes On (Don’t Panic)
- I’ll Call You Right Back
- Marta on the Move
- Marveling at Marvel’s Marvels
- Millenial Hit List
- Mon Goals
- Multiple Disruptions
- Nebby Pittsburgh
- The New Wave PGH
- The No B******t Marketing Podcast
- The Number One Movie in America
- On the Air
- The P100 Podcast
- Retro Movie Roundtable
- River Talk
- Rugged Angel
- Petticoat Rule
- Science News and Qs
- Self Care Spotlight (hosted by Who’s Nexter Alyssa Kuzins)
- She Runs SWPA
- Some Kind of Magic
- Start the Beat with Sikes
- Steel City Underground
- Straight to the League
- Sustaining Sustainability
- Taboo Table Talk
- Throwback Theater
- We Can Be
- Werewolf Ambulance
- What Healthy Couples Know that You Don’t
- Whine at 9
- Win At All Costs
- The Word in the World
- The Working Stiffs
- Ya Jagoff
- Youth Express