2015: That Episode When… a podcast gave you all the feels.

For podcast freaks like us, there’s always that episode when…it just clicks. That’s the magic of podcasting—when an episode serendipitously appears to keep you company at exactly the right time, when pushing play on a show inspires you to make a change or make a move, or to make you laugh so hard you cause a small scene on the subway. It’s personal, and because there’s no good way to share our current vibes through podcasting, these magic moments are far too often kept private. Here at The Timbre, we’re confident everyone wants to know what shows are hitting for everyone else, and of course, what moves our favorite podcasting people. 

We invited podcast professionals and enthusiasts to tell us about some of their favorite episodes of 2015 for a five-part series called “That Episode When.” Check out “Part 2: That Episode When a Podcaster Became Your New Best Friend.”

For our third installment: “That Episode When a Podcast Gave You All the Feels.”

We gathered some great responses and included quotes with each episode in a pretty little slideshow for you. Click on the green bar in any slide to play an episode.

If you would like to contribute your own recommendation on the theme, email us at robot@thetimbre.com subject line: THAT EPISODE WHEN. Tell us who you are and why you are recommending a podcast. (We prefer for people to call attention to the work of others, and not their own.) We will keep updating the slideshow as the emails roll in.

  • HOME: Stories From L.A.|The House on the Hill I'm an east to west transplant, and it touched all my heart spots about what both places mean to me, what I love about NY, and how through the roof happy I am that I ended up in California.

    - Vanessa Lowe, Host of Nocturne

  • Latino USA|The Dream 9 Such an incredible story. Issues like immigration can be really easy to reduce to laws and statistics, but this was a HUMAN story about the very real cost of closing the borders. It takes a lot of courage to do what these kids did. No one should have to go through what they did.

    - Alli Brawning

  • StartUp|Til Debt Do Us Part I was totally spellbound by this episode and how willing these two women were to put their most vulnerable selves out on the air. It was very powerful.

    - Austin Shurer

  • Radiolab|Remembering Oliver Sacks This episode made me feel sad, made me laugh and made me cry. When he talks about being gay, telling his parents... and how his mother said to him 'You're an abomination,' it broke my heart. Him falling in love, his heart getting broken and then meeting a lovely man late in his life. I just love how the guy who loved him said 'I have conceived a deep love for you' because he loved the English language.

    - María José Rivas

  • Rumble Strip Vermont|Love Life This was about a man whose son commits suicide and he then makes it his mission to spread the word of loving life. I experienced every kind of emotion possible when I heard this: grief, loneliness, connection, joy, hope. ALL the feels.

    - Candice Tanner

  • Radiolab|Los Frikis Okay, so maybe I’m biased because reporter Tim Howard is now the senior producer of Reply All, but this story was so affecting. People with everything to lose deliberately transforming themselves into people with nothing to lose in the ultimate protest. Such a bonkers story, told so well.

    - Alex Goldman, Host of Reply All

  • Limetown|Napolean This one felt slightly cheap, but it's the heart and soul of the first season of Limetown. We first understand the stakes and purpose of Limetown, the scientific experiment, through a story about a psychic connection to a pig who is scared and sad and finally murdered by the person with whom he is mentally connected. It was like an adult-horror-radio version of 'Babe' with a tragic ending.

    - Hope Rehak

  • Only Human|Who Are You Calling 'Inspiring'? This one made me cry! Max brings so much strength and humor to his disease. He reminded me to live in the moment.

    - Jayme Houser

  • Awful Grace|Stay Scared Jackie Spinner's explanation of why she stopped her career as a war journalist taps into the deepest level of fear and why it ties in to life, loss and love.

    - Jeff Emtman, Producer of Here Be Monsters

  • WTF with Marc Maron|Wyatt Cenac Most people probably remember this mostly for the details on Wyatt's trouble with Jon Stewart and leaving The Daily Show, but the earlier part of the show discussing his family and difficulty with his mother brought about really thoughtful conversation and real human insight. Wyatt was able to convey his trials with genuine understanding about life, even though he has experienced true adversity.

    - Jeff Possiel

  • Women of the Hour|The Big Picture Every single segment in this episode gave me goosebumps at some point. The first one filled me with hope, the second one made me smile ear-to-ear, the third segment made me want to call my mom. I think I teared up three different times. It's an episode I'll remember for a long, long time.

    - Jessie Gibbons, editor of Between Two Earbuds

  • The Heart|The Hurricane 'The Hurricane' by The Heart was just super lovely and gave me ALL THE FEELS. Amazing storytelling and sound design. I'm so happy they decided to get married because they make beautiful babies together.

    - Alex Kapelman, Producer of Pitch

  • This American Life|If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS Lindy West confronting and forgiving one of her internet trolls on This American Life is one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard on the radio. After a man who had impersonated her recently-deceased father on Twitter just to torment her (ugh) emailed her to apologize, Lindy reached out and recorded an interview with him. Hearing Lindy laugh and cry with this stranger who she’d had this awful, yet kind of intimate experience, with -- it’s just unbelievable.

    - Kate Bishop, Producer of Death, Sex & Money

  • UnFictional|Grace of the Sea Luis Gutierez Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant selling hot dogs in the streets of LA. His story is sad and violent, but mostly just beautiful. His optimism and hopefulness rubs off on you. And his street fare sounds so delicious!

    - Kyle J Smith

  • Love + Radio|The Living Room "Obviously."

    - Lulu Miller, Host of Invisibilia

  • Here Be Monsters|Deep Stealth Mode This audio diary of a mother raising a very young trans daughter is more than just a feel-good story of acceptance; it’s full of tension and confusion, and it had me riveted.

    - Nick van der Kolk, Producer of Love + Radio

  • Radio Diaries|Matthew and the Judge I feel like this episode put me through the ringer. Every time it seemed like Matthew was on the right path, something would happen and I would be disappointed all over again. Even when I re-listen to it, I keep hoping things will turn out differently for him.

    - Paige G.

  • This American Life|Birds & Bees There's something about Jonathan's tone of voice and tender writing paired with the wildness and rawness of the kids talking about grief on here that had me weeping on a beach walk, pausing to kick sand, and stare at the damn horizon. I had some major driveway moments at the low tide. I remember watching little kids running after snowy plovers and flying kites and wondering if they had to deal with anything really tough yet. I found myself laughing and crying just watching their fumbling joy. When that little boy in the piece described his father who committed suicide as being 'a terrific guy...just a terrific guy,' it slayed me.

    - Sara Brooke Curtis, Independent Producer

  • ARRVLS|This Moment is Worth It This story of depression and how that can get amped up by being stuck in a car with your family (at the holidays no less) lands on a moment of poetry. Sometimes it's the little things.

    - Tally Abecassis, Host of First Day Back

  • Lore|The Castle Wow. From story to production. All the feels.

    - Brett Gajda, Host of Where There's Smoke

Author Description

The Timbre brings thoughtful and thought-provoking analysis to podcasts and the larger culture of podcasting.

  • alarswilson

    For me, it would have to be This American Life’s “Act V.” The whole things did such a sensitive job of humanizing criminals, of demonstrating just how sensitive and insightful these people are who threw their lives away, who we throw away.