Our Rides: Podcasts for Your Vehicle’s Infotainment System

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern
Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

Once upon a time, we had one option for in-vehicle entertainment: The radio.

The AM band gave us the world when we were out on the road between cities. The radio waves gave us shows from the networks through local affiliates. Some major cities put out their signals for hundreds of miles – clear channel broadcasts powered by 50,000-watt amplifier. 

Then came FM Radio. In-vehicle phonographs – that didn’t work, right? Eight-track cartridges did, which gave way to cassettes and compact discs. Plus, there’s satellite radio – another band of broadcast programs! 

Now, you can tie-in your smartphone to your vehicle either through a USB cord or without one. The screen on the center stack now looks almost like your phone. The apps pop up, giving you options to stream your favorite music directly from your phone or through the magic of a cellular signal.

That is where we are at right now. The smartphone has taken over your life. Social media and texting are what we do the most these days. On a regular occasion, we will tie in our ear buds to listen to our Spotify playlist when we’re working out. 

It is no longer a mystery that most new vehicles come with some form of tethering between your smartphone and the audio system of your vehicle. Not just to operate your vehicle without picking up that device for calls and texts. But, to open up a wide world of music and information to keep you entertained on the road. 

Over the past couple of decades, we have been peeling the proverbial onion to find new ways to fill your vehicle with entertainment options. All of our anthems are filtered through a multitude of speakers that redefine high fidelity – not just Beyonce, Brandi Carlisle, RuPaul, or Sam Smith. 

There is one area where we are not fully represented: LGBTQ broadcast content. 

A few years ago, SiriusXM closed the only LGBTQ radio station on their service – OutQ. They dispersed key talent to other stations, including Larry Flick and Michelangelo Signorile. Yet, there are options for us through various music and talk stations across the satellite service. 

One such option is listening to a podcast.

A podcast is the most likely place to find LGBTQ content that can be streamed or listen to through your vehicle’s infotainment system and/or the USB connection. 

Recently, we featured the “This Queer Book Saved My Life” podcast in this magazine. It is one of many LGBTQ podcasts out there. So many that it will take up half of this issue to list and summarize. 

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

However, I picked out a few that might be of interest to you. Some of which have been listed on various websites and publications as being “the best” among a multitude of podcasts out there covering our community.

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“Las Culturalistas”: If you’re a fan of “Saturday Night Live”’s Bowen Yang, then this is your podcast. He and fellow New York University alumnus Matt Rogers interview some of the biggest luminaries out there. Somewhere between Trixie Mattel and everyone else is a podcast that strays away from pop iconography and just concentrate on their guests.

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“WOW Report”: The team behind the entire career of RuPaul Charles created their own podcast to discuss everything and anything. World of Wonder co-founder Fenton Bailey is joined by James St James and Tom Campbell for an engaging look at news events, current trends, and some LGBTQ history.  

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“Still Processing”: Hosts Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris take you through a vast land of cultural touchstones – both past and present. All with a point of view through the black LGBTQ experience. This combines a whole host of ideas, references, and observations that will make your listening more thoughtful. Start from their first episode and work your way through to all they have to offer you.

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“Sibling Rivalry”: Speaking of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” all you need to know about this podcast are two of its winners: Bob The Drag Queen and Monet X Change. You give these Good Judys a couple of microphones and it’s on! Each episode is worth many good laughs…and a few catchphrases to add to your cultural vocabulary. Soon you will be saying “drag her” before you know it. 

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“Making Gay History”: Based on his groundbreaking book, Eric Marcus continues his initial run of interviews from 1992 and tuned them into new episodes to fit the modern form of podcasting. It is a masterclass of teaching our past to all LGBTQ generations. You get more than just what you read in his – and other books and articles – on this podcast.

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“Hoodrat to Headwrap”: Described as a “decolonized podcast for lovers on the margins,” hosts Ericka Hart and Ebony Donnley take you through a journey of a history of racism and how they approach life through this lens. It is a lens worth listening to, especially if you share their experience. The hosts refuse to shy away from the most uncomfortable of conversations – and that is worth listening to. 

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern

“Nancy”: It has not been in production for quite some time, but this podcast is worth exploring on a lonely stretch of road. Hosts Tobin Low and Kathy Tu take a deep dive into LGBTQ life and society through interviews and stories told through advocacy. As the LGBTQ community evolves and changes, the messages put forth by this podcast are still relevant to any listener within the sound of their voices. 

“Breaking Form Podcast”: If you want your poetry with some tea, Washington College poetry professor James Allen Hall and co-host Aaron Smith take on the world of poetry with the humor and shade found on the LGBTQ-est podcasts. One listen to any episode will tell you that there’s nothing stuffy about loving poetry anymore.

Listening to these podcasts – and more – are easy. Both Apple iOS and Google’s Android operating systems have podcast player apps that already installed on your device. Both apps are available when you mirror your device to either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You can also download other third-party podcast apps from either phone’s app store. 

Somewhere between talk radio and audiobooks is the podcast. There’s so many to choose from. Now, you add them on your Holiday excursion in your vehicle – or through your airpods. They’re just a smartphone app away. 

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