How to survive traffic: the "PODCAST-IC" edition

Los Angeles: the city of dreams, surf-boards, juice bars and stunning sunsets. But also, less romantically so, traffic. So what to do in your car (aka mobile home if you're an actor) when you're stuck between destinations? Podcasts. Phone Calls. Podcasts. Car dancing. Podcasts. 

Podcasts aren't just for car rides though. What about a detective novel for cleaning, an inspiring interview to stir your creative juices, or a comedy special for a brutal hangover (to rest your eyes)? Cure all. 

So without further ado:

JANA's TOP FIVE PODCASTS OF 2016

1. Serial

Serial is the podcast version of crack, or more PG, french fries. I was hooked right from the start and couldn't stop until I devoured them all. Journalist Sarah Koenig (This American Life alumni) re-investigates true (crime) cases and the lives of their obvious and less-obvious victims. Truly fascinating and engulfing. serialpodcast.org

2. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Shout-out to all my history nerds: I found the holy grail. Dan Carlin's podcast is probably the most detailed, most engaging re-telling and re-interpreting of historical events, well EVER! His WW1 series "Blueprint for Armageddon" saved me on my recent cross-country road trip and equipped me with ammunition for endless "smart" talk. dancarlin.com

3. WTF with Marc Maron

Comedian Marc Maron is already hilarious by himself but he doesn’t stop there. Every episode he chats and jokes with fellow comics, entertainers or some unknown guests like PRESIDENT BARRACK OBAMA (yes, I had to google him too.) One of my favorites: Episode 716 with Chelsea Handler. wtfpod.com

4. Fresh Air 

Oh Terry, how do I love thee. Master interviewer extraordinaire, NPR’s Terry Gross has spoken to everyone. Yes, there isn’t enough ink in my computer to even attempt a list. Insightful, hard-hitting, inspiring; she gets her subjects to reveal their humanity and creates once in a lifetime conversations. For a true tearjerker check out her emotional last interview with Maurice Sendak, animated by Christoph Niemann. npr.org/programs/fresh-air

5. Wait Wait,…Don’t Tell Me!

Another NPR program (do we see a trend?), Peter Sagal’s weekly quiz show is my favorite start into the weekend. Fellow journalists and comedians answer questions pertaining to the week’s news. A fun, entertaining and heartwarming way to test your own knowledge, digest the dark times we live in and find hope in humor. npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me