Nick Siano is a junior telecommunications and journalism major and writes "Queue it Up" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Nick at

Nick Siano

1. Backseat Rider

  • Backseat Rider is the brainchild of Anthony Ponce, a former NBC Chicago anchor who hung up his suit to work as a Lyft driver all day. You may have seen his video about quitting NBC make the rounds on Facebook in July. The first episode isn’t released yet, but you can email him at and he’ll send it to you, and it’s worth the listen. He asks his passengers about a central topic — in this case, risk — and forms it into 15 minutes of honest content. It’s very clearly still a work in progress, but this podcast has potential to become a neat form of man-on-the-street-type interviews that can last beyond one question.

2. Flash Forward

  • If you’ve ever pondered a “What if?” scenario for the future, Flash Forward should be next up on your listening queue. Host Rose Eveleth takes listeners to futures prompted by sometimes current issues, like digitizing direct democracy, and sometimes far-fetched ones, like a future where everyone becomes face blind. She sits down with professors and businesspeople who talk about the likelihood of these futures, and in some cases, people who are affected by that far-off future today. Flash Forward just finished its second season, and has been renewed for a third season. In the months until then, any sci-fi fan or forward-thinking person should give a few episodes a listen.

3. The Run-Up

  • 2016 is the year for politics across all forms of media, and just weeks ago the New York Times pushed the election into its sphere of podcasts. The Run-Up is hosted by Michael Barbaro, who examines a core question related to the campaign trail and talks to his coworkers and political commentators about the impact it may have come November. It’s a smart discussion that hasn’t yet run the risk of being too smart for an average listener. Barbaro and the Times writers he talks with are great at explaining things in layman’s terms. Topics thus far have included: faith, distrust in candidates, odds of a landslide and a criticism of media coverage in the election. The Run-Up is a great pop-up podcast for anyone who follows the campaigns or anyone who wishes they knew more about politics.

4. The Sporkful

  • The Sporkful is, in the words of host Dan Pashman, “Not for foodies, it’s for eaters.” I’m sure a podcast about food feels like it came out of left field, but Pashman and his crew have mastered the art of food science from an aural point of view. They’ve examined the history of the Detroit Coney, the science behind marijuana-infused foods and famous food gaffes that turned into public relations nightmares for presidential campaigns. It’s not like other food podcasts that can make your mouth water from descriptions. The Sporkful dives into the impact food has more than the food itself, but still treats it as an important cultural detail. It’s interesting and comes at food from so many angles that every episode feels like it could stand on its own, and will leave you hungry for more.