5 Luminary podcasts that will make you want a Premium subscription


Discover what Luminary’s premium subscription has to offer by learning about these five essential podcasts.

Luminary’s quest to become the “Netflix of podcasts” has raised some eyebrows. A company trying to make money from a podcast-only platform might not seem like a good business plan.

Luminary gives its users a choice to download the app for free with access to many podcasts you could access from other podcast apps. You can purchase Luminary’s Premium subscription for $7.99 per month to listen to podcasts ad-free and have access to Luminary Exclusive podcasts.

Now, I initially dismissed Luminary myself, going along with critics wondering how it could compete with giants like Spotify, Pandora, and Stitcher. I didn’t mind ads, heck it kind of adds to the experience.

Eventually my curiosity got the best of me, and I downloaded the app to see if Luminary brought something different to the table. Once I listened to the free episodes of some of their premium content, I subscribed immediately.

My favorite Luminary exclusive content executes the elements of a good podcast perfectly , which is to challenge their listeners’ thinking but also create some comfort and intimacy between the hosts and listeners. Podcasts should also encourage empathy, when it’s deserved, and to give the listener a taste of a different life.

Below are my favorite podcasts you can listen to as well when you subscribe to Luminary Premium.

1. The C-Word

We will never call you crazy. – Lena Dunham and Alissa Bennett

The C-Word was the first Luminary Exclusive podcast I listened to. It caused me to push the subscribe button immediately. In each episode, The C-Word‘s hosts, Lena Dunham and Alissa Bennett, look at the lives of notorious women who have been shamed and called crazy by the media.

Those reactions to the women are usually based off of the media’s opinions of their personality or for some strange, harmful actions they took that everyone witnessed. Crazy is what the c-word stands for, and Dunham and Bennett’s mission statement of this podcast is to challenge their listeners to not dismiss these women’s actions as actions of a crazy person, but actions from a person that has had a complex life and doesn’t have the tools or resolve to deal with conflicts.

Dunham and Bennet don’t claim to be experts on each woman’s life and don’t try to prove each women’s innocence if they truly did something wrong, but they ask us listeners to find some empathy for these women, empathy that wasn’t given to these women in the first place.

Although the topics can be heavy, Dunham and Bennett’s telling of the story with personal anecdotes and jokes makes the ride enjoyable. They call out when something is wrong, but also dive deep into that woman’s motivation.

Some women covered in this podcast are Robin Givens (named “most hated woman of America,” ex-wife of Mike Tyson, and f star of ABC sitcom Head of the Class from 1986 – 1991), Casey Johnson ( heiress of the Johnson & Johnson fortune), Mariah Carey( we all know who she is), Lisa Nowak (astronaut known for wearing a diaper while confronting her ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend), and more.

2. On Second Thought

A podcast about the conversations after the conversation – Trevor Noah

Daily Show host and stand-up comedian Trevor Noah and friend David Kibuuka give us a sneak peek into one of their friendly debates in each episode of On Second Thought, or at least that’s what it seems like. The show starts with the two men joking around before they get into the meat of the topic, something I imagine they do every time they are together, and after their one-on-one discussion about the topic amongst themselves, they bring in an expert that will bring important information to the table.

Each episode explores a topic related to major events that affect our current culture: like police officers racial profiling, violence or hate in the name of religion, Twitter, etc.

In the introduction episode Trevor Noah says, “After a busy week of the news floating around, I often find myself thinking really hard about the cultural moments we are all talking about. And after I have time to process what’s going on, I’ll often turn to my friends and say, ‘Wow, can you believe that actually happened?'”

Trevor also says this podcast is “the conversations after the conversation.” This podcast takes a deeper look into topics, beyond what the flashy headlines and short tweets have been conveying.

On Second Thought, Trevor, David, and their guests get into debates and complex conversations that will challenge their listeners to not passively interact with the constant news cycle. We need to really process what’s going on to truly make some change, and have some empathy for the other side in order to come to an agreement.

3. Hear to Slay

If there’s a bad a** women out there doing something amazing, she will always have a seat with us at Hear to Slay! – Tressie McMillan

Hear to Slay is a Black feminist podcast made by Roxane Gay and Dr. Tressie McMillan, Black women professors and writers. You are probably familiar with Roxane Gay’s popular books Bad Feminist and Hunger.

Black women have felt like they needed their own space separate from white feminists to address issues that are specific to Black woman for many years. Hear to Slay helps to fill that void. Each episode has a particular theme and they start with the women discussing their experience with that theme.

They discuss topics that everybody has been talking about, as well as topics they think need more air time, from a Black feminist perspective. After this discussion, the women introduce their guest, who is a successful Black woman who has experience to speak on the theme. The show closes with Roxanne and Tressie answering listener questions.

Some themes discussed have been money, with guest Natasha Rothwell (she plays Kelly from Insecure and is also a writer/producer on the show), and leadership, with Endeavor’s CMO Bozoma Saint John. I love listening to Roxane’s velvety voice and Tressie’s booming one. Listening to their discussions reminds me of the Black professors I encountered in college who were passionate about their students and area of expertise, and they were so cool at the same time.

Their confidence and intelligence radiates through the show. This podcast is about Black female empowerment and the hosts are the mentors we’ve been waiting for. Hear to Slay keeps it real, while also giving you a warm hug.

4. Telephone Stories: The Trials of Michael Jackson

I’m just going to start calling people to find out what happened. – Brandon Ogborn

If you can’t bring yourself to watch the recent documentary about the alleged victims of Michael Jackson but you want to know the truth, then this is the podcast for you. Telephone Stories’ hosts Brandon Ogborn and Omar Crook explore the Michael Jackson scandal through phone conversations with people who were involved.

They talk to people who believe Michael Jackson was innocent and people who don’t. What I like about the show is that Ogborn and Crook grew up with Michael Jackson being a huge figure in their lives, and they are honest about their doubts and the love they have for the singer’s music. In the first episode, they talk about their first Michael Jackson memory and mention, like many of us did, how they looked away during the trials to preserve the love they had for the musician.

In each episode, Ogborn narrates, conducts the phone interviews, and calls Crook to recite his findings. Crook asks questions to help find missing holes in the story and serves as a translator for the listeners that might get lost in the legal jargon and timeline. Some people they have interviewed include Michael Jackson’s entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, journalist Diane Dimond, deputy district attorney Lauren Weiss, and more.

If you want to understand the Michael Jackson case without the guilt or shame that comes with finding out your hero is not the person you thought he was, this podcast is the best alternative. Don’t get me wrong, there are spine-chilling moments, and as such, I don’t recommend binge listening this podcast. Still, the hosts retell and analyze the information in a way that makes the listener understand that they are going through this journey with the listeners. If you want to come to your own decision about the Michael Jackson case without constant noise, I recommend this podcast.

5. Fiasco

In the days that followed [the election], no one in American knew if the next President would be Al Gore or George Bush – Leon Neyfakht

Fiasco hosted by Leon Neyfakh is a podcast about “politics, power, and uncertainty.” Season 1 covers the Al Gore vs. Bush election cycle and the Florida politics involved. After the 2000 election results were announced on national TV, the American public was still unsure if Bush or Gore was President of the United States.

One episode covers how Bush’s stance on Cuban-American/ immigration rights gained him voters in Florida, and another episode covers the drama counting the number of votes during the 2000 election. Each episode unravels more layers to this tense part of American history.

This podcast brings to life a past era in politics that caused so much uncertainty. We are transported to that time through Leon’s fantastic storytelling and the guests that were involved who told their experiences.

The audio production of this podcast allows the listener to easily immerse into that political time. If your natural instinct is to run away from politics like it’s the plague, don’t be scared to dive into Fiasco.

The music, interviews, Leon’s narration, and other audio clips make this podcast a political drama with many layers and characters. A perfect balance of storytelling and politics.

Next. 15 best performances on Lip Sync Battle. dark

Ready to check out Luminary Premium? Learn more here