5 Local Podcasts You Need to Hear
These hosts just might be your neighbor
By Madison Russ

Maybe you’re looking to fill the silence of a long commute or for a way to unwind at the gym, or maybe you’re already a podcast fanatic looking for something new to tune into after you binged the last one. If so, grab your earbuds and tune in to one of these awesome and entertaining podcasts recorded right here in SJ.



Christen Orbanus and Alexis Karas


A former teen librarian in Voorhees for eight years, Christen Orbanus knows a good young adult novel when she reads it.

So when Orbanus found herself recommending books for teens in the library only for their parents to check them out, she had an idea.

“My biggest thing as a librarian is I don’t want people to feel guilty for liking what they like to read,” says Orbanus, who is now the branch manager of the Merchantville Library. “My bachelor’s degree is in English, and when I was younger I had people guilt me because I didn’t want to read ‘Wuthering Heights.’ If you’re enjoying yourself and you’re getting something out of the book, that’s all that matters.”

Orbanus, along with her former colleague Alexis Karas, decided to channel her passion for the angst-ridden (and sometimes magical) love stories found in YA lit into the “Young Adult at Heart Podcast” through the Camden County Library.

Each month, the podcast dishes on a new novel and shares spoiler-free discussions of the characters before rating them on an angst scale of one (think Hazel Grace, the mellow protagonist suffering from cancer in “The Fault in Our Stars”) to 10 (i.e., the super-angsty Bella Swan of the “Twilight” series). Plus, Orbanus announces the book she’ll be reviewing a month in advance, so you can read along – think of it as a frills-free book club you can listen along to.

WHERE TO LISTEN: iTunes, Stitcher and the library’s website. Or, visit the Facebook page.



Ed McDonough had been in broadcasting for 40 years, so after retiring, he headed to a community radio station in Cape May – only to find there wasn’t much “community” news there.

He expressed his observation to John Cooke, former president of the Cape May Chamber of Commerce, and the pair came up with a way to fill the void. Every other Thursday, McDonough and Cooke broadcast their breakfast with a different group of South Jerseyans to talk about the town. Episodes have delved into everything from wineries and birding to politics and history in the Shore town, with listeners tuning in from as far away as Nebraska and the Midwest.

“It’s been getting a great response, because people want to know what’s going on in their own backyard,” he says.

WHERE TO LISTEN: The show airs on Fridays at 2 pm on WCFA 101.5 FM, which can only be listened to if you’re local to the area. Otherwise, it streams online and is available on iTunes.


Shaun Smith


Born out of a blog by the same name, The High Note Podcast keeps it diverse – you’ll hear music columnist Shaun Smith covering everything from new tunes and local concerts to discussions with major players in the SJ music scene.

Smith, who started as a music journalist in New York, eventually moved back to South Jersey and put down roots in the Atlantic City area before starting his music column and blog. He also hosts an open mic night at Ventnor Coffee on the first Saturday of each month.

“This year, I’m going to record at least once a month, hopefully two, and focus on the submissions I have gotten from artists from our area and across the world,” says Smith. “People can look forward to hearing information about concerts and music events as well as interviews with musicians and people in the music industry.”

WHERE TO LISTEN: Catch episodes at highnoteblog.com or listen to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.



South Jersey comedians Will Liam and Noah Houlihan have been geeking out on the +2 Comedy podcast (which is a sly nod to the game Dungeons and Dragons) for nearly five years.

Riffing on everything from Netflix series and video games to “Star Wars” and Japanese anime, the comedic duo often broadcast live from local nerd hot-spots, such as Gamers Vault in Medford.

The “nerd comedy” pair also takes their podcast and stand-up act on the road, broadcasting from different pop-culture conventions across the country. Liam and Houlihan frequently invite special guests – think YouTubers, collectors, comic book artists and even other comedians – to laugh and geek out alongside them on the podcasts.

WHERE TO LISTEN: iTunes, Podbean. Follow them on Twitter at @Plus2Comedy.



Twenty minutes – roughly the time it takes to enjoy that late-morning latte – is all you need to become a classical music virtuoso.

Your Classical Coffee Break covers fast and fun discussions about classical music and culture with hosts Paul Somers, a composer and performer, and Paul Herron, the former executive director of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony.

And while most people might expect the talk to be a bit stuffy, it’s anything but – they’ve devoted episodes to discussing “baroque be bop,” women composers and even ways The Beatles integrated classical elements into their mega hits.

“When I was working with the symphony, I’d often run across people who were intrigued by classical music but they felt somewhat intimidated by it, like they needed to learn more in order to understand it,” says Herron. “I try to tell people, ‘Look, if you have ears and you have a soul, just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy it.”

WHERE TO LISTEN: iTunes or Stitcher.


February 2018
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