Fun, informative Indonesian and global podcasts on pop culture

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Podcasts on pop culture
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When you and your friends don’t have a lot of time to do things outside of work, the conversations you have when you do manage to get together can get stale really quickly. You find yourself returning to the same old topics and you’re desperate for something refreshing. 

One way to spark a discussion is by jumpstarting your cultural references with the help of podcasts. There’s a plethora to choose from. If you’re new to the world of podcasts, looking for a show that speaks to you can be like finding a needle in a haystack. 

To start things off, here’s a list of local and international podcasts on pop culture that might be up your alley. Most are in Indonesian, but a few of them are in English. You can find them on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, as well as other podcast providers.

Local Indonesian podcasts

1. Soundclass

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Soundclass is part of’s East Kemang Radio and it’s hosted by Mar Galo, a member of the Jakarta-based indie band Jirapah. Mar talks to musicians, film directors, actors, and local creatives about the songs that have directly or indirectly influenced their work. 

The show gives you the opportunity to get to know public figures through their taste in music and it helps expand your references. 

2. Cinema Paradisco

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Cinema Paradisco is Podluck Podcast Media Network’s movie podcast. It covers movies that are shown in cinemas, film festivals, as well as those distributed online. Discussions are not bound to a particular genre, and you’ll also get movie recommendations, which can be pretty helpful if you don’t know what to watch.

The show gives movie buffs an all-encompassing understanding of movies because you’ll also learn about the state of the industry along with the social issues connected to them.

3. Do You See What I See

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Horror fans will dig this one because there’s nothing creepier than spooky stories based on true events. Do You See What I See is terrifying, yet fun to listen to. You’ll want to keep on listening even if you won’t be able to sleep. 

The podcast shows how scary stories impact the collective imagination and how they help us cope with the terrifying things that happen around us. If you have your own spooky tales to share, you can send your stories to

4. Podcast Buku Kutu

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It’s difficult to indulge in literary interests when most of your time is spent at work and commuting. Podcast Buku Kutu might be the solution because in addition to discussing specific fiction and non-fiction books, it also covers interesting topics like literary translation and reading habits. 

The episodes are bite-sized and rarely exceed 30 minutes. Like Cinema Paradisco, this podcast also gives recommendations, which can come in handy.

5. Potkes AFK

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Potkes AFK is for fans of comic books and their film or TV adaptations. It highlights characters from the original comics, and sometimes relates them to the casting choices in the adaptations. Though a lot of the episodes cover Marvel and DC stuff, the show also sheds light on series like The Umbrella Academy and Indonesia’s Bumi Langit franchise. 

6. Kejar Paket Pintar

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If you like listening to podcasts that remind you of laid-back conversations with friends at a cafe, check out Kejar Paket Pintar. It’s hosted by blogger Laila Achmad and art producer Dara Hanafi. The Jakarta-based duo share their daily observations as well as their opinions on books, movies, music, and social issues.

The mood of the show is casual so even when the topic of the day gets a little heavy, you won’t feel intimidated. In fact, you’ll probably be encouraged to do your own little research.

7. Benang Merah

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This podcast is a little more serious compared to the ones previously mentioned. Benang Merah is a good entry-point if you want to learn more about various social issues. It’s hosted by researcher and musician Rara Sekar and her partner, researcher and photographer Ben Laksana. 

Topics include the media, the environment, and the experience of being a digital worker in the 21st century, to name a few. The hosts do a good job of making big topics digestible, so you can listen to this podcast without feeling intimidated.

International podcasts

8. Switched on Pop

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Besides being known for short but informative videos shared on social media sites, Vox is also the brainchild of Switched on Pop, a fun music podcast hosted by musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding.

Even if you’re not a music fanatic, you’ll find this podcast intriguing as it sheds light on the aspects of music that we are always exposed to but rarely examine. For example, one of the episodes is titled “Do You Believe In Life After Autotune?” Episodes range from 30 minutes to an hour, which is great if you’re not into lengthy discussions.

9. Show Me the Meaning

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Spearheaded by Wisecrack, a media brand known for its YouTube video essays,  Show Me the Meaning is a podcast centered on new and old movies of different genres.

A typical episode starts with the hosts’ hot takes, before leading into an extended discussion of the movie in question. Sometimes it’s the disagreements between the hosts that make the talk engaging because they make you want to pick a side.

10. Decoder Ring

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If you’re the type of person who loves throwing bits of trivia at your friends, then Slate’s Decoder Ring should go on your list of podcasts to listen to. It tries to get to the bottom of “cultural mysteries” such as ice cream trucks, pillow talk, or even the annoyingly catchy Baby Shark song. You’ll be surprised by the ways in which these overlooked topics influence our lives.

Fun and informative podcasts on pop culture

Now that you know how diverse podcasts can be, give them a listen and see which ones work best for you. You’ll soon realize that apart from giving you ideas on what to talk about with your friends, podcasts on pop culture can encourage you to make time for your abandoned hobbies.

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