MtP to DT WA NA Ravenel bridge traffic.jpg

The closed westbound span of the Interstate 526 bridge has clogged Highway 17 South with the diverted extra traffic heading toward the Ravenel Bridge on Tuesday afternoon May 15, 2018. Wade Spees/Staff

What used to be a 15-minute commute to and from work is now feeling like a drive to Columbia. We got a bridge out of commission and too much idle time behind the wheel. And this could be a thing for weeks to come

The situation isn't great, but one positive: It's the perfect time to explore some new podcasts.

But where to start? I, for one, am always on the hunt for a new listen, but rarely have enough time and often waste whatever time I do have scrolling through iTunes and Spotify unable to make a decisions. 

We talked to our Post and Courier journalists (who probably like podcasts a little too much) and got some reader feedback to create what we believe are the right picks for surviving what I like to call "the Wando whoopsy."

Here are our our selections:

Pick: I Swear This Podcast Will Get You Excited About Infrastructure Maintenance

If sitting in traffic for hours hasn't gotten you excited enough about infrastructure maintenance, this podcast promises it will get you there.

Yes, this is actually a thing. Even weirder, this whole debacle is happening right in the middle of the 6th annual National Infrastructure Week being held in Washington this week...  

Pick: Invisibilia

"Invisibilia" explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior and it's one of my personal favorite podcasts. I'm an anxious driver myself, and I started listening to this last summer while on a long night drive through mysterious Gerogia back-roads and thunderstorms. I became absorbed in stories about how a person who doesn't have eyes can learn to see and a condition where a person can physically feel what others are feeling. There's one episode examining what fear really is, and the technical breakdown helped me through my fears. (I was certain that a tornado was going to touch down in front of my car any moment.) 

My colleague Caitlin Byrd had actually recommended it to me, and it's her pick for commuters as well.

"When all you see in front of you is traffic, sometimes it’s best to focus on the things we cannot see. NPR’s 'Invisibilia' podcast is a go-to for me because of its focus on things unseen, including behaviors, ideas, beliefs and assumptions. The hosts combine science with storytelling, and the results are powerful. This is always at the top for me because, quite frankly, this podcast makes me a better human." - Caitlin Byrd, Political Reporter

Pick: Reply All 

"It’s a weekly podcast about weird and strange things that happen to people because of the internet and also the internet’s impact on people. The storytelling is exceptional and its interesting and relevant to almost everyone." - Jason Kristufek, Digital Editor

"Excellent stories of how our lives are changed and how we make human connections via the Internet. It's well produced and they find the most fascinating subjects." - Kelly Poe, Newsletter Editor

Pick: Political Beats

"What you don’t need right now is a short, breezy podcast... Hosts Scot Bertram and Jeff Blehar of the National Review are joined each episode by someone working in politics to discuss a legendary band or musician. Clocking in at close to two hours, it will keep you engaged with discussion and music clips. Check out the recent episode on Wilco with guest Kevin Madden, current TV pundit and former George W. Bush campaign spokesman.” - Mitch Pugh, Executive Editor

Pick: The South Carolina Lede

Statehouse Reporter Jamie Lovegrove describes The S.C. Lede as an "upbeat political and legislative analysis on the news of the day from around the Palmetto State. A great 30-minute weekly listen for political junkies with a sense of humor!"

Others outside the newsroom seem to be big fans as well.

"I hear they have the best guests," says Statehouse Reporter Andrew Brown, who along with Lovegrove has been featured on the show.

Pick: Up & Vanished 

"Up and Vanished is a thrilling murder mystery about the disappearance of Georgia beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead. She has been missing since 2005. This podcast, done by Atlanta filmmaker Payne Lindsey, brings the case back into the public eye more than a decade later." - Grace Raynor, Clemson Sports Reporter

Pick: Dirty John 

"The world of podcasts is over saturated with true-crime stories, but this gripping narrative is one of the best. This six-part series from the LA Times tells the story of a scam artist and his victims, with a focus on one of his romantic relationships. It's full of twists and surprises — perfect for when you're stuck in standstill traffic." - Angie Jackson, Crime and Public Safety Reporter

Pick: Keep It

"If you are a pop culture junkie, it doesn’t get better than Keep It. Come for the insightful cultural analysis and discussion led by host Ira Madison III along with co-hosts Kara Brown and Louis Virtel, stay for the hysterical jokes and the 'Keep It' segment at the end of every show." - Cameron Love, Page Designer

Pick: Awkward Rhino

"Shameless plug: Awkward Rhino — locally produced, featuring awkward conversations about race, religion, and politics. I'm an occasional co-host." -Paul Bowers, Education Reporter

Pick: West Wing Weekly 

"I’m such a podcastaholic. But if I had to pick one, I’d recommend West Wing Weekly, a chronological look at each episode of the political series with hosts Joshua Malina (actor who played Will Bailey) and Hrishi Hirway, self-described West Wing fanatic. They’re up to Season 4 and frequently have guests who acted, wrote for, directed, edited for the series. Because the show was popular with politicians and and political wannabes, they also frequently have guests whose current role in government reflect a character in the storyline that corresponds with that episode. It’s funny and informative, especially for fans of the West Wing." - Cindy Cloutier, Copy Editor 

"As someone who has watched every episode of the show so many times it’s embarrassing to say, I thought I knew everything.  Each episode of The West Wing Weekly podcast gives new insight and background with particular details that make re-watching the show a must. It’s creates a perfect fan experience." -Jason Kristufek, Digital Editor 

Pick: Cocaine & Rhinestones 

"I don’t have a car, so don’t know if it translates to driving, but I’m a big fan of Cocaine & Rhinestones, which rivals any show I’ve heard for telling stories about the past with passion and an informed point-of-view. The first 20 minutes of the Tom T. Hall episode alone are worth the price of admission." -Hanna Raskin, Chief Food Critic and Editor

Pick: 99% Invisible

"Ryan Johnson from the City of North Charleston recommended this to me, and it’s incredible. This podcast showcases the history and design behind everything from air conditioning to emojis with remarkable story telling chops." -Rachel Cook, Niche Content Manager

Pick: Nature of All Things

"(I recommend) Keith Sudano’s 'Nature of All Things.' He’s a West Ashley hypnotist and life coach.  Always provocative, his podcasts delve into a range of subjects, from the human ego and its power to steer us away from spiritual growth to why we get so ticked off in traffic." -Tony Bartelme, Special Projects Reporter

Pick: 36 Questions — The Podcast Musical 

"I just started 36 Questions based on the recommendation of a friend for this very reason. It’s a 3 Act musical on the form of a podcast - I’m halfway through the first act. The singers are talented and I can’t wait to hear what happens next. Extremely entertaining and tells a captivating story. Can’t wait to hear more on my morning commute tomorrow" -Abbie Linnerud, Facebook user

Pick: Box in the Morning

Richard "Box" Bachschmidt became known in the Lowcountry after hosting a radio show for nearly 15 years. Now, he's moved on to podcasting.  "Box in the Morning is a show "dedicated to the artists and newsmakers of The Holy City."

And listeners are all about it.

Pick: Throwing Shade

"It's two comedians talking about public issues/current events and they often host other comedians on the show. I love it because it's pretty hilarious and makes the time go by pretty quickly (run time is about an hour, new episodes come out every Thursday)." -Haley Olds, News Clerk

Pick: The Weeds

"I love The Weeds from Vox. It’s an extremely nerdy look at the week’s news and the data and research behind the hottest issues." -Emory Parker, Interactive Editor

Pick: Charleston County Library audiobooks

"I love to download audiobooks for free from the Charleston County library. You have to have an account, but once you download the app, they are so easy to stream from your phone." -Lauren Sausser, Health Editor 

Pick: Pod Save America

Pod Save America is certainly not a podcast for everyone. It's pretty politically-charged, often challenging President Donald Trump and asserting opinions on the current political climate with explicit language. However, those who like this podcast tend to really like it, including congressional candidate Joe Cunningham.

The Moth Radio Hour 

"I think it's pretty popular, but for those who don't know, it's a recording of a live show where people go on stage and tell real stories about themselves, based on whatever the topic is. Often they're laugh-out-loud funny and embarrassing; sometimes they're sad. But not once has an episode lost my attention. I think it's just nice to hear that people are just as weird as you are." -Reema Amin, Facebook 

Engagement Editor

Brooks Brunson has served as The Post and Courier's Engagement Editor since May 2018. She started at P&C in 2014 and has held several positions in the newsroom since, briefly leaving in 2017 for a stint as a Digital Editor with The Virginian-Pilot.