I’ve had friends over two days ago and we got to talk about podcasts, so I figured I’d take stock and see what I’m listening to these days. I’m subscribed to 98 podcasts in PocketCasts, but the ones that are in active rotation are a fraction of that. I usually listen to podcasts when I went to bed because I need some sort of noise to fall asleep more often than not.
Some of these are also radio shows (like the ones by NPR, among others) but I’ll just refer to most of them as podcasts for simplicity’s sake. Quotes mean I took the description from directly the source.
- 30 for 30: “Original audio documentaries from the makers of the acclaimed 30 for 30 film series, featuring stories from the world of sports and beyond." Look I don’t care much about sports but so many of these stories are incredible.
Episode to start with: OUT OF THE WOODS.
- 99% Invisible: “Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we’ve just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars."
Episode to start with: 367- Peace Lines.
- David Tennant Does a Podcast With…: “David Tennant gets talking with the biggest names from TV, movies, comedy and elsewhere. Revealing conversation, surprise stories and lots of laughs." I’m not much for the celebrity interview genre but this one is an exception because almost all of these interviews are exceptionally good.
Episode to start with: Olivia Colman.
- Extremities: “Why and how people live in earth’s most isolated and extreme settlements." Each season is about a different place: Pitcairn Island, Svalbard and Saint Helena in its latest season. It’s made by the guy who makes the Wendover Productions youtube videos.
Episode to start with: Arrival on Pitcairn.
- Friendshipping: “Every week Jenn & Trin answer your questions about friendship." It’s a great podcast but it’s the one I put on when I really want to fall asleep; for some reason, it really does it for me.
Episode to start with: any, really.
- Heavyweight: Stories of people who lived with regrets for years or even decades and want to find out what happened, or how to fix it. Its 4th season is the best so far, where almost every story is amazing.
Episode to start with: #30 The Marshes.
- Hi-Phi Nation: “Hi-Phi Nation is philosophy in story-form, integrating narrative journalism with big ideas."
Episode to start with: The Precrime Unit.
- Hidden Brain: “Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships."
Episode to start with: Spoiler Alert.
- Invisibilia: “Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently."
Episode to start with: Post, Shoot.
- Lingthusiasm: “A podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics by Gretchen McCulloch (All Things Linguistic) and Lauren Gawne (Superlinguo). A weird and deep conversation about language delivered right to your ears the third Thursday of every month." If you support their patreon, you also get a bonus episode each month which I highly recommend.
Episode to start with: 26: Why do C and G come in hard and soft versions? Palatalization.
- Planet Money: “The economy explained." They are an incredible content machine, with almost a 1000 episodes, all of them pretty good.
Episode to start with: #905: The Chicago Boys, Part I.
- Punch Up The Jam: “What if the greatest hits could be …greater? Every Thursday, comedian/musician…Miel…Bredouw…teams up with a special guest to revisit, review and revise the songs of our yesterdays, yestermonths or even (dare we) yesteryears." This was co-hosted by the amazing Demi Adejuyigbe up till recently.
Episode to start with: “Africa” by Toto (w/ Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna) but also, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. (w/ Open Mike Eagle & Neil Cicierega) which was recorded live at XOXO 2019.
- Reply All: "‘A podcast about the internet’ that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it."
Episode to start with: #149 30-50 Feral Hogs.
- The Boring Talks: “Behind every boring subject is another layer of boringness you could have never imagined." This show is the podcast version of the Boring Conference, something I’ve been to twice already and plan on going this year as well. A lot of the episodes are adopted from past talks.
Episode to start with: #39 - Doormats.
- The Dream: The first season of this show explored the world of MLMs; the second season goes into all things wellness.
Episode to start with: S1 E1: Wanna Swim in Cash?
- This American Life: A radio show going for almost 24 years now, with the most fascinating stories. It’s one of the most popular podcasts in the world, and it deserves that spot: a lot of other people in radio/podcasting started their carrier here. Each week they have a certain theme broken into several “acts”.
Episode to start with: 24 Hours at the Golden Apple.
- Throughline: Exploring a current story through the lens of the past because history really likes repeating itself.
Episode to start with: The Grid.
- You’re Wrong About…: “Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider an event, person or phenomenon that’s been miscast in the public imagination." This is one of my favorite podcasts right now and I am so glad I saw them live and got to meet them at XOXO 2019.
Episode to start with: Tonya Harding Part 1.
- Alone: A Love Story: “Alone: A Love Story is an award-winning memoir by Michelle Parise. With candour and humour, Michelle delves into the deepest, darkest aspects of her divorce and her new life as a part-time parent, part-time partier." This is a complete series with three seasons. You’ll either love it or hate it. Or both.
Episode to start with: Chapter 1: Not if, how.
- The Heart: “The Heart is an audio art project and podcast about intimacy and humanity." I’ve only listened to one episode so far but I will very likely go through its back catalog.
Episode to start with: Pansy: Twirl.
- Launch: “Three out of five people dream of writing a book. Maybe you’re one of them. But what does it take to go from dream to launch? Screenwriter John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) sought to find out as he tackled something he’d only ever dreamed of: writing a novel. From Wondery, A Network Of Storytellers, this is a show about putting something out into the world. How will it turn out? You’ll know when we do." This was a limited series, but very much worth listening to.
Episode to start with: A Boy in The Woods | 1.
- Startup: Startup chronicled (among other things) how Gimlet Media, one of the major podcast companies started five years ago. Its final season deals with its acquisition by Spotify.
Episode to start with: Introducing StartUp: The Final Chapter
- The Chernobyl Podcast: A limited companion podcast for the TV show. Hosted by Peter Sagal, he talks with the show’s creator Craig Mazin about each episode.
Episode to start with: 1:23:45.
Whew! That’s a lot. I hope you’ll find something you like.