I’m sharing a list of my favorite podcasts — there is something for everyone!
***Hey, friends!! I originally published this post about a year ago, but have since discovered some pretty incredible podcasts. Because I am a podcast junkie and always looking for more to add to the list, I thought you might appreciate the update! There is nothing worse than having no new episodes to listen to, am I right? Additions noted in red at the bottom of each list. I hope you love them as much as I do!!***
Hi. My name is Kristan and I am addicted to podcasts.
This is semi-embarrassing because it’s not very cool. I used to be that girl you’d catch blaring music and singing along at a stoplight, but now I’m nodding my head thoughtfully, carefully listening to the story being laid out.
I give myself two years before I have no idea who those people are that are accepting Grammys on stage. “Who is that and what is she wearing?! Does she have music on the radio?” <—- Me, very soon.
I do love music. I really do. But I have always loved reading, so I think that’s why I love podcasts so much. It’s basically a story, just told in another way. And unlike television, it’s made for strictly listening. As much as I love TV, I spend most of my day working at the computer, baking, or driving the kids around. And none of those situations are particularly conducive to watching a screen. So, podcasts.
I have a long list of podcasts I listen to, because most come out with a new show once a week AT MOST. I hate when I run out of new episodes to listen to, which is usually when I turn to an audiobook. I’ll often pick up the audio version of whatever book I’m in the middle of so I can pick up where I left off before bed the previous night.
Don’t get too close, people. You might accidentally catch some of my cool.
On the off chance that you’re looking for a podcast or four, I’ve broken my favorites up into categories to suit your interests! I’m helpful that way.
1. This American Life: Always reliably good, and the podcast that spawned Serial. This is basically the best podcast on the planet. The host is wonderful, the voices are fun to listen to, and the stories are interesting and unique.
My favorite episodes: #513: 129 Cars, #165: Americans in Paris, #492: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde, #419: Petty Tyrant, #534: Not So Simple Majority #543: Wake Up Now
2. The Mystery Show: Starly Kine, who has the funnest voice EVER to listen to, tries to solve mysteries WITHOUT using the internet. It’s surprisingly fun and there is usually a pretty great story in the process.
My favorite episodes: #3 Belt Buckle, #5 Source Code
3. Stuff You Missed in History Class: If you enjoy history, you’ll love this podcast. It’s interesting and fun.
My favorite episodes: Year Without A Summer, The Disappearance of the Sodder Children,
4. Chris Gethard’s Beautiful Anonymous: Anonymous people call in and talk to Chris Gethard for an hour. It’s often really funny and actually kind of beautiful.
My favorite episodes: A Real Life Superhero, Ron Paul’s Baby
5. RadioLab: Often science based, but incredibly interesting and well-told. Probably my favorite podcast after This American Life.
My favorite episodes: Patient Zero, The Rhino Hunter, The Montreal Screw-Job, The Cold War
6. Crime Writers on Serial: This podcast originally began as four crime-writers discussing Serial, but now they talk about all kinds of shows and true crime. It might not sound that interesting, but it just works. They all have great podcast voices and story-telling abilities. It’s just fun to hear them banter.
My favorite episodes: S2 Ep 3.5 Talking ‘Making a Murderer’, JINXED! The Jinx and The Staircase, These are Their Stories: A Law & Order Special
**ADDED** Anna Farris is Unqualified: Anna Farris (yes, the one married to Chris Pratt!) has a special celebrity guest every week and together they dispense relationship advice to callers. It’s so fun and I swear I could listen to her husky voice all day. There is definitely language, so don’t listen around the kiddos.
**ADDED** Missing Richard Simmons: A reporter decides to officially get to the bottom of the Richard Simmons mystery. This is SUCH a good podcast — it immediately shot to the top of the iTunes chart, if that tells you anything. The story is well laid-out, the interviews are SO good, and it’s incredibly compelling. You have to listen to it!
**ADDED** Heavyweight: Each episode of this podcast follows someone looking for resolution. Whether it’s a family member, an ex-girlfriend, or high school bullies, the stories are well-told and always draw me in. There’s a lot of humor in it, too.
**ADDED** Reply All: This podcast is about all things internet, so no wonder I find it so interesting! Whether it’s how the internet affects people, or how people affect the internet, the stories are always different but I always love them.
1. Serial: OBVIOUSLY!! Does anyone NOT listen to Serial? I’ve listened to Season 1 about three times. Can’t get enough of Sarah Koenig. Season 2 started off slow, but I ended up loving it. It was much different than Season 1, but still incredibly interesting and thought-provoking.
My favorite episodes: ALLLL of Season 1, and Episodes 1, 9, 10, and 11 of Season 2.
2. Someone Knows Something: A Canadian podcast investigating the disappearance of a five year old boy in 1972 during a family fishing trip. This podcast takes place in real time as the narrator tries to gather new leads and evidence.
My favorite episodes: 5 Breeze and Grief and 6 The Scent
3. Undisclosed: Unless you’ve already listened to Serial season 1, you probably won’t be too interested in this one. This podcast isn’t the most well-produced, but if you got caught up in Serial and Adnan’s case, this will answer a LOT of questions. Rabia Chaudry, a family friend of Adnan, and two other law experts go over all of the evidence and really dive into the case.
My favorite episodes: Episode 3: Jay’s Day, Episode 10: Crime Stoppers
4. Breakdown: Bill Rankin, a senior legal affairs writer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, breaks down the justice system in his state of Georgia. His voice takes some getting used to, but it’s a really great podcast.
My Favorite episodes: Season 2: Episodes 1 and 6
5. The Disappearance of Maura Murray: An incredibly fascinating story about a woman who went missing after a one-person car crash 12 years ago. It’s one of the most puzzling mysteries I’ve ever heard. The beginning episodes of the podcast can get tedious at times, but I stick with it because the story has me so interested!
My favorite episodes: Episode 19: Oddities in Haverhill, Episode 22: What We Know
6. Criminal: The episodes are about true crime — some old and some new. This podcast is usually pretty brief, which is nice if you’re short on time! They always pick a great variety of interesting crimes, which I love.
My favorite episodes: Episode 1: Animal Instincts, Episode 5: Dropping Like Flies, Episode 11: I’m About to Save Your Life
**Late Addition** Generation Why: Two dudes discussing true crime. They go over old and new cases, both well-known and not. It’s very good!
**ADDED** My Favorite Murder: Two hilarious women who are completely unapologetic about their love of all things murder. Their subscribers are self-described “murderinos,” which I can’t help but love. There’s some language, so don’t listen with kids in the car. But if you want to hear about murder with a lighthearted touch, this is for you.
**ADDED** Missing and Murdered: This podcast follows the investigation into the death of 24 year-old Alberta Williams, an Indigenous woman from British Columbia who was murdered in 1989.
**ADDED** In the Dark: This podcast follows the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, a young boy who went missing in Minnesota 27 years ago. This podcast does a really great job of showing how this case changed how child abductions are handled.
**ADDED** These Are Their Stories…: If you’re a Law & Order junkie, you have GOT to listen to this podcast (by the creators of another of my favorites, Crime Writers On…), where they discuss an episode of Law & Order every week. It’s hilarious and does a good job of pointing out all the things we love to hate about the show that is ALWAYS ON.
1. Books on the Nightstand: A good, easy to listen to podcast that’ll give you some great ideas for books to pick up!
My favorite episodes: #246, #296, #311, #321
2. That’s What She Read: Not always the most captivating, but these girls suggest a lot of good books that I normally might not have found. They have a pretty mainstream reading taste, so I can usually trust what they suggest.
3. What Should I Read Next?: Blogger Anne Bogel (The Modern Mrs. Darcy) interviews one reader every episode, then does some “literary matchmaking,” matching her guest with three books of her choice based on books they’ve loved in the past.
My favorite episodes: #6, #9, #1
**ADDED** POLITICAL PODCASTS:
Admittedly, I am a Democrat, so take this as your warning that the political podcasts I listen to might not be for you. And that’s okay! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Pod Save America: Former speech writers for Barack Obama discuss current political happenings twice a week, with a special guest. In their first interview, they interview Obama for his last interview as President. This podcast is smart, funny, and encourages engagement. I love it.
Pod Save the World: By the creators of Pod Save America, this podcast covers foreign policy and has interviews with special guests. It’s incredibly educational in a way that is easy to absorb.
What podcasts do you listen to and love?! I always need more!
Happy listening, friends! My Favorite Podcasts