I frikken love podcasts. They’re the best boredom buster I have ever discovered. Waiting in long queues, car rides and flights are SO much more bearable when you have something super captivating to listen to. Don’t get me wrong – I love listening to music, but sometimes you just need something that’s more entertaining. I’m so glad that podcasts are becoming more of a thing because I think they’re such an underrated medium. You can choose exactly what you want to listen to when you want to listen to it… podcasts are like the Netflix of radio. Whether you’re already a podcast fan looking for some new recommendations or whether you’ve never listened to one (OMG please do), here are five of my favourite podcasts that you should listen to.
As one of the most downloaded and highly rated podcasts ever, This American Life is practically podcast royalty. Originally created in 1995 under a different name, the program has been aired on various radio stations since it was first created. Hosted by Ira Glass from the beginning, this award-winning show been available in podcast form since about 2006, which was pretty early in the podcast game. Basically, the creators really know what they’re doing. Each weekly podcast contains several stories that fit under an overarching theme. Although journalistic in its approach, the stories shared on the show are often very personal, highlighting the experiences of ordinary people. Episode themes range from deep and intense to hilarious and light-hearted. Entertaining, informative and excellently put together, This American Life is the definition of a good podcast.
I know that this is so mainstream, but Serial was the first podcast I ever listened to, so I have to mention it here. It drew me in within minutes and I’ve loved this medium ever since. Currently, there are two seasons of Serial – both of which unpack and retell controversial stories from the past, probing for answers and new insights along the way. In essence, this is an investigative journalism podcast – the creators spend months researching and gathering information before they begin writing and instead of publishing an article, the story is told via a podcast. Season one – my personal fave – is about a teenage girl’s disappearance and murder in 1999. 17-year-old Adnan Syed – the victim’s ex-boyfriend – was convicted for Hae Min Lee’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. The case was controversial as there wasn’t much evidence against Syed – he was basically found guilty due to the account of one witness. Sarah Koenig, the host and producer of the show, decided to investigate. After sifting through hundreds of documents and conducting dozens of interviews, she reveals her findings over 12 episodes. The story is gripping by itself, but its made even better by top quality reporting. If this show doesn’t get you hooked to podcasts, I don’t know what will.
Yes, this is just as hysterical as it sounds. Jamie’s dad wrote an erotic novel. Yup – Cringe. But instead of hiding it and himself from the world in shame, he decided to embrace it by roping his friends – Alice and James – into a podcast. Each week Jamie reads one chapter of Belinda Blinked (the afore mentioned ‘novel’) out loud to his friends with the aim of giving constructive feedback to his dad. The three of them basically tear apart the novels, resulting in one of the funniest pieces of comedy I have ever experienced. Unfortunately I can’t listen to My Dad Wrote A Porno in public because I cry with laughter at evey episode. The last straw was when I had a silent tearful laughing fit on a plane that lasted for a full two minutes. After realizing that I must have looked like an absolute nutter, I now listen to this podcast in the safety of my car or my home where I can laugh as loudly as I like and silent cry-laugh to my heart’s content. Be warned, this isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s vulgar, crude and VERY explicit – three of the things that make it so damn funny in my opinion. If you’re a little more conservative, it may be best to stay away but if you aren’t fussed by swearing and a lot of sexual references PLEASE download this right now.
If you love the show QI, you’ll love this podcast… and who doesn’t love QI? Each week four of QI’s researchers (yes, this is an actual job) get together and share four facts that they’ve found during the previous week. The four hosts – James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski and Dan Schreiber – pick apart, add to and make fun of each other’s facts resulting in a show that is often strange, usually hilarious and always entertaining. Light-hearted and fun, this is a great podcast to listen to when you don’t feel like concentrating – you’ll learn so much without even noticing. (Also, all of the facts you hear on this show will make you a dinner table conversational god.)
Although this is the lesser known podcast in this post, this show is one of my faves. Created by Chris Duffy, You’re The Expert is essentially an audio game-show. In each episode three comedians try and guess what the featured expert is an expert in through a series of games and sketches. Each comedian contender gets a certain amount of points for getting a question right or winning a game and at the end one of them is crowned the winner of the episode. The experts come from a huge variety of fields… some of my personal fave experts have been: a dog psychologist, a nightmare expert, a penguin specialist and an expert in genetics (specifically fruit flies). This show effortlessly makes academia more accessible to the everyday person, teaching listeners and entertaining them at the same time. It’s seriously genius!
What are your favorite podcasts?