From true crime to comedy, these are the best podcasts around

From true crime to comedy, these are the best podcasts around

Podcasts are awesome (even if they may finally kill radio). You can stream or download them and listen to them at home on your computer, or on an iPhone on your way to work. Plus, they cover just about every topic you can think of. The only thing not to love? There are so many to pick from. We’ve compiled a list of the best podcasts around — covering a variety of topics — so you can spend less time fumbling through the bad and more time listening to the good.

New to podcasts? Here’s our guide to what exactly they are and how to listen.

News

Cited

This documentary-style podcast asks experts and educational professionals questions you would never think there were scholarly answers for. Are racists crazy? Can heroin be used to help stop heroin addiction? These are just a few of the topics hosts Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn explore in their one-hour segments.

Available via:

Soundcloud iTunesRSS Stitcher

Undisclosed

The justice system doesn’t always work, and podcasts like Undisclosed are there to make sure we don’t forget. Undisclosed takes the listener through the investigation, trial, and verdict of controversial cases, such as the death of Freddie Gray, with meticulous detail that makes every episode sound ripe for a multipart TV documentary.

Available via:

Audioboom iTunesRSS Stitcher

PRI’s The World

PRI The World podcast

The World is Public Radio International’s daily news show. What makes it a stand out is how the reports connect listeners to topics and people from around in the world in surprising ways — making bus riders in Bogota relevant to morning commuters in San Francisco — while covering some of the most interesting stories of the day.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Global News

BBCWorldNews

This podcasts features just what the name implies — news from around the globe. It consists of a pair of 30-minute news broadcasts compiled twice a day from the 24-hours news coverage offered by the BBC World Service.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Left, Right & Center

LeftRightCenter

Left, Right & Center is a weekly 30-min podcast assembled by Los Angeles radio station KCRW. The debate forum of the podcast allows Josh Barrow, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Rich Lowry, and their special guest to analyze politics, policy, and culture from every angle.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Democracy Now

DemocracyNow

The award-winning show hosted by investigative journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez is unique in it’s independence. If you took media theory 101 (or you listen to On the Media), you know just how unique and important independent news media is — making this arguably the most essential news podcast of the bunch.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Slate Political Gabfest

poltical gabfest

Slate’s Political Gabfest is a weekly news roundup featuring discussions between host David Plotz and, usually, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon. Their political analysis is on point and their repartee adds some levity to the top stories of the week.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

On the Media

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Award-winning On the Media is one of the only shows dedicated to covering media news. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield talk about how the news is covered, regulated, and disseminated. They examine threats to free speech, the element of transparency, and hidden agendas with both intrigue and authority.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

The Takeaway

The Takeaway

The Takeaway, hosted by Emmy and Peabody winner John Hockenberry, hosts conversations about the topics that matter with national news leaders. Live reports from the field and listener call-ins round out the show and provide an extremely diverse analysis.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Reveal

Reveal

As investigative reporting gradually vanishes from American print and broadcast news, podcasts and radio try to pick up the mantle. Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting’s radio show and dedicated podcast, is one such example. The hourlong show aims a spotlight at each topic it covers, remaining interesting and analytical while covering urgent and relevant topics.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Citizen Radio

Citizen Radio

If the daily news leaves you feeling frustrated and depressed, Citizen Radio might be the podcast for you. The show covers news mainstream media often neglects, in a similar fashion to Democracy Now, but with a lot more swearing and humor. Journalist Allison Kilkenny and comedian Jaime Kilstein navigate the show between righteous outrage and comedic analysis.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Vox’s The Weeds

Vox The Weeds

News website Vox’s brand-spankin’-new podcast, The Weeds, digs into the nitty gritty of policy thoroughly enough to satiate even the biggest policy nerds. In a conversational format, editors Ezra Klien and Sarah Kliff — along with writer and policy buff Matthew Yglesias — discuss how policy changes the public, and in turn, how the public changes policy.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Comedy

My Brother, My Brother, and Me

In this hilarious podcast, three brothers — Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy — field questions and concerns from listeners, and give some of the funniest advice you will hear in a podcast. Their thoughts on talking dogs, Carly Rae Jepsen, and “sushi candy” might not be the most appropriate, but they will make you laugh.

Available via:

iTunes StitcherRSS

WTF with Marc Maron

marc maron podcast

We all have “WTF” moments in our lives and Marc Maron is just pointing a few of them out. His twice-weekly podcast, usually recorded in his LA garage, consists of him talking with comedic friends, writers and celebrity guests.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Judge John Hodgman

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Humorist John Hodgman’s podcast is like no other. The show sees him adjudicating trivial domestic disputes within a simulated courtroom, complete with real-life sound effects and the balmy Jesse Thorn as the bailiff.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

The Bugle

the-bugle

This satirical “audio newspaper” stars former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver and comedian Andy Zaltzman. It delves into global news, except with more rants and wit than you’d ever expect.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Dead Authors Podcast

dead authors podcast

Do you like literature, comedy, or Paul F. Tompkins? If you said yes to any of those, you should listen to this podcast. If you said yes to all three of those options, then you probably already are listening to this podcast.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

How Did This Get Made

how did this get made podcast

Three comedians get together, often with their comedian friends, and watch some of the worst movies ever made. It’s like Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the radio, minus the robots and the heavy focus on B movies. In fact, part of what’s so hilarious about How Did This Get Made? is that many of the crappy movies were intended to be blockbusters. Winter’s Tale, anyone?

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Throwing Shade

throwing shade podcast

Hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi discuss the issues most important to women and gays with hilarious irreverence. Often explicit, always germane, Throwing Shade rightfully calls out of bigotry and sexism within a tightly-rolled comedic wrapper.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Music

The Combat Jack Show

As one of the longest-running hip-hop podcasts, The Combat Jack Show has evolved into a well-regarded source for quality entertainment discussions. Host Reggie Ossé interviews a myriad of guests — including Get Out director Jordan Peele about the black Hollywood Renaissance and former Baltimore police officer Michael A Woods Jr. about police corruption — in sharp and witty ways.

Available via:

iTunes Soundcloud Stitcher

Rap Radar Podcast

In Rap Radar Podcast, Brian ‘B. Dot’ Miller and former XXL editor-in-chief Elliott Wilson speak to a variety of guests in the entertainment business about nearly everything under the sun. One week they’re talking with Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda about making a mixtape, and the next they’re speaking with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg about recent run-ins with the law.

Available via:

iTunesRSS Play.it Stitcher

All Songs Considered

all things considered

Bob Boilen and Robert Hilton are big names in the NPR music scene. Boilen’s show introduces listeners to all genres of music, from that emerging Latin America band you’ve never heard of, to the more mainstream indie fixes.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Music That Matters

music that matters podcast

Seattle’s’ KEXP is constantly at the forefront of broadcasting new alternative and indie music. The show features both prominent and emerging artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Above & Beyond

AboveAndBeyond

Electronic music more your thing? Then Above & Beyond is where it’s at. The London DJ trio Above & Beyond hosts the weekly two-hour show, bringing in 30-minute guest mixes from some of their favorite artists.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Morning Becomes Eclectic

morning becomes eclectic

Morning Becomes Eclectic is a great way to open your ears to something new. One minute you can be listening to progressive synth-pop from Zimbabwe and the next to some jazz-fusion ensemble coming out of Soviet Russia.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Sound Opinions

download

Sometimes it’s not enough just to listen to music. We have to have opinions about it as well. Sound Opinions features music critics discussing music news, reviewing new releases, and debates about the musical merits of songs.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Song Exploder

song exploder podcast

Music lives and breathes in songs. Exploder takes apart a single song — its structure, inspiration, and production — with the original musicians who created it. Artists include everyone from Spoon and Garbage, to Julia Holter and Valley Lodge.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Music Popcast

popcast

A panel of music critics, including the New York Times‘ Ben Ratliff, discuss the latest pop news, songs, albums, and artists. It’s opinionated, sure, but the excess of music knowledge and sharp commentary make it worthwhile.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Current Song of the Day

theCurrentSongoftheDay

Minnesota has one of the best music scenes around and a great public radio presence to boot. The Current’s Song of the Day offers upcoming artists from all over a platform one song at a time.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

NPR Microphone Check

npr music podcast

If you think NPR isn’t hip enough for a hip-hop podcast, think again. Microphone Check is all about what’s happening in hip-hop culture and covers the genre in the way only NPR can.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Tiny Desk Concerts

tiny desk concerts podcast

Imagine your favorite band playing an unplugged concert in your living room. That’s essentially the premise behind NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. Musicians play their songs at the desk of one Bob Boilen, aka the All Songs Considered host, casting the music in a more intimate light and helping you discover new favorites.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Pop Shop

pop shop podcast

Hosted by Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard senior editor Katie Atkinson, the Pop Shop discusses the latest industry news and most popular tracks across the music spectrum.

Available via:

iTunes RSS

Science and philosophy

Open Source with Christopher Lydon

This podcast tackles complex issues, such as deportation and the American empire, with astute analysis and meticulous breakdowns. Open Source originally aired in 2003 with current host Christopher Lydon, and it has lost none of its muster in the time since.

Available via:

iTunes RSS Stitcher

Radiolab

RadioLab

Each edition of RadioLab focuses on one particular idea or concept, honing in on the people, sounds, and stories that work to bring the show to life. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich tackle scientific and philosophical topics.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Stuff You Should Know

StuffYouShouldKnow

This podcast is a fantastic way to learn why music provokes emotions, how black holes work, and what Subway is actually good for. The topics are interesting, entertaining, and laid out in a manner that is easy to digest.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Freakonomics Radio

FreakonomicsRadio

Hosted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the mega-bestseller of the same name, this podcast “explores the hidden side of everything” from an economical/sociological perspective.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Stuff to Blow Your Mind

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Ever wonder how the electric eel generates juice or what trypophobia is? Julie Douglas and Robert Lamb have answers, whether talking about mind-blowing mysteries or the newest scientific revelations, in this 30-minute podcast.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

The Memory Palace

TheMemoryPlace

Each story is a perfectly told and produced bite of the past. This tiny podcast crams a million visceral responses into each episode, presenting history in a way that makes you feel as if it were recounting one of your own memories — one you’d almost forgotten but now is forever ingrained in your mind.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

The Partially Examined Life

partially examined life podcast

Short readings that present large philosophical ideas is the general gist of this podcast. Five former philosophy students discuss the biggest philosophers and their ideas from the Western canon of the field, breaking them down in an informal roundtable discussion (read: after-lecture bar talk).

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Stuff Mom Never Told You

stuff mom never told you podcast

Dissecting the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of being women, Stuff Mom Never Told You presents a candid and fresh view on gender. Whether delving into feminist transphobia or following a professional dominatrix, this podcast is sharp and informative while remaining accessible.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

Science Friday

scifri podcast

Each episode, host Ira Flatow interviews the top scientists and inventors, ranging from Jane Goodall to Elon Musk. There’s hardly an aspect of science or technology that Science Friday hasn’t covered, too, whether it be woolly bear caterpillars, the lingering affects of sneaker innovation, or what happens to plants when jettisoned into the vastness of space.

Available via:

iTunesRSS

StarTalk

startalk podcast

StarTalk is a podcast where pop culture, comedy, and science intersect. Everyone’s favorite renowned “personal astrophysicist” Neil DeGrasse Tyson invites actors, comedians, and other scientists to parse all sorts of scientific topics while he cracks slightly zany jokes

Available via:

iTunes RSS

Hidden Brain

hidden brain podcast

Hosted by NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain illustrates the unconscious patterns behind human behavior using psychology and neurobiology.

Available via:

iTunes RSS

More Perfect

best podcasts more perfect

A spinoff of WNYC’s Radiolab, More Perfect focuses on the United States Supreme Court. Each episode focuses on a specific Supreme Court case, some more famous than others, examining the court’s decision-making process and the social contexts of the times. More Perfect is a fascinating look into the most secluded branch of government, and a delight for legal history enthusiasts.

Available via:

iTunes Stitcher

Editor’s Recommendations

Published at Tue, 24 Oct 2017 23:28:11 +0000

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