Podcasts are more popular than ever. Thanks to the success of 2014’s true crime investigation Serial everyone who owns a mixing desk and a microphone has started to create their own, but sometimes their efforts are a little hit and miss. To help you out here’s our guide to the best podcasts you should be listening to on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.
Joe Rogan Experience
The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is a long form conversation hosted by comedian Joe Rogan with friends and guests that have included comedians, actors, musicians, MMA fighters, authors, artists, and beyond.
This recently concluded 8-part series from NPR tells the horrific story of Larry Nassar, the US Olympic gymnastics doctor who managed to get away with sexually abusing hundreds of girls over several decades under the cover of “medical” procedures. The series forensically details how he got away with his crimes, playing on the trust in him that led many parents not to believe their children when they accused him of wrongdoing. Take a listen here.
A new podcast from the folks at Gimlet Media, Without Fail is an interview podcast where host Alex Blumberg interviews people from the worlds of business, sport and culture. As the name suggests, it has a particular focus on how they failed and what they learned while doing it. The opening two episodes are a fascinating conversation with Andrew Mason who founded, and was then fired from, Groupon.
Language is beautiful but perplexing. In The Allusionist, Helen Zaltzman dives into some of the oddities of the English language. From tech jargon to emoji to the story of the once-common English street name, Gropecunt Lane. Prepare to be enlightened. Listen here.
About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge
After the astounding success of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which graced best-seller lists across the country, Eddo-Lodge has launched a podcast – About Race with Reni – which takes some of these themes further. Delving into Britain’s past and present, thinking about race in the context of empire, law enforcement, identity politics, political blackness and feminism, Eddo-Lodge assembles a cast of personalities including Diane Abbott, Meera Syal, Billy Bragg, Owen Jones and Laurie Penny. Two things are clear: Eddo-Lodge knows how to host a podcast, addressing complex and difficult issues head-on – and she clearly is talking to white people about race.
Dial M for Mueller
In Dial M for Mueller, which debuted in mid-November, the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr – of Cambridge Analytica scandal’s fame – teams up with Peter Jukes, an investigative journalist and podcaster. The duo‘s declared aim is to make the case for why the UK needs a Robert Mueller-like figure to look into foreign interference in the Brexit vote. Informally but forensically, the podcast dissects the web of sinister connections that appear to link Brexit to Trump, Russia, and foreign dark money. Unmissable if you have a thing for international conspiracies. Subscribe here.
Everything around us in the non-natural world has been designed and shaped by human beings. From city benches built to be deliberately uncomfortable to deter rough sleepers, to the serious design flaws that mean governments are turning their backs on cul-de-sacs, 99% Invisible tells the fascinating stories behind the parts of our world we don’t always pay much attention to. As an added bonus, host Roman Mars has one of the smoothest voices in podcasting.
Hey, Cool Job!
Ever met a LEGO designer or a scuba diver instructor and thought, “Hey, cool job!”? This podcast is one for those of us who are curious about the working life of people who have pursued careers that stand out. Hosted by American writer Mary H.K. Choi, it unveils the everyday lives of a war reporter or a creative director, of a porn star or of a gold founder. Enough to make you consider a mid-life career crisis. Listen here.
The Adam Buxton Podcast
Comedian Adam Buxton’s podcast is amiably simple. He chats with people. But not just normal people, some of the most interesting actors, comedians, musicians and film makers from the UK and beyond. A recent selection of guests includes Johnny Marr, Louis Theroux, Edgar Wright, Adam Curtis, Zadie Smith and Brian Eno. Buxton’s “ramble chats” share the stage with his brilliant jingles. If you’ve had enough of ads for Squarespace or Harry’s razors, Buxton’s take on podcast advertising will brighten your day. Listen here.
The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds is the most fun you will ever have during a history lesson. Every week, Anthony reads a story from American history to Reynolds who has no idea what the topic is going to be about. This power dynamic puts Reynolds in the place of the listener, and the ensuing reactions are hilariously relatable – with just the right amount of mockery.
The hosts make this podcast genuinely funny, whilst successfully teaching you about some seriously interesting topics, from the Radium Girls who rotted away, the history of Opium in the US and a shrewd look at Uber. Listen to this podcast if you’re greedy for some often-surprising knowledge but need satire and laughter too.
How Did This Get Made?
Have you ever sat through a movie so terrible that you genuinely don’t understand how it can exist? How Did This Get Made? covers this exact topic. Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas call up scores of their friends to sit through and comment on awful movies.
If you enjoy poking fun at ridiculous films, this is for you. The hosts and guest stars give you a really accurate synopsis of the most terrible movies ever made, in the midst of incredibly humorous commentary.
The Tip Off
The Tip Off asks journalists to explain how they got the leads for their biggest stories. This weekly podcast gives a satisfyingly dramatic look at the detective work behind journalism. There will be car chases, slammed doors, terrorist cells, meetings in dimly lit bars and close shaves with despotic regimes. However, while all of these are worth a listen, what you really stay for is the episode on the Panama Papers. Hosted by investigative journalist Maeve McClenaghan, she asks the journalists who led the investigation how they managed to keep the biggest data leak in history a secret for so long.
Did your fave make the list? Let us know in the comments!