When I started listening to podcasts, I didn’t know what wonders lay ahead
I only start listening to podcasts because I needed some entertainment at the gym that didn’t require an internet connection. With spotify, I’d have to pay for offline access, but with podcasts it’s free!
It’s a year (maybe three?) since I started listening to podcasts, and I’ve discovered so many wonderful ones, I wanted to pass my recommendations on to you.
Now I listen to podcasts on walks, working out at the gym, on my communte and sometimes at home – like right at this second.
I’ve tried dividing the podcasts I listen to into a couple of categories so it’s easier for you to find something you like.
- Podcasts that teach you something
- Podcasts that make you laugh
- Podcasts about feminism
- Podcasts to binge-listen
- Danish podcasts
Podcasts that teach you something
Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling “Freakonomics” books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his “Freakonomics” co-author Steve Levitt. After just a few episodes, this podcast will have you too thinking like a Freak.
Freakonomics Radio was the first podcast I listened to, and I have gone back through to archive to listen to nearly all their episodes. I also have all their books, and I’m very fascinated by the way they approach problems, and how things aren’t always as they seem. I learn something new everytime I listen to Stephen (and Steven).
Tell me something I don’t know
Journalism wrapped in a game-show package. Host Stephen J. Dubner (of “Freakonomics Radio”) and a celebrity co-host invite guests on stage in front of a live audience to tell us something we don’t know. The co-hosts — a mix of leaders in science, academia, sports, media, and comedy — grill the guests, and by the end we’ve all gotten a bit smarter. Each episode has a new topic, a new co-host, and new guests. There’s also a real-time human fact-checker to keep everyone honest. Think of the most crackling dinner-party conversation you’ve ever heard.
This is another show hosted by Stephen Dubner (who also hosts the podcast mentionend above). It’s more about the fun facts and stories, where anybody can come in, tell the guests they’re most interesting fact, and possibly win. The exact format varies a bit, but there’s always something fun to learn (that you probably didn’t know before).
The Naked Scientists Podcast
The Naked Scientists flagship science show, includes the latest science news, interviews with top scientists, hands-on science experiments and answers to your science questions.
(I don’t know why the scientists are naked, that doesn’t seem like a good idea in most fields). I’m a bit of a science geek, and this show keeps me up to date on all the latest new reasearch results from many different fields. They also bring in experts to ask either silly or clever questions, and there’s always something new to learn.
Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past—an event, a person, an idea, even a song—and asks whether we got it right the first time. From Panoply Media. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.
I’m giving this podcast a recommendation even though it was a bit hit or miss for me. Episodes like ‘Satire paradox’, ‘State v Johnson’ and other episodes dealing with race was very educational for me, while a few others didn’t really catch me. Overall it is a fascinating podcast though, and I love the concept.
No Such Thing As A Fish
A podcast from the QI offices in which the writers of the hit BBC show huddle around a microphone and discuss the best things they’ve found out this week. Hosted by Dan Schreiber (@schreiberland) with James Harkin (@jamesharkin), Andrew Hunter Murray (@andrewhunterm), Anna Ptaszynski and an assortment of other elves
I put this podcast in the end, just before the ‘podcasts that make you laugh’-section, because this may as well be in that. It’s based around facts (a few of them questionable), and it’s so funny if love learning interested facts that will never ever be useful in your life. I’m a big fan of the show QI, and it’s the researchers for the show that meet to each share something new they’ve learned that week – because apparently they discover way more than they can fit in the show.
Podcasts that make you laugh
Dear Hank & John
Hank and John Green (YouTubers and etc) answer questions, give questionable advice, and talk about Mars (the planet) and AFC Wimbledon (the 3rd tier English football club).
The first time you listen to this podcast, it will probably be confusing, as the brothers (and podcast listeners) have quite a few inside jokes. But I find it funny, and Hank and John Green has some interesting ways to look at the world and reflect on difficult conversations.
Global Pillage by Deborah Frances-White
Global Pillage is a brand new comedy panel show podcast all about idiom, culture, customs and norms. What do the Japanese mean when they accuse someone of “having a cat on their head”? What did the acronym NORWICH mean (the equivalent of sexting jargon) if sent between World War Two sweethearts? All the oddness of humanity is explored in this hilarious new show where TWO TEAMS OF COMEDIANS take on the HIVE MIND OF THE AUDIENCE. Come with us as we pillage the globe for the strange but true ways of the human race.
If I remember correctly, Deborah Francis-White started Global Pillage based on a challenge in The Guilty Feminist (further down), to give people who are little less straight, white and male a chance to come on panel shows. There’s more representation, people from varied background and experiences coming together to create a show that’s at least as funny as the ones you’ll find on TV.
Do the right thing
Do The Right Thing is a live audience comedy panel show hosted by Danielle Ward, with team captains Michael Legge and Margaret Cabourn-Smith. They are joined by different guests each week to work out what the right thing to do is in any given situation.
This silly podcast is basically like agony aunt, but with terrible (funny) answers.
Podcasts about feminism
The Guilty Feminist
Ever felt like you should be better at feminism? Join comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests for this comedy podcast, recorded in front of a live audience. Each week they discuss topics “all 21 first century feminists agree on” while confessing their insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that underlie their lofty principles
With the Guilty Feminist I feel like Deborah Francis-White has made something absolutely amazing. Creating a space where it’s possible to say “I’m a feminist – but….”. Where you can be a feminist but still be guilty of not getting it right all the time (and that’s okay! We’ll try to be better together). Where we can use comedy to talk about difficult subject and try to make it a better place. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes powerful, and it’s always amazing.
Stuff mom never told you
I have learned so many interesting things through this podcast. I started listningen when Cristen and Caroline was still hosting. Not every podcasts hits a subject I care about, but there’s so many of hundreds of episodes there’s plenty of good stuff too, and something for everyone (men included). The one that’s stuck with me the most is the two-part series the did on the history of abortion, which was a real eye opener for me.
Podcasts to binge-listen
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won’t know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in, starting with Episode 1
I started listening to Serial on a day I was sick, and heard all of season 1 in no time. I just couldn’t stop listening. Season 2 is good too, but I didn’t get absorbed into the story like the first season.
S-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life
I heard of S-town through Serial, as it’s produced by some of the same people. It’s another fascinating real-life story. It’s a bit weird, but I what I liked about it is the it gave me an insight into the life, thoughts and feelings of people who bears little resemblance to the people in my life.
I know everyone won’t be able to listen to these, but there are some danish podcasts I enjoy, and I wanted to give them a mention to.
They’re good, but probably not so good you’ll want to learn Danish just to listen to them.
- Den Dumme Dumme Quiz
- Mediano 3F-liga (for de fodboldinteresserede, de snakker også meget om landsholdet)
- Voksen Venner
I’ve intentionally left out podcasts about health, fitness, nutrition and similar, as I’ve written about those here 🙂
Do you enjoy listening to podcasts? What’s your favourite?