I read somewhere that 2016 is the year of the podcast; looks like I’m finally ahead of the curve on something as I’ve been listening to podcasts for years. I’m not really into music so I find listening to people chatting in my ear keeps me amused whilst I craft (or do boring jobs like housework). If you’re crafty or spend a lot of time doing repetitive tasks, it’s likely that you are a podcast listener too.
Podcasts have taught me so much, helped me keep up with current affairs and other niche topics that interest me, made me laugh, made me cry…I’m a fan. I usually listen to podcasts for fun, so it may surprise you that I don’t tune into business or craft podcasts regularly unless I’m researching something specific.
I thought I’d share what I’m currently listening to right now. I’m a bit of a science, trivia and pop culture nerd which enjoys a bit of smart comedy, if that sounds like you maybe you’ll enjoy some of these too.
Although most of these are safe to listen to in public, some have explicit language – just giving you a heads up, those episodes are usually marked with an ‘E’ on iTunes.
I’ve linked to each podcast’s website, but you’ll also find all of these on iTunes which is how I download them to my phone via the Podcast App.
Quiz & Trivia
Good Job Brain
Offbeat trivia and quiz show hosted by and affable SF based pub trivia team. Know for their alliterations, music parodies and punny jokes. I’ve been listening from their first episode in 2012 and it’s one of my absolute favourite podcast to tune into every week. (USA)
Ask Me Another
I live NPR podcast that blends brainteasers and local pub trivia night with comedy and music into a rambunctious hour-long show. Lots of word play, witty banter and live musical questions along with interesting guest interviews. Lots of fun! (USA)
No Such Thing as a Fish
A weekly podcast in which The QI researchers share their most interesting (and strange) recent discoveries about science, history and other bits of trivia. Always very funny as well as educational. (UK)
Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me
NPR’s weekly hour-long quiz program. Each week you can test your knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what’s real news and what’s made up. Focuses on news, current affairs and US politics. (USA)
Science & Tech
The Infinite Monkey Cage
Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. With Physicist Prof. Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince. Live discussion panel that brings together leaders in their respective scientific fields (and 1 comedian) to tackle a different topic each week. (UK)
Download this Show
An ABC Radio National podcast where each week host Marc Fennell and his panel of lively experts, explore the latest in technology, social media, consumer electronics, digital culture and more. Generally informed by local current affairs and how they relate to our digital lives. (AUS)
A couple of very funny comedians with degrees in Maths and engineering (which they never really used), take you through this week in science, incompetently. Featuring guest scientists or comedians to chat about interesting stuff. Depending on the guests and their backgrounds some episodes are more science heavy than others. (USA)
TV, Film & Pop Culture
How Did This Get Made
Riotously hilarious podcast which aims to analyze the worst films of all time and work out how and why did they get made. One of the highlights which shouldn’t be missed at the end is ‘Second opinion’ where they read out amazon 5 star reviews for the films. I generally only listen to the live episodes, but the mini episodes which include corrections and omissions sent in by readers is worth a listen if it’s following a live episode you particularly enjoyed. (Strong language always – You’ve been warned) (USA)
Pop Culture Happy Hour
NPR podcasts with a panel chatting about books, film, TV and other pop culture topics. Good one for discovering new things to check out. (USA)
An ABC Radio National podcast where each week host Cassie McCullagh zooms in on new ideas, trends and obsessions. A smart, discursive and sometimes cheeky look at the zeitgeist. I quite enjoy their monthly TV club episode where they travel back to Season One, Episode One of a bunch of cult TV series’ to see if they are worth re-watching. (AUS)
The Empire Podcast
Official podcast of UK film magazine Empire. Interviews with film and TV writers, actors and directors, but I mainly tune in for their spoiler episodes for in depth discussions of films I’ve recently watched. (UK)
The Complete Guide to Everything
I’ve been listening to Tim and Tom for so long that I almost feel I know them. Two guys that live in Brooklyn talking about everything yet nothing at all, lots of deadpan humor, faux outrage about first world problems. Chats are very informal and they often never get to actually talking about the topic of the week (sort of a running joke), it’s quite amusing. (USA)
A very irreverent take on obscure events in history that you won’t find in any textbook. Wear your Depend pads when listening because it’s wet your pants funny. Lot’s of explicit language and dark humor so this podcast isn’t for everyone. The live episodes are especially good. (USA)
I Love Green Guide Letters
A comedic review of the letters to The Melbourne Age’s Thursday Green Guide Television & Radio lift-out… at least that’s what it’s meant to be. Featuring the who’s who of the Australian comedy scene, there are lots of laughs to be had. It’s very Melbourne-centric which adds to it’s charm. Can get a bit ‘blue’ on occasion depending on the guest comedians. (AUS)
Answer me This
A fortnightly comedy podcast in which Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann answer questions submitted by their listeners, with the assistance of Martin the Sound Man. Quirky, funny and often a little offbeat. Also worth looking up Helen’s other podcast The Allusionist all about language and etymology. (UK)
Culture & Storytelling
This American Life
The grand daddy of the podcast scene, storytelling at it’s best. I you haven’t listened to a podcast before, This American Life is a great place to start. This program has made me feel emotions I didn’t even knew existed, I’ve been known to laugh and cry in the very same episode. (USA)
It’s the program that pushed Podcasts into the mainstream, and spawned numerous meta podcasts analyzing every episode. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of a season. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order. Season 2 is out now and the talk of the town around the water cooler. If you haven’t listened to season 1 yet, go and binge on in now. (USA)
A podcast where Starlee Kine solves befuddling everyday mysteries. It’s delightful and super engaging. Season 1 is finished and I can’t wait for it to return. Case #3, The Belt Buckle was probably one of my favourite podcast episodes of all time. So good. (USA)
Design & Economics
99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world. Each episode is a sound-rich deep dive into a single topic. Very informed and helps you look at everyday items in a totally different way. (USA)
What’s going on in the world with an economics perspective. Covering culture, politics, global economy, history and much more. Lot’s to learn. (USA)
“Exploring the hidden side of everything”. Looking at the world from an economist’s point of view. It’s much more interesting than it sounds. (USA)
Wow that does seem like a lot, but the beauty of podcasts is that you can multitask. Listen and sew, knit or crochet, listen and clean, listen and exercise (lol, I never do that!). There are a few more that I don’t subscribe to but tune into for specific topics.