We may not have flying cars yet, but one futuristic trend that’s exceeded expectations is the podcast. Inexpensive, high-quality recording technology plus the power of the internet means that creating a talk show has been completely democratized. Reporters and storytellers no longer need to be backed by a TV network or radio station to get their recordings out there — all they need is a mic and an app.
This is good news for listeners — especially those stuck in cars or on public transportation for long commutes. You may not be able to watch TV while you drive, but you can now tune in to a wide range of programming designed for your entertainment. It’s like the heyday of 1920s radio programming came full circle, but this time with the ability to choose exactly what you want to hear, whenever and wherever you like.
Podcasts touch on every subject and can be way more intellectually stimulating — or funnier, or more entertaining — than your local radio station chit-chat. With podcasts in every genre imaginable, there’s something for everyone. Best of all, the content is constantly updated, so you’ll never run out of new and interesting things to listen to. Don’t know where to start? This list will help you find a podcast that’s totally binge-worthy.
Getting Started with Podcasts
A podcast is a digital audio recording that you download to your phone or computer to listen to later. To do so, you’ll need a player. That’s easy these days, as your computer and phone are already loaded up with the technology to read a wide range of audio files. To get the podcast you want, just go to its website and click to download. If you’re worried about data overages on your cell phone plan, do this at home over your Wi-Fi ahead of time, and your programs will be waiting on your phone while you’re out and about.
For Apple and iPhone users, the easiest way to get started is with the included Podcasts app. Once you click on the purple icon, you’ll be able to search for podcasts you want to hear and download them directly. You can also subscribe to have new episodes load automatically once they’re published.
If you’re an Android user, Google Play Music has a podcast function, too. You’ll be able to download your podcasts and keep them in the same place for ease of use, and it also lets you subscribe to favorites. If you’re a Spotify fan instead, they’re now supporting podcasts and even allow you to download audio of TV shows to catch up in the car.
With thousands of podcasts out there, it can be overwhelming to browse them all. Try these high-quality programs guaranteed to hook you on the podcasting trend.
Arts and Culture
- Art Detective: These 20-minute shorts explore a single work of art by putting it into a cultural and historical context.
- Song Exploder: Musicians reveal what goes into their hits in a very thorough deconstruction of all your favorite songs.
- You Must Remember This: A top podcast telling forgotten and/or secret stories of Hollywood’s golden age.
- Conscious Millionaire: This podcast dives into a range of business topics, including marketing, strategy and more.
- Entrepreneurs on Fire: Interviews with successful entrepreneurs and business owners provide insight into what it takes to succeed.
- Don’t Get Me Started: Hosts interview comedians and famous guests not about their jobs, but about something else they’re passionate about.
- How Did This Get Made?: A podcast for anyone who loves to hate bad movies, hosted by comedians who reliably bring the laughs.
- My Brother, My Brother and Me: This advice show hosted by three brothers is hilarious — their genuine rapport steals the show.
- Serial: This true-crime podcast famous for its cliffhangers at the end of every episode is one of the main reasons people are crazy for podcasts today.
- Up and Vanished: 20 half-hour episodes dig into a new investigation of the unsolved mystery of a Georgia woman’s disappearance.
- Stuff You Should Know: Did a cow really start the Great Chicago Fire? How do frogs jump? These explainers will answer all your burning questions.
- Ted Talks Audio: Ted Talks are short speeches about a wide range of subjects, often inspirational. You’re guaranteed to learn something new!
- Gastropod: This engaging program explores the history and science behind a popular food in each well-researched episode.
- The Splendid Table: This thorough exploration of all things related to food is sure to have your mouth watering.
- FoodStuff: Created by HowStuffWorks, this podcast bites into the juicy stories – and science – behind everything that nourishes us.
Health & Wellness
- Dishing Up Nutrition: Confused about what you should and shouldn’t eat? Listen in to this excellent, free advice on nutrition and healthy eating.
- Hidden Brain: Social science research has never been more interesting, and these pieces offer research-based insight into why we behave the way we do.
- Radio Headspace: This podcast provides relaxing, guided meditations that you can do anywhere, anytime.
- 10% Happier with Dan Harris: When ABC reporter Dan Harris had a panic attack on “Good Morning America,” he turned to meditation. He wrote the bestselling book “10% Happier,” started an app “10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” and now releases a new episode every Wednesday morning on his meditation podcast.
- Eleanor Amplified: This fun podcast is a modern version of an old-fashioned radio serial featuring a kid detective and loads of silly sound effects.
- Story Time: These kid-friendly short stories are perfect for bedtime, but you may also want to listen to several at a time in the car.
News and Current Events
- BBC Global News Podcast: For in-depth reporting of events around the world, there’s no better choice than the BBC’s no-nonsense podcast.
- Left, Right and Center: Looking for a balance of opinions on current events? This podcast provides three different perspectives to get you thinking outside the bubble.
- Modern Love: Famous voices read touching pieces from the New York Times‘ popular “Modern Love” series. Keep Kleenex on hand.
- WTF with Marc Maron: Marc Maron conducts incisive, interesting interviews with a wide range of famous folks, from performers to politicians.
No matter what your interests, there’s definitely a podcast — or several! — out there that will have you listening in no time. So why suffer through another aggravating traffic jam or do your household chores in silence? Download a podcast to give your ears and mind a real treat, and you’ll never be bored again!