Whether you’ve already stored all your favorite podcasts in your app of choice, ready for listening, or are new to the world of podcasts, there’s no denying their popularity. Podcasts are everywhere these days — they even hit the headlines in December last year when The New York Times returned a Peabody Award for the podcast Caliphate, after accusations one of the podcast’s central figures had entirely fabricated his travel to Syria, where he claimed to have joined IS, the Islamic State Group.
Whatever you’re into, from tech and video game chat to world news and politics or true crime, there are plenty of specialized interest shows to choose from, ensuring podcasts have become some of the most beloved entertainment and educations mediums worldwide.
With so many podcasts available, there’s no way that you can listen to all of them. To help you out, no matter your interests, we’ve gathered a variety of shows to turn you on to your next great listen.
Note: To listen to any of these podcasts via RSS, you’ll need to download and install an RSS reader, like the Feeder extension for Google Chrome.
Ever wondered about the dark side of the internet? Darknet Diaries explores the world of hacking, cybercrime, and data breaches. Host Jack Rhysider covers topics ranging from the LinkedIn data breach of 2012 to what happens if you post your boarding pass on Instagram. Most episodes run around an hour in length, providing plenty of time to take a deep dive into the topic after work or while doing the household chores.
This all-female tech podcast is hosted by Mashable senior tech correspondent Christina Warren, tech feminist Brianna Wu, and family gaming and diversity writer Simone de Rochefort — all of whom share extensive knowledge of and enthusiasm for all things geek, from tech and video games to movies and comics. Weekly episodes run between 40 minutes to an hour in length, giving you the perfect excuse to get your geek on in your lunch break or on your commute. Recent episodes we’ve loved include the one about the secret behind McDonald’s’ ice cream machine failures and the one about works of art.
Class yourself as a nerd? Then you’re going to be into this podcast, which features three nerds who get together to talk about all things Apple, programming, and anything else loosely related — and we do mean loosely. Hosts Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa add just enough humor to keep things from getting dry, whilst most definitely bringing a passion for all things nerdy. The episodes are pretty long at just over two hours each, making this a great podcast to settle down to on an evening in — something we all seem to be enjoying a lot of lately.
We could easily have put this podcast in the comedy section, but since it’s all about the very worst and weirdest video games, we’ve added it here instead. Fans of How Did This Get Made? will love How Did This Get Played? which takes games like The Twilight Zone Text Adventure and Deadly Premonition and dives deep into what makes them weird or terrible — or sometimes, great. Hosts Heather Anne Campbell and Nick Wiger will have you laughing out loud, and often, wanting to play the games for yourself.
This Week in Tech has been one of the premier tech podcasts for a while now. The weekly show features tech enthusiasts Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak, and others as they discuss trending tech. Recent episodes cover topics ranging from Epic vs Apple to the Florida mystery of dormant Pentagon IP addresses.
If you’re familiar with Gimlet Media, you know that its podcasts contain a narrative thread regardless of the topic they’re covering. Reply All, Gimlet’s tech podcast, is no different. The stories center on how the internet and technology affect people (and vice versa) while remaining insightful and interesting throughout.
The BBC podcast provides an alternative viewpoint from the American tech shows while examining the many facets of technology and the role each one plays in our lives. The show often focuses on the internet and social networking, with recent episodes covering topics ranging from malware on cellphones to the impact of tech on teenage mental health.
The crew of Giant Bombcast is a collection of veteran video game journalists and on their weekly podcast, they embark on lengthy excursions into the world of gaming, discussing games they’ve been playing, breaking down the news of the week, and responding to listener emails. The Bombcast crew has great chemistry and approaches gaming with passion and humor.
ShopTalk isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s essentially a podcast for web design, one that delves into front-end development and UX. Hosts Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert answer questions and calls, typically with a knowledgeable guest.
After years of success, the next phase for any show is to create a spinoff. Video game website Giant Bomb entered the podcast arena with The Giant Bombcast. After building up an office in New York City, the East Coast staff established its own podcast, The Giant Beastcast. Hosts Vinny Caravella, Alex Navarro, Dan Ryckert, and Abby Russell — with a little help from CNET’s Jeff Bakalar — talk about the culture and industry surrounding games, as well as offer humorous riffs on pop culture and life in general.
If you’ve already checked out our pick of podcasts to listen to during Black History Month, you’ll be aware of Resistance already. For those who aren’t, it’s all about refusing to accept things the way they are. Hosted by writer, producer, and poet Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr., the show focuses on the stories of how Black people fight back and resist, and aims to “bring those stories to the forefront.”
The recent Times scandal aside, this 10-part series is still most definitely worth your time. It follows Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for The New York Times, on her journey to understand the Islamic State group. Every story is beautifully woven, capturing how everyday people can be persuaded into this terrorist organization. Callimachi, along with the series producer Andy Mills, spends countless hours and risk their lives to uncover the truth behind IS.
Enjoyed the series? You’ll want to listen to The Times’ examination of Caliphate’s falsehoods and discrepancies — we promise it’s a fascinating listen.
Slate’s Political Gabfest is a weekly news roundup featuring discussions between hosts David Plotz, John Dickerson, and Emily Bazelon. Their political analysis is on point and their repartee adds some levity to the top stories of the week.
Left, Right & Center is a weekly podcast assembled by Los Angeles radio station KCRW. The debate forum of the podcast allows Josh Barro, Rich Lowry, and their special guests to analyze politics, policy, and culture from every angle.
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 hour-long show, hosted by Al Letson, shines a spotlight on each topic it covers, remaining interesting and analytical while covering urgent and relevant topics.
News website Vox’s podcast, The Weeds, digs into the nitty-gritty of policy thoroughly enough to satiate even the biggest policy nerds. In a conversational format, Matthew Yglesias, Dara Lind, and Vox reporters and editors discuss how policy changes the public, and in turn, how the public changes policy.
This podcast 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-hour news coverage offered by the BBC World Service. This is one of the best podcasts for commutes to and from work.
The award-winning show hosted by investigative journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez is unique in its 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.
The World is Public Radio International’s daily news show. What makes it a standout is how the reports connect listeners to topics and people from around the world in surprising ways — making bus riders in Bogota, Columbia relevant to morning commuters in San Francisco, for example — while covering some of the most interesting stories of the day.
Gaslit Nation is hosted by writers Sarah Kendzior (View from Flyover Country) and Andrea Chalupa. Both specialize in authoritarian states and were on to election hacking before the 2016 election. The show delivers sharp analysis, history, context, and insight on global affairs.
The Rachel Maddow Show is one of the most popular TV shows on MSNBC. Book author and scholar Rachel has the best, up-to-the-minute political guests to help viewers navigate the current political landscape. And you don’t need a cable account — cord-cutters can watch the audio or video podcast, often on the same night as the TV broadcast. The video part includes only the first two segments, but the audio has the whole show.
If you need to stay up to date on the latest events, The New York Times’ podcast The Daily provides all the news that’s fit to listen to in a tidy format. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, host Michael Barbaro guides listeners through the biggest news stories of the day, talking to experts and other Times reporters.
The 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.
The Takeaway, hosted by Tanzina Vega and Amy Walter, offers a fresh alternative to daily news. Live reports from the field and listener call-ins round out the show and provide an extremely diverse analysis that makes for a good podcast to listen to at work.
This weekly podcast, hosted by comedian and talk show host Conan O’Brien, sees him hang out with one of his favorite celebrities each week. Topics of conversation range from the humorous to the obscure — don’t miss the episode with John Cleese, or the recent Seth Rogen episode.
In this hilarious comedy 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 toilet comfort, Billy Joel cosplay, and gargoyles might not be the most appropriate, but they will make you laugh.
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?
Hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi discuss the issues most important to women and gays with hilarious irreverence. Often explicit, always germane, Attitudes! rightfully calls out bigotry and sexism within a tightly rolled comedic wrapper.
The McElroy brothers (Justin, Travis, and Griffin), hosts of My Brother, My Brother & Me, have recruited their dad to chronicle their adventures through various Dungeons & Dragons campaigns in The Adventure Zone. The brothers have a great rapport and knack for improv; their shenanigans put the average D&D campaign to shame in this great fiction 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 Los Angeles garage, consists of him talking with comedic friends, writers, and celebrity guests. Don’t miss the Eddie Murphy episode.
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.
This satirical “audio newspaper” stars comedian Andy Zaltzman as he breaks down the news from across the globe with comedians including Wyatt Cenac, Hari Kondabolu, John Oliver, Nish Kumar, Anuvab Pal, and his sister, Helen.
Hosted by man-of-many-nicknames Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang! is the pinnacle of improv comedy podcasts. Each week, Aukerman is joined by various comedians, actors, and other celebrities, with the guests often appearing as outlandish characters (such as The Time Keeper or musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber). The show has a deep roster of returning guests and characters, and yet every episode goes in unexpected directions.
One of the most popular crime podcasts worldwide, Australian True Crime dives deep into the most horrific, mysterious, and disturbing true crime cases to come out of Australia’s suburbs. Hosts Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb interview victims, perpetrators, true crime authors, and those working in crime and punishment to uncover the full story behind each case, bringing a fresh take. There are over 200 episodes to delve into, with new episodes dropping weekly.
Hosted by comedian Whitney Cummings, this eight-part series focuses on the true story of Silvio Berlusconi, one of the longest-serving prime ministers of one of the world’s wealthiest countries. This charismatic multimillionaire hid some dark secrets and was finally brought down by three powerful women. Find out how — and what the phrase “Bunga Bunga” has to do with it. (While you’re here, this is also an interesting read on the supposed origins of the phrase.) Bunga Bunga was recently nominated for Podcast of the Year at The Podcast Academy Awards, aka The Ambies.
Another Podcast of the Year nominee, Chasing Cosby tells the dark secret life of “America’s Dad,” comedian and actor Bill Cosby. Hosted by investigative journalist Nicki Weisensee Egan, each episode presents firsthand accounts from over a dozen survivors, prosecutors, and jurors, including Andrea Constand, the only one of the 60-plus accusers whose case against Cosby could be tried in a court of law. There are only eight episodes, but this is a must-listen for anybody curious about the real Bill Cosby.
Where the Bodies Are Buried
This one-of-a-kind true-crime podcast is hosted by renowned serial killer profiler Phil Chalmers, with producers Samantha Gutstadt and Adam Kaloustian. The premise is simple: Solve cold cases and bring closure to families. But it’s the behind-the-scenes interviews with incarcerated serial killers and access to information thought otherwise impossible to obtain that helps Where the Bodies are Buried stand out among other true-crime podcasts. In season one, Phil helped close the case of Elizabeth Bannister. Season 2 launches soon, but the date is yet to be confirmed.
Welcome to Your Fantasy
Whether you were around when the Chippendales hit the headlines or have heard about them since, one of the year’s most anticipated podcasts will introduce you to the darker side of the male exotic dancing sensation. The entire first season has now aired, telling the true story of greed, drugs, corruption, and murder behind the Chippendales — and examining the club’s role in the late ’70s/early ’80s rise of female sexuality, gender roles and masculinity, and the corruptible power of capitalism. Hosted by historian Natalia Petrzela, the series features over 60 interviews with investigators, former Chippendales, and more, diving deep into one of America’s greatest sordid unexamined stories behind the flashy dance moves and oiled pecs. The series doesn’t yet appear to be available on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, but you can catch it on Spotify.
For a lighter take on true crime, Scam Goddess is a great listen. Every week The Scam Goddess (aka Laci Mosley) is joined by a different comedian as she fills listeners in on the latest scams and rackets — and takes a deep dive into historical hoodwinks.
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.
From producers Zac Stuart-Pontier and Marc Smerling, Crimetown is a breath of fresh air when it comes to true crime podcasts. Each season looks at the culture of crime — from poverty and race to drug wars and policing — in a different city. Season 2 is focused on Detroit, with plenty of colorful, engaging stories from local residents to engage listeners.
Hosted by lifelong true crime fans Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgraff, this lighter take on true crime sees the hosts telling each other their favorite tales of murder — and friends and fans tell true stories of crime from their hometowns, too. Recent episodes include the one about The Beast of Birkenshaw and the story of Ada Blackjack.
This Aussie podcast has been offering up weekly episodes since 2016. Hosted by an anonymous Australian — who has a voice that’s sure to send chills down your spine — each episode covers a true crime, from solved to cold cases. Start with the first episode or dive into episodes that catch your attention — like one of our favorites, the two-part Case 161: The Yosemite Sightseer Murders.
Retired Cold Case Investigator Paul Holes and Investigative Journalist Billy Jensen know a thing or two about missing persons cases and unsolved murders. Each episode sees them attempting to solve crimes using a range of methods, from DNA searches to old-fashioned sleuthing — and even sometimes a little help from their listeners, who send in their own hints and tips.
Small Town Dicks
Hosted by identical twin detectives Dan and Dave, alongside actress Yeardley Smith, Small Town Dicks‘ weekly episodes focus on big-time crime in small towns. It’s pretty gripping stuff, with each episode featuring a discussion with the detectives who broke the case, access to real-life 9-1-1 calls, and interviews with suspects.
Fans of Serial will enjoy this true-crime podcast, which is a pet project of professional radio producer Phoebe Judge. Criminal incorporates reimagined versions of murder ballads, investigations into historical crimes, and stories on the wrongdoings within the criminal system. Whether moving or macabre, this podcast keeps its listeners interested — and there are over 170 episodes to dig into.
Here Comes the Break
This groundbreaking new podcast is a blend of musical discovery and fictional storytelling, featuring Def Jam’s hottest new hip hop artists. It’s essentially a show-within-a-show, touching on timely issues ranging from creator culture and mental health to representation for BIPOC communities and starring Emmy-nominated actor Asante Blackk and Nickelodeon star Daniella Perkins. Each episode is a fictional tale about a young man from Queens who hosts his own podcast — and features real interviews with emerging artists, premiering one of their songs. So far there has only been one episode, but this is definitely a podcast to add to your list.
Part music, part true crime, Disgraceland is the number one most downloaded music podcast in the world, and it’s available to listen to exclusively on Amazon Music. Hosted by Jake Brennan, Disgraceland explores the most outrageous and felonious stories that surround infamous musicians — like Ozzy Osbourne’s near-death experience, or Snoop Dogg’s 1993 murder charges. The show is part-way through season 7, with new episodes landing every Tuesday — and this season promises stories about The Ramones, David Bowie, and The Beatles, to name a few.
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, including an interview with Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda about making a mixtape, and one with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg about recent run-ins with the law. You can listen on Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal, or on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are big names in the NPR music scene. Their show introduces listeners to all genres of music, from that emerging Latin American band you’ve never heard of to the more mainstream indie fixes.
Seattle’s KEXP is constantly at the forefront of broadcasting new alternative and indie albums. The show features both prominent and emerging artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world.
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. Every so often there’s a 10-minute album teaser, too.
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 debating the musical merits of songs.
Music lives and breathes in songs. Song Exploder takes apart a single song — its structure, inspiration, and production — with the original musicians who created it. Artists include everyone from Wolf Alice and Nine Inch Nails to R.E.M and Lorde.
A panel of music critics, including The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica, discusses the latest pop news, songs, albums, and artists. It’s opinionated, sure, but the excess of music knowledge and sharp commentary make it worthwhile.
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 one song at a time, with a new episode every weekday.
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.
In the podcast This Must Be The Gig, host Lior Phillips, talks to artists and industry personalities about their first concerts, preshow rituals, trends in the festival scene, and much more. From the lead singer of The Talking Heads, David Byrne, to John Linnell from They Might Be Giants, you’ll get firsthand accounts from your favorite people in the music industry. It’s been a while since any new episodes aired, but you’ve got over 100 episodes to listen to.
Looking for something a little different from history 101? Hosts Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider present a different woman — or women — throughout history in each episode, giving you the facts, as well as how each woman is remembered and how their legacies live on. With episodes around an hour long, this is the perfect after-work podcast when you just want to put your feet up. There are over 200 episodes so far, covering real and fictional women from history including everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to the women of the wild west, and Wonder Woman herself.
If you’re the type of person who loves to hear the stories behind the headlines, Heard About should be on your podcast list. So far there have only been 14 episodes, each one exploring the biggest moments in communication in history and culture and featuring a discussion with the people behind them. Where else can you hear about the 1963 march on Washington from Dr. Clarence Jones, co-writer of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech? Or hear from Mike McCurry, who served as White House press secretary under U.S. President Bill Clinton during the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1998 Lewinsky scandal?
Do you find it hard to digest American history? The Dollop has you covered. Every week, hosts and comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds tell a story from American history that you have most likely never heard of. Like, did you know in 1976 a plane with 60,000 pounds of pot crashed in Yosemite? That’s only the beginning — you’ll laugh till you cry and learn some from one of the best history podcasts.
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.
Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell adds “podcaster” to his résumé with Revisionist History, in which he tackles a different subject each episode, with topics ranging from Wilt Chamberlain’s free-throw shooting form to the shady economics of golf courses. No matter how inane a subject may seem at first, Gladwell manages to find a compelling story within.
If history interests you, but you find most history podcasts a bit dry, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is sure to entertain. Carlin has a flair for the dramatic, which is good because episodes tend to run hours in length. Episodes involve intensive explorations of different historical stories, with a focus on brutal events like the rise of the Mongol Empire or the Anabaptist takeover of Münster.
In This Is Actually Happening, you are given the firsthand account — with zero commentary — from someone who has experienced something life-changing, devastating, and oftentimes unbelievable. If you have ever thought failure is the only option, these brave people will show you how they persevered through a time that seems too much for anyone to handle.
Native Texan and actor Evan Stern is the creator and storyteller behind Vanishing Postcards, a new documentary travelogue that only has four episodes released so far. Set off on an audio road trip through Texas and uncover the hidden traditions, dives, and cultural histories of the region. Each 30-minute episode offers an escape from the mundane, perfect listening for your lunch break or commute — and the ideal way to travel vicariously from the comfort of home.
Rick Steves is known as “America’s leading authority on travel to Europe and beyond” — and his podcast is a revelation for those who like to dive deeper into the culture, history, and people of destinations around the world. There are over 750 episodes of this podcast to get stuck into, with a new episode dropping each week. Rick chats with guest experts and callers on all things travel — the most recent episode on Mother’s Day covers a Midwestern family relocating to Croatia and an American mother raising a child in Paris.
Extra Pack of Peanuts
There may not be many episodes to listen to — the schedule seems to have been quite sporadic, but we’re guessing that’s due to the pandemic — but Extra Pack of Peanuts (EPOP) looks set to be one of the best travel podcasts for anyone looking to travel more and spend less. Sounds good to us! Hosted by world traveler and serial entrepreneur Travis Sherry, EPOP episodes cover topics ranging from the friendliest countries to how anxiety impacts travel. The latest episodes include one on the slow travel movement, and one covering everything you need to know to live as a nomad.
Hosted by travel expert Jason Moore, Zero to Travel dives deep into discussions with those living life on the road — full-time travelers — as well as adventurous travelers seeing all the corners of the world on a budget. Each episode lasts between an hour and an hour and a half, giving you plenty of time to chill out with your favorite beverage and daydream about far-flung locales. Topics range from travel-based lifestyles and how to run an online business from anywhere to budget travel strategies. Our favorite recent episodes include the one on the joys of solo travel, and the episode covering tips for a perfect work/life/travel balance.
International travel may be off the cards for many of us right now, but you can feed your wanderlust vicariously through Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase. This podcast is packed with funny, crazy, and sometimes slightly horrifying tales from flight attendant Betty and her adventures on airplanes and around the world It’s definitely worth a listen for the intro theme alone — or if you’re looking for a funny travel podcast.
Bestselling author Steven Johnson takes listeners on a wild weekly ride through some of the past century’s greatest discoveries in American Innovations. From smartphones to DNA, A.I. to 3D printers, Johnson’s immersive storytelling covers these innovations and many, many more, diving deep into the lives of the engineers, scientists, and others involved. With over 100 episodes to listen to, there’s plenty to keep curious minds engaged here.
Flash Forward is a podcast all about possible — and not-so-possible — futures. Each episode, presented by science journalist Rose Eveleth, looks at potential tomorrows, asking questions such as, “How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie?” or “What would happen if invisibility cloaks were a real invention?” Each potential future has a dramatic segment followed by a journalistic deep-dive into the hows and whys. If you’re the type of person who loves annoying their friends with “What if?” questions, you’re going to love this podcast.
The Infinite Monkey Cage
Famous physicist Professor Brian Cox joins co-presenter Robin Ince to discuss popular science topics with an ever-changing guest list of specialists, comedians, and other such guests in a witty and characteristically irreverent way. If you’re interested in a wide range of scientific topics, or just love comedy, this science podcast is for you.
Vegan activist Bob Linden was one of the first radio broadcasters and podcasters to go mainstream in dealing with issues of animal rights, diet, the environment, world hunger, public policy, justice, peace, cookie recipes, and the path forward from vegetarian to vegan. His perspectives and weekly guests are always illuminating.