From true crime to comedy, these are the best podcasts around

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Arts and culture

Bullseye

Bullseye

This is the latest iteration of Jesse Thorn’s arts & culture program, which started a decade ago on college radio. Thorn discusses and interviews a highly curated list of top influences to pop culture — from rapper Rakim to poet and novelist Margaret Atwood.

Available via:

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Fresh Air

fresh air npr icon

Beloved host Terry Gross has done a few difficult interviews. However, she remains one of the most empathetic, intelligent, and well-prepared journalists in all of radio — regardless of which luminary she features on the show.

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Slate Culture Gabfest

slate podcast

At this point, the “roundtable discussion about pop culture” format is kinda cliched. But Slate’s is one of the first and best. Each week, the three hosts pick three cultural topics, a mix of timely and timeless, and just gab about them.

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99% Invisible

99PercentInvisible

This “tiny radio show about design” makes you appreciate the big and small decisions that shape the world we live in, from purple hotels and traffic markings, to camouflage and parentheses around area codes.

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RiYL

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Brian Heater has a quiet, open-ended conversation with a writer, cartoonist, musician, podcaster, artist, or comedian, and you’re dropped somewhere in the middle of it. Listen to learn how creators create.

Available via:

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offcamera

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Director Sam Jones believes the best interviews happen off camera. His long-form podcast is lined with honest interviews from the likes of Tony Hawk and musician Taylor Goldsmith, along with a myriad of other artists.

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New Yorker: Out Loud

new yorker podcast

The mag’s accompanying podcast is an extension of the topics addressed in the magazine, filled with professional wisdom and interviews with everyone involved.

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Alton Browncast

AltonBrowncast

If anyone knows food, its Alton Brown. The TV host and foodie uses his podcast to review recent food-related news, talk with celebrities about their passion for food, and generally discuss the culinary arts.

Available via:

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NYT Book Review

NYTBookReview

Looking for a good book? The taste-makers at the New York Times can point you in the right direction. Authors and critics join the show to discuss literature, art, and ideas with host and editor Pamela Paul.

Available via:

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Arts and Ideas

ArtsAndIdeas

The BBC is a great place to go for cultural and artistic influences. BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas program is one of the best. It has interviews, talks, and debates with artists, scientists, and public figures.

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A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment

a tiny snese of accomplishment

Acclaimed writers Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter use this podcast as a way to share their long-time friendship with listeners. They read from their new works, discuss the state of the world, and invite musicians, other writers, and various celebrities to contribute their talents whenever they see fit.

Available via:

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Longform

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An essential listen for anyone who writes and an interesting listen for anyone who doesn’t, Longform interviews a different nonfiction writer or editor once a week about their process and career. Guests run the gamut, from literary superstars like Ta-Nehisi Coates to indie darlings such as Lena Dunham, providing more than just insight and backstory regarding their most recent and famous works.

Available via:

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Filmspotting

Filmspotting

For the most comprehensive film reviews — and worst movie segment reenactments — you need to listen to Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen’s Filmspotting. The Chicagoan film professor and critic give their incisive opinions of films old and new, while laying down some of the most definitive top-five lists around.

Available via:

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The Treatment

The Treatment podcast

It’s only fitting that this podcast out of L.A. should take its name from Hollywood parlance. Host Elvis Mitchell uses it to converse with some of the entertainment and art world’s most influential creators. Mitchell is a deft hand at getting even the most reticent guests to open up, and what they have to share is always interesting and insightful.

Available via:

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Still Processing

best podcasts still processing

On Still Processing, New York Times writers Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham dissect the cultural issues of the day, covering a variety of topics including movies, music, and politics. It’s a podcast that can move between highbrow and pop culture.

Available via:

Stitcher iTunes

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