Podcasts I like

A few months ago, while I was still on maternity leave, I asked on Twitter for podcast recommendations. My son was getting more and more mobile, and we were going out more, so watching everything there was on Netflix while he napped on me was no longer possible, and the only podcast I was following was about being a parent, so I needed some ideas.

I got many good replies and I subscribed to all the podcasts that were suggested. My plan was to give each suggestion at least one listen, and remove it if I didn’t like what I heard.

Fast forward 8 months, and here is what I have on my podcast app:

Parenting podcasts

  • The Longest Shortest Time: This is the parenting podcast I was already following. It was recommended when I attended a friend’s dinner party with a two month old baby in my hands. Each episode usually tells a parent’s story, their struggles, their insights. It can be emotional at times.
  • Slate’s Mom and Dad Are Fighting: I tried a few different parenting podcasts and apart from The Longest Shortest Time, this is the only other one I get something out of. It’s presented by a mother and a father with separate sets of kids. They talk about a different topic each episode, answer listener questions, interview experts, etc. It’s cool.

Crime podcasts

  • Criminal: Each episode presents a story about someone with some kind of connection to crime or the criminal system. I find it soothes my addiction to anything vaguely CSI or murder-mystery related.
  • Serial: Does Serial need an introduction?
  • Undisclosed: The State Vs. Adnan Syed: If you liked Serial and miss it, and want to listen to hours on end about every single legal detail about the case, you should follow this podcast.
  • Slate’s Serial Spoiler Specials: Not much has happened since Serial Season 1 ended, but these Slate Specials were rather entertaining, especially while you were waiting for the next Serial episode.

Film and television podcasts

  • Slate’s Spoiler Specials: As the title suggests, these reviews are full of spoilers. I don’t listen to all Slate’s Specials episodes, only the ones I’m interested in, such as True Detective, House of Cards or Downton Abbey. I will also listen to episodes about movies I’m certain I won’t see myself, like 50 Shades of Grey, and will usually nod in agreement throughout.
  • Filmspotting: Movie reviews, usually with a main review of a recent release, followed by a top 5. Filmspotting can be very lengthy, sometimes just under 2 hours long, so I must confess I do a lot of fast forwarding when I’m listening, namely during sponsor announcements, musical acts and Massacre Theatre (I’m sorry).
  • Filmspotting: Streaming Video Unit (SVU): Filmspotting’s spin off podcast, focusing on movies and TV shows available on demand and on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Entertainment podcasts (I can’t think of a better title for these…)

  • Roderick on the Line: I had no idea who John Roderick was, but it doesn’t really matter. Roderick and Merlin Mann have candid conversations about anything, from the best kind of food flask to the superiority of crows over other birds.
  • Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin: I did know who Alec Baldwin was. Apart from his acting skills, Baldwin is also a candid and relatable interviewer. Go through this podcast’s archive to discover a never-ending list of celebrity interviews that will keep you busy for a while.
  • Mystery Show: Currently on a break, but very entertaining, each episode of the Mystery Show tackles a single mystery that you can’t get an answer to easily on the Internet.

Subject-specific podcasts (I’m running out of title ideas…)

  • Radiolab: ‘A show about curiosity’. About an hour in length and very well edited, topics can cover things like the way Candid Camera changed reality television, how killing endangered species contributes to their own conservation, or the story of a mother who tracked down the institutions that received her late son’s organs and found out what they did with them. A must-follow.
  • Reply All: Similar to Radiolab, but shorter and focused on stories about the Internet.
  • 99% Invisible: Doesn’t everyone follow this podcast? 99% Invisible is all about design, be it of buildings or election ballots. It combines two things I love in podcasts: good future conversation topics, and being quite short (usually just over 15 minutes).
  • Philosophy Bites: I’m still on the fence about this podcast. It’s super interesting, but I tend to find myself drifting off to my own thoughts during most episodes. As the title explains, it’s about philosophy (latest subjects include social deprivation, power, and Buddhism) and the episodes are short.
  • Planet Money: Planet Money tends to be one the first podcasts I listen too when I’ve got a bunch of different ones to catch up on. Again, a clearly titled podcast, with very short episodes. Some of the more interesting installments include subjects like dinosaur bones, open salaries, paying patients, and the power of free. I almost always learn something new, and it’s quite entertaining.
  • More or Less: Behind the Stats: More or Less dives deep into the numbers and statistics that we see everyday in the media. I find it fascinating to know how numbers can so easily be misleading, deconstructed and modelled to convey whatever you want to convey. The podcast is currently on a break, so it’s a good time to catch up on the latest episodes.

News and current affairs podcasts

  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4: Sometimes I don’t have time (or patience) to watch the news, so I’ll trust the News Quiz to keep me up to date. It’s also good if you do watch the news, I must say.
  • On the Media: On the Media covers current affairs, and sometimes it also covers the coverage of current affairs. It’s a good way of getting a different perspective on the news and catching up in weeks where I might have been a bit more distant from what’s going on.
  • The New Yorker: Political Scene: With The New Yorker staff. My kind of episode length: very short, and I feel clever listening to it.

Work-related podcasts

  • The Boagworld Web Show: I’ve been listening to this podcast for almost 8 years now, with only a few breaks now and then. It intruduced me to a lot of people that I greatly respect in the web industry and the interviews can be quite illuminating.
  • The Big Web Show: Both The Big Web Show and The Web Ahead (next), have the same 1 to 1,5 hour interview format as Boagworld. I think this is a good format with the type of guests these shows have, as we can hear a lot about their expertise and their ideas. I have only recently started listening to this and the following podcast, but I’m certainly pleased.
  • The Web Ahead: See The Big Web Show’s notes, above.

Final words

Thanks again to everyone who’s made a suggestion. And if you think I’ve missed any super interesting, super entertaining podcasts, do let me know. What do you listen to?