Never one to be prompt, I am late to this game of sharing my favorite podcasts. “Informally led” by NPR March was the month to declare your love for podcasts with the hashtag #TryPod.
According to Edison Research, one in five Americans listened to podcasts every month as of early 2016 – a number that has grown by double-digits for five years.
I haver periodically shared my favorite pods in the past. Most haven’t changed, so I will repost them below, but there are a few new additions (and some have sadly left us). Here are my top 5 favorite new podcasts. Of the old ones, my favorites are “Wait Wait,” “Dinner Party Download,” and “Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4.”
- Ask Me Another – From NPR, “Ask Me Another brings the lively spirit and healthy competition of your favorite trivia night right to your ears. With a rotating cast of funny people, puzzle writers and VIP guests, it features the wit of host Ophira Eisenberg, the music of house musician Jonathan Coulton, and rambunctious trivia games, all played in front of a live audience.”
- Judge John Hodgman – “Have your pressing issues decided by Famous Minor Television Personality John Hodgman, Certified Judge.”
- Back Story – “BackStory is a public radio program & podcast that brings historical perspective to the events happening around us today. On each show, renowned U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh tear a topic from the headlines and plumb its historical depths.” Especially interesting and useful during recent political events.
- The Allusionist – “Small adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman.” This is a really engaging, brief podcast about language and culture. Very fun.
- The Chequered Flag – From the BBC. Not many may know this, but I am a big open wheel racing fan, specifically F1. (See my photos from the 2015 US Grand Prix and the 2016 Indy Car race at Watkins Glen on Flickr.) This is the BBC’s pre- and post- race coverage for every F1 race and occasional special programs on the sport.
- News & Knowledge
- The Bugle – Warning: Explicit language. John Oliver (lately of the Daily Show) and his long time friend Andy Zaltzman comment on the week’s news.
- Friday Night Comedy from Radio 4 – The News Quiz and The NOW Show. These two shows alternate with each running a few weeks. One is a variety type show (the NOW show) and the other being, well, a news quiz.
- Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! – “The NPR news quiz show.” Not much more to say.
- Radiolab from WNYC – Incredibly produced shows that offer amazing sonic experience as they delve into fascinating subjects. For people who feel This American Life is simply to boring.
- On the Media – A look at the media’s coverage of news over the past week. Not always the most balanced, but always fair.
- In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg – MB discusses the history of ideas and the people who have them with a panel of academics. Much more interesting than it sounds.
- The Dinner Party Download – A variety show built around the conceit of a dinner party. Definitely weekly reading, especially if you like hearing about exotic cocktails and great music choices.
How to Do Everything Podcast – Think of this as the bits that intrigued you from Wait Wait that they didn’t have time to explore. By the producers of said show.
- Chris Evans – The Best Bits – A BBC DJ that I listened to while in England, his show now uploads the best bits every day. I dip in two or three times a week. Just a bit of fun.
Scotland’s Funny Bits – Comedian Fred MacAulay hosts a morning program on BBC Scotland. This is a once a week podcast of best bits. One of the best reasons to download this one: During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe they have guests everyday from the Fringe and upload almost every day. A great way to enjoy from afar.
- MacBreak Weekly – These next two are both by Leo Laporte and he has LOTS of other tech podcasts. His “TWiT network” has been around longer than twitter and MBW has been a stalwart. Most major Apple pundits make regular appearances. It can all get to be a bit of the same though…
- This Week in Tech – So if you listen to too many of his shows too often you can easily get LeOverload.