It all started with Serial (Season 1), a podcast from the creators of This American Life. It was one of those things, like Fifty Shades, or Making a Murderer that somehow everyone is in to. My Podcast app was sitting comfortably with my Stocks app in a folder I’d named “Apple Extras” and had never seen the light of day before I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
After the first episode, I was completely hooked. My 30 min commute turned into an hour as I opted to walk home instead of taking the tube the usual 4 stops. The story was told so well, since we were learning about the story around the same time Sarah Koenig, Serial’s presenter, for every answer we had we had two more questions. Plus, like Making a Murder, there are some “what the hell, America” moments when you seriously start to consider the competence of the police and justice system.
Anyway, you get the gist. Download it now! Since Serial, I’ve been obsessed with Podcasts. I don’t know if it’s just my age but not only are some of them laugh-out-loud-on-the-tube hilarious, but some leave me with new insights to places I’ve never even heard of, connected to people I’ve never met. Plus, it means I usually am able to contribute to conversations I might not be able to: “I was listening to this podcast and they said…” is a common phrase to come out my mouth these days.
Here is the run down of my favourite apps. Perfect for when you’re sick of listening to the same Playlist on repeat (or is that just me?
The people who brought Serial into my life were the second to be added to my collection. Presenter Ira Glass (who just performed in the play Three acts, Two Dancers and One Radio Host) takes us though two or thee acts per podcast, all to do with the set theme. Each story usually vastly different from the last, and ordinarily presented by another person. Sometimes the stories are super funny, sometimes harrowing, but always interesting!
The episodes or usually around an hour long so I save these for longer commutes on the train or put them on in the car if I’m stuck in traffic.
Invisibilia is about “the invisible forces that control human behaviour – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” This is THEE podcast I continually refer to when I’m the “Actually, I was listening to a podcast and they said…” person. From “Did you know society actually holds back blind people” to “The clothes you wear can change how you think”, this is definitely up there as a favourite. They have just finished their Season Two, where co-hosts Lulu Miller, and Alix Spiege were joined by Hanna Rosin.
If you want to fall in love while listening to a Podcast, this is the one for you. Presenter Roman Mars’ voice literally sounds like melted chocolate mixed with comfy pillows on a bed of marshmallows. Just wait until you hear those words, “This is 99% Invisible, I’m Roman Mars”.
This show is perfect for anyone who loves or is just interested in design: it’s about “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world”.
The first show I ever listened to was about Basketball, and as someone who has literally yelled “Go Sports!”, I still think about that podcast all the time. Maybe I’m a complete sado (which is possible, but honestly, take listen and tell me its not interesting (and that you’re not in love with Roman Mars.) Spoiler: You can’t
It took me a minute to get into this one, mainly because I don’t LOVE Phoebe Judge’s voice and the way she speaks when she presents – she says Bond like BAWND. But once I got past that, like all of the shows above, I was hooked.
Criminal is about crimes (bet you didn’t see that coming!) but, more specifically, its about “stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.”
From tree burning to patient poisoning, assisted suicide and baking pot brownies, I’ve never heard a Criminal story that I didn’t enjoy. Plus the podcasts run for about 15-30 mins so this is great if you’re walking to the station or on your lunch break.
This one is kind of a just for fun one that I discovered last year on holiday. It’s hosted by Starlee Kine – who you might have already heard of – who is the sweetest person ever.
The Gilmet Media website simply says that Mystery Show is “a podcast where Starlee Kine solves mysteries.” Very helpful.
But, it’s not just any old mysteries, she isn’t allowed to use the internet. My favourite episode is about this really unusual belt that someone found on the street and they ask Starlee to help her find it’s owner. No spoilers but it’s a goodie.
Sadly this has only run for 1 short season (only 6 episodes in total) but Starlee’s infectiously curious attitude will make you want to ask more questions (and be a nicer person to people you speak to on the phone.)
If you embarrass easily, this one might not be for you, especially if you don’t like giggling on public transport, but as someone who keeps a diary myself, this is one of the funniest podcasts around.
Mortified is gives listeners an all-access pass to Mortified Live readings plus interviews that pick up where the stage show ends – bascially, adults telling stories about their lives by sharing their most mortifying childhood artifacts (diaries, letters, lyrics, poems, home movies)… in front of total strangers.
As you can imagine, people say the weirdest shit when they are 13. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone!
The newest addition to my podcast collection, My Dad Wrote A Porno does actually what it says on the tin.
“With the help of his friends, James Cooper and BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine, Jamie reads a chapter a week and discovers more about his father than he ever bargained for.”
Not only it is terribly written and one of the most cringy, feel-your-body-clench-up-from-the-inside things you could ever listen to. The fact is narrated by the author (Rocky Flintstone)’s son, and analysed by this friends makes it even better.
The story’s heroine Belinda Blinks – see, you’re hooked already – who works at Steeles Pots and Pans and her escapades to get to the top. You can only image what the hell your (or someone else’s) dad might write if they tried their hand at an erotic novel.
The Stylist called it “Hilariously perverted” so yeh, that about sums it up.
If you know your Hollywood actors, this is one of the best podcasts to listen to them answer ridiculous questions and give advice as Anna and her celeb guest help people with their problems.
I love Anna Faris so it’s lovely to hear how sweet she is trying to give advice, as well as chatting about the acting industry/hollywood with her actor pals. So far, Anna has sat down with people like Lisa Kudrow, Ellen Page, Chris Evans, Olivia Munn and Shaquille O’Neal!
The only issue I had with this is that sometimes I didn’t know the guest at all and would have to IMDb t find out who they were and if I’d seen them. Also, heads up, Michael Rapaport’s ep is hard to listen to, he seems like an arse.
This is one to listen if you’re travelling long distance or have loads of time to kill. Each ep is around 40 – 60 mins long and many come in two parts.
If you are interested in how podcasts are made and what goes into making a podcast (like me!) then you’ll love this one.
Describes as “the background to great radio storytelling” and hosted by Rob Rosenthal, not only do you get to listen to great stories, you get to hear from the creator and how/why they decided to tell this story and the challenges that they faced.
Episodes are usually short and sweet at about 20 mins long.
So I’m kind of cheating, but whatever it’s my blog. The Ricky Gervais show “podcast” is available on YouTube and is an animated version of Gervais’ podcasts that “earned a spot in The Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloads.” If you already know about the Ricky Gervais Show, you’ll know that it features Ricky, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington (now of The Moaning of Life and Idiot Abroad fame).
It’s one of the funniest things I’ve listened to and even when I’ve listened and watched the series 8530852 times, it never failed to make me LOL.
You can also listen to the Radio 2 and XFM shows on YouTube too.
Let me know if you have any podcast that you can’t live without in the comments!