Every year, I like to do a round-up of the podcasts I’m loving lately. I am a voracious consumer of podcasts, so much so that I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio.
Living alone, having podcasts to listen to while I’m getting ready for the day, cleaning, or folding laundry allows me to feel a little less lonely. Podcasts also make my commute to work and driving around town so much more enjoyable. I live in an area that is not walkable, so I always have to hop in the car whenever I want to go somewhere, so podcasts making driving around better.
I also love just going for long walks and listening to a podcast. Sometimes, I’ll bring Dutch, but he’s getting to an age where he can’t handle long walks anymore (though, every now and then, he surprises me!), so usually, it’s just me.
I’ve been listening to podcasts for three years now and my feed is a bit out of control because of the amount of podcasts I’m subscribed to. (I’m currently about five weeks behind, eeks.) Like always, there are podcasts I’ve unsubscribed from because they weren’t engaging me anymore and podcasts I’ve recently subscribed to that have become my favorites. The ebb and flow of the podcast life!
For this podcast round-up, I’m listing nine of my favorite podcasts. These are the podcasts that light me up and excite me whenever they show up in my feed. Let’s get started!
Pod Save America
I’ve never been a political junkie, but the 2016 presidential election changed everything for me—and for a lot of Americans. But while I try to follow what’s going on in the news as closely as I can, sometimes it’s hard for me to understand some of it, especially when it comes to foreign policy and healthcare. So, I am so very grateful for Pod Save America for this reason. This podcast, which is hosted by four former Obama staffers, delves into the hot topics in the news this week and helps to sort out what it exactly means and how it affects us. And while a lot of what is going on in politics right now is frightening, the guys on this show keep things light and funny (without undermining what a serious crisis we’re in right now), which I wholly appreciate. Every episode also includes an interview with a guest, usually a senator or someone involved in politics.
Lovett or Leave It
This is another political podcast, hosted by one of the hosts of Pod Save America, Jon Lovett. Lovett is one of my new favorite people (his rants about Marco Rubio, who is sadly my senator, give me life) and I was so thrilled when he announced this new podcast. It’s a game show-style podcast where he brings on three panelists, usually comedians or journalists, to talk about what’s going on in the news. It’s meant to bring some lightheartedness to the absurdity of politics today, and I laugh my way throughout every episode. Some of the different segments include “What a Week,” where Jon and the panelist discuss some of the hot topics in the news, “OK Stop,” where Jon plays a video clip and they stop it at certain times to discuss what’s going on in the clip, and the “Rant Wheel,” where Jon spins a wheel filled with political and pop culture topics and he and the panelists discuss the topic it lands on.
Stuff Mom Never Told You
This is a show about women and the challenges we face in our society, hosted by Emilie and Bridget, two brand-new co-hosts. The former co-hosts (the ladies I’ve been listening to since 2014!) left the show at the end of 2016 and I thought that was the end for SMNTY, which made me really sad because SMNTY is one of my favorite podcasts that has continuously been on this round-up every year. Thankfully, SMNTY is back and better than ever. I love the new, fresh perspectives that Emilie and Bridget bring and that the episodes are around 30 minutes in length (my favorite length for a podcast!) They have already covered some incredibly interesting topics and I’m just excited to see how this show takes off from here.
Stuff You Should Know
This is probably the most informational podcast in the bunch and I’ve been listening to Josh and Chuck for so long (since 2014!) that I feel that we are good friends now. What I love most about this podcast is that I can learn about things I never knew I wanted to learn about—like how Schoolhouse Rock started and how it became such a phenomenon. I don’t listen to every episode they publish (the more science-y ones go over my head usually), but whenever a new one downloads to my feed, I always get super excited to spend a good 45 minutes to an hour learning about an engaging topic.
I’m a book nerd to my core and this podcast fulfills all of my bookish delights. In this show, two of the editors of the popular book website Book Riot talk about “what’s new, cool, and worth talking about in the world of books and reading.” They have really deep-level conversations about the hot topics in the book world right now, whether that’s Amazon starting brick-and-mortar bookstores, Trump blocking Stephen King on Twitter, or the Oprah Book Club. Book Riot is heavily focused on diversity in publishing, which is something a lot of bookish websites aren’t talking about, and I really appreciate the nuanced discussions they have.
What Should I Read Next?
In this completely unique podcast, Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy fame sits down with one guest per episode to offer book recommendations based on what the guest picked as three books they loved and one book they hated. I started listening to this one from the very beginning (which was just about a year ago!) and it remains one of my most anticipated listens. Anne Bogel has really found her groove lately, seamlessly intertwining engaging interviews with book recommendations.
The Baby-Sitter’s Club Club
This is one of my newest podcast finds and it fills me with such delight every time I listen to an episode. I’m still working through their backlist (I have “048 – Mary Anne Misses Logan” queued up to listen to next!), but I can safely vouch for the brilliance of this podcast. Two thirty-something guys living in New York have teamed up to read all of the books in The Baby-Sitter’s Club series and discuss them. Their discussions are hilarious and include segments such as “Burn of the Week” and “Tearful Moment.” They also have a segment called “Tracking Jackie” that never fails to make me crack up (basically, they believe Jackie Rodowsky who is accident prone is a “time jumper,” so every time he has some sort of “accident,” this is just his way of jumping back and forth through time). Every now and then, the guys discuss a book in The Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister series and it’s startling how much I remember about that series. In any event, this podcast takes me back to my childhood where all I wanted to do was devour as many BSC books as possible.
Death, Sex & Money
Have you ever wanted to sit down with someone and have an honest conversation about the uncomfortable topics people tend to shy away from? Topics like money and how much you make and how much debt you have and how you handle your finances. Topics like drug use and death and student loans and how to deal with a breakup. Death, Sex & Money is a podcast that talks about the “things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.” It’s one of my favorite podcasts because Anna Sale is a terrific host. She has a mix of celebrities and real people sharing their real stories. The episodes are short, around 30 minutes in length, and since the majority of the podcasts I listen to are usually at least an hour, sometimes longer, I like Anna Sale’s concise format. It’s one of my must listens.
Real Talk Radio
Nicole releases her episodes in seasons, so rather than releasing an episode a week, she releases eight every other month. One of the things I love about Nicole—she’s not afraid to do something out of the box! Another way Nicole’s podcast is unique is that she has two-hour-long conversations with her guests, so it’s not your standard 45-minute interview podcast. Nope, Nicole wants to go deeper than that. She wants to get into the heart of the matter when it comes to what it means to be human in this messy world. What it means to set goals and start a business and get married and overcome addiction. Her guests aren’t the typical ones you see making the rounds on the podcast circuit and they aren’t on the show to sell you on anything, which I so appreciate. Over the past few seasons, Nicole has cultivated an eclectic group of interview guests, usually people I’ve never heard of but who inspire me so much when I listen to their story. I love Nicole’s podcast so much that I signed up to be one of her Patreon supporters because, well, as much as I’d like to believe that creativity is free, it’s not. Nicole works damn hard at her show and providing my monetary support is just one way I can show her how much I appreciate it.
Honorable mentions: The Lively Show, The Shepod, Call Your Girlfriend, Smartest Person in the Room, and Dear Sugars.
Do you listen to any of the podcasts listed? What’s the newest podcast you’ve added to your feed?