12 of the Best Podcasts You’re Not Listening to—but Should

Great suggestions for people who have always wanted to get into podcasts but never know where to start.

The great thing about podcasts is that they don’t have to appeal to an enormous audience. Some do, of course, but some are more fine-tuned. Add to that, you can listen wherever and whenever you want to, and that most podcasts, even if they’re no longer being created, usually remain available forever online. They’re great entertainment, they’re free, and if you haven’t already tried them, head to iTunes or Google Play Music or any of the other readily available apps, and try some now. Not to mention, they’re also a great way to make your commute go by fast.

If you’re new to podcasts, try one of these:

  • This American Life — One of the great granddaddies of podcasting, poking around in the oddest corners of the American scene.
  • Serial — The true crime podcast that brought podcasts into mainstream news.
  • Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! — The weekly comedy news show that is the leader of NPR’s great lineup.
  • Fresh Air — The best interviews from the radio show, covering a broad range of writers and celebrities.

After these whet your appetite, try some of these:

  • This Week in Tech — Some of the smartest people in tech in a weekly show about what’s going on in the business, and how it affects you, from data safety to privacy to the cost of watching Netflix. This isn’t nuts and bolts for nerds. If technology touches any part of your life—and it does—you’ll want to listen. (If you know any of these tech words, you’re officially a computer genius.)
  • You Must Remember This — Stories from the first hundred years of Hollywood. Creator Karina Longworth dishes the dirt going back to the silent era. For example, how many affairs did Howard Hughes really have?
  • 99% Invisible — The inside story on design, home and abroad, from buildings to logos to traffic patterns. Learn about the magic and thought underneath the everyday.
  • Come to the Sunshine — You may think you know all about 60s music, but you don’t. Andrew Sandoval’s weekly show digs up songs you loved and songs you didn’t even know existed. It’s enlightening.
  • The WDW Radio Show — Let’s admit that Walt Disney World is the most popular vacation site on the planet. You probably have either been there, want to go there, or practically live there. To enhance your enjoyment, check out this podcast, filled with tips and opinions and food tastings, regularly voted one of the most popular travel sites on the web. And while you’re at it, follow the Disney History Institute Podcast for stories going back to the earliest days of Walt and company. (If you’re planning your first Disney visit, don’t miss out these money-saving tips to save some serious money.)
  • Masterworks Broadway Podcast Theater — Covering the Golden Age of Broadway Musicals, with interviews from stars and composers and writers and producers. One series of interviews with Stephen Sondheim scanning his entire career are priceless.
  • A Prairie Home Companion — Garrison Keillor may be gone from the airwaves, but his legacy lives on. This is a seemingly endless supply of stories of Lake Wobegon, plus lots of other features from his radio show like Guy Noir, Private Eye, song parodies, and Lives of the Cowboys, all of it just plain fun.
  • Ask Me Another — A goofy with-it quiz show broadcasting from the center of the hip universe: Brooklyn. Test your wits and enjoy the regular visits of guest stars, from the obscure to the, well, less obscure.

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