You Need These Podcasts In Your Life

by Rebecca Jane Stokes

I love podcasts. I love them more than anything else on this planet. Except for maybe pizza. And also red wine. And also, also, white wine. The ranking is beside the point. What matters is this: I love podcasts more than quite a lot of other things, including string cheese, and that's saying something.

Podcasts have all the magic of listening to the radio but without the awful thing where you have to be in the car with your farting dog for hours on a long trip or having to sit around quietly with your grandparents who only let you listen to Rush Limbaugh anyway. That's right: Entertainment minus radical conservative commentary and dog farts. What more could you ask for?

Because our phones are so smart and we all walk a lot more than ever before (or, at least, we should), we have more time to listen our hearts out, and there is no end to the selection of juicy podcast material to keep us company. You want funny? Done. Newsy? Slam dunk. Informative? And then some. There are so many, it can be tough to navigate the ample selection. So I have decide to be very helpful and give you guys a hand. Here are 9 podcasts that you should go listen to right now:


Things I love: Smart, funny passionate radio-nerds breaking down the fascinating secrets of the universe (stress, religion, Lucy the chimp) on the reg, for my enjoyment. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich deliver this straight to my ear holes, and do it with such zest and editing wizardry that the show is impossibly listenable. So listen to it. You will learn things and like it and maybe cry (See: me and the aforementioned Lucy the chimp episode.)

The Right Reasons

Like reality TV, hating on reality TV, celebrity gossip, and taste tests?! WHO DOESN'T I ASK YOU?! This is easily my favorite podcast on the planet. David Jacoby and Juliet Litman host this weekly hour-long gem. Currently their feedback on Bravo's ridiculous show Below Deck makes my heart sing with gladness. Also the fact that they can pull off a weekly taste test on a podcast speaks volumes to their charisma.

How Did This Get Made?

This is a fav of our Kat George! It is also much beloved of my baby brother Sam, and he is pretty the greatest human alive, so this podcast is probably the greatest podcast, uh, alive. Anyway, it's hosted by comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael. These extremely funny folks breakdown some of the worst movies out there, rewatching them and speculating, as the title may indicate, how exactly some of this flicks were ever made.

Hollywood Prospectus

This weekly breakdown of prestige television and film with the odd foray into music may be mad-spoilery, but I defy you to listen to Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan and not come away with at least a little bit of a crush.

This American Life

How was this not going to be on here? You know it, you love it, you've maybe listened to it in the car with your parents and all quietly felt soothed by the dulcet tones of Ira Glass – you're an adult, download it now. Each week Ira and his team (you know what I'm about to say) pick a theme and put together a show in three acts inspired by that theme. It can be fiction, personal essay, journalism, and so much more. It never fails to delight.

Stuff You Should Know

Josh and Chuck have been quietly bantering into my ear as I fall asleep for years now. That sounded kinkier than I meant it to, but I stand by it. Ever wondered how skywriting works? The history of tattoos? The Donner party, all that people eating? These dudes got it on lock. Plus I find Chuck's voice in particular to be intensely soothing.

The Savage Lovecast

Dan Savage is a delight and his podcast is the Dear Abby of the modern age. Dan answers all sexual and social questions, providing some delicious and dead-on advice to a myriad of call-in questioners. Not only that, but Dan's social activism is inspiring and makes me want to hug the world.

The Moth

Everyone you know has at least one really, really great story in them and The Moth podcast is proof of that. The podcast is comprised of every day folks telling stories live for an audience without notes. The stories are funny or dramatic or earnest and sweet, but their spontaneity makes each one a subtle gem.

Plz Advise

Molly McAleer's podcast is straightforward in structure, but there's nothing basic about it. Molly answers calls from folks in dire need of advice from everything to anything including hair removal and cheating partners. Now that is a woman of all trades!

Images: Fotolia; Radiolab; YouTube; This American Life; Savage Lovecast