There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts available for download every day, on every subject under the sun. (In fact, if you find a topic that hasn’t been covered, start a podcast ASAP and corner the market.)
If you’re a newbie to this space, it can be overwhelming.
Even searching the app by category or keyword sometimes feels like a mission in finding an (interesting, relevant) needle in a haystack. And if you’re a long-time podcast listener, with favourites you look forward to week after week, you likely don’t have the motivation to look for anything to add to your go-tos.
So, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and compiled a primer of tried-and-true podcasts, across categories, to try out this year.
Give one (or all) of them a shot—you never know where inspiration (or a good laugh) is lurking.
FOR THE DREAMER: Magic Lessons
From best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, the Eat, Pray, Love writer) comes Magic Lessons, based on her 2015 inspirational, motivational book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. For anyone looking to make a change, to go after a dream, this one is for you. Gilbert and her guests will give you the push you need to make it—whatever “it” might be—happen.
FOR THOSE SEEKING A CONNECTION: Dear Sugar
Hosts Cheryl Strayed (who wrote Wild) and Steve Almond answer listener questions that run the gamut of relationships issues—everything from infidelity to difficult family situations. This basic description might seem like a snorefest, but the questions are deep, sometimes dark inquiries, and the hosts’s empathetic, no-holds-barred answers are incomparable.
FOR THE FITNESS FANATIC: PodRunner
No need to build the perfect playlist for your workout anymore—let Podrunner do it for you. Choose from Fixed Tempo, Varied Tempo and Programs for all fitness levels and goals. Have a carefully cultivated “Gym” or “Running” playlist of your own? Consider switching it up and let Podrunner surprise you.
FOR THE TUNED IN: Global News Podcast — BBC World Service
If you want a smart, efficient rundown of the world’s events, this podcast delivers. Compiled twice daily during the week and once daily on weekends, you’ll get the day’s top stories of the BBC, so you’re pretty much always in the know.
FOR THE POP CULTURE JUNKIE: Fresh Air
This award-winning podcast from the makers of WHYY, a daily arts and contemporary culture magazine, sees host Terry Gross in conversation with some of the world’s great minds. Not to be confused with the CBC’s morning show (which is also worth a listen), you can get a new Fresh Air download everyday.
FOR THE TRUE CRIME ENTHUSIAST: Sword and Scale
Consider yourself warned: In the description of this true-crime podcast are the words, “be prepared to never sleep again.” This immersive production spares no detail and covers high-profiles trials, unsolved murders and missing persons cases. If you were a fan of Serial, you should give this one a shot.
FOR THE TECH-OBSESSED: Reply All
Look no further for all things internet—and we mean everything. From the weird to the wonderful, the stories you’ll hear here will make you think differently about your computer (or your web browser, at least). Reply All is from podcast-production company Gimlet Media, and pretty much everything they produce is podcast gold.
FOR THE BUSINESS BRAIN: The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss, the best-selling author behind The Four-Hour Work Week, hosts this buzzy biz podcast where he breaks down the success of his guests in order to give nuggets of useful information to his listeners. There’s a reason it has been in the top business podcasts on iTunes for what seems like forever.
FOR HISTORY BUFFS: Revisionist History
Two words: Malcolm. Gladwell. He makes this podcast worth listening to in his own right, but when you factor in his content, you’ll be hooked. In each episode Gladwell looks back at a historic event, person or idea and gives it a new spin. Because “sometimes the past deserves a second chance.”
FOR HELP WITH BIG IDEAS: Ted Radio Hour
Spinning off of the super-popular Ted Talk series, this hour-long podcast aims to promote fascinating ideas, including “astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create.” Talk about Ideas Worth Spreading, indeed.
FOR A GOOD LAUGH: My Dad Wrote A Porno
Host Jamie Morton’s dad wrote a dirty book. That’s funny in and of itself. But in this podcast, Jamie reads the book out loud to his friends, James Cooper and BBC 1’s Alice Levine (well, when he can stop laughing long enough to actually deliver the story). Warning: Don’t listen in public places. People will stare when you’re busting a gut on the subway platform or sitting in a coffee shop.