Staying In with Podcasts and More Podcasts
May 7, 2020 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I enjoy a wide range of podcasts and am looking for podcast recommendations across several genres, particularly those which tell a good story. Would love to hear your favorite podcasts within these categories! Honestly, even if your favorites are outside of these genres, I’d still love to hear them! Thank you in advance.

Interview + Conversation Podcasts
I love a thoughtful, in-depth discussion and have enjoyed listening to the following:
Staying In with Emily and Kumail
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
David Tennant Does a Podcast With
Cry Power Podcast with Hozier
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
Pop Culture Happy Hour

Comedy + Satire Podcasts
Looking for more like The Cephalopodcast (which is a gem) and Oh Hello! The P’dcast

Fiction + Storytelling Podcasts
I found Homecoming compelling – doesn’t have to be the same genre (although bonus points for Oscar Isaac), but would love recs for other fictional podcasts. I love the original Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series as well, so anything like that would be a treat!

Investigative Reporting Podcasts
I’m not looking for anything tabloids-y, or in the vein of Nancy Grace, or featuring a middle aged male narrator’s sexualization of young female murder victims (BIG SIGH). I thought the way Serial Season 3 looked at the justice system was really interesting, and I also thought podcasts like The Drop Out, Bear Brook, and Death in Ice Valley were engaging as well.
posted by panther of the pyrenees to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
On the comedy side, I'm a long time fan of Comedy Bang! Bang!, with Scott Aukerman and a rotating crew of comedian guests doing goofy long-form improv interviews.

Reporting side: have lately been getting into You're Wrong About, which does a nice job of digging in conversationally on bits of popularly misunderstood history and cultural landmarks (largely mid-late 20th century stuff) without getting into gross exploitative Check Out This Awesome Terrible Crime! vibes.
posted by cortex at 2:29 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Everything is Alive, on Radiotopia, in which host Ian Chillag interviews one or more inanimate objects, who are voiced by actors, in a researched by improvised conversation. Mid-episode, Chillag does a phone interview with a real person who has some connection or information about a historical event connected to an object like the interview subject. For example, in an early episode Chillag interviews Maeve, a streetlamp in New York, and mid-podcast speaks with someone who knows the history of the most famous streetlamp there is, the one with whom, I mean with which, Gene Kelly danced in the famous scen from 1952's "Singing in the Rain."

It's charming. Chillag and the object have very different life cycles, and the exploration of the memories, hopes, and dreams of a bar of soap, a can of cola, a subway car, and so on are delightfully created.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Investigative reporting: White Lies from NPR. It was a Pulitzer finalist – it's an investigation of the murder or Reverend James Reeb in civil rights era Selma.
posted by cushie at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The podcasts what I have been enjoying this past month are all quite interviewy:

An hour or so with Sue Perkins (the Stewart Lee and Adam Buxton episodes in particular)
Adam Buxton's podcast
You'll Do (Radio 4 podcast interviewing couples about their relationship)
Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts (new podcast about the pandemic)

And I usually have No Such Thing As A Fish playing while I work for some background laughter and bantz/trivia
posted by taskmaster at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2020

"Ologies" is really good when you're in the mood for interviews about particularly unusual subjects. Each episode features an expert from a different ology (e.g., "Penguinology"). Most of the episodes are very interesting, and a few have inspired me to do a lot more research on my own.

Another one that I enjoy is "Anthropecene Reviewed," in which John Green picks one or two topics to "rate". They are short, but very well produced and many are very impactful, in my opinion. I'd recommend starting with "Googling Strangers and Kentucky Bluegrass," to get a feel for the types of things featured.
posted by unid41 at 2:51 PM on May 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Fiction: Ghosts In The Burbs. Start at the beginning.

Interesting conversations + science: Ologies. Alie makes a point to seek out younger, queerer, less white scientists with big Science Educator vibes, so it's not at all like a droning lecture.

Humor + info + food: BBC Radio's The Kitchen Cabinet, which in the Before Times was a panel show that toured the UK and recorded in front of a live audience, usually with a locally-relevant topic. The panels are generally made up of chef/restaurateurs and food historians/academicians. They're doing a home version at the moment, but go back to some older episodes first to get the feel for the format.

The host of The Kitchen Cabinet, food writer Jay Rayner, also has a podcast called Out To Lunch (currently In For Lunch) where he has lunch with someone and they talk. Some episodes are a little dry, so skip around if you're not feeling a particular one. I really liked the episode with Nadiya Hussain.

For some really good shortform personal essay storytelling, Glynn Washington's Snap Judgement podcast (and Spooked!, the scary story spinoff) are great.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders - two episodes a week. Tuesday is an interview, Friday is a news roundup
Ear Hustle - "The daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration"
Everything Is Alive - interviews with inanimate objects. I just listened to an interview with pants and a shirt that also included an interview with a taxidermist about a really bad taxidermied walrus
Levar Burton Reads - Short fiction read by Levar Burton!
Slow Burn - the first season is about Watergate, the second one was about the Clinton impeachment, and the third season was about Tupac and Biggie
Still Processing - Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris talking about Culture Things
Catch and Kill - (content warning: graphic discussions of sexual assault) Ronan Farrow's podcast version of his book about reporting the Weinstein story
Believed - (content warning: graphic discussions of sexual assault) Michigan Public Radio's investigation into Larry Nassar
Tortoise Media - half-hourish episode weekly on a deeply reported story
Thirst Aid Kit
The Bugle - Andy Zaltzman and a rotating cast of comedians riffing on current events in a sort of British comedy sort of way
All My Relations - monthlyish conversation between two Native American women about culture, race, family, art, etc.
The Seen and the Unseen - Amit Varma has a (long! Like 2 and a half hours!) weeklyish conversation with someone about something related to news, politics, economics, and culture in India.
This Podcast Will Kill You - weeklyish episodes of well-researched conversation between two disease ecologists about an exciting infectious disease of some sort!
posted by ChuraChura at 2:54 PM on May 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Seconding 'Everything is Alive'. My favorite is 'Swindled'. Also good is 'You're Wrong About', 'This is Actually Happening', 'Reply All', 'Strangers', and 'Heavyweight'.
posted by mezzanayne at 2:54 PM on May 7, 2020

The Bugle went through a bit of a rough patch after John Oliver departed, but Andy Zaltzman has cobbled together a pretty diverse rotating roster of co-hosts, all of whom are consistently, laugh-out-loud funny (IMO).

I’m not looking for anything tabloids-y, or in the vein of Nancy Grace, or featuring a middle aged male narrator’s sexualization of young female murder victims (BIG SIGH).

Then you might like the You're Wrong About podcast. The episode on Kitty Genovese is the exact opposite of that sort of treatment.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:55 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Lyn Never's comment about The Kitchen Cabinet reminds me that I meant to including Cooking Podcasts on the list and forgot (I knew I was forgetting something!). So thank you for that, and thanks to everyone who has commented so far! I've listened to a few of these (White Lies and Believed) but there are plenty I have never heard of, and I'm really excited to learn that Sue Perkins has a podcast!
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2020

If you like The Bugle, it has a spin-off of sorts. It's called The Last Post, is around ten minutes long and has a new episode daily. It's hosted by my favourite post-John Oliver Bugle guest, Alice Fraser, and, like The Bugle, has a rotating cast of co-host (including Zaltzman himself).
posted by deeker at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

For an investigative podcast that's deeply reported and not sensationalized, definitely check out In The Dark.

For fiction, I just fell in love with a BBC podcast called Forest 404. It's got some of the best acting I've heard in a fiction podcast, it's funny and sad and weird and the sound design is great too.
posted by Mender at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2020

For interview podcasts, albeit with a somewhat but not wholly UK-centric focus, you could try Full Disclosure with James O'Brien or Ways to Change The World with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. For comedy interviews, try Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast.
posted by deeker at 3:31 PM on May 7, 2020

Investigative reporting: Both of these are excellent and really avoid all the Issues With True Crime (BIG SIGH along with you.)

Criminal is ~20 minute episodes about all kinds of situations. Most episodes include interviews with people directly involved. Placing people in witness protection, diving into the La Brea Tar Pits to find evidence, escaping prison, getting an abortion in 1967.

In The Dark is two seasons of investigative reporting. S1 is about the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in 1989 and how the police failed at every turn. S2 is about the six trials of Curtis Flowers and, again, how police failed at every turn. Episodes are ~40 minutes.

Other: You might also like The Moth which is non-fiction stories told to a live audience. You never know what you're going to get. Sometimes a very brief description is provided.
posted by meemzi at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2020

I really enjoyed My Year In Mensa. It has investigative and comedy components but a different, somehow more honest conclusion than these things usually have.
posted by latkes at 3:48 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

For interview podcasts, I've really enjoyed Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor from Smallville). He has great guests on each episode (his interviews with Tom Welling and Stephen Amell are my favorites so far).
posted by Roger Pittman at 3:53 PM on May 7, 2020

I’m from the US but listen mostly to UK podcasts, so don’t feel you need to be from the UK to enjoy these:

Comedian’s Comedian with Stuart Goldsmith: Falls into the in-depth conversation discussion, all about the craft of comedy. I started listening as someone who enjoyed panel shows/was a fan of certain comedians and ended up enjoying it for its own sake.

How Do You Cope? With Elis and John: 10 episodes, in-depth discussion of mental health. Range of guests talking about how they have addressed challenges in their lives from being an ER dr in the NHS to divorce to Parkinson’s diagnosis. Open, honest, sometimes funny, sometimes raw. (I love Elis and John/am on email and there are podcasts of their show on Radio X and now BBC. Not sure they exactly fit your categories but I feel like I’m having a drink and gab with friends when I listen to them. Bit rough in patches in the early days and not for everyone, but I adore them. Chat, features, made up games...)
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 4:09 PM on May 7, 2020

Finish It!

This is one of my absolute favorite podcasts -- I listen to it religiously. It's two brothers who go through Choose Your Own Adventure books, reading every single ending of each book. Each week, they go through a single read of the book. It's gloriously absurd and silly and fun, and the brothers are hilarious (and musically talented!), and they clearly love each other, and it just feels like home. You also get to experience some elements of the books they read, so there's a fictional narrative component to it.

Seriously: Finish It is wonderful. And they just started a new book, this very week, so it's a good time to hop on and start listening!
posted by meese at 4:25 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Death, Sex & Money is an interview show with celebrities, emerging pop culture figures, and “regular folk” listeners. The episode with Ellen Burstyn is my favorite.
posted by erloteiel at 4:31 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Rachel Maddow's Bag Man was surprising and well researched.
posted by latkes at 5:08 PM on May 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

DS&M reminded me of my other dark favorite - it's a bit voyeuristic, but with consent, unlike true crime - Terrible, Thanks for Asking. If you like the weird pain-pleasure of hearing about hard heartbreaking things happening to people, this is that.

Nocturne is not always dark per se, but it is stories that happen at night. Sometimes they are more about aloneness or quiet or unpopulated spaces, and presented in a sort of cool, calm, low late-night-radio voice and atmosphere.

Ear Hustle is produced by current and former incarcerated persons at San Quentin prison. It was just nominated for a Pulitzer.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:12 PM on May 7, 2020

For fictional podcasts, The Magnus Archives has some of the best storytelling I've ever heard. Be warned, it is a horror podcast--but I don't typically like horror, and I love TMA. Just maybe don't listen when it's dark out. The writing is phenomenal, though.
posted by brook horse at 6:43 PM on May 7, 2020

Some interview podcasts you might like:
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin
posted by knile at 8:03 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

These are not really at all the same flavor of podcasts you listed, but since you said you're open to other categories, these are podcasts that I really love:
Strict Scrutiny -- 4 super smart female lawyers discuss Supreme Court cases, decisions and culture
Climate One -- interviews about climate change
The Field Guides -- two guys go on an hike and talk about some natural history topic of their choice
The Ezra Klein show -- deep conversations between Ezra Klein the Vox journalist and guests
posted by bread-eater at 8:55 PM on May 7, 2020

Cooking: Spilled Milk. Two funny people who work in food (a food writer and a blogger/chef) and are not married to each other go in-depth on one food-related topic each week.

Interview: Jesse Thorn's miniseries The Turnaround, where he interviews famous interviewers.

Chatting: Jordan Jesse Go, where Jesse Thorn and his friend from college Jordan Morris continue their college radio show, but with more famous guests.

Story: Bubble, a scripted radio play written by Jordan Morris about a sci-fi/fantasy dystopian Buffy type show. Which is in talks to make a TV show about.

Also, honestly, if you like fantasy story settings, I really would recommend you check out The Glass Cannon Podcast. It's four guys playing Pathfinder, a Dungeons and Dragons offshoot. But they get really into their characterizations and the story of the thing is very good; I recommend you give it a few episodes. There is a bit of gross sexualized humor in the first 20 or so episodes, but they come around and stop being such assholes before too long.
posted by Night_owl at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me from NPR is a new listen of mine. Quite funny.

Just started White Lies.

2nding This Podcast Will Kill You.

In the same vain, SawBones

Some science ones I like: Most of the podcasts from Quirks and Quarks from CBC. Unlocking Bryson's Brain also from CBC. This Week in Science - The Kickass Science Podcast. The Weirdest Thing I learned This Week. The Naked Scientists Podcast and their spinoffs.

Rachel Watches Star Trek, if you're into those series.

I also just subscribed to Live from the Poundstone Institute, Short Wave and Ask Me Another, all from NPR, though I haven't listened to them yet.
posted by kathrynm at 10:32 AM on May 8, 2020

I absolutely loved Dolly Parton’s America. It has everything. So engaging and wide ranging. History, music, people’s life stories, interviews; and one absolutely amazing woman who walks a very fine line with consummate grace and skill.
posted by sumiami at 9:22 PM on May 8, 2020

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