Whenever I go out with friends, at some point, the conversation usually turns to topics such as “What are you watching?”, “What are you reading?” and “What podcasts are you listening to?”
Now my book knowledge and TV IQ are pretty stellar. I read a fair amount of books and I watch an insane amount of television. But podcasts are a different story. The truth is, I don’t listen to them very often. Part of the reason I don't listen to podcasts because I am overwhelmed by the plethora of choices. In 2021, there were 850,000 active podcasts available for listeners.
If like me you would to listen to a podcast but have no idea what you would enjoy, here are 10 recommendations to get your started:
If you want a little more information about today’s current events:
A fan favorite, each episode of The Daily is based on a news topic that The New York Times reported that day. Host Michael Barbaro delves into the story with the journalists and other people that were involved in the actual reporting. The episodes are short, around 20 minutes long, giving a lot of insight in an easy digestible dose.
If you like playing amateur detective:
There are tons of true crime story podcasts, but this is one of the most popular. Hosts Ashley and Brit discuss a case they have been obsessing over that week in a way that is both suspenseful but easy to follow. And to lower your guilt (because it feels weird being entertained by crimes), fans of the show have helped the hosts to be able to donate over half a million dollars to various crime-fighting and victim-support charities.
If you had a poster of Rob Lowe on the wall of your bedroom in high school:
Literally! with Rob Lowe
I literally love Rob Lowe and have since he walked out of the shower as Sodapop Curtis in the 1983 movie version of book The Outsiders. If you literally love him too, then this podcast is for you. (The title comes from the catchphrase of Lowe's character on the television show Parks and Recreation.) Lowe interviews people he admires, from former co-stars like Demi Moore to White House secretary Jen Psaki.
If you are the first in your crew to say yes to an 80’s trivia night:
Pop Goes Your World
A favorite from our 2018 round up, this podcast allows you to take a trip down memory lane, revisiting favorite Gen-X movies, music and television shows. But you also get a chance to learn about what is trending in the pop-culture world of Millennials.
If you just can’t get enough of Hoda:
Making Space with Hoda Kotb
Today show co-host Hoda Kotb is a journey of self-discovery and she is inviting listeners to join her. Kotb speaks with guests who both admire and inspire her, hoping that their insight will help her audience to make more space in their own lives.
If you miss hanging out with the women from your kids’ playgroup:
Remember the women you used to talk to about teething rings and the best gymnastics classes for toddlers? Just like you, their kids grew up and they did too. Now instead of discussing how to get kids to stay in their bed, they are talking about the subjects keeping them up in the middle of the night. From the stress of parenting young adults to getting older gracefully, friends Julie, Marie and Mindy are talking about it all.
If you need encouragement on making a career change:
Hilary Kerr, the co-founder and chief content officer of Who, What, Wear, hosts this podcast spotlighting women who have made major career changes careers. Kerr interviews artists, CEOs, fashion designers and more about how they navigated pivoting their careers, discussing the choices they made, mistakes that occurred and the lessons they learned on their journey to success.
If you want real talk about real-life:
We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle
If you are tired of people being fake and platitudes, this is the podcast for you. Glennon Doyle, author of the book Untamed, is all about keeping it real. Doyle hosts the weekly podcast alongside her sister Amanda. Together, the two discuss life and the hardships everyone experiences and hope that everyone can feel less alone by being honest.
If you want to improve your cocktail conversation game:
Stuff You Should Know
Did you ever think to yourself, “I should know that!” but you don’t? This podcast can fill in the blanks on a wide range of topics, from what exactly is champagne to understanding El Nino to the history of Punk Rock.
If you want real talk about sex:
Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel
Listen to the incomparable therapist Esther Perel counsel real couples as they reveal the most intimate, personal, and complicated details of the conflicts that have brought them to her door. This season Esther speaks to a constellation of new relationships: A couple wrestling with the guilt they feel over the happiness their infidelity created. Another trying to make space for their queerness in an outwardly appearing hetero relationship. A set of friends trying to sort out if their childhood friendship needs to continue into adulthood. And Esther checks back in with couples from seasons past to see where they are now as she creates a space for us to hear our own lives and struggles articulated in the stories of others. So .... where should we begin?
Image source: Cover art provided by individual podcasts.