What is a podcast?
27 Podcasts you need to start listening in 2018
A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download and listen to. It is often available for subscription, so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user's own local computer, mobile application, or portable media player. It is distinct from Internet radio, which involves streaming rather than downloading.
The secret room
Dahlia Beta and Ben Hamm present a show full of confessions. Each episode is exciting, fun, and deeply personal. It raises the fascinating question of why we keep secrets from those closest to us yet will choose to share with a public audience of interested human strangers.
Ian Elsner presents a podcast about a different museum each episode. We love how it questions what we call a museum and what it means to display something in a museum. One of the latest episodes features an interview with the director of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, a topic that actually is way more high-brow than you might first expect.
Slow Burn: A podcast about Watergate
You might hear the word ‘Watergate’ in the news these days, or just the suffix ‘-gate’ shoved on to a scandal of any sense, but do you know all the ins and outs of the incident itself? This slate podcast, presented by Leon Neyfakh, breaks it all down in eight episodes. They don’t really say it, but the unspoken theme is the eerie parallels to today.
Ministry of ideas
This great little podcast, from Harvard Divinity School, tries to work out the ideas that shape our world. From race issues to selfies to meritocracy – beautifully produced and presented, and only 20 minutes long. Recent guests have included Emily Nussbaum from the New Yorker and writer Tom Hodgkinson.
Just great advice
This is such a great podcast on mental health, led by Rebecca Lee Douglas, and keeps things light and breezy even when tackling serious subjects. There's a lot to be learned here, from how to deal with negativity to how to get to sleep and how to find a therapist. The hosts are warm and funny, and they are doing such powerful and important work in de-stigmatising conversations about mental health and mental illness.
Deanna Silverman, a clinical social worker, and Frances Echeverria, a marriage and family therapist, talk about topics we all face – like anger, failure, whether or not to say or be sorry, and how to survive the holidays. It is an awesome, hilarious podcast on everyday issues we all deal with, run by two mental health facilitators, and it's bloody brilliant.
A therapist walks into a bar
Lily Sloane, a marriage and family therapist, listens to people's issues at her practice. In this show, seeking to connect with people and their problems, she literally heads to bars and asks them what they are going through. In this well-produced podcast, you realise that everyone is fighting their own demons.
Film, television and culture
The Upside-Down podcast
Yep, that's right: a podcast all about ‘Stranger Things’. Hosts Ash and Tori have an enthusiasm for the Netflix series that's utterly infectious from the moment you first listen, and you'll quickly appreciate the lengths they go to in cataloguing as much as they can about it. For the most recent episode, they recorded a field trip to the location that became Hawkins High School.
Buffering the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still quoted, discussed, and beloved by so many people years after it was last on the air. Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristin Russo break down the series episode by episode, one podcast at a time. Better still, said a reader: They have character jingles, a fashion watch, and sexual tension awards.
This is a podcast about Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Jordan and Charlie review each of his films and drop the latest news about The Rock each week. It's simply wonderful that the internet provides gifts like this.
News and current affairs
At first glance, you might think that this is a podcast all about Brexit, considering that this dominates most European news. It isn't. A reader told us: They discuss continental politics in a very approachable way, along with matters of language, culture, economics, food, and really anything that helps to shed light on the European experience. In one they interviewed a German interpreter about the difficulties of translating Donald Trump's offensive rhetoric, and it was both funny and extremely enlightening. It's presented by Katy Lee, a reporter in Paris, and Dominic Kraemer in Amsterdam.
It’s a feminist politics podcast hosted by two brilliant women who break down the news, analysing the current political issues we're facing. They have fantastic interviews and connect really well with their audience. They're fearless, outspoken, and unapologetic about their beliefs. Their FB community is such a sanity-saver too. It's the most supportive place on the internet for liberal, politically engaged women.
Just great chat
Punch up the Jam
This comedy podcast, hosted by Demi Adejuyigbe and Miel Bredouw, has a great concept: finding and rewriting popular songs to make them even better. But the best bit is the chemistry between the two hosts throughout. It is quite simply electric.
This is a good listen. It’s hosted by Shereen, a Syrian-American woman, and Anna, an Iranian-American woman, who give fresh insights on current events in the Middle East, humorous commentary, and observations on life as first-generation immigrants in America, especially in the Trump age.
Hip-Hop saved my life with Romesh Ranganathan
If you like hip-hop, listen to this podcast. If you don't like hip-hop, listen to this podcast. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is an utter delight. His conversations with comedians and other well-known figures never feel stuffy or pretentious.
Realise your dreams
Proof to product
Ever have an idea for a side-hustle but you have no idea how to make that idea into an actual thing? This podcast interviews people who have gone along that journey and have made a success of it, whatever they do. Each episode is full of advice from gaining confidence and creativity to the more practical stuff like working out your brand, sorting out pricing, and locking down.
Deeper than work
Dorianne St Fleur presents this careers podcast full of advice you'll wish you'd got a long time ago. There are range of topics to help navigate the workplace, such as how to deal with a layoff, why you’re not getting a promotion, how to create a career strategy, what to do to make a career switch.
Journey to launch
Jamila Souffrant presents this handy podcast about how to sort your finances out, full of advice such as maximising income, building your savings, and breezing through your expenses. Jamila has a way of feeding information to her listeners with her subtle voice, patience, and great explanation.