Running from the Law: My Favorite Podcasts

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Favorite Podcasts

One of the best (only) things about having a commute to work everyday is getting a chance to discover and listen to some really amazing podcasts. Over the last couple years, I've almost completely eliminated music in my car and on my runs and have become obsessed with podcasts.  Whereas most people binge watch shows on Netflix, I binge listen to podcasts, starting from the beginning (sometimes years and years ago) and continuing through the present day. Some have been a complete waste of time and were deleted after only an episode or two and some have become such an obsession that I could talk about them for hours and hours over bottles of wine (yes, I think Adnan did it and I'd love to discuss why with you anytime!). Like my interests, my taste in podcasts range wildly, from true stories to paranormal fiction and from podcasts that discuss parenting strategies to those that discuss my favorite TV shows. I've put together a list of 35+ podcasts below, in a variety of categories that I promise you will enjoy! I'm sure there are plenty more that I'm forgetting or haven't yet discovered, so if you have a favorite, please leave it below! 

35 Podcasts you should be listening to - my favorite podcasts

Mom & Dad Are Fighting - Two producers at Slate (mom of 3 boys and dad of 2 girls) with two very different personalities and parenting styles discuss parenting hot topics, articles, issues and dilemmas. I think it's an honest account about how hard parenting can be and how difficult it is to balance work and family, with lots of great advice, recommendations and suggestions. 

The Longest Shortest Time - Started by host Hilary Frank right after her daughter was born when she was feeling incredibly isolated, lonely and overwhelmed by parenting a newborn. The early episodes deal mainly with the first year of parenting, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Later episodes touch on everything from your sex life to how to talk to your children about death.

Fiction/Scary Stories
Limetown - This is a mock investigative journalistic podcast about the disappearance of the entire population of a mysterious scientific-research town ten years ago. This podcast seems to be a bit of a throwback to the old radio dramas of the past, with an updated plot and effects. It will suck you in and you'll almost forget that you're listening to fiction - it feels so real.

Lore - A podcast all about the interesting and true history behind real-life scary stories. Definitely creepy, interesting and will give you chills. 

The Black Tapes - Another mock investigative podcast about getting to the truth behind hauntings, ghost stories and unsolved mysteries. This one literally gave me nightmares, but it's so good I can't stop listening to it. If you loved to be creeped out, this one is for you.

Chilling Tales - A new podcast (there are only 3 episodes so far) that combines story-telling with all the cool audio effects as a movie. Each episode has a full cast, sound effects, musical score and thrilling suspenseful stories.  

The Message - Another new podcast along the same mock investigative lines, where a journalist is trying to get to the bottom of a mysterious audio message that kills everyone that hears it. Not as well done or exciting as Limetown or the Black Tapes, but along the same style and level of supernatural mixed with reality.

The Leviathan Chronicles - A sci-fi audio drama - basically a book on tape with sound effects and a cast of characters. The story starts off really interesting and good and takes a weird alien-bent turn a few episodes in. Great if you love fantasy and science fiction. 

True Stories
This American Life - This is the podcast that started it all for me and is my (along with most people's) absolute favorite podcast. Each weekly episode contains a series of stories that all relate to an over-arching theme of the show. I look forward to this show every week - the stories are all so fascinating, funny, articulate and interesting. 

Radiolab - Each episode is a deep dive into a particular topic that goes farther than you'd expect the story to go. Incredible investigative journalism, riving stories and interesting topics on things you'd never expect to be all that fascinating sometimes. 

StartUp - Alex Bloomberg, formerly of Planet Money and This American Life, decides to quit his job and start this own podcast company. Season 1 of StartUp is all about how he made it happen - from finding a business partner, to pitching to investors, to naming the company and deciding what type of content they'd produce. A very interesting and honest look at how a start-up company is formed and all the decisions that go into it. Season 2 is dedicated to another start-up, a match-making dating company run by 2 women in NYC, trying to make a unique business model work.

The Memory Palace - Each episode of this podcast is a short and surprising historical story from the past. Episodes are usually less than 10 minutes long and are funny, heartbreaking, shocking, terrifying and fascinating. 

Death, Sex & Money - Podcast host Anna Sale interviews all kinds of people, from big-name celebrities (Brooke Shield, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda) to everyday people about the hard topics surrounding death, sex and money (and everything in between). 

Mortified - A host of story-tellers, authors and comedians get up on stage and tell the most embarrassing stories of stuff they did and things that happened to them when they were younger. This podcast will definitely make you cringe, laugh and feel so much better about your own awkward past. 

The Moth - Real life stories, told by real life people, on a stage in front of a real life audience of strangers. Stories cover a variety of topics, issues and genres and can be funny, heart-wrenching, shocking, sad, romantic or all of the above. 

More Serial
Serial, Season 1 - If you have not heard about this podcast, then you've been living under a rock for the last two years. Season 1 of Serial is an investigate look into the disappearance/murder of a Baltimore teenage and the subsequent arrest, trial and conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Sayed. It will make you infuriated with the legal justice system, local law enforcement and Jay. 

Undisclosed - If Serial left a giant hole in your heart that needs filling with all things Adnan, then this is the podcast for you. Over 50 episodes that gets so far down into the mud and nitty gritty that you're mind will be blown and you'll be so overwhelmed you don't know what to do with yourself. It's 100% pro-Adnan, though, so consider yourself warned. 

Serial Serial - This is a much less biased group of Onion, Inc. staff writers that got together after each episode of Serial to discuss what happened. I listened to it in real time, as the episodes were being released and it gave me a much different view of the case and Adnan than Serial did. There's also a lot of discussion regarding Sarah Koenig's bias and journalistic style.

Crime Writers on Serial - True crime authors (and husband and wife), team up with other authors and journalists to discuss all things Serial, as well as other true crimes, books, articles, TV show, documentaries and a crime of the week. Very intelligent, well-researched and thoughtful podcast. 

Serial, Season 2 - The second season of Serial just started a few months ago and it tells the story of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured and held by the Taliban for nearly five years. Season 2 is very different than Season 1 and is receiving a lot of criticism already for a variety of topics, including the fact that the show's host doesn't conduct any of the interviews with Bergdahl. Definitely fascinating, but much slower and makes you feel less involved than Season 1. 

True Crime
Criminal - A fascinating look into how real life crime has affected people and the stories behind what really happened. Each episode has a narrative, lead by host Phoebe Judge, which explores all kinds of different crimes, the people that committed them and those wronged. 

Missing Maura Murry - If you love Serial, How to Make a Murderer and Unsolved Mysteries, you'll love this podcast. Two filmmakers are currently working on a documentary about the disappearance of 21 year old Maura Murry from 2004. The podcast was created to help shed some light on the topic and possibly gather additional sources and material for the documentary that weren't comfortable being on camera. It's a bit all over the place and raises way more questions than it answers, but it makes me excited for the documentary to come out.

What the Crime? - This podcast focuses on the weird, bizarre and baffling aspects of crime. There are only four episode so far, but each is stranger than the next and highlights just how crazy the world of crime can be. 

My Favorite Murder - Brand new podcast (only 2 episodes so far) where 2 hosts talk in-depth about their "favorite" murders, trials and crimes. Very dark humor and not for the faint of heart.  

Stuff You Should Know - The nerd in me love love loves this podcast. Hosts Josh and Chuck give great overviews and breakdowns on a variety of topics like HIV, Lizzie Borden, passports, maggots, hula hoops, alcoholism, cult deprograming, bats, volcanoes, base jumping, water slides, clowns, earwax, Stonehenge and everything in between. The geek in you will love it!

Stuff Mom Never Told You - Similar to the podcast above, but for the ladies and deals with "girl" issues, such as acne, lube, witchcraft, nipples, periods, bisexuality, baby weight and a million other things.

Invisibilia - A podcast that combines storytelling with scientific research and touches on all the invisible forces that control us, like thoughts, religion, emotions, ideas, beliefs and assumptions. Interesting stories and great topics. Plus, there's a dance party at the end of every episode. 

Surprisingly Awesome - New show from Gimlet Media (company from the StartUp podcast mentioned above) where hosts take a boring sounding topic and turn it into something that's surprisingly interesting and awesome. There are only 6 episodes so far, on topics such as mold, broccoli, concrete and free throws. 

Reply All - Another Gimlet Media show, this one about anything related to the internet. Incredibly well-done and always fascinating. I love this podcast and cannot get enough of the hosts. I wish there was a new episode every day.

99% Invisible - Host Roman Mars explores architecture and design in a completely fascinating and captivating way. He takes a usually very visual topic and talks about it with such passion and intensity that you can fully appreciate the subject matter without ever seeing a photo of it. 

The Lively Show - Host (entrepreneur and blogger) Jess Lively interviews other big-name bloggers and self-starters about everything blogging from marketing to social media to branding (and a ton of non-blogging related topics such as relationships, motherhood, design, compassion, religion, etc.). Great for anyone with a blog, that's self-employed or in a creative industry. Guests include bloggers/authors/entrepreneurs such as Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Housely, John and Sherry Petersik. 

Social Media Marketing Podcast - A podcast from the Social Media Examiner, all about social media outlets and how businesses, bloggers and individuals can make the most of them. I've learned so much about how to grow an Instagram following, the elusive Facebook algorithm, how to make the most of Pinterest and the most effective blogging tools and plugins. Great for anyone with a blog or online business.

Smart Passive Income - While I don't do any affiliate marketing or have any passive income streams on my blog, I think this podcast is really informative for anyone in the blogging community that wants to learn how to market themselves, create content, build trust with your audience, cultivate a social media following and get things done online. I find it really interesting and inspirational. 

The Fizzle Show - This one is pretty new to me, so I haven't had a chance to listen to many episodes, but so far I really like what I've heard. All about productivity, motivation, growing an audience, marketing, self-employment advice, work-life balance and all the modern online business stuff. 

Call Your Girlfriend - Two long-distance best friends host a podcast that is basically just like listening to a phone call between two girls catching up. Smart, hilarious, silly, snarky and includes lots of wine and bitching about guys and periods. 

Gilmore Guys - If you like the show Gilmore Girls, you'll love the Gilmore Guys podcast. Hosted by two guys that are way more into the show than any two guys should ever possibly be. I love the show.  I love the guys. I love this podcast. Hilarious. See also: Return to Stars Hollow for even more Gilmore Girls discussion and analysis. 

Mystery Show - Funny and quirky (yet slightly annoying in an adorable kind of way) host Starlee Kine solves all those impossibly unsolvable mysteries that you cannot solve just by going online, such as how tall is Jake Gyllenhaal really, does Britney Spears read horrible novels and what ever happened to that video store in Tribeca?

Guys We F*@#*d - I almost didn't include this one because it's pretty offensive and crude at times, but it's a total guilty pleasure for me. Dubbed the "anti-slut-shaming" podcast, two NYC comediennes interview their ex-boyfriends and guys they effed about every raunchy thing you can imagine. Not for the faint of heart. 

What's your favorite podcast? 


  1. I've never listened to a podcast but you have me intrigued now. I'm gonna have to give a few a try.

  2. Such a great list. So many podcasts, so little time. I got really into Undisclosed. It was panned by most reviewers. Maybe it's because we're lawyers that we liked it. I'm going to have to look into some of these others.

  3. I feel like I need to commute somewhere now... I've never listened to any!

  4. My regulars are Reply All, Serial, CYG (my favorite - though less so since they've gone corporate), and Mystery Show. Despite loving Serial Season 1 I could not do Undisclosed. Their bias and unfounded assumptions drove me nuts. I was bored. (I'm torn on Adnan's guilt, btw.) I'm enjoying Serial Season 2. I think they were bound to get heat, regardless of what they chose for Season 2. Nothing was going to live up to the hype of Season 1. Thanks for a great list of new podcasts to check out!

  5. YES! I have been looking for new ones. Melissa (above comment) hooked me up with some new suggestions. I like Doug Loves Movies, How Did This Get Made? and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. We listen to a lot of Radiolab when we are road tripping! Thanks for the new recs!

  6. I listen to the Rise Guys Podcast every single day on my way home from work. Its actually a local radio stations morning show. They are so funny. Going to look up Guys we 'bleeped.' Sounds awesome! ha!

  7. I have to check out Missing Maura Murry--I love true crime!

  8. You know, I've NEVER listened to a podcast before!!! I'm going to have to save this post for the future and check these out and download some! Unfortunately my commute is not very long... at least without Mason in the car so some of these may have to wait for a walk or something on my own :)

  9. I love podcasts! I will definitely be checking these out. Serial was gateway drug. And we need to talk Adnan!!! Second season is okay.... Interesting, but he admits he walked off post. So what exactly are we discussing. And please tell me you listened to the This American Life that starts with the teenagers talking about Instagram?! Hilarious!

  10. I haven't heard of most of these! Definitely checking them out!

  11. Confession - I have never listened to one single podcast! I've heard so many thing about Serial though, so I would probably start there. Saving this list in case I love podcasts and need more ideas!!

  12. Haha looking at these comments makes me glad I'm not alone. Another podcast virgin over here! But this looks interesting and also very addictive...maybe I should wait til after tax season to start? :)

  13. Thanks for the recommendations! I listened to serial but then kind of gave up. I should get back into it!

  14. So, now there's going to be no room left on my phone because I want to try so many of these! I've listened to several of these already. I listen to a few working mom ones I've liked too, and I love The Lively Show - she's so engaging and fun... and it also helps that she has an awesome first name, right?!?

    1. Also, on Serial... I'm torn. I'm not convinced he did it, but I'm not convinced there was enough evidence to convict him either. This is why I'm not a lawyer, haha.

  15. thanks for this list! Serial 1 was my gateway podcast and now, like you, it's essentially all I listen to on runs or in the car. One of my faves is NPR's Ask Me Another! It's game show-y, hipster/millennial, pop culture-y, and seriously comedic at times. Any podcast that makes me LOL at 7am gets my vote!

  16. ok. i'm DYING over this list. because podcasts are so totally my jam. and i NEED more of them in my life!

  17. You listed some of my very favorites! I also love the Savage LoveCast, the Slate Culture Gabfest and Political Gabfest, and Strangers. I've just downloaded the Dear Sugar podcast because I loved Cheryl Strayed's books so much I think the podcast can only be wonderful. The only thing I struggle with now is having enough time to listen to them all- I've started having to listen at 2x the speed and even with an hour commute each way I still can't get through them all in a week, lol.

  18. I've been meaning to do a podcast post for the longest time as I am also podcast obsessed! You've inspired me! My favorites that aren't already on your list are One Bad Mother, NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour, How Did This Get Made, Sawbones, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and Stuff You Missed in History Class.

    Also, I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves Guys We F*#€@d!

  19. My absolute favorite, How Did This Get Made? It has the actors who play Andre and Raffi from the League and Paul Scheer's (Andre) real ode wife. They review terrible movies and it is hysterical. I used to listen to Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin and Stuff You Shoukd Know, but now I can only listen to HDTGM. Please listen!

  20. I've never heard of podcasts! I need to look into these!

  21. LOVE this list! I was obsessed with Serial and can't wait to try some of these. Maybe this will make my runs more exciting...

  22. Check out totally mommy and totally married! I think you would like them!

  23. Girlfriend - this list is awesome! I am def going to check out these as I commute in an hour from work and back! Also my husband and I do not share music taste - him regee, me country - so podcasts are a great way to both enjoy long car rides. Of which we take many! Can't wait to dive into some of these. My favorites are the true crime ones. It always baffles me how people can be so creepy!!!

  24. this is a really comprehensive list! I can't believe we didn't talk about Serial - I want to hear your Adnan theory!!

  25. Great list! I listen to many of these. If you're looking to add to your list Love + Radio and Freakonomics Radio are also great. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Omg this list is amazing! Now to figure out when I can listen to them all!!!