Does anyone else have a podcast obsession? Podcasts have gotten increasingly popular over the last few years due to the increased use of smartphones and the variety of podcasts available. Almost all of them are FREE, and they cover a vast range of topics and genres, from politics to poetry.
Although there are over 550,000 podcasts in existence, not all of them offer unique, quality content that will align with your interests. One of the ways that I discover new podcasts is through recommendations, whether it is from friends, co-workers, blog posts, or forums. Another person’s honest endorsement of a podcast means much more to me than a rating system or trending list.
I wanted to share some of my favorite podcasts with all of you because they have brought so much value into my everyday life. Every podcast serves a different purpose, whether is it to teach me about a new topic, share an experience that I can relate to, or interview a person who has had completely different life story than me.
I have separated my favorites into a few different categories, and I have also included one of my favorite episodes, in case you don’t want to start from the beginning.
Every single parenting experience is so unique. What The Longest Shortest Time seeks to do is tell stories of parenthood in all of its different forms. You can hear what it’s like to raise a baby in a sorority house (Episode #57) or when one of the parents is going blind (Episode #26). These stories demonstrate the resilience and dedication that parents have for their children. This is a show that everyone, parent or not, can appreciate and enjoy.
LISTEN TO: The Accidental Gay Parents (Episode #60)
Coffee + Crumbs started out as a blog that shares inspiring and heartfelt essays written by moms about the best and toughest parts of motherhood. The podcast strives to encourage mothers in the same way, through talking to guests who have wisdom and stories to share from their own motherhood journey. Every episode teaches me new ways to approach motherhood and all of its various facets, and leaves me feeling empowered.
LISTEN TO: Global Motherhood with Michelle Acker Perez (Episode 7)
How To Be A Girl is such a treat to listen to, and the story that it tells is an important one. The host, Marlo Mack, shares her story of being a mother to a transgender daughter. She talks about the unique challenges her daughter must face and how she strives to be the most supportive mom she can.
LISTEN TO: Meeting Laverne (Episode VIII)
If you watch the hit show, Scandal, you will recognize the face and voice of Katie Lowes, who plays Quinn Perkins. Although her podcast is relatively new, it is a valuable resource for pregnant women and new moms. Katie is upfront and honest about her own struggles as a first time mom and brings on guests that were a huge help to her during her toughest moments.
LISTEN TO: To Doula or Not To Doula
This has been the most helpful podcast I’ve listened to, geared specifically towards mothers. The two hosts, Sarah and Meagan, have a combined total of 8 kids and plenty of mothering experience for children of all ages. During the mom hour, they converse like old friends and share valuable tips and tricks for dealing with all types of dilemmas, from picky eaters to travel. They have already released over 150 episodes, so there is A LOT of knowledge to be gleaned.
LISTEN TO: Raising Siblings Who Like Each Other (Episode 29)
Have you ever wondered what the strangers you pass by on the street have gone through in their life? Every person is a stranger until we take the time to talk and get to know them. Lea Thau is the host, and she interviews people who share riveting stories and the lessons they learned from their extraordinary experiences.
LISTEN TO: Jenni Rowell: Life, Interrupted
Since 1995, This American Life has been bringing stories about people and current events to the radio-listening public. They have hundreds of episodes in their archives, and their journalists and producers are some of the best in the business. Each week, they choose a theme and tell stories that adhere to that theme. Sometimes, the stories they cover end up revealing much more than they anticipated. Ira Glass put together a list of the most entertaining and unexpected episodes here for those of you who are brand new.
LISTEN TO: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde (Episode 492)
On Heavyweight, the host, Jonathan Goldstein, helps people go back to a moment where everything changed – an accident, a falling out, a regret – to figure out what exactly went wrong. From bullying to becoming a rabbi, the stories address a multitude of different topics told by different types of people. The stories he produces have a way of being comical, refreshing, heartbreaking, and sentimental, all at the same time.
LISTEN TO: Jesse (Episode 12)
If you love eating food and learning more about it, The Sporkful the podcast you’ve been looking for! As the slogan goes, “Each week on our podcast, we obsess about food to learn more about people.” The host, Dan Pashman, talks to people from all walks of life about the kinds of food they like to eat. There are discussions about culture, race, religion, politics, and much more. While lighthearted, Dan addresses some very important topics and shares opinions from many different perspectives. Most importantly, you learn about the people behind the food.
LISTEN TO: How to Be Fat (with Lindy West)
The two hosts of Spilled Milk, Molly and Matthew, are writers, comedians, and chefs. Their banter is playful and entertaining, and they are always a treat to listen to. For each episode, they choose a food item and talk about their childhood memories, history of the food, recipes they’ve tried, and whatever else comes to mind. The episodes are short but full of information and fun.
LISTEN TO: French Fry Shapes (Episode 310)
To put it succinctly, “Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history.” After listening to a topic covered by Gastropod, you will know so much more about where it comes from, how it’s made, and where it’s going. The podcast is not afraid to delve into the complicated science and history of each particular food topic and present it in a way that’s interesting and easy to understand. The episode “Kombucha Culture” is what initially piqued my interest in drinking and brewing kombucha.
LISTEN TO: Lunch Gets Schooled
If you enjoy learning about the strange and mysterious world that we live in, what Radiolab does is deconstruct into a format that is easily understood. Reporters explore fascinating and mysterious stories usually in the realm of science and nature and present the answers in a series of well-produced interviews. Radiolab has won an award “for their investigative use of radio to make science accessible to broad audiences.” You can’t go wrong with this one.
LISTEN TO: Sight Unseen
Are you scientifically minded? Do you always back up your claims with scientific evidence? Science VS will do all of the work for you! The team behind the podcast looks into the assertions and firmly held opinions of the public and replace it with actual scientific facts. They cover topics such as artificial sweeteners, antidepressants, and the ketogenic diet.
LISTEN TO: The Bee-pocalypse
America is the melting pot country of the world. Almost everyone here came from somewhere else, and people are beginning to mash up race, culture, and identity more and more. The Mash Up Americans talk to accomplished and well-known guests about their mashed up identity and how that has affected their childhood, food preferences, superstitions, and more. America is made of immigrants, and this podcast celebrates all of our differences and similarities.
LISTEN TO: Finding Our People
Have you ever been curious about what happens during other people’s therapy sessions? Each episode features a couple that is seeking help from Belgian psychotherapist, Esther Perel, and has allowed the public to listen in. Each couple talks honestly and candidly about the problems they face in their relationship and why they are unhappy with the current situation. Esther listens to their issues and offers an insightful and experienced perspective on the root of the problem and how to confront it.
LISTEN TO: Motherless Women
There are so many self-help books out there that claim to change people’s lives. But which ones really work? For each episode, the hosts follow a well-known self-help book to the letter and see if it really does what it claims to do. They cover prominent books including The Five Love Languages, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and more!
LISTEN TO: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up