Eight Podcasts to Fill that Serial-Sized Hole in Your Commute

Because selection bias, if you’re reading this I’m willing to bet you listened to, and loved, Serial.

Maybe you had never previously listened to a podcast before and picked up Serial halfway through, on the recommendation of a rabid fan. Maybe you heard it on This American Life. However you got to it, it’s over – at least for now.

Here are a few excellent podcasts to fill the Serial-sized hole in your Thursday morning commute. If you already listen to podcasts, you’ll almost certainly know the first few.

Radiolab

WNYC_Radiolab_logo.svgRadiolab is my favorite podcast, and one of my favorite things, period. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have consistently put out eminently re-listenable, curiosity-driven inquiries that rival the best efforts of journalists and entertainers everywhere. It has an extensive back catalog of episodes, so it’s the perfect companion for a long run/bus ride (during which I’ve listened to literally hundreds of hours of it) or your daily commute.

Start With: Memory & Forgetting; Falling; Colors; Translation; Blood; Patient Zero

 

 

 

 

Planet Money

PM

Born from the 2008 financial crisis and This American Life, Planet Money is an economics-focused podcast consistently delivers entertaining, thoughtful, and edifying 15-20 minute episodes.

Start With: Just download the most recent two or three

 

 

 

 

 

The Memory Palace 

The_Memory_Palace_logoHost Nate DiMeo’s The Memory Palace highlights historical ephemera – entertaining vignettes that could be footnotes in your college history textbook. DiMeo has an uncanny ability to dredge up the fascinating, humanist, often-heartbreaking tales behind World Fairs, elevators, and the Civil War. New episodes are rare these days, but it has a long back catalog to pull from.

Start With: Picture a BoxAfter PartyDistanceSix StoriesLost LobstersSix Scenes from the Life of William James SidisGiants in Those DaysCrazy Bet

 

 

 

 

 

99% Invisible

99invisible-logo-1400

99% Invisible is all about design, and the little things that so blend into the background of our daily lives that we forget that they were once made. Roman Mars is a remarkable storyteller, and this podcast will teach you to look at the daily things in your life differently.

 

Start With: Higher and HigherOctothorpe; Queue Theory; Future Screens are Mostly Blue; Reversal of Fortune

 

 

 

 

 

 

StartUp

Startup

In some ways, the most similar to Serial, StartUp (now Gimlet Media) is a, well, serialized look at starting a business. It’s hosted by Alex Blumberg, a great storyteller who was a founding member of Planet Money and a former producer for This American Life.

Start With: Episode One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very Bad Wizards

VeryBadWizardArtwork+website

A philosophy and psychology podcast for a (smart, curious) lay audience. Hosts Tamler Sommers (a philosopher) and David Pizarro (a psychologist) are friends and have a natural rapport, which they use to cover complicated philosophical concepts — but always in a way that is easy and entertaining to follow.

Start With: Trolleys, Utilitarians, and Psychopaths; Paul Bloom and the Perils of Empathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gist

Gist

The only daily podcast I listen to, The Gist is hosted by Mike Pesca, an entertaining guy who was made to be a daily podcast host. He’s smart, funny, and clearly in love with the job.

Start With: yesterday’s episode

 

 

 

 

 

Slate’s Political Gabfest

slates-political-gabfestSlate’s Political Gabfest is a weekly digest of the most important stories in American politics. The hosts are informed, smart, and entertaining, and I learn something every episode.

 

Start With: last week’s episode

 

  1 comment for “Eight Podcasts to Fill that Serial-Sized Hole in Your Commute

  1. January 6, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Great list Mike. I’ve now subscribed to a few of your suggestions (The Gist, Radiolab, Memory Palace), and I hope MissionCreep can make the next list! 😉

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/mission-creep-podcast/id897476593?mt=2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *