Listening to podcasts has been one of the things getting me through these unusual times. I’ll tune in when I’m in the shower, have them playing in the background while I’m writing or doing homework, and I especially love listening when I’m taking a walk or working out. There are so many topics ranging from politics to true crime to music. If you’re ready to step into the world of podcasts or if you’re looking for more suggestions to entertain you, I’ve devoted hours to discovering the best podcasts and these are six of my favorites.
My mom recommended 2 Dope Queens to me about a month ago, and I’m so glad she did. This female-empowering podcast is hosted by comedians, Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. The WNYC produced podcast features a variety of empowering people from different backgrounds.
Most episodes feature three guest comedians, such as Michelle Buteau, Vanessa Bayer, and Nick Kroll (just to name a few). They discuss issues like race, gender, sex, hair, romance, and living in New York, but giving all of it a comedic spin. I love the “girl power” I get from listening to these, and it gives a space for diverse females to have a voice. It’s such an honest and intimate show that’s hosted by two hilarious best friends that every girl can relate to. Although there are no new episodes (2 Dope Queens ended in 2018), you can catch up on the 88 episodes. If you’re like me and need a laugh during these scary times, binge away! (You can also stream their HBO series based on the podcast.)
I stumbled upon Lore during self-isolation while scrolling through Spotify. I love anything that will give me a good scare, which is why this one stood out. Narrated and created by Aaron Mahnke, this is a podcast about true life scary stories told with a folklorist lens. Aaron narrates a new historical tale with a common theme, each episode in a campfire-type format. Lore explores the gloomier, nightmarish sides to history that we rarely hear about, like the ghost stories behind the Queen Mary and the stories behind the famous Winchester House.
This show airs on a bi-weekly basis, releasing on Mondays with episodes ranging from 20 to 40 minutes. Mahnke’s voice is very mesmerizing and calm, making it even easier to listen to. I often tune into the show before going to bed, even though some episodes have me tossing and turning all night. You have the choice to believe in the folklore stories or not. However, these episodes show the real-life events that spawned these scary tales and like Mahnke says, “sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.” (You can also stream the Amazon Prime TV series based on the podcast.)
For all the single or “it’s complicated” ladies out there, this is a must-listen! Social media sensations Rayna Greenberg (@onehungryjew) and Ashley Hesseltine (@brosbeingbasic) are the hosts of Girls Gotta Eat, a podcast centered on modern dating advice wrapped in comedy. They provide answers to our everyday love questions, like “when do you know you’re in a toxic relationship?” or “what kind of messages should you send on dating apps?” They even have an “Is This Weird?” segment where listeners can ask their strangest relationship questions. The love gurus often have therapists, psychiatrists, and writers who come on the show to help give further expertise for listeners.
While the ladies are relatable and hilarious, they give very informative answers to questions all of us have about dating, especially in a time of popular relationship-finding platforms like Tinder. They speak on topics anywhere from the relevance of dating during social isolation to being friends with an ex. I am obsessed with this podcast because dating as a 21-year-old is a complete mess, and I need all the help I can get. This podcast never fails to make me laugh out loud and it gives me genuine answers to the confusion that comes with dating. The episodes are anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, making it the perfect podcast to listen to in the background when working from home.
We live in the internet age, so what better podcast to listen to than Reply All. It is all about the modern life of the internet and how to survive it. The show, produced by popular Gimlet Media, is hosted by your favorite geeks, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. They feature stories that Vogt and Goldman describe as “how people shape the internet and how the internet shapes people.” Each episode varies in format and features different recurring segments, like ones about internet trivia or tech support issues.
This show is a nerdy, but cool take on all things tech with certain episodes being about weird Facebook groups, Reddit conspiracy theories, Bitcoin, and internet scammers. If you are interested in bizarre things like these, this show is for you. PJ and Alex make this informative and engaging, while still being hilarious and revealing mind-blowing stories about the modern world. Whether it is Alex befriending a computer scammer or both of them discovering how Instagram accounts get hacked and why—I’m a sucker for this show. I especially love listening while getting ready in the morning, since the episodes are short and sweet (between 20-40 minutes).
The Clearing is a 2019 true-crime podcast about April Balascio, daughter of American serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards. This one is especially unique, as it is only an 8-episode series about this specific story. It’s narrated by Josh Dean, and features interviews from April and private recordings made by Edwards. This true tale discusses April’s journey into discovering the truth about her father’s life after seeing an article in 2009 about the 1980 murders of two Wisconsin teenagers. The story, April’s interviews, police interviews, Edwards’ private tapes, and everything about this podcast is haunting yet so interesting to hear. If you don’t know the story, I don’t want to ruin it for you so you will have to tune in to find out what happens. I will say, this was the first podcast I ever listened to and it’s what got me looking for more of them to enjoy.
Crime Junkie is my favorite podcast of all time, and I never get sick of listening to it, so I saved the best for last. By Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, this is for all the true-crime junkies out there, like myself, who believe their unfulfilled life’s calling was to be a detective. The cases covered include murders, conspiracy theories, missing persons, and serial killers. Flowers tells the story while Prawat adds commentary, making it feel like you’re talking to your best friends about true-crime.
The episodes are thoroughly researched and well written, giving you all the information you need about the case. They’re about 30 minutes to an hour-long making them the ideal podcast to listen to whenever and wherever. Since they’re always interesting and addicting, I’ll listen to Crime Junkies in my headphones when I’m working out (instead of music), that’s how obsessed I am with this series. I love to do further research and keep updated with the cases after listening. I’ll head to WebSleuths (a forum where users discuss cases that pertain to murder, missing persons, and various crimes) since Flowers gets a lot of her information from there. The most important lesson I’ve learned from the duo is that if you’re in danger, “be weird, be rude, stay alive.”