First Things First: Recommended Podcast Apps
Podcasts are available in many forms and lengths as audio-visual series or single episodes covering just about any topic. But before we jump straight into our podcast recommendations, we should address the glaring question: Where and how can we listen to these podcasts?
There are many options that will provide you with your daily podcast dose. Some of them are free, and others are subscription-based with exclusive content. Listed below are a few of the most accessible and affordable apps.
Free Podcast Apps
RadioPublic. If you’re looking for no-frills access to podcasts, this one is for you. No accounts, logins, or subscriptions are needed – simply download the app and start listening. You can download and save your favorites, and you’re guaranteed hours and hours of attention-grabbing content. Top choice: Living on Earth, a show about changing environmental circumstances and sustainable living.
Pocket Casts. Available for Android and iOS devices, Pocket Casts boasts over 20 million media files along with great playback options such as silence trimmer and speed adjustment. Time For Your Hobby is one of its highlights where the team explores the big wide world of hobbies great and small (and just as great).
AntennaPod. Apart from letting you make playlists, this app has a smart space manager that’ll make sure you never run out of memory as you power through your favorite podcasts. If you’re into cooking and eating healthy, GastroPod is a great show that focuses on food through the lens of science and history. Mouth-watering AND informative!
Spotify. Chances are you’re already capitalizing on that student deal from Spotify, but in case you didn’t know, the app also has an awesome library of podcasts that you can save, download, and turn into a personal playlist. Check out Ear Hustle to hear candid stories from prison. Bet that’s a perspective you’ve never thought of!
Audible. This is another app that has branched out into original podcasts in addition to books. In its series Sincerely, X (currently available on Spotify, too), people share their powerful (and somewhat controversial) ideas in a gripping manner.
Stitcher. Stitcher was never a music or audiobook app – its goal was simply to build a vast, accessible library of podcasts that you can arrange into customized playlists according to themes. The app also regularly features people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ communities to provide insight from marginalized groups. I highly recommend Reading the Rainbow with LeVar Burton.
Podcast Recommendations for College Students
Now that you’ve got your apps figured out, you must be wondering where to start. On the other hand, if you already have a list of favorites, you might be looking for something new to tickle your ears while you’re out and about. Most of these podcasts are available across multiple apps, especially Google and Apple Podcasts, so feel free to listen to them on all your devices.
General Ideas to Get You Started
- 1619. We’re starting strong with the podcast devoted to commemorating the year the first slave ship arrived on US soil. This is a meticulously researched collection of various documents, writings, letters, and papers dissected by academics trying to navigate the almost-lost legacy of slavery.
- Maintenance Phase. Let’s face it, the wellness industry has us all running around like headless chickens, chasing herbal remedies for cellulite and magical solutions to stress. What no one mentions is the fact that cellulite is absolutely normal on ALL bodies and has nothing to do with BMI (which is also a lot of … compost). Maintenance Phase deciphers fact from fiction on various health trends, guiding you to your healthy self without gimmicks.
- 60 Songs That Explain the 90s. You know what, the 90s were a wild time. While I do not miss criss-cross hair … straighteners? … curlers? … criss-crossers? Anyways, while I do not miss the thingamajig, some of the songs back then were true bangers. But I won’t say a thing – give it a listen and see how music shaped the decade.
You simply had to be there 😀
- Writers on Film. In case you’ve ever wondered, there are probably a few excellent academic books on every movie and TV show you love. Why not listen to their authors as they discuss how their analyses came to be. If you don’t know where to start with films, we’ve got you covered with our inspirational list!
- WTF With Marc Maron. If you want to listen to celebrity interviews with the likes of Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, this candid show is for you.
Fiction Podcast Recommendations
If you’re a lover of books and stories, I’ve got great news for you. While you’re waiting for your next free book to drop on Audible, you can check out some of these fiction podcasts:
- The Truth. If you’re not sure whether to commit to a fiction series, start with short stories like those featured on The Truth. Each episode has a new cast of characters and settings, and it runs for about 20 minutes.
- The New Yorker Fiction Podcast. The New Yorker’s short story section always features excellent stories with the most versatile themes, voices, and narrative devices. The podcast brings many of those to life. It’s a great way to get introduced to some eclectic stories and up-and-coming writers.
- Alba Salix, Royal Physician. The heat witch at the House of Healing shares some of her stories on dealing with magical illnesses in the land of Farloria. Of course, there’s a clumsy sidekick, just to kick off the comedy of it all.
- 36 Questions. You’ll love this one if you’re just as obsessed with Broadway musicals (ahem, and Jonathan Groff as King George in Hamilton) as I am. Groff and Jessie Shelton lead this musicalization of the famous article “36 Questions That Can Make Anyone Fall in Love” as a husband and wife trying to save their marriage. With that distinct Broadway flame, this podcast is impressive all across the board.
- From An Island. Each episode of this podcast gives you another clue about the mysterious island. Bite-sized pieces of information are bound to get you hooked, but who knows if we’ll ever discover anything about the titular island.
Oil Your Sherlock Gears with These Crime Podcast Recommendations
For a generation that grew up with countless seasons of CSI: InsertCity, it’s no wonder we get so hooked on all these crime documentaries and investigative journalism. Thankfully, the world of podcasts is brimming with cases to be solved.
- Crimetown. In case you were wondering, it’s about crimes. Jokes aside, this podcast digs deep into the trenches of corruption on Rhode Island in the late 90s and early 2000s. What makes it particularly immersive is its use of real audio clips from TV reports, radio clippings, and excerpts from newspapers covering the crimes in question.
- Room 20. A non-verbal, paralyzed patient sits in room 20 in the nursing home in San Diego. Nobody knows anything about him, and the police have noted him as “undocumented” until a journalist decides to find out more about his past. As you can guess, she is in for a shock, and so are you if you listen to this thrilling tale.
- Believed. We hear these infuriating stories every day – men in power abusing and harassing women over decades. This podcast details the crimes of Larry Nassar, whose years of abusing women had gone undetected.
- Chameleon. Hollywood Con Queen. Posing as a Hollywood-moneybags-in-power, a scammer commits a range of blood-free crimes in this true-crime podcast.
- Drunk Women Solving Crime. Hannah, Catie, and Taylor, inspired by great women detectives before them, take on a series of crimes with a host of guests, from writers of detective fiction to comedians. The twist? They have to drink. A LOT. A mix of true crimes and personal stories test the guests’ abilities to solve their cases while slightly boozy.
Tired of Crime? Shake Things up with Some Comedy Podcasts
When criminal podcasts get too gruesome, it’s time to switch it up a little bit. When you need a break from whatever gloomy mood, maybe some comedy podcasts can help you out!
- Wooden Overcoats. Do you know how awkward it is to live between two feuding funeral homes? Well, the mouse narrator of this podcast does, and he’s not afraid to share all the nitty-gritty of pushing daisies and kicking buckets. This side-splitting podcast is TO DIE FOR!
- Sawbones. Medical practices are brought under scrutiny in each episode of this serial with a rather cynical and humorous tone. Apart from being highly entertaining, Sawbones is an informative show about the histories of medical rules and regulations.
- Sounds Like A Cult. We’ve already jabbed at some manic health and well-being practices, but this podcast really puts a new spin on CrossFit, triathlons, and diet fads. Expert speakers analyze the language and practices behind each selected theme, trying to draw conclusions on whether they’re really like a cult or not. Spoiler alert: They most likely are.
- How Did This Get Made? You’ve probably seen a film and asked yourself who in the name of all film gods had allowed this thing to exist. Even if you haven’t asked yourself such a thing, the hosts of How Did This Get Made? inspect some of the greatest flops in the film industry and discuss the behind-the-scenes aspects of movie-making.
- Fake Doctors, Real Friends. If you enjoyed Scrubs, you should tune into this one. Zach Braff and Donald Faison rewatch their glorious TV show, providing commentary, musings, and incandescent wit to spice up the viewing.
Blast From the Past with Some History Podcast Recommendations!
- The Unusual History of Every Thing. To make a smooth transition from comedy to history, I suggest checking this beauty out. Cultural observations trace the origins of items both commonplace and weird. If you wish to awaken your childlike curiosity for the world, this one is for you!
- Hardcore History. Don’t expect a boring lecture from this series because the host, Dan Carlin, delivers expertly researched themes in a chatty way and makes unconventional analyses, comparisons, and speculations. Was Alexander the Great actually that great? Tune in to find out!
- Our Fake History. From mummies to pirates and moon landings, this clever show busts the biggest myths of history. If you’re familiar with conspiracy theories about the notorious Bermuda Triangle or alien-made pyramids, get ready for a wealth of information from all epochs and parts of the world!
- My History Can Beat Up Your Politics. Although the title is funny, this podcast explores political history in great detail. It’s a true wonder for history buffs!
- Honorable mention: SpyCast. Hosted by the International Spy Museum, this podcast gives full-length interviews with former spies who divulge sides of history you never thought existed.
Where Did We Come From, Where Do We Go?
If you’re feeling a teeny bit overwhelmed by choices, don’t worry, we all do. In the sea of quality podcasts, it’s tough to choose just one, but if I had to choose, I would say Wooden Overcoats win all my votes!
Whatever you decide, don’t forget to have fun! 😀