Serial is a non-fiction, investigative journalism podcast which is hosted by This American Life producer Sarah Koenig. It investigates the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old American student from Baltimore. Adnan Syed, her ex-boyfriend, was convicted of killing her, having failed to provide the authorities with an alibi. The show tries to solve this case by reviewing it, tracking down and interviewing all protagonists in the process. Serial is incredibly addictive, so make sure you schedule enough time before starting to listen to it!
2. Welcome to Night Vale
Set in the fictional desert town of Night Vale, this comedy podcast features news, traffic information and weather forecasts out of this surreal place. Funnily enough – and much to the bewilderment of its creators – it gained recognition through Tumblr which is where most internet success stories are born these days. Because of its uniqueness, it is difficult to tell you a lot about Welcome to Night Vale’s plot, but we do encourage you to give it a try – you’ll probably love it.
3. Love + Radio
Love + Radio is a podcast where each episode features stories centered around a specific individual. They have dedicated previous episodes to online dating, New York’s jewish community and portraits of numerous artists. Dive in if you enjoy hyperreality and depictions of the life of unique characters you could never encounter.
4. Pop Culture Happy Hour NPR
This podcast is a good way to work on your listening skills as well as your knowledge of American pop culture. As its name suggests, the show consists in a chat about current culture-related topics such as a specific movie, a book, television show or any other popular culture event. Its main host is NPR writer Linda Holmes is often funny and we think Pop Culture Happy Hour is just what you should be listening to while relaxing on a hot summer day or evening.
5. Reply All
Its tagline says all about Reply All: it is, indeed, “a show about the internet”. It is hosted by a team whose previous positions were at Radiolab and This American Life, to name a few. “La crème de la crème” of the podcast world, as the French say! Each episode focuses on a particular trend or aspect of the internet, ranging from Craigslist to what happens when one sends an email to the wrong person. A must-hear for all digital natives (and those who wish they understood them better).
1. The Inquiry BBC
One obviously cannot mention British podcasts without including the good old BBC, right? This podcast is very useful and interesting because each episode consists in experts analyzing a very current issue from the news. The past episodes have been dedicated to finding out whether streaming is good for music or if austerity is a good policy. You will like it if you are interested in current events and wish to make more sense of the world around us.
2. No Such Thing As A Fish
This weekly podcast series is an ode to the weird and wonderful world of trivia and fun facts. Each episode explores 4 random facts that the show’s hosts have come across. To give you an idea, past topics include “The earliest known dentistry is 9,000 years old”, “There is a banker in Latvia who will lend you money using your immortal soul as security.” and “The English language has more words borrowed from the Hawaiian language than it does from the Welsh language.”
3. Spark London
Spark London is inspired by similar, real-life focused American podcasts and consists in real people telling their own story. Members of the general public are invited to tell their own, true story linked to a specific topic in less than 5 minutes during storytelling evenings. Each person’s story is then recorded and uploaded online for your listening pleasure.
4. The Bugle
Hosted by stand-up and TV comedians Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver, The Bugle is a satirical podcast which tackles current events in a hilarious, pun-fueled fashion. Not only do they make good use of their knowledge to produce sharp analyses, they are also incredibly funny. One of the co-hosts goes on constant rants while the other ones takes pride in his agility with words.
5. The Football Ramble
Are you a football fan? Then The Football Ramble is just what you need! It has been around since 2007 and is frequently described as being like listening to your friends’ conversation at the pub. They discuss European and World football, delivering the news as well as telling funny stories and answering questions and listeners’ emails. They think of themselves as normal people who enjoy football and happen to be quite funny, and what’s not to like about that?