The Top 30 Podcasts I'm Listening to Right Now

The Top 30 Podcasts I'm Listening to Right Now

I have been listening to the occasional podcast for years, and at one point I binge-listened to every single episode of This American Life available in their archives, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I started to listening to podcasts regularly. I fell into it in a big way, and now I subscribe to far more podcasts than I could possibly listen to in an average week.

DNTO with Sook-Yin Lee

I'm always deleting and adding new podcasts to the rotation, but there are a number I truly enjoy and plan to keep around over the long term. If you haven't dug into the world of podcasts yet, or if you have but want to see what else is out there, here is my list of the 30 podcasts I listen to most and most consistently (with descriptions lifted from the podcasts' websites and iTunes pages):

Arts & Culture

Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything:

Personally connecting the dots. All of them.

Dear Sugar Radio:

The universe has good news for the lost, lonely, and heartsick. Dear Sugar — the cult-favorite advice column — is back, but this time speaking directly into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return.

Death, Sex & Money:

Death, Sex & Money is a podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities you've heard of—and to regular people you haven't—about the Big Stuff: relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we're here.

DNTO with Sook-Yin Lee (CBC radio)(I was actually on this one a few weeks ago, but I have been listening to DNTO on the radio for over a decade):

DNTO invites you to make discoveries about who we really are — flawed, funny, and beautiful — one story at a time.

Freakonomics Radio:

Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling "Freakonomics” books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his “Freakonomics” co-author Steve Levitt.

Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids:

Remembering the good, the bad, and the awkward parts of growing up.

The Memory Palace

From award-winning public radio producer, Nate DiMeo, comes The Memory Palace. Short, surprising stories of the past, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical, always super-great. For history buffs, fans of public radio shows like This American LifeRadio Lab, and whatnot, and for all admirers of things that are super-great.

The Moth Podcast:

Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of true stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. Moth storytellers stand alone, under a spotlight, with only a microphone and a roomful of strangers. The storyteller and the audience embark on a high-wire act of shared experience which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Since 2008, The Moth podcast has featured many of our favorite stories told live on Moth stages around the country.

Mystery Show:

A new podcast about mysteries, hosted by Starlee Kine.

On Being with Krista Tippett

On Being with Krista Tippett takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers — some you know and others you'll love to meet. Updated every Thursday, a new discovery about the immensity of our lives.


StoryCorps travels the country collecting the stories of everyday people, who get to take the microphone and interview each other about their lives. Each week, the StoryCorps podcast shares these unscripted conversations, revealing the wisdom, courage, and poetry in the words of people you might not notice walking down the street.


From Lea Thau, Peabody award-winning producer and creator of The Moth Podcast and The Moth Radio Hour, comes her new storytelling baby, Strangers, part of KCRW's Independent Producer Project and of PRX's Radiotopia network. Each episode is an empathy shot in your arm, featuring true stories about about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren't even who we thought we were.

That's Deep, Bro:

That's Deep, Bro is a podcast hosted by comedian Christina Pazsitzky that combines philosophy and comedy. Very serious questions with supremely silly people.

This American Life:

There's a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. Most of the stories are journalism, with an occasional comedy routine or essay.

WTF with Marc Maron

Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day - WTF? He'll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head.

Food & Music

The Dinner Party Download:

The Dinner Party Download is a fast and funny hour of culture, food and conversation — the arts and leisure section of public radio — with hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam. Previous guests include Steve Martin, Scarlett Johansson and Kevin Hart.

KEXP Presents Music That Matters:

Straight from the knowledgeable KEXP DJs to your ears, now you can listen to a wonderfully eclectic mix of full length songs. KEXP brings you the music that matters from some of its favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

Song Exploder:

A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

Spilled Milk:

Every week on Spilled Milk, writers/comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton start with a food-related topic, from apples to winter squash to Korean junk food, and run with it as far as they can go — and, regrettably, sometimes further.

Design & Technology

99% Invisible:

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture.

Design Matters with Debbie Millman:

Design Matters with Debbie Millman is a thought-provoking internet podcast, which profiles industry-leading graphic designers, change agents, artists, writers and educators.

Reply All:

A show about the internet, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman.

Spark (CBC Radio): 

Nora Young helps you navigate your digital life by connecting you to fresh ideas in surprising ways.

Health & Sexuality

Mental Illness Happy Hour:

Named one of the Top Ten Podcasts of 2011 by The Onion's A.V. Club! The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a weekly conversation between a guest and comedian/host Paul Gilmartin, focusing on the battles we have in our heads and the damage we feel. From medically diagnosed conditions to everyday compulsive negative thinking. This podcast is not a substitute for professional mental help, it's more like a waiting room that hopefully doesn't suck.

Savage Lovecast:

Dan Savage, America's only advice columnist, answers your sex questions and yaps about politics.

Sex Nerd Sandra:

Curious about the naughty side of life? Come giggle with Sandra at the cuddly side of the sex pool! Exploring fascinating topics & perspectives on sex & love, join sexuality educator Sandra Daugherty & special guests for a loving laugh at the fundamentals of human nature.

Business & Productivity

The Broad Experience:

The Broad Experience tackles some of the big issues facing women in the workplace today. Host Ashley Milne-Tyte and her guests discuss the things everyone's thinking about, but not always talking about. Each show is around 20 minutes.

Edit Your Life:

Through conversations and interviews, Christine Koh + Asha Dornfest offer inspiration and tactics to help you edit the unnecessary from your life so you’ve got room to enjoy the awesome.

Science & Social Sciences

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe:

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is a weekly podcast talkshow discussing the latest news and topics from the world of the paranormal, fringe science, and controversial claims from a scientific point of view.

You Are Not So Smart

You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self delusion that explores topics related to cognitive biases, heuristics, and logical fallacies. David McRaney interviews scientists about their research into how the mind works, and then he eats a cookie.

So, that's the, believe it or not, non-exhaustive list of podcasts I'm listening to right now. What are you listening to? If you have any favourite podcasts you'd like to share, tell me about them in the comments!

I'm writing a post a day in November for BlogHer's NaBloPoMo.

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