I have always enjoyed listening to talk radio. Even when I was a kid, I remember my dad picking me up from dance or gymnastic lessons, and we’d listen to his sports talk radio all the way home. I learned way more about the Dallas Cowboys than I ever wanted to know.
When my husband and I got together, we discovered we both loved NPR and This American Life. We started listening to the This American Life podcast when we were in the car because we loved the show. We just were never around a radio when it was on the radio live.
Then, it snowballed where we both were finding all these great podcasts. I started finding even more because as a mom with 3 kids, I’m in the car a lot.
Now podcasts are my favorite things to listen to in the car. Down here in Texas, talk radio can be very conservative, and sometimes there’s not much to hear on NPR. I get so excited with giddy pleasure when I see there’s a new episode from one of my favorite podcasts.
I love stories. I love reading stories. I love telling stories. I love writing stories. I just love how you can learn so much about someone from their stories, or how you can fall into another world just from a story.
I feel like I’ve stumbled on these little secrets, and I want to share them with someone! So here they are, my top 10 favorite podcasts right now.
I’ve divided up my top favorite podcasts into different categories. The first category is fictional serialized episodes. These tell a story over an arc and are my absolute favorite podcasts.
The Message – This is my latest find, and I’m so excited about it. It’s the story of a cryptography firm who begins working to decode an extraterrestrial message the government has kept hidden for 70 years. But, there’s a curse!
The episodes are just 10-15 minutes long, but they come every week. Click HERE to get a little teaser for what this story is all about.
Limetown – This is the story about an investigative reporter who starts investigating Limetown, a curious town where ten years ago everyone just simply disappeared one night.
This one is fairly new. Episodes are around 20-30 minutes, and a new one shows up about once a month.
The Black Tapes – I just started this one a few days ago, but it appears to be a ghosthunter type story in which the investigative reporter begins working with what seems like a skeptic. He has these video tapes in which a strange tall black “thing” appears in every video that a man named Robert appears in.
I”m loving this one as it’s very creepy. Season One just ended a few weeks ago, and there are 12 episodes. They do have a new podcast called Tanis, which is also a serialized mysterious podcast, but I haven’t listened to that one just yet.
The second category is short stories. These are podcasts that usually have two to three stories per episode. These are real stories that happened to the people who tell them.
This American Life – This is the one radio show / podcast most people have heard about. It’s been around for years and years. These are always favorites we play even for the kids when we’re on long car rides.
The Moth – The Moth is usually two or three stories done live on stage. The person telling the story has nothing but their memory to tell the story. You can actually go see The Moth live in some areas.
Love + Radio – These are all kinds of stories from people interviewing people on the street to lost love. Listening to these stories I laugh, cry, and get so mad I want to throw things, lol.
My love of time travel makes the Coney Island story my absolute favorite. The first story that got me hooked on Love + Radio was when Radiolab played one of their episodes – The Living Room. It’s a really mesmerizing story about a woman’s neighbors who never shut their curtains.
Reply All is somewhat similar to This American Life, but it’s usually just one story. It’s all kinds of stories about the internet, and they can be surprisingly personal.
Blind Spot has been my favorite episode so far from Reply All, and it ends on such a cliffhanger. I was listening to this one in the car one day, and my husband called right in the middle of it. I was like, “I can’t believe you called in the middle of this story…” He was at lunch, and I started telling it to him, and then he had to go find it. It’s a good one!
My last category is Serial. If you haven’t heard about the Serial podcast and Adnan Syed, then you might have been hiding under a rock since November 2014.
Serial – This is the original podcast that started it all. This is actually a spinoff from This American Life. It’s good…really good! Sarah Koenig takes you on a journey to find out if this man who’s been in prison for half his life really did kill his ex-girlfriend when he was just a 17-year-old honors student in high school in 1999.
This story is amazing and takes you on a winding journey through this case. In the coming weeks, a new season of Serial will be out and it will be a completely different story from the original season. I cannot wait!
Undisclosed – I don’t want to ruin the end of Serial for you, but this is three lawyers (one of which brought Adnan’s case to Sarah Keonig for Serial, as she was a childhood friend of him and believes he’s not guilty.) who discuss Adnan’s case in detail, bit by bit. It’s fascinating! They have gone further and further into investigating it. From their hard work it was announced last Friday hat Adnan will be getting a new hearing!
These are about hour long episodes that come every two weeks. Every other week, they post an addendum to answer questions and discuss in a shorter episode.
Truth & Justice Podcast – This podcast was originally named Serial Dynasty and began earlier this year by an arson investigator who just couldn’t shake Adnan’s case from his mind. (He was asked to rename his podcast since Serial is coming back for Season 2 with a completely new case)
He takes what Serial and Undisclosed have discussed and goes even deeper. It’s through his podcast that I now suspect completely different people for the crimes. He’s busted open some huge lies in Adnan’s story. He posts weekly, and usually a week after Undisclosed has posted their podcast.
So what do you think? Let me know if you check any of these out and if you enjoy them as much as I do. I’ll share some more favorites in a few weeks.
I’ve been bitten by the podcast bug. My husband and I are in the very early stages of developing a fictional serialized podcast story based on a strange event that happened to me in real life.
These podcast looks really inspiring and can keep you entertained. I’ll check them out too.
Oh gosh – I guess I’m the one who has been living under a rock. I mainly just listen to music when I’m traveling, but I’m going to try a few of your fave podcasts. A few of them sound fascinating.
I’ve never gotten into any podcasts but I’m in the car a lot and I get bored of listening to the same old songs on the radio. I’ll have to look into podcasts. You present some great options!
I’ve never actually listened to a podcast in my life. I thought they were just like morning talk shows on the radio where they would just talk about pointless things and current news. I had no idea they were so different and told stories.
Oh wow, these sound like some really good podcasts. I like that some of them are shorter which is perfect for shorter commutes. Great way to pass the time!
One of my favorite podcasts is a travel one by my sister’s friend. She and her buddies share travel tips and focus on traveling the world as a woman.
I haven’t listened to a pod cast in a long time. What a great idea to listen to them in the car. Will checking some of those out.
What a great list of podcasts. I like that some are shorter and some are longer. I like talk radio but sometimes even that gets boring.
I never heard of any of these! I am so going to be checking them out and listening in 🙂
Podcasts can be a great way to pass the time. I know they are perfect with how much we travel with flights and long car rides. Great list of podcasts!
I’ve been hearing more and more about podcasts but have not checked them out yet! Thanks for writing about your favorites – I will need to listen to some!
I’ve never really listened to podcasts, but these look really interesting.
I have never heard a podcast. These all sound unique. Cool to learn about new things.
My husband loves podcasts since he drives a lot to work – I will have to tell him about these!
Looks like I need to look these up! I just thought podcasts were people talking. I didn’t even think about fictional stories too, fun!