Have you heard of podcasts? Of course you have—at this point, they’re nearly inescapable. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2016 data, the popular podcast host Libsyn has nearly 30,000 programs on their network alone. In the face of all this choice, how can you possibly decide what to listen to next?
Oh, we’ve got some ideas. At Well Done, we’re big fans of the medium in all its permutations. Here are a few of our favorites.
Ken Honeywell, President and Creative Director
I enjoy Slate podcasts in general. Hang Up and Listen is a thinking-person’s sports podcast that makes most sports-talk programming seem even more asinine than it already is. The Slate Culture Gabfest and Political Gabfest are must-listens every week. John Dickerson’s Whistlestop podcast proves that presidential politics in America have been kinda crazy since the beginning. If they’re talking about a book I’ve read, Slate’s Audio Book Club is always a fun one.
Lisa Vielee, Vice President
For fun, I listen to The Mortified Podcast. It is a great, short show that reminds me not to be too self-absorbed. We all do embarrassing things. Some are just willing to share publicly more than others. I also was a big fan of Serial. My whole family listened to episodes on the drive to the lake during what we call the “Summer of Adnan.” This podcast really refueled my interest in criminal justice and society equity.
Amy McAdams Gonzales, Associate Creative Director
Because I love true crime and all things criminal, but have a short attention span, I like Criminal and My Favorite Murder, even if I feel slightly guilty about even listening in the first place. I also like The Accidental Creative, which is great for solid, real-life advice for creatives.
Matt Gonzales, Associate Creative Director
Sam Harris is wickedly smart. He’s best known as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism,” but his powerful and well-reasoned critiques of issues related to politics and culture on Waking Up with Sam Harris will challenge you and may even lead you to reconsider some of your most closely-held beliefs.
And though I never thought that I’d listen to a podcast hosted by the former host of Fear Factor and The Man Show, the Joe Rogan Experience manages to bring in guests with all kinds of political and worldviews, and he lets them talk at length about their ideas. It’s a surprisingly heady show, and a great place to hear from smart people who might challenge your own assumptions and way of seeing the world.
Sean McCarthy, Account Executive
My favorite podcast is The Men in Blazers Show. It is so popular they ended up airing it on NBC Sports Network. Basically, they react to what’s happened in the world of soccer over the last week and provide a comedic spin to it all. The show ends with a special guest talking about their experience with soccer and eating “predictive” English pies, which tell them what’s going to happen in the upcoming week.
Joe Judd, Director of Account Service
Song Exploder is a short podcast where the host interviews a musician about one of their popular songs. They break down the song in an effort to look at the creative process that goes into making it. I enjoy music and I enjoy creating, so this is something I’m naturally into. I also appreciate the thought that goes into making something so beautiful.
I also enjoy Pray As You Go, a Christian-based meditation that guides listeners through a short exercise about a particular set of scripture, typically from the New Testament. The podcast offers a lot of space for reflection. I find it to be helpful in re-centering myself before/after a chaotic day, and the contemplative questions also provide some instruction in assessing my own spiritual growth.
Kristin Baxter, Account Executive
I am a podcast addict, but if I had to pick a couple of favorites I’d recommend 99% Invisible. This podcast dives into design and architecture that we may miss or don’t even know exists. It’s fascinating, and Roman Mars has the voice of an angel.
I’m also enjoying Twice Removed, a new podcast by Gimlet that features a somewhat famous person, digs into their ancestry, and then introduces them to a long-lost relative that they may or may not already know. The research that goes into this podcast is enough to make you appreciate it.
But my absolute favorite podcast is ReplyAll. It’s basically a nerdy podcast that is all about the Internet, but it can go off the rails from time to time. One of my favorite episodes is on the benefits of small doses of LSD. And yes, they experiment with it at work.
Brandon Martin, Web Developer
I listen to one podcast and one podcast only: The Best Show. Why? Because everything else is trash. They’re all fightin’ for silver. It’s a three-hour-long music/comedy/radio call-in show that airs live every Tuesday at 9 p.m. at thebestshow.net. It’s then available the following morning in podcast form. On-air calls from host Tom Scharpling’s sidekick, Jon Wurster (who switches between dozens of recurring characters) as well as a long list of regular callers (some of whom have been calling for over a decade), cream of the crop social/pop culture commentary, and interviews with musicians, comedians, and actors all make for my favorite way to kill three hours.
Brittany Mason, Art Director
I’ve been listening to Homecoming, which is a fairly new serial podcast (serial as in series, not like a spin-off of Serial). It has a phenomenal cast and a captivating storyline. It’s interesting to listen to a scripted, produced podcast (it feels more like watching a TV show… except without any visuals) as opposed to listening to the traditional, unscripted, conversational, reporting podcasts we’ve become accustom to.
I also think Grown-Ups Read Things They Wrote as Kids is adorable and hilarious. It’s exactly what it sounds like and it’s a real (Canadian) treat. Grown-ups get up on stage in front of an audience and read things they wrote as children (in their diaries, as school projects, or letters to parents, etc.).
Alex Mattingly, Writer/Producer
My listening habits are pretty spotty, so my favorite podcasts are funny and filled with digressions and heated arguments about really stupid topics. As a result, lately I can’t stop listening to Blank Check, which started as a 10-part podcast on The Phantom Menace and then grew in scope. I also love Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, with Tom Cavanaugh and Michael “Magic” Ian Black. Nobody is better at rating the snacking value of the saltine cracker than these guys.