2015 has been the year of podcasts. Or at least, podcast adaptation. Lots of great podcasts came out this year. And many existing podcasts either got a lot better – or found the mainstream audience. I’m an avid podcast listener. In 2015, podcasts became my default form of entertainment. While my podcast client tells me that most of the podcasts I’m subscribed to have been around for at least a couple of years, there were some new gems in there too.
Oh and if you’re wondering why the podcasting thing is taking off, check out this article. This quote by the author says it better than I ever could.
“Podcasts gave me the one and only thing I want from media: I want smart people to talk to me. And I will listen to them for as long as I possibly can. Whether it’s a well-produced story, or just telling me their thoughts on a recent event (whether news, sports, or even a movie), or conducting an interview with someone interesting, I want to be listening.”
For me, Mystery Show has been the most fun and entertaining podcasts of 2015. It’s the kind of show that you make excuses for to get out for walks and listen to.
The pitch is simple enough, Starlee Kine solves mysteries. Mysteries that can’t be solved by just googling around. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but the way Starlee goes about solving mysteries is just pure fun. Plus, rather sadly, the first season is made up of just 6 episodes, around an hour each. So you don’t even need to invest that much time into it.
Oh and I’m totally in love with the show’s theme song. Thoooooosee Mysteriiiieeesss.
I recently got into Ctrl-Walt-Delete, but I think it might turn out to be one of my favorite podcasts of 2015. It follows the “two dudes talking” formula I’ve come to love so much. Plus, I didn’t know this but Walt is properly funny. And it’s great to see this tech journalist behemoth that we’ve looked up to for decades, make really cheesy jokes and make us laugh.
Oh and in between all that, the legendary Walt drops in some serious knowledge+insight bombs. If you don’t have time to read his columns, these 30-minute episodes are a great way to keep up with tech.
3. Tomorrow With Joshua Topolsky
If you liked The Vergecast back in the day and you cherished Joshua talking about his hair.. you’ll maybe, kind of like Tomorrow. The reason I put Tomorrow in this list is because it’s different from the usual weekly tech show. It’s funny, sure, but the conversation usually goes way beyond tech.
If you want to start out, listen to Episode 8 where Gruber and Joshua basically get into an iOS vs Android fanboi war. It’s a delight.
I love Hello Internet. It’s probably one of my favorite podcasts. I’m also a fan of CGP Grey. Not only of his work but how he works. And Cortex is basically an entire podcast dedicated to exploring how the mind of CGP Grey works. It’s great. This past winter, listening to Cortex while playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 (which I got to know of course on Cortex) has been one of my most cherished memories this year. (And no, that’s not sad. Notice how I said “one of my”.)
Prepare yourself, Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller are here to blow your mind. Not literally, but this 6 part, hour-long series will go deep into just how your brain works. And into all the invisible things that influence our behavior. From post-Freudian therapy to how fear affects us.
Invisibilia is 2015’s must-listen podcast.
6. Reply All
Technically Reply All started in late 2014, but what the heck, I’ll make an exception. Reply All is a podcast about the internet. Not really, though. It’s about people who use/interact with the internet. The internet usually plays a side role. And maybe that’s what makes Reply All so great. How it looks at people, our generation, through the lenses of the interwebs. The episodes have high production quality (as you’d expect from any podcast from Gimlet), and they’re relatively short – at around half an hour.
Also, check out Surprisingly Awesome, another Gimlet show, that just started last month. It’s where Adam McKay (director of movies like Anchorman) and Adam Davidson (from Planet Money) podcast, take something that seemingly mundane (like mold or interest rates) and peel the layers to reveal the awesomeness within.
Many Other Podcasts
There are too many podcasts out there. So many of them are great. And as I look at my podcast client, most of them are quite old. Design Matters, for instance, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.
But there are great new podcasts too. Some that I haven’t had the time to get to.