Why you should care
Listening to podcasts will make you a cooler person.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, I don’t need to tell you that podcasts are the new cool. As a self-proclaimed podcast nerd, I spend more hours every day listening than reading. There’s a podcast for almost everything under the sun, but if you’ve just hopped onto the podcast wagon — like me a year ago — it can be difficult to decide what to listen to. Here are some of my favorites.
Twenty Thousand Hertz
A podcast about the stories behind the world’s most interesting and recognizable sounds, Twenty Thousand Hertz is art for your ears. The best part? It always takes you by surprise — you might hear an iconic Hollywood scream, a mysterious ultralow-frequency underwater sound that befuddled scientists or even audio from the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared a few years ago. Produced by Defacto Sound and hosted by Dallas Taylor, Twenty Thousand Hertz will leave you in aural awe of our world.
Recommended episode: The Voice of Siri
The hosts have an insatiable curiosity about the internet, and you will too if you keep listening.
The team behind this “podcast about the internet” isn’t afraid of trawling the often treacherous areas of the web. In two recent episodes, they chased scammers all the way to India and uncovered a sprawling web of fraud. In another, they tracked a mysterious digital thief who’s been stealing all sorts of curious stuff online (such as clown costumes). Produced by Gimlet Media and hosted by Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt, Reply All is an investigative podcast interspersed with hilarious banter and Goldman’s weird laughter. The best part: The hosts have an insatiable curiosity about the internet, and you will too if you keep listening.
Recommended episode: Long Distance Part I and II
The Story Collider
These are true, personal stories about science — the human side of science. Recorded from live events across the globe, each week’s episode is built around a broader theme, such as attraction, wild animals, untimely ends. Here you’ll hear stories about a gay pediatrician’s first encounter with a case of HIV in the ’80s or how a kid raised as a creationist goes on to become an evolutionary biologist. The stories are compelling, beautifully told and often funny. Not every episode involves a geeky pun every time, but each one will definitely touch your heart. Be warned — some of them are real tearjerkers!
Recommended episode: Epidemics: Stories of Medical Crises
Reveal is a podcast of hard-hitting investigative journalism and beautiful storytelling. Produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and Public Radio Exchange, the Reveal team starts digging where the news stories stop. They unearth compelling characters who tell stories about hot-button topics — from following the global trail of America’s electronic waste to looking at how Texas’ foster care system fails the most vulnerable. Questioning authority, holding those with power accountable and exposing skeletons in closets of the wealthy — it’s muckraking on steroids.
Recommended episode: The Mystery of Mountain Jane Doe