Podcasts have helped me go through different phases of my life. From moving jobs to moving countries, from driving to exercising, there’s always something you can listen to, to help you pass your time more enjoyably.
Over the years my tastes in podcasts have changed, but there are some that I keep coming back to and, of course, there’s always new ones ready to grab my attention.
Here are some of my favourite podcasts of all time.
1. Behind the Bastards from iHeartRadio
Perfect for road trips. I have been on countless journeys with the company of this old favourite. Behind the Bastards is a historical podcast that tells you the story of famous real-life characters we’ve grown to hate.
Investigative journalist Robert Evans is the host and every week he invites different friends, usually comedians, to dive into the unknown, scandalous and many times bizarre lives of the world’s most known bastards. My favourite episodes were about Stalin, Elon Musk and Alfred Hitchcock.
2. This American Life by NPR
I first found out about this podcast while doing a road trip in California. During those long drives down the coast, it was great to hear American stories, some curious, some funny, others tragic. Ira Glass does an amazing job bringing us close to the American way of life.
This American Life is a weekly radio show turned podcast and it’s been running for 25 years.
3. Radio Lab by WNYC Studios
Another radio show turned podcast, which I love to listen to, is Radio Lab. This is a show produced by New York Public Radio, America’s most listened-to public radio station. I particularly liked ‘The Living Room’, which is about a neighbour’s obsession with watching her neighbours go through different stages in their lives through her window – they never shut their curtains.
Another one of my favourites is ‘Tell-tale Hearts Performed Live’ where you hear the stories of life and near death experiences of people dealing with heart problems. This particular podcast comes with a warning – don’t listen to it if you’re driving or operating heavy machinery. It’s too intense as it is played in front of a live audience with an orchestra mimicking different heart surgery sounds.
4. Conan Needs a Friend
To know Conan O’Brien is to love Conan O’Brien, well, at least that’s what I feel. From writing for the most iconic characters on the Simpsons to presenting the Late Night Show, Conan is funnier than ever. This is clear in his podcast where Conan interviews different celebrities.
He’s funny, he loves improvising, and he has a hilarious rapport with his assistant, Sona Movsesian and podcast producer Matt Gourley. Conan is a great conversationalist riffing with his very famous guests. He’s so great he even makes the sponsored adverts worth listening to. My favourite episodes were with Paul Rudd, Dana Carvey and Jeff Goldblum.
5. Showrunners by Insider
I love cinema and TV, and, this is an amazing podcast for those who like to know what happens in the writers’ room of some of our favourite shows. One of my favourite episodes was about the making of “The Good Place”. Michael Schur, the creator, tells us how he developed the storyline and how he pitched this famous show about the afterlife.
6. Secret Leaders
If you have a bit of an entrepreneur spirit then you will love to listen to this business podcast. Secret Leaders is led by Dan Serter who grills some of the worlds most trending business CEO’s and finds out how they got to where they are. Here, you get to hear about different businesses and how they grew. Learn how Slack, Shazam and Not On the High Street and many other famous businesses started.
7. Escaping NXIVM by CBC Radio
For its members, NXIVM was a humanitarian community where they could find help and support for their life problems. The truth was, this group was a pyramid scheme, sex cult. Over 8 episodes we follow Sarah Edmondson an actress and high-ranking figure in NXIVM, rising in the ranks of the cult and her journey to escape.
8. Armchair Expert by Dax Shepard
Dax Shepard is an American actor, writer and also director. In his podcast, presented by him and co-hosted by Monica Padman, they interview celebrities as well as interesting people from all walks of life. Shepard’s goal is to give people the “experience of an AA meeting without them having to become a drunk“. And that’s what you feel whenever listening to his podcast. Not only do you get to know that person at a deeper level you also feel like you’ve taken a life masterclass.
9. Three Girls one Keith
Amy Schumer and her three hilarious stand-up comedy besties discuss a different topic in each episode. From getting fired to finding confidence on stage, there’s not much that is left unsaid and unspoken on each of Amy’s podcast.
10. Dirty John by Wondery
Debra Newell and John Meehan are the protagonists of this real-life story, which I just couldn’t stop listening to. A 59-year-old, 4 times divorced, mother of four, is lonely and thinking she might be too old for love when she meets John Meehan. He’s slightly younger than her, good looking, well-spoken and bonus points; he’s also a physician.
Once they start living together she learns he’s actually homeless, unemployed and crazy. This podcast series has been made into a Netflix series but I recommend you listen to it and avoid any spoilers.