A podcast is a perfect way to fill the silence when your music rotation gets repetitive and you need something to listen to. A podcast, or a “personal on-demand broadcast,” is radio in miniature media with varying genres and runtimes that can fit anyone’s schedule. According to research on podcast trends, 41% of Americans listen to podcasts weekly. Their audiences have grown rapidly in the past few years, with over 10 million listeners tuning into podcasts of their choice.
While podcasts provide new knowledge or a good laugh, the endless array of choices may intimidate new listeners. Below are five podcasts from different genres and why they may be worth a listen. All options include free episodes on varying streaming services, making them accessible to everyone.
1. Comedy: “Distractible”
Popular gaming YouTube star Markiplier has branched out with many popular projects that keep his fans wanting more. His podcast “Distractible,” featuring co-hosts Wade Barnes and Bob Muyskens, includes some of his funniest content. Each episode contains fun anecdotes, sincere advice and quick-witted jokes. You don’t have to be an avid fan of Markiplier’s YouTube videos or other projects to enjoy “Distractible,” and the great humor helps it stand on its own. The three hosts bounce off each other’s stories with a fast-paced energy, sharing crazier and crazier stories that always entertain. Anything goes on the “Distractible” podcast, with each week bringing unpredictable stories. If you’ve been searching for some additional comedy in your life, download some “Distractible” episodes — you won’t be disappointed.
2. Educational: “Every Little Thing”
Everyone has that friend or family member in their life who always has random, fun facts about everything and anything. If you love these shared tidbits or you’re the one who loves to share them, the podcast “Every Little Thing” was made for you. The podcast is dedicated to answering people’s small curiosities and questions that may be hard to google or otherwise require greater context to understand. Produced by Gimlet Media, “Every Little Thing” dedicates each episode to a call-in question or audio message, which is then answered by an expert in the given field. No matter the curiosity, from “What flavor is bubblegum?” to “Why did we domesticate goldfish?,” the show explains why the world is the way it is. From satisfying questions you’ve always pondered to answering queries you didn’t even know you had, there’s always something to learn from an episode of “Every Little Thing.”
3. True Crime: “Serial”
Perhaps the most well-known true crime podcast, “Serial” skyrocketed the popularity of podcasts as a whole with the release of its first season in 2014. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, “Serial” is an investigative journalism series that paved the way for future true crime podcasts. With each season focusing on a different, singular case, “Serial” provides a deep dive into each crime or alleged perpetrator. This series has an informative, serious tone and takes audiences on an emotional journey as more information is revealed.
The how, when, who, where and why are all explored in “Serial” through witness quotes, carefully constructed timelines and information discussed in court. The three available seasons focus on cases that weren’t necessarily high profile until the show shined a spotlight on them. If you are listening to podcasts and are interested in true crime, “Serial” is a classic with engaging storytelling you won’t want to miss. Proceed with caution, though, as “Serial” is highly addictive.
4. Light True Crime: “Killer Queens”
If you are interested in true crime but want lighter episodes that are easy to digest, “Killer Queens” is worth a listen. Two Southern sisters host the podcast with their fair share of sass, pop culture references and banter to create memorable moments in each episode. From celebrity cases to domestic crime, the segments include a mix of solved and unsolved cases, and a new topic every week. Though “Killer Queens” is lighter in nature, hosts Tyrella Slemp and Tori Tobi remain respectful about the dark material and recount the facts of each case in a researched, structured way. Even if their humor isn’t exactly your style, the “Killer Queens” podcast is a great place to start in the true crime genre. The show will help you learn the nitty-gritty of fascinating crime cases without keeping you up at night.
5. Conversational: Teenage Therapy
Listening to this podcast feels like FaceTiming your best friend — comforting, full of great advice, and effortlessly funny. Their bio states they are a “coming of age story portrayed in real-time,” which is the perfect description for this appropriately named show. Hosts Gael, Thomas, Isaac, Mark and Kayla began the podcast in high school to share and advise on adolescent struggles. As the crew has entered college, they have continued to broadcast their growth and learned wisdom, acknowledging the insecurities and uncertainty they sometimes feel.
While “Teenager Therapy” is geared toward a teenage audience, the crew discusses various topics with insightful commentary and a fresh perspective. They always remain mature, speaking about sometimes uncomfortable situations in an open and understanding way that normalizes otherwise neglected issues. “Teenager Therapy” posts weekly episodes ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, meaning there is a wide variety of episodes to choose from and more content to come.
Whether you are already a consistent podcast listener or just beginning to explore your options, podcasts are a fantastic form of entertainment to relax with or learn from. Even if one podcast doesn’t quite keep your attention, there are dozens of distinct options to try. Get streaming!