(This post contains affiliate links. Learn why we include affiliate links in our content by visiting our Affiliate Disclosure Statement page.)
I am a huge fan of podcasts. I’ll be honest, it took me a while to catch the bug, but once I did, there was no turning back. I started listening to these online audio conversations/stories about three years ago and I feel sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of what is out there.
My favorite time to listen to podcasts is while I’m walking (or trying to run) and of course, when I’m stuck in the car. From finance, health and wellness, business advice, religion and of course those binge-worthy documentaries, there is a podcast for everyone. But maybe you need to know how to get started in the podcast world. Well, let’s start with the basics.
What do I need to start listening?
Most folks listen to podcasts on their mobile devices. If you have a smartphone (iPhone or Android device), there are FREE apps for both that will allow you to tap into thousands of podcasts, which in a nutshell, are online radio shows. If you’re using an iPhone, locate the Podcast app, download and start exploring. If you’re using an Android device, download Google Podcasts and start looking around.
Don’t own a smartphone? That’s ok because there are lots of other app options. This is where Google can be your best friend. Type in podcast player in the search bar and hit enter–you’re then on your way to finding a podcast player you can use. Keep in mind, some of the players do cost a fee, but I prefer the free versions. As a Mac/iPhone user, I stick to Apple Podcasts and also iTunes.
So how do I find a podcast that I’ll enjoy?
Again, this is where Google will be your best friend. Search for podcasts pertaining to subject areas that you’re interested in. If you’re using one of the free apps installed on your smartphone, you’ll see on the app home screen different categories. Again, I use an iPhone so my podcast app has an icon entitled Browse. Once I choose that, it takes me to a screen where I can view featured podcasts, podcasts that are topping the charts, podcasts by category and of course there’s the search function. Take some time to look around and see what floats your boat.
Once you choose a podcast that seems interesting, you have a couple of options. You can Subscribe to the podcast which means you’ll be notified when new content/episodes are released. You can also scroll down, click on the episode you’re interested in and hit play. The podcasts I’m recommending below are podcasts that I personally subscribe to. I love getting notified when something new is released.
Now for my favorites (at least for now).
The content made available through podcasts is never-ending. I say this because if you’re reading this post after my original post date, it is likely my list of favorites have changed. In addition to listing the pocast title, I’m noting the category they fall into.
DISCLAIMER/WARNING: I will give you fair warning that these documentary podcasts are not suitable for young children. Due to the nature of investigative reporting, these podcasts deal with very adult issues and contain harsh language.
1. Gangster Capitalism: This series takes an in-depth look at white collar corruption and scandal. Starting with the 2019 college admissions scandal, aka “Operation Varsity Blues”, this is one that you’ll listen to quickly. Personally, my husband and I listened to the entire series on the way back from a lacrosse tournament so it was perfect for three hour road trip.
2. Serial: Serial is an investigative journalism podcast and currently consists of three seasons. I’ve only watch Season 1 but it was great. Since it is a bit of tangled web, I’m including the summary from Serial’s website so you can see what the series is based on:
A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
Sarah Koenig sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence — all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.
3. S-town: This is another podcast by the creators of Serial and is also investigative journalism. Again, I’m including the summary from S-town’s website so you can see what the story covers.
The primary character, John, despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
4. Dirty John: Dirty John is a true crime story focusing on the life and exploits of John Meehan. The podcast features six episodes and a TV series based on the story was debuted on Bravo. Here’s what you can expect (based on the podcast’s website summary):
Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.
1. Goal Digger: This podcast is hosted by Jenna Kutcher and offers productivity tips, social media strategies, business tips, inspirational stories and more. In addition, Kutcher features guests who are industry leaders and share their advice on how to be an effective influencer. This podcast is great for folks who are in the online marketing arena.
2. The Ken Coleman Show: This podcast is one of many produced by Ramsey Solutions (yes, Dave Ramsey’s company). The podcast is a daily radio show dedicated to helping listeners find and pursue their dream jobs. There are times when this podcast speaks directly to individuals who are unhappy in their current careers, however, I enjoy listening to the podcast for motivation and inspiration.
1. The Dave Ramsey Show: I love listening to Dave Ramsey! His no fluff, tell you like it is, tough love approach to finance has been the reason MILLIONS of people have learned to pay off debt and build wealth. In addition to his podcast, I’ve listened to his audio book, The Total Money Makeover via Audible. If you’re looking to help get your finances on the right track, check out Dave.
2. The Chris Hogan Show: This is another show produced by Dave Ramsey’s company, Ramsey Solutions. Hogan provides sound answers to questions surrounding retirement, investing and becoming what he calls an Everday Millionaire. This show is great for folks who want to create a solid financial plan and is suitable for all ages.
3. Your Move with Andy Stanley: Andy Stanley is the pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Georgia. Stanley’s messages are bible-based, but shared in a way that allows the listener to really apply principles to their own life. Each week, the 30 minute message presented by Andy, begins with an introduction that states “you will discover how to make better decisions and live with fewer regrets”. How can anyone go wrong with those words?!?! This has also been a great podcast for me to listen to while out walking (again, trying to run) due to the 30 minute timeframe.
That wraps up my favorite podcasts. I hope this list opens your eyes to the interesting content that is out there and hopefully, makes your next road trip go by a bit faster.
I’d love to know what your favorite podcast is! Please leave a comment so I can add it to my list!!