The word on the street is that podcast listening is down because fewer people are commuting daily. But just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t kick back with a podcast—and if you’re looking for something new to get down with, boy do we have some picks for you.
This is a collection of the podcasts we’re listening to across the LifeSavvy Media network, which includes How-to Geek, Review Geek, and LifeSavvy. That means there should be a little bit of everything here—from geek culture listening to hobby-based shows.
It’s also worth noting that we tried to directly link to these shows where we could, but that’s hard to do in many cases since there are tons of outlets for podcasts these days. Ultimately, if you’re interested in a show, you’ll need to look it up in your favorite podcast player.
With that, let’s dig in.
Andrew Heinzman, Review Geek Staff Writer
In my life, podcast time is the same as cooking time. You can’t do much with your eyes while chopping onions (except for, you know, staring at onions) so I use podcasts to fill the entertainment void that’s usually occupied by my TV or phone.
But I can’t just feed any old podcast to my dumb reptile brain. I need podcasts that hold my attention, which means listening to shows that actually meet my interests. And those interests are things like history, medicine, violence, corruption, conspiracy—you get the picture.
Anyway, here are the shows that I’ve picked for this article. They don’t strictly fit into any of the genres that I mentioned, and they aren’t driven (entirely) by the personalities of their hosts. I hope that you like them as much as I do.
- The Women’s War: There is a place in Northeast Syria called Rojava, and it’s host to a people who we often refer to as the Kurds. These are the people who are known for defeating ISIS, but their fiercely egalitarian and feminist society is actually more interesting than their immediate legacy. In The Women’s War, Robert Evans covers the history of this society in fantastic detail, and I strongly recommend listening. Although, just to be clear, this is a brand new series and I’m still waiting on the second episode. (As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about it).
- Fresh Air: You’ve probably listened to Fresh Air at least once or twice. The seminal NPR talk show, which is hosted by Terry Gross, serves as a platform for some of the most informative (and personal) interviews that you’ll ever hear. Every episode is an opportunity to learn something new—and to observe Gross’ incredible skill as an interviewer.
- Night Call: This a show where podcast superstars Molly Lambert, Tess Lynch, and Emily Yoshida talk about pop culture, aliens, and other creepy-crawlies. It feels sort of like a local radio show, with call-ins and interviews that trigger unique conversations and rants.
If you listen to any of these shows, try to do it while cooking.
Cameron Summerson, Review Geek Editor-in-Chief
I used to listen to a lot of podcasts, but these days I don’t find myself with as much time to indulge as I once had. I prefer informative podcasts and like to focus on what they’re talking about, so I have to be doing something that doesn’t require a lot of extra attention when listening—like mowing the yard.
As a direct result of my lack of time, my podcast list is also very short and ultra-niche. These picks aren’t going to be for everyone…or anyone who isn’t into cycling. But if you like to ride bikes and talk about bikes and do other bike stuff, then boy I have a (very short) list for you.
- The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast Presented by TrainerRoad: I spend a lot of my time on the bike doing indoor structured training, especially during the colder months. And for that, there’s nothing better than TrainerRoad—it’ll make you strong, fast, and discover how damn deep you can dig. The weekly TR podcast is equally as good, as the guys break down the science of the body, nutrition, and a whole lot more. It’s listener-driven, as most of each show is dedicated to answering submitted questions. Even if you don’t use TrainerRoad, the podcast is a must-listen.
- King of the Ride: When it comes to cyclists, I have a few favorites: Lawson Craddock, Allison Tetrick, and Ted King. As you might be able to guess, the King of the Ride podcast is by none other than Mr. Ted King, the king of gravel cycling (though Colin Strickland is gunning for that title pretty hard). Ted brings various other cyclists on the show and they just talk about bikes, training, nutrition, and all other sorts of fun stuff. It’s a great, lighthearted show that’s worth listening to even if you’re not into the competitive side of cycling. I love hearing the various perspectives.
Jason Fitzpatrick, LifeSavvy Editor-in-Chief
If you checked out my recommendations in our recent roundup of binge-worthy shows, then the following podcast recommendations likely won’t come as much of a surprise. While I’ve listened to a wide variety of podcasts over the years, my tastes skew heavily towards things that are odd and quirky—whether the topic is fictional or not.
- Welcome to Night Vale: Hands down I have never enjoyed a podcast as much as I enjoy Welcome to Night Vale. The entire premise of the show is that you are listening to the broadcasts of a small public radio station in the fictional town of Night Vale, right along with the other residents. The town—location unspecified but somewhere in the American Southwest—is an intersection of smalltown life, black helicopters, government coverups, and the occult. If the idea of a radio-show mashup of The X-Files and News from Lake Wobegon sounds delightful, we promise you’ll love this.
- Radio Drama Revival: The podcast is the longest-running anthology of audio stories on the internet. The experience is divided into two parts. First, you get a showcase of a given radio-drama style podcast, usually the first episode of the podcast in full. Second, you get an interview with the team behind the podcast. Essentially the setup is like a TV show where you get to see the pilot episode for a new series and then are treated to a behind-the-scenes interview with the show creator or cast—except instead of TV it’s old-school style radio dramas. It’s a setup that just keeps on giving because not only do you get to check out a new series every single time, but if you like the series you can subscribe to it independently of Radio Drama Revival.
- Stuff You Should Know: The Stuff You Should Know formula is simple and enjoyable. Every episode the hosts, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, investigate a question they’re curious about. The topics range from things like “how hard is it to steal a famous work of art?” to “who owns an abandoned house?” to “What’s the deal with the 19th century New England Vampire Panic?”—without fail the show is an interesting tromp through the ins-and-outs of questions big and small.
- 99% Invisible: The name of this podcast is a direct nod to its content. All around us every single day are design choices that are effectively 99% invisible because we don’t notice them or are unaware of the history behind them. The 99% Invisible podcast is devoted to exploring the history of design choices in architecture, infrastructure, cities, everyday objects, and even sounds and visual symbols. City buses, airports, pyramids, cul de sacs, slot machines, skyscrapers, and more are all given a fascinating treatment that will have you looking at the world with fresh eyes.
Joel Cornell, How-to Geek Staff Writer
I’m not sure how anyone listens to podcasts while multi-tasking. My tastes skew towards deep-dives into literature, history, and politics that I can meditate on while I’m walking dogs or cooking. Being a lifelong English major, my picks should come as no surprise. I’m also chronically out of touch, so most of these podcasts come with massive backlogs of episodes that are a great listen at any time.
- The Tolkien Professor: Corey Olson, better known as The Tolkien Professor, has dedicated his professional career to developing the academic study of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. This podcast collects hundreds of hours of lectures, interviews, discussions, and stories about the world of Middle-earth, its linguistic achievements, and its anarchic beginnings.
- Classic Tales: Narrator B.J. Harrison runs Classic Tales, which sells a wide selection of classic literature audiobooks. His podcast of the same name gives listeners a wide range of short stories and novellas (in the public domain) for free.
- Gaslit Nation: For those worried about a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government, anti-authoritarian scholars Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa provide timely insights on the political hellscape. As educational as it is infuriating, the two writers provide historical context and clear evidence alongside commentary and interviews with experts that help to combat the ongoing gaslighting of the American people.
- Y’all Ever: Formerly called “Suicide Buddies,” comedians Hampton Yount (MST3k) and Dave Ross (Drunk History) use dark humor to bring light to (and not make light of) heavy topics like suicide. The longtime friends commiserate about depression, anxiety, and mental health through a focus on historical context, ways to cope with the modern world, and their own struggles with these issues.
Josh Hendrickson, Review Geek News Lead
My Podcast listening habits were born out of necessity. At one point, the radio station choices in my area were terrible. They were like a comical set of stations you’d find on a show like Parks and Rec, such as “Country music, but only the unpopular Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson songs” or “Classical musical, but as reimagined by an experimental composer.” No seriously, it was awful.
So I used podcasts to fill the work commute, which at the time was about a 30-minute drive. I wanted some news, especially tech news, I wanted to know about smart homes (a growing interest at the time), I wanted some laughs, and I love the stars. So the following is a list of seemingly completely unrelated podcasts that do an excellent job of filling time while you drive, cook, or clean your home.
- Daily Tech News Show: Before I wrote tech news for Review Geek, I listened to a roundup of what happened in tech every day on the way home. Hosted by Tom Merritt and Sarah Lane, you’ll get a thorough and informative briefing of the most important news each day. So it’s like reading Review Geek news, but for your ears. Nearly every day, they rotate in guests to keep the conversations interesting. A highlight of my writing career was hearing Tom cover news I wrote about a significant change to battery charging in iOS 13.
- IoT Podcast: I’ve been listening to the IoT Podcast for years, and it taught me half of what I know about smart homes today. Every week Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel bring us up to date on IoT and smart home specific news. Topics range from upcoming chips to the latest hubs and gadgets. Then they’ll answer a user-submitted question, usually centered on accomplishing a difficult smart home task. The show ends with a guest from the smart home world, like the COO of Wyze labs.
- Looking Up: I might have a soft spot for Looking Up because it focuses on astronomy (a young love), and it’s a local (to me) podcast. Dean Regas and Anna Hehman, the Cincinnati Observatory’s astronomer and Director of Development, host the show, and each episode covers upcoming exciting night sky events. They also answer listener questions and discuss discoveries and new astronomy-related tech.
- The Morning Stream: I’m going to come out and admit it, The Morning Stream is a guilty-pleasure podcat that doesn’t fit with the rest of my list. You’ll either love it or hate it. Scott Johnson and Brian Ibbott host a morning show that goes through current news stories and anything else they find funny. They feature frequent guests (including Tom Merrit from the Daily Tech News Show), and you’ll hear about video games, board games, movies, and anything nerdy. It feels like the podcast I’d want to make if I weren’t too lazy and busy to make a podcast. Fair warning episodes are long, so I usually listen to them after publish when I play at a faster speed.
Suzanne Humpheries, Review Geek Staff Writer
Podcasts are something I always love listening to and something I wish I remembered to listen to more often. They’re a great way to stay up to date on current events and all, but the greatest thing about podcasts to me is how they are the perfect medium for stories. I adore stories! Funny stories, stupid stories, exciting stories, and scary stories. They give me some perspective on how other people think, on what they consider noteworthy, and how they view the world around them. I just think they’re neat!
- Rooster Teeth Podcast: The RT Podcast is the namesake podcast from production company Rooster Teeth (known for popular web series Red vs Blue and RWBY). A rotating cast of Rooster Teeth employees get together weekly and talk about funny (and often stupid) personal stories and rants. Despite all working within the entertainment and video games industry, the podcast doesn’t revolve around those topics. Instead, you kind of get an insight into the minds of the people running the company. The original name of the podcast was Drunk Tank, if that gives you a better picture of things. Also, sometimes Rooster Teeth’s animation team takes particularly funny clips and creates hilarious animated shorts from them.
- My Brother, My Brother, and Me: What’s up you cool baby? My Brother, My Brother, and Me—also known as MBMBAM—is an advice show for the mod dren era. Silly brother darlings (oldest brother Justin McElroy, middlest brother Travis McElroy, and sweet baby brother Justin McElroy) answer stupid and sometimes amazing questions found on Yahoo! Answers, and venture into other recurring segments like “Haunted Doll Watch,” wherein Justin critiques eBay listings of dolls that are allegedly cursed, possessed, or haunted, and “Riddle Me Piss,” in which Travis reads nonsensical riddles from Riddles.com while the other two brothers try to figure them out (often to no avail).
- Cthulhu and Friends: If you like the works of H.P. Lovecraft and (rightfully) fear the show’s namesake Great Old One, you’ll love this podcast. Cthulhu and Friends is centered around a live action role-playing of tabletop game Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium) that has been edited and polished to sound more like an audio drama than a live role-playing session, complete with background music and side effects. Game Master Veronica weaves many of Lovecraft’s stories into her dark labyrinthine plots as her players do their best to stay afloat in the game and in their psyches. Roll sanity!
- What’s Good Games: When I want to get the latest news on video games, along with solid analysis and commentary, I turn to What’s Good Games. Andrea, Brittney, and Kristine are veterans within the gaming world, where they have moderated game-related panels, hosted live gaming streams, interviewed leading gaming industry figures, written about video games, and helped develop games. They are always up on the latest gaming news, their commentary is always spot on, and they are downright fun to listen to.
- The Ezra Klein Show: Sometimes I feel the need to listen to topics outside of entertainment and gaming, and my go-to for that is The Ezra Klein Show, run by (you guessed it) Ezra Klein, Editor-at-Large and co-founder of Vox Media. This is an interview-style show wherein Ezra talks to experts about various topics and current events. The show is mostly about politics, but in a more general sense, like how politics influence our everyday lives, while also having far-reaching discussions about research, ideas, and theories. Ezra’s insightfulness (along with that of his guests) is always inspiring and has helped change how I see the world (and the many topics within). The other podcasts Ezra is involved in (including Impeachment, Explained and The Weeds) are excellent as well.
There you are and there you go—there’s a little bit of everything here and hopefully something you’ll enjoy.