Need entertaining podcast recommendations


I’ve been increasing my daily penance of exercise by a considerable amount, and am now spending an hour or more a day making my brain send electrical impulses to large muscle groups generating somewhat rhythmic motions. This is not fun. I’m only doing it because the technology has not yet arrived to allow me to discard the decrepit husk of flesh supporting me, and place my brain in a vat with a nerve bundle connected directly to the internet. So it goes.

Anyway, what I’ve been doing to make it tolerable is hook my auditory nerve, via a sensory transduction interface made of meat, to a device that feeds my brain podcasts, downloaded off the internet. I know, you peons who have been chained to long commutes in a vehicle are already totally familiar with this medium, but my commute is about one minute long, and involves crossing the street. So until now I haven’t had much opportunity to soak in soundwaves long enough to get past the introductory title, but that’s changed.

Give me ideas! I’ve been listening to Welcome to Night Vale, which is nice, because here in Minnesota we’ve long been habituated to this form of entertainment by Prairie Home Companion, but this is like PHC as written by HP Lovecraft with a heart transplant from a gay socialist.

Need more. Light, weird, entertaining is best — heavy, too distracting stuff might get me run over by the massive farm equipment on our roads. Also, soon enough I’ll be bundled in layers and freezing in icy blizzards while walking, so it’s got to be amusing enough to motivate me to brave the winters.


  1. bluebottle says

    Caustic Soda.

    Done by some local guys here in Vancouver. They focus on weird, gross, and disturbing topics but always with a fun twist.

  2. jeff porter says

    “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” Hilarious “advice” podcast where the McElroy brothers read listener questions and provide largely useless advice.

    “The Adventure Zone” aforementioned brothers play D&D with their dad.

    Pretty much anything on will provide hours of light-hearted entertainment by good people who don’t make you feel like you’re supporting greedy jerks.

  3. carlie says

    Judge John Hodgman
    How Did This Get Made
    Good Job, Brain
    Stuff You Missed In History Class
    Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me
    Yo, Is This Racist?
    Snap Judgment
    The Infinite Monkey Cage

  4. James Robinson says

    “The Black Tapes Podcast,” which perfectly mimics the too-earnest style of “Serial” but to “report” on (fictional) paranormal phenomena, all of which relate to the idea that a group of people are in communication with demons and have figured out, among other things, the “Unsound.” And it’s got that extra special Canadian loopiness.

    The same team just started a new podcast as well, “Tanis,” which I find even more interesting and entertaining. They’ve learned a lot doing the first season of “Black Tapes.”

  5. says

    It may be a skosh self-interested (I’ve been an editor there for years), but if you want weird fiction, you could always try The Drabblecast. We even have our annual Lovecraft Month, where we solicit new Lovecraftian fiction from our favorite authors.

  6. Zacheize says

    Have you tried “Godawful Movies”? A comedy podcast that goes all the way in poking fun at the worst of christian cinema.

  7. magistramarla says

    I’m right there with you on the exercise thing. Since my back surgery, if I don’t stretch and exercise every day, the muscles in my back knot up and hurt. I’ve found that swimming and doing water aerobics is the most palatable exercise for this erstwhile gym-hater.
    Does your university have a gym, preferably with an indoor pool, that is available to you? Do you like to swim, or at least walk in the pool? The university gym might be the answer when the weather gets bad. It might even have an indoor walking track.

  8. edmundog says

    Seconding The Flop House.

    The Thrilling Adventure Hour just wrapped up, and is well worth it. It’s old time radio style plays on a variety of topics. Lots of sub-shows to suit every mood. I recommend “Down in Moonshine Holler”, a story of a millionaire who gives up all his money to search for true love as a hobo, and “Beyond Belief”, which is basically Nick and Nora as supernatural investigators. “Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars” is also really good, but highly serialized. The others you can just pick right up.

    And I’m not sure if you’re a Star Trek fan or not, but if you are, can’t go wrong with the Post Atomic Horror. Two very funny guys reviewing every episode of Star Trek. They just started voyager, so it’s a great time to jump on. Especially if you like hearing them yell at Brannon Braga about his terrible insistence on the shoving magic into Star Trek.

  9. ragothlham says

    Here’s pretty much everything I listen to – hope some of it helps:

    The Black Tapes
    The NoSleep Podcast
    Tales to Terrify
    Escape Pod
    Lightspeed Magazine Podcast
    Podhouse 90 (Frank Coniff project, only has three episodes so far)

    Stuff You Should Know
    Stuff You Missed in History Class
    Professor Buzzkill
    How to Do Everything
    This American Life
    99% Invisible
    In Our Time
    PRI: To the Best of Our Knowledge
    The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
    Dan Carlin’s Common Sense
    Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

    Thrilling Adventure Hour
    The Jimmy Dore Show
    WTF w/ Marc Maron
    Bizarre States (I find it goofy but entertaining)
    KCRW’s Here Be Monsters

    Ancient Warfare Magazine
    The History of Rome
    The History of Byzantium
    The Podcast History of the World
    The History of the World in 100 Objects
    The Ancient World
    Russian Rulers History Podcast
    When Diplomacy Fails
    The History of WWII Podcast
    The History of China Podcast

    (There’s also a bunch of metal music podcasts, but, that might fall into the ‘heavy, distracting’ category)

  10. eggmoidal says

    Though my degree was in Biochem, I have taken a liking to history podcasts, especially when spending that incredibly boring hour on the elliptical machine. I can’t stand science when working out. Go figure.

    #1 Favorite: Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. Thoughtful, erudite, I wish I had history teachers this good. Wrath of Khan is the best, but I paid for the Death Throes of the (Roman) Republic, he’s so good. Only one I’ve given money to, I’m ashamed to admit. Also don’t miss the (free) Blueprint for Armageddon (WWI).
    #2 History of Rome – Mike Duncan – IMO, one of the two best History podcasters (Dan’s the other) and one of the most widely known. Easy to consume in 1/2 hour increments. 179 installments covering Romulus to Romulus Augustulus.
    #3 Revolutions – Mike Duncan again. English, American and French revolutions covered so far. I think he said Haiti or Cuba is next.
    #4 British History Podcast – – starts in pre-history. I’m up to Constantine’s era now. Lots of Celts and Saxons so far. More Saxons to come. Excellent, listenable.
    #5 Napoleon – – Very interesting to this Bonaparte novice. Sometimes too slow paced due to verbosity/gabbiness. FF button used occasionally.
    #6 Life of Caesar – – Also very fact filled, but you have to wade through a lot of highschool humor (which they acknowledge). I would pay to have them deliver a version without the rampant faux sexism, faux homo-curiosity, and various other time wasters like the musical interludes. If your player has a 30 second skip ahead, that would be ideal. Still, more facts about Caesar than I could get from reading in a decade. On the plus side, their politics are very liberal, in spite of the constant stream of dudebro-isms. Do not binge listen to them. You will go insane,
    #7 History of Byzantium – – Dry and sedate. Perfect antidote to #6.
    #8 Binge Thinking – More English History.

    Though not ideal for exercise, I have also read Grant’s memoirs online and found them very interesting

    One of the things these have in common is they have disabused me completely of any lingering childhood conceptions about war (e.g. the supposed glory of it) and they have really opened my eyes to just how stupid, greedy, murderous and wasteful our species can be. The scope of the horror of human history is beyond what I had imagined. And yet, in spite of it all, every age seems to have some who are capable of doing great good.

  11. robertmatthews says

    “Answer Me This”. Three irreverent, foul-mouthed, shameless, fearless Britons answer questions submitted by listeners. It is utterly terrific stuff, quite possibly my favourite podcast ever, and I listen to so many of them I can’t keep up.

    I don’t know how strongly I can recommend “Lore”, because the writer/producer/performer leans towards the credulous, or at least the non-judgemental, which is very silly when he’s weaving a tale of elves in Iceland or the Jersey Devil. But about half the episodes are compelling and wonderfully told true stories, like those of Half-Hanged Mary or H.H. Holmes.

    I don’t know if Old Hollywood interests you but “You Must Remember This” is endlessly fascinating with its little-heard tales of stars and producers from the first hundred years of the movie business.

    Seriously, though. Everyone needs “Answer Me This” in their lives.

  12. rabbitbrush says

    Podcasts I listen to while exercising:

    -“The Professional Left Podcast,” with Driftglass and Bluegal. They are the best lefties with wonderful radio voices. And funny. The second half of the show is science fiction-related. They like cats.
    -Mike Pesca’s “The Gist” He really is quite funny and lefty
    -“The Moth” podcast. Real stories told in front of an audience
    -“TechNation Radio Podcast” (Moira Gunn)
    -“On the Media”
    -“Science Friday” podcast (because I always miss on the Friday NPR broadcast)
    -PRIs “The World”

  13. killyosaur says Read it and weep is entertaining.
    I tend to enjoy the various Kevin Smith podcasts, as long as you don’t mind a lot of dick and fart jokes with copious amounts of swearing.
    Hanselminute is a good one from a tech standpoint, though it may be a bit distracting.
    Skeptic’s Guide has been mentioned.
    The Non-Prophets (Jeff Dee is back, WEEEE!)
    If you aren’t watching the live show, The Atheist Experience is entertaining as well

  14. thomasjbarrett says

    Bookmarking this thread for future listens…

    Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time, Period
    Caustic Soda
    We Have Concerns
    The Cracked Podcast

  15. dienerinlb says

    If you’re into funny people making fun of bad movies, there’s We Hate Movies and How Did This Get Made. For humorous stories from american history, you can try The Dollop. For more in depth history, there’s Hardcore History, which unfortunately only updates 3 times a year or so.

  16. Becca Stareyes says

    Here’s what’s on my podcast role.

    Tea and Jeopardy — What you get when you cross an interview show with a radio play. Emma Newman interviews various science fiction-associated people over tea, but the show has before and after segments about Emma’s adventures securing exotic locations to have tea and her butler Latimer’s hidden attempts to put his employer’s guests in peril. These segments have an ongoing plots, and occasionally guests become running jokes.

    Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-men — A book club that is going through all of X-men continuity. You don’t have to have read the comics (though being interested helps) and generally pretty hilarious, both by ‘wait, what happened in this comic’ and the tangents and running jokes.

    Galactic Suburbia and Fangirl Happy Hour. Basically two shows where the hosts take some time to geek out about science fiction and fantasy. Both have a feminist slant — Galactic Suburbia did a two-episode series on Tiptree — but are mostly enjoyable as a mix of book club and review section. (Galactic Suburbia also offers science fiction news discussion, mostly focused around the Australian SF community and the Internet SF community.)

    I’ve also been buying serial fiction via Serial Box — they have an urban fantasy series out now and a prequel to Swordspoint coming out this week.

  17. says

    Two suggestions from author/artist Ursula Vernon and her husband Kevin Sonny:

    If you like Night Vale, you’ll probably like The Hidden Almanac, which is like small bites of Night Vale and an interesting approach to weird fiction.

    They also do a show called Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap which is them trying manufactured food and rating it. Surprisingly hilarious and fun.

  18. says

    Others have mentioned it, but I have really been enjoying The Black Tapes, and would recommend it. It took a few episodes for me to get into it, but I am hooked now. And I am also enjoying Tanis quite a bit, but there are only a few episodes available at this point.
    Been on a horror/folklore bender lately. Also recommend Lore, and Limetown.

    Hello from the Magic Tavern has been an enjoyable, silly podcast I started recently. A podcast from the world of Foon, by a guy from Chicago that fell through a dimensional portal behind a Burger King and ended up in another world. But he still gets a slight wifi signal and had his podcasting equipment, so now he is podcasting from the Vermilion Minotaur, a tavern in Foon.

  19. r0ss says

    They aren’t podcasts, but the way I deal with both my daily commute and the “dog walk” (aka “person walk”) is with audio books – many, many excellent titles are available at your local library, but to name a few of my favorites:

    Anansi Boys / American Gods / Stardust (Neil Gaiman)
    Cold Mountain / Thirteen Moons / Nightwoods (Charles Frazier)
    Black Swan Green / Cloud Atlas / The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (David Mitchell)
    Chasm City / Revelation Space / Redemption Ark / Absolution Gap (and anything else by Alastair Reynolds)
    Thirteen (the US title for “Black Man”) / The whole “Cold Commands” series (and everything else by Richard K. Morgan)
    The Hydrogen Sonata and Surface Detail (and everything else, probably – by Iain M. Banks)
    Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained (and many others – Peter F. Hamilton)
    Idlewild / Edenborn / Everfree (Nick Sagan)

    (Acknowledged, these writers are all white, men – just a quick summary of several months of the fiction that I’ve enjoyed the most while doing something else – oddly in this format even books one has read before are entertaining in new ways, presuming that the reader is good)

  20. says

    So I’m just going to post every single Podcast I listen to. You can see if you find anything you like, there. We’ll definitely have an overlap, though… :D

    I’m also going to bold the stuff I HIGHLY recommend, though I do listen to and love all of this…

    This Week in Blackness
    This Tastes Funny
    Black Girl Nerds
    Academic Shade
    Historical Blackness

    Atheism and Skepticism
    Oh No Ross and Carrie
    Geeks Without God
    The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe

    Doctor Who
    -Gallifrey Public Radio
    -Radio Free Skaro

    Entertainment and Advice Shows
    Welcome to Nightvale
    -Tell the Bartender
    -The Struggle Bus
    Obsessed with Joseph Scrimshaw
    The Black Guy Who Tips
    Yo, is This Racist?
    Grounded Parents

    News, Politics, and Commentary
    -Citizen Radio
    -Radio Dispatch
    Best of the Left
    -Democracy Now
    The Bugle
    -Liberation Radio
    -Black Agenda Radio

    StarTalk Radio
    This Week in Science
    -The 365 Days of Astronomy
    -StarStuff with Gary Stuart
    -NASACast Audio
    -Awesome Astronomy
    Astronomy Cast
    -The Infinite Monkey Cage
    Planetary Radio

    -My Japanese Green Tea
    -Talking Tea
    -World Tea Podcast

  21. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    seconding Infinite Monkey Cage
    based on the NYC live show I attended.

  22. kimbeaux says

    In addition to others mentioned above, The Naked Scientists and Michael Feldman Whad’Ya Know?

  23. says

    dysomniak, #41
    Thanks for mentioning The Dead Authors. I had not heard about it before, but I will definitely be listening to that tonight. I was not really familiar with him until a bit over a year ago, when I stumbled across Speakeasy, then I found out he was involved in a huge number of things I enjoy. His style of humour matches well with mine, so I suspect I will enjoy this quite a bit.

  24. trollofreason says

    I’m not sure how much you might en-joy some sketch comedy podcasts, but Fistshark Marketing, found on is… something else.

  25. Snoof says

    Decoder Ring Theatre. Full-cast audio theatre in the style of radio dramas. The two main series are The Red Panda, the pulpy adventures of Canada’s greatest superhero, and Black Jack Justice, private detectives, but there’s also a number of smaller one-off episodes and short-run series.

  26. says

    Caustic Soda
    Story Collider (“true stories of how science affects our lives”)
    Pop Culture Happy Hour
    (Heck, there must be dozens of NPR podcasts now…)

  27. clamboy says

    There is one reason the universe continues to exist, and that is to ensure that…

    Sundays Supplement will be released!!!! Sundays Supplement, the only proof other than cats that there really is something else out there!!!
    Also, Inkredulous.
    And, Do The Right Thing.
    And Newsjack, when you can get it.
    And Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon.
    And Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race.
    And the Radio 4 General Knowledge Quiz!!!!
    And The Scathing Atheist!
    And Surviving Scientology Radio (really, not the best interview and production values, but wow, what a trip to weirdsvile)

  28. zibble says

    Not technically podcasts, but there are some great British panel shows for radio. Sadly it looks like Youtube took down all of David Mitchell’s Unbelievable Truth, but you can still find stuff like Charlie Brooker’s So Wrong It’s Right.

  29. tuibguy says

    I have two:

    “Definitely Not the Opera” on CBC

    “Snap Judgment” on NPR

    I am developing a science podcast with Greg Laden to extend the best of what we did on Atheists Talk now that I have left that show. I will update when that show is ready.

  30. says

    A second on Something Wonky for anyone at all interested in Australian politics, but it may be a bit far afield for P Z.

    No-one has so far mentioned ‘Probably Science’, I don’t think: comedians with science backgrounds talk hilariously to comedians and/or scientists about science stories.

    And ‘The Dollop’, for hilarious tellings of horrendous tales from American (and recently Australian, when the boys were on tour here) history.

  31. friendsofdarwin says

    If you fancy something from the right-hand side of the Pond, you could do far worse than subscribing to the Merseyside Skeptics Society’s Skeptics with a K podcast. Lots of irreverent humour (with a u), lots of good scepticism (with a k). Good, wholesome fun, with plenty of swearing.

  32. Björn Brembs says

    I listen to science podcasts:
    – Science Weekly from the Guardian
    – This week in science
    – BBC Science hour
    – NPR Science Friday
    – All in the mind (Radio National, Australia)
    – eLife podcast (the journal)
    – Nature podcast (the journal)
    – Science podcast (the journal)
    You won’t get run over, it’s all a matter of practice. :-)

  33. Bethany Hickey says

    I listen to Judge John Hodgeman, Oh No! Ross and Carrie, Science Friday, and Radiolab. I just added Freakonomics last week .

  34. Peter Hopkins says

    I’ll throw another vote for Black Tapes in. Very creepy atmosphere, and Richard Strand is a spin on several famous members of the ‘skeptical’ community.

    One of my fav is Richard Herring’s Leceister Square Theatre podcast. This may be engineered towards British audiences, but he interviews various famous comedians and writers on it. There’s bound to be someone in the archives you like! Recent favourites of mine have been Limmy (though the glaswegian accent might be tough to crack) and Louis Theroux.

  35. unclefrogy says

    I have two I would recommend
    one is
    Joe Frank: Return Engagement (
    it is radio noir and there is no way to descried it strange and at times profoundly funny and engaging and always goes before you know it has gone very over the top
    if you can’t find anything of interest at Like “le show” at
    you might need some professional help
    if you want in depth interesting conversation on current issues not just interviews try “To the Point ”
    too many links
    happy workout
    uncle frogy

  36. MHiggo says

    So many good recommendations thus far. I probably listen to far too many podcasts as it is, but I will definitely check out some of the ones I haven’t heard of. Below are some of my favorite podcasts:

    Comedy — Caustic Soda, Answer Me This, The Bugle (RIP), Lady to Lady
    Science/Skepticism — Skeptics With a K, Inkredulous, The Geologic Podcast, Cognitive Dissonance, The Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies, Probably Science, Talk Nerdy, Token Skeptic, Oh No Ross and Carrie, Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Herd Mentality
    News/History — Hardcore History, Common Sense, Planet Money, Stuff You Missed in History Class, The Dollop, Radiolab
    Other — Now Playing, ANNcast, Faculty of Horror, Sex Nerd Sandra, H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, Night Attack, Weird Things, FSL Tonight, The Allusionist, The Drabblecast, Pseudopod, Escape Pod, Podcastle

    I really want to love The Black Tapes — I even backed their Kickstarter campaign. They do a good job of building a creepy, unsettling atmosphere, which I appreciate, but it’s all so plodding. There’s lots of hinting at connective tissue between eerie events and potential peril but little in the way of actual stakes. Also, the portrayal of Dr. Strand as a stereotypical, unemotional atheist whose slavish devotion to rationality blinds him to the wonders of the universe is grating. It’s as though the writers took the neurotic, emotionally stunted atheist we usually see in popular culture (Bones, House, etc.) and said “How can we make him even more two-dimensional?”. I’ll probably still tune in for Season 2, albeit with a feeling the show could be so much more.

  37. Gnu Atheist says

    The Infinite Monkey Cage, for sure.

    These are great lists! Thanks for bringing out all these recommendations. I’ll be checking them out myself.

  38. says

    This is an awesome list. I too am upping my exercise game and so am needing more podcasts!

    A lot of mine have already been listed, seconding The Professional Left, Driftglass is my politics muse.
    Mad Art Cast is really fun.
    Slate’s Podcasts are really well done, Slate’s Political Gabfest is a bit horse-racey analysis and a little too both siderish, but it’s a lot of fun anyways.
    Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick is all about the Supreme Court.
    Mom and Dad are Fighting is a great parenting podcast.
    And if you only listen to one show about the NFL make it the Grantland NFL Podcast. Robert Mays and Bill Barnwell are awesome.

    @Natehevens Thanks for plugging the Grounded Parents Podcast! I’m hoping to be part of the next one ;)

  39. sonodeist says

    I came out of lurking just to recommend “This Week in Virology”.

    Perhaps it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I think it is one of the best science podcasts out there!

  40. andersk3 says

    Here’s my list:

    99% Invisible
    The Allusionist
    Answer Me This!
    Freakonomics Radio
    Hello Internet
    Hidden Brain
    Hot Takedown
    the memory palace
    More or Less: Behind the Stats
    The Moth Podcast
    No Such Thing As A Fish
    Philosophy Bites
    Planet Money
    Radio Diaries
    The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
    Song Exploder
    StarTalk Radio
    The Story Collider
    Thoroughly Considered
    Top Four
    The Truth
    Welcome to Night Vale
    What’s The Point
    The World in Words

  41. carter says

    Savage Love (weekly) (free for about 45 min; subscribe for longer) – great mix of sex, rants @ religion & politics, guests (often scientists) @ sex. NSFW. Will get you through any exercise or driving.

  42. Switchhttr says

    Also coming out of lurking with my two cents’ worth, though many of these have already been given:
    — For English language interest:
    + Lexicon Valley (one of Slate’s podcasts)
    + The Allusionist
    — For atheism:
    + TheThinking Atheist (Seth Andrews’ voice is made for podcasting)
    + Friendly Atheist interviews with a variety of people
    — For irreverent atheism (and salty language–yeah, I indulge in a bit of this as a coping mechanism for dealing with living among religious types):
    + The Scathing Atheist
    + God Awful Movies (dissections of Christian movies)
    + Cognitive Dissonance
    — For history
    + Revolutions (English Civil War, American Revolution, and French Revolution are done. I think more are planned.)
    + History of Rome
    + Stuff You Missed in History
    + Stuff Mom Never Told You (woman-centered)
    — For general interest and some news-related current events
    + On the Media (includes Bob Garfield of Lexicon Valley)
    + Freakonomics
    + This American Life
    + Fresh Air
    — For legal and political stuff
    + Slate’s Amicus (SCOTUS coverage with Dahilia Lithwick)
    + The Skepticrat (same folks behind The Scathing Atheist and GAM)
    — For pop culture
    + Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-Men (I actually download and save these to my limited capacity phone and re-listen)
    + Into It with Elle Collins (interviews with uberfans of various things. Highly recommend the married couple who discussed James Whale’s Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein)

  43. robinjohnson says

    I haven’t listened to it yet, but a friend wrote a podcast sitcom called Wooden Overcoats ( and it’s getting some really good press.

  44. doublereed says

    Wow, I should check some of these recommendations out. The podcasts I’ve gotten into are pretty varied.

    Qwerpline is hilarious, a fake local radio show put on by LoadingReadyRun.
    You Are Not So Smart is a great podcast where each episode talks about a different aspect of self-delusion.
    The Story Collider has some really hilarious/fascinating personal stories about sciences. One of producers of it is Brian Wecht of the band Ninja Sex Party which is how I found out about it.
    I also really like the Song Exploder, which is just composers/songwriters talking about their process for a particular song.
    And for cynical politics, there’s the Jimmy Dore show.

  45. says

    I was going to say for a bit of humor, how about The Improvised Star Trek podcast, and then I also listen to (and full disclosure, I also occasionally participate in) The Unseen Podcast. I know it’s name makes it sound like a Woo show, but it’s mostly about astronomy, and I try to bring a bit of skepticism to the show. Blurry Photos is another entertaining one that looks at a lot of different pseudosciences.

  46. Scott McKinley says

    I have been enjoying more story type podcasts lately.
    Secret World Chronicle Super hero storyline. Pretty fun and addicting. Great voice acting.
    We’re Alive Zombie survival story. Acted out by a cast of people. Fun story.
    Scott Sigler He has a lot of sci fi stories that are interesting to listen to.

    And then there is the movie review podcast, Now Playing. I listened on a lark and really got drawn into it. Been listening for years now. Helps me find interesting (and some really horrible) movie series.

    And then there is Polyamory Weekly for all your polyamory needs. There is actually a lot of monogamous listeners since a lot of the lessons for polyamory apply equally to monogamy for the most part.

  47. ravensneo says

    Story Corps.
    They are short but cut to the heart, and usually take you out of yourself and your world, and can make you feel better about humanity after a hard day.

  48. DrewN says

    Lately I’ve been hooked an an old radio play series from the 40’s called “The Mysterious Traveler”. The stories are usually vaguely disturbing with a twist ending and the narrator/host sounds exactly like Vincent Price.

  49. yazikus says

    This is so great- thanks everyone for the awesome recommendations! Most everything I listen to has been mentioned already, but one more would be You Must Remember This. I listened to the episodes about Charles Manson, and they were fascinating. It also gives an interesting peak into old Hollywood.

  50. says

    Hey, is this blog supposed to jump two inches to the right with adds coming up on the left every time I try to open up a post, or is it just my computers?

  51. yazikus says

    @Ronald Couch
    It does do that, but for a very reasonable amount you can subscribe to FreeThoughtBlogs ad free ( I think it is like $30USD a year), and then that issue goes away.

  52. Alverant says

    There’s a lot of podcasts listed (I’m going to go through a few of them to see if any interest me).

    Since you’re exercise routine is an hour I recommend:
    The Whiskey Brothers Podcast
    Star Trek Outpost
    Both are about an hour long. The former has over 350 episodes but is filled with profanity. It’s four or so comedians in Houston shooting the breeze and getting drunk. It WILL be offensive at times especially when they play America’s second greatest game-show, “Racehorse or Sex Act”. It’s my guilty pleasure as a liberal. Star Trek Outpost is 7+ seasons of at least 10 episodes each so you’ll have plenty of episodes to listen to. It’s mostly the drama of DS9 but without the Dominion war.

    Someone else also mentioned Thrilling Adventure Hour which is great. The “Beyond Belief” segment is mostly episodic so order doesn’t matter as much “Sparks Nevada” definitely needs to be enjoyed in order.

  53. michaelvieths says

    Nerdist is always entertaining. Chris Hardwick is an excellent interviewer, even when I’m otherwise uninterested in the guest going in it usually ends up interesting to listen to.
    Psychology of Video Games ( often has very interesting discussions of how video game companies and developers use psychology in game design, as well as studies of gamers themselves.

  54. Alverant says

    Have you considered audio books? I subscribe to Audible and get one book a month (I’m very very very far behind).

  55. Al Dente says

    the technology has not yet arrived to allow me to discard the decrepit husk of flesh supporting me, and place my brain in a vat with a nerve bundle connected directly to the internet.

    There’s this guy named Ray Kurzweil who says this technology will be happening any time real soon.

  56. says

    Arg, I cannot believe I forgot to suggest one of my favourite, though rarely updated, podcasts. There is a lot of interesting content though. Philip Harland is a professor at York University in Toronto and his work focuses on “the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and other religions in ancient society, as well as the social history of the Greco-Roman world generally”

    He has done a number of series of podcasts based on his class lectures that I think PZ and others would be interested in, especially as it approaches these topics from a historical point of view, rather than a theological one.

    Those series are:
    A Cultural History of Satan – Personified Evil in Early Judaism and in Christianity
    Visions of the End: Origins of Judean Apocalypticism
    Associations in the Greco-Roman World
    The Historical Jesus in Context
    Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire: Asia Minor
    Diversity in Early Christianity: “Heresies” and Struggles
    Early Christian Portraits of Jesus
    Paul and his Communities

  57. porlob says


    Limetown is kind of like Serial (a limited run of 7 episodes) if Serial were fiction. Limetown is presented as NPR-style show investigating the disappearance of 300 people at a research facility 15 years ago. Its 3 episodes in and I’m tapping my foot waiting for more.

  58. says

    Has anyone told you about Zombies, Run or The Walk yet? They’re not podcasts, they cost money, and you need a smartphone to play the games. These are admittedly down sides and not what you asked for.

    But do consider them, because they’re both intriguing exercise games. In The Walk, you’ve been (mistakenly) handed a package just as the terrorists set off an EMP bomb and bring everything electronic (except your shielded earpiece) to a halt. Your mission – get that package from London to Edinburgh. The only way to move along the map is to physically move and let your smart phone’s pedometer pick that up. Along the way there are artifacts and messages to pick up.

    In Zombies, Run – well, the name rather says it all. You are an amnesiac survivor of the apocalypse being shipped to Abel Township when your chopper is shot down. Now you earn your keep as “Runner 5” – running missions to pick up supplies and also, mission by mission, learning more about the town, who can be trusted, what the alliances are, what happened to the world and what happened to you. You don’t actually have to run… but every now and self-programmable then, you need to pick up the pace because the zombies are on your tail. (It is possible to program it to not have any intervals at all and still play.)

    Once the story lines suck you in – well, it doesn’t suddenly become fun to exercise, but the only way to know what comes next is to start moving.

  59. Rob Grigjanis says

    Have you considered doing fewer, shorter, more intense workouts? Not for everyone, I know, but it’s kept me relatively sane* and fit. And music helps a lot with the indoor sessions.

    *Not said lightly.

  60. robnyny says

    Yale has a nice online course that disproves the notion that the Civil War was about something other than slavery. (If it was about states’ rights, why were no Northern states in the Seccession? Northern states had states’ rights, too.) Both sides had reasons to obfuscate, but the War was ultimately about slavery. You don’t need to listen to all of the episodes. Available as audio or video.

  61. says

    Many of the podcasts I listedn to are already mentioned multiple times: adam savage, memory palace, philosophy bites.

    I didn’t see ‘stuff you missed in history class’ so much; it’s a fun podcast and sometimes has incredibly weird and interesting stuff. I like the interaction between the narrators; they either actually enjoy what they are doing or pretend really well.

    I also listen to the cue, which is really geeky about theater control and DMX systems.

  62. says

    Another vote for You Are Not So Smart if for no other reason than the cookie recipes. My husband has made three different ones and they are all fantastic. It’s gotten him into baking, and I’ve won over all my coworkers.

  63. says

    A wide selection of the BBC Radio output is available as downloadable Podcasts here:

    Lots to choose from in all different categories — comedy, drama, entertainment, factual, etc.

    If you like long form discussions of a wide variety of historical, scientific, philosophical, and literary subjects, with actual experts in their field, then give “In Our Time” a shot:

    Finally, if you have an Android device, you can use the BBC Podcast App to easily access all the currently available BBC Radio output (via a constantly updated RSS feed):

    Literally hundreds of hours of talk radio shows of all categories on tap at all times.

  64. says

    I’ve started listening to a few of your recommendations, and I have a tip for podcasters. Do NOT include the chatty sessions in your feed where you talk about the wonderful time you had on tour, and how wonderful the audiences were, and what wonderful people your voice actors are. There were several where that’s what I got in the most recent cast, and I had no idea what the whole thing was about and lost all interest in listening further. Those are, I’m sure, great for your regular fans, but they’re a total turn-off to anyone listening for the first time.

  65. Kevin Schelley says

    I have to throw in my 2 cents for Citizen Radio. It’s often hilarious. For pure comedy I recommend QWERPLine and The Magnum Rewatch Podcast by the folks at Loading Ready Run. Also I’ll throw in a recommendation for The Struggle Bus just because it’s so good and progressive.

  66. iankoro says

    I’m a tad late to the party, but I recommend the Risk podcast:

    It’s a storytelling show, not unlike the Moth (which is also pretty good), but for stories that people would generally not share elsewhere… so it can be pretty unsafe for work. It can also be *extremely* compelling.

    Some episodes come with pretty strong trigger warnings (don’t worry, they make this clear when it’s the case), but the stories range from strange and funny, to bizarre, frightening, shocking, and everything in between.

  67. iankoro says

    Oh, also, 99% Invisible is a podcast about design, which might not sound all that interesting, but can be truly fascinating.

    The Backstory podcast can be a bit like that too. It’s general american history, so some topics will probably interest you off the bat, but even the episodes that sound like they will be dry will suck you in:

    …and Criminal, which explores topics related to crime in an equally fascinating manner.

    Finally, not a podcast at all, but for a bit of nostalgia, there are some excellent old time radio shows you can find online. Dimension X and X Minus One (which were basically the same shows) have some great adaptations of classic sci-fi short stories:

    …and Suspense is, well, suspense stories. They vary in quality, but I used to listen to these all the time back when I had to walk to work at 4am every day, so they have kind of a soft spot in my heart.

    Oh, I should probably mention Escape as well, as it’s kind of along the lines of Suspense, only more adaptations of classics, so the overall quality is probably a bit better… it just didn’t broadcast for 20 years like Suspense did, so there are a lot less episodes.

  68. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    Earlier today I made a list of the podcasts mentioned here, sorted the list, counted the dups and sorted again. Herewith, the most-cited podcasts as of noon PDT.

    First, two collectives: and (be sure to use the full radiotopia URL, if you leave off the “/radiotopia” you go to a fundraising page). Many of the podcasts in the following list are hosted at one of those two, so presumably their stablemates are worth a listen.

    The list from most-cited to least, with the number of citations for each (again, as of noon PDT 28-10-15):

    8 Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
    5 Tanis
    5 Stuff You Missed in History
    5 Oh No Ross and Carrie
    4 You Are Not So Smart
    4 RadioLab
    4 Infinite Monkey Cage
    4 Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
    4 Caustic Soda
    4 Black Tapes
    4 Allusionist, The
    3 Thrilling Adventure Hour
    3 Story Collider
    3 Scathing Atheist
    3 QWERPLine
    3 Freakonomics
    3 Dollop, The
    3 Answer Me This
    2 You Must Remember This
    2 We Hate Movies
    2 Star Talk
    2 Song Exploder
    2 Snap Judgment
    2 Skeptics With a K
    2 Pseudopod
    2 Professional Left, The
    2 Probably Science
    2 Pop Culture Happy Hour
    2 Planet Money
    2 Now Playing
    2 Non Prophets, The
    2 Moth, The
    2 Memory Palace
    2 Judge John Hodgeman
    2 Invisibilia
    2 Inkredulous
    2 How Did This Get Made
    2 God Awful Movies
    2 Flop House
    2 Escape Pod
    2 Drabblecast, The
    2 Cognitive Dissonance
    2 99% Invisible

    There were 120-odd other names mentioned once, no doubt many good ones (like Dead authors or Hello from the magic tavern).

  69. vortmax says

    I just recently got into Limetown, a Serial-style podcast from American Public Radio about the disappearance of everyone in the company town of the same name in Tennessee 10 years ago. Surely you remember — it was all over the news. It’s only three episodes in, but they’ve already found more than anyone else has in the last decade.