My Favourite Podcasts

I have an increasingly long list of podcasts that I subscribe to and an even longer list of ones I haven’t quite got to yet. I love them. Podcasts have opened my world up to so many new ideas, people, books, and topics that I would never normally show an interest in. I listen just about every day to at least a couple of episodes, sometimes bingeing a whole series, one episode after another, sometimes listening only as the episodes are released and not going through the back catalogue or starting at the beginning – it really depends on the style of podcast it is.  I have written once before about podcasts, discussing This American Life, Serial (don’t bother with season 2 in my opinion) and S-Town (brilliant!!) which are all worthy starting places. But since this post my listening catalogue has exploded in size and frequency, so here I’ll be sharing some of my newer discoveries.

  1. Chat 10 Looks 3 – This Aussie podcast features the indomitable Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales. These two witty, intelligent and extremely busy journalists share a friendship that they let the world eavesdrop on in this podcasts. There are a LOT of in jokes, so either let them go or have a listen to the back catalogue to pick up on where they began. Mostly, this podcast is where they share what they have been reading, watching, listening to (I have found lots of other podcasts to listen to through them), cooking and doing. It will leave you reeling trying to figure out how they fit it all in (it’s not like they have day jobs or anything!), but, if you’re anything like me, you’ll also be in hysterics at their quick wit and merciless ribbing of each other.  PS there is a Facebook page as well which I followed and then had to hide because it was so overwhelming it filled my entire feed. The community is incredibly generous and positive – a pretty rare combination for online communities.
  2. Conversations with Richard Fidler – If you’re a fan of ABC radio you’l probably already know Richard Fidler’s Conversations, it’s an incredible segment/podcast but I’ll admit it took me ages to get onto this one. The reason for this was that I was overwhelmed by the number of episodes and didn’t really know where to start. In the end I downloaded a collection of his interviews from my library app (BorrowBox) and was hooked. His interview with Jeanette Winterson was mesmerizing. But even better he interviews people that lead extraordinary lives that most of us would never hear about. So don’t be like me, get onto this one, it doesn’t matter where you start you’ll find something engaging and fascinating.
  3. Dirty John – This is my most recent binge listen and the creation of Chris Goffard, a journalist at the LA Times. It tells the true story of a middle-age woman, Debra Newell, and how her life became intertwined with con man John Meehan. It’s a bit like watching a car crash, I just couldn’t turn away despite my utter bewilderment about what was happening and how a  successful and intelligent woman could find herself in such a position. The story is masterfully woven together by the creators and includes interviews with many of the main players (although not John himself). I think if you like podcasts like Serial or S-Town or true crime podcasts this one might also be worth a try.
  4. Australian True Crime – This is not a genre that I would have thought I would enjoy, but it turns out I really do. This particular podcast is hosted by Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb and they discuss…. Australian true crime stories. This is usually by way of an interview with someone fascinating. That might be a retired or current police detective, a true crime writer/journalist/researcher, an academic, a survivor of a crime and occasionally even a criminal themselves. Often the cases are extremely high profile ones that many of us remember, but sometimes they are lesser known crimes whose impact on society has been hidden. Each episode usually focuses on just one case – though this is not always so – and the content is often quite disturbing. It’s not for the faint hearted but if you’re into True Crime put this on your list. (Other great True Crime podcasts I’ve listened to recently include Trace and Phoebe’s Fall – both Australian podcasts that follow just one case in a similar style to Serial.)
  5. Hidden Brain – I listen to a whole range of NPR (National Public Radio – in the US) podcasts, all of which are great and I could have talked about here, but I decided on Hidden Brain because it’s a bit science-y which is something I’m into at the moment. According to the website Hidden Brain uses science and storytelling to explain some aspect of the world or ourselves. That’s it in a nutshell. You’ll learn something about science and about humans and you’ll be entertained while you’re learning. I’ve learnt about why we choose to avoid negative information (ie about our finances or our health), why we feel nostalgia, how brain surgeons and airline pilots use simple checklists to avoid killing people by accident, about behavioural economics and so much more. I never delete an episode that sounds uninteresting because I’ve discovered that they can make even the most mundane part of life fascinating and I always learn something.  (Other NPR shows I listen to include Code Switch, Fresh Air and Invisibilia – they’re all great and they all make me learn or question).

I’ll stop now. I have plenty more to share but perhaps I’ll save them for another time. As always, I’m keen to hear what you’re listening to. Is there a podcast that I’m really missing out on? Hit me up with some suggestions in the comments.



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