I’ve been a complete podcast junkie for a while now. Popping in earbuds and escaping into a story, or laughing until my sides ache, makes me smile. And it all happens while doing the dishes or folding laundry. The time just flies. Daily actives don’t seem so daunting while listening to a wrap-up of the week’s reality TV episodes. Don’t judge me — ask for my podcast recommendations instead!
If you’re not familiar with what a podcast is, think old-timey radio show or news talk radio but much less boring. Podcasts can be found on both Android or iOS through a podcasting app like Sticher, Soundcloud, and Apple Podcasts. These apps are totally free and the podcast episodes are free as well. However, some podcasts offer premium content and early release of episodes (which come out weekly to daily depending on the show) for a small fee if that’s what you want. And most podcasts have an accompanying Facebook group if you’re just itching to discuss this weeks episode with other fans of the show but be careful because it’s addicting!
My goal now is to convert everyone I know into an avid podcast listener so today I’m listing my favorite podcasts. From true crime to comedy and parenting to reality TV, I’ve got something for you.
Podcasts for kids
Kids love podcasts, too, in my opinion. They don’t need to be in front of a screen to partake, they can do their chores while listening and, depending on the podcasts, they will be learning something new and using their imagination – a full win/win situation. Not to mention I have yet to listen to a kids podcast that didn’t wrap me in as well. One of the best podcasts for kids is the Dream Big Podcast hosted by 8-year-old Eva Karpman. On this podcast, Eva interviews people who have made their dreams come true and encourages her listeners to do the same. Also, a must listen for kids and teens is Stuff You Should Know, which is a podcast about exactly that. Topics run the gamut from how free speech works to everything you ever wanted to know about narwals.
We all know letting kids run wild on the internet is a big NO NO. Remember, some podcasts contain very mature content. We recommend using a podcasting app specially made for kids called Leela Kids, a podcasting app for kids ages 3-15. This app curates episodes based on your child’s age and interests, protects them from stuff little ears should not hear and is easy to use. Leela Kids is free and available on Android and iOS.
Podcasts for parents
A good sense of humor gets us through even the toughest parenting days. Moms on the Rocks offer up laughter by the martini glass full. The hosts, Jodi and Carrie, cover everything from dating after divorce, marriage and the ugly truth about labor and delivery – all with a snarky, fun, matter-of-fact kind of wit. For current events and contemporary parenting issues you can’t beat Mom and Dad are Fighting – Slate’s parenting podcast. And for something a bit more serious and heartfelt, check out The One in a Million Baby, which tells the stories of families of children with special needs and how they come to cope.
Reality TV podcasts
Podcasts about reality TV were my gateway drug into podcast life so this list is very near and dear to my heart. First off, Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown, hosted by two comedians, Danielle Schneider and Casey Wilson. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been looked at strangely in the grocery store because I was laughing my butt off at their retelling of something Sonja did on last night’s RHONY. It’s a true gem. Next is Watch What Crappens, another hilarious and long-running podcasts that covers everything Bravo TV.
A current favorite for all things reality TV is the RealiTV podcast, hosted by Jodi from Moms on the Rocks Podcast. I am 100% convinced at this point that she is either reading my mind or needs to be my new BFF. I live for her 90 Day Fiance recaps. Wrapping up this group is Reality Life with Kate Casey. This one keeps me coming back every week because her interviews of past and current reality stars and reality TV show producers are absolutely captivating. Kate has a way of making all her interviews interesting even if the show she’s discussing isn’t something I watch or am familiar with. If you’re a fan of Bachelor Nation, this will be a must listen for you as she covers a lot of their content.
True Crime podcasts
I’ve always been a junkie for a good murder mystery so listening to true crime podcasts was a logical step. For true crime stories with a side of giggles check out True Crime Obsessed and My Favorite Murder. For unsolved missing person cases look to The Vanished, Someone knows Something and The Lost. And for gritty, often gory and disturbing stories about real crime don’t pass up Casefile and Detective. Definitely not safe listening for children.
Investigative journalism podcasts
Investigative journalism podcasts are fun because they are usually a limited number of episodes and cover only one topic. The most popular of the group is Serial hosted by Sarah Koenig which even won a Peabody Award! Serial’s current season takes on the story of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl and it’s gripping. The Habitat is one I binged over the course of 2 days even though I didn’t think it was something I would be interested in as it’s about a group of people who go to Hawaii to live for a year in a bubble and simulate life on Mars.
Dirty John had everyone talking when it premiered because it was fantastic. It’s about a woman who falls in love with a grifter and how that completely goes sideways, of course. And lastly, my favorite is S-Town. S-Town tells the story of a man named John who hates his small Alabama town. I wish I could give more information, but no spoilers! I can say this one will leave you jealous of people who get to hear it for the first time – it’s that good.
Sometimes you just want to laugh. I personally love just hearing funny people talk to each other rather than rehearsed skits, so Never Not Funny and Comedy Bang Bang are two of my favorites. Basically, comedians interview comedians, which equals guaranteed laughs. Remember Matt Bellassai from Buzzfeed? He posted Facebook videos of himself getting drunk on wine at his desk and complaining about things like squirrels. If so, check out Unhappy Hour, which is like that — with more cursing.
Podcasts for readers
If I’m not listening to podcasts then I’m reading, so it’s a no-brainer that these two worlds should collide at some point. I especially love when podcasts recommend books to read. I can’t tell you how long my To Be Read list is at this point. Two of my favorites for this are Books on the Nightstand (which unfortunately is no longer posting new episodes but still a great place to find books) and What Should I Read Next? The latter has a cool concept where the host, Anne Bogel, will talk to someone, get to know them and their personal tastes then recommend 3 books based on that knowledge. Also, don’t miss Just The Right Book Podcast with Roxanne Coady, it’s really a great all-around podcast for book recommendations and author interviews.
My personal favorite podcasts
I want to recommend a few other favorite podcasts. Two Jezebel writers host Dirt Cast. I love the website already, and here they discuss feminism, politics, celebrity gossip, and more in a current, often funny and relatable way. Next, try Reply All from Gimlet Media. I am honestly obsessed with this podcast because their stories center around the internet in some fashion. Whether they share a story about one person’s experience in buying something from an Instagram ad or listening to them finally explain “Pizzagate,” you will always be entertained. I always learn something from I’ma Need a Lil’ More Information, where two sisters, Katie and Kelly Canavan, give you exactly that. If, like me, you hear names in the media and feel completely out of touch, tune into Who? Weekly.
**Author’s note: Please keep in mind that many of these podcasts aren’t kid-friendly. Many deal with adult themes and use adult language. Keep that in mind if you’re listening with littles around.
Podcasts really are for everyone. Honestly, I have yet to find one person with an interest not covered: feminism, finance, sports, cryptocurrency, politics, art, knitting, thrifting, cooking, cleaning, beauty, and more. You get the idea. So next time you’re grocery shopping, folding towels or just trying to ignore your children, pop in some earbuds. Have a laugh, a cry, or just learn something new with a podcast.