Recently a good friend entered the 21st century and finally got his first smartphone. Over dinner I was sharing a few of what I consider the best podcasts, or at least my own favorites, as one of the great uses for his new toy, er, new tool.

My Favorite Podcasts

These are my favorite podcasts for a variety of reasons. But the one thing they have in common is that I make an effort to listen to every episode of every one of these, and they are consistently excellent.

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

One of the first podcasts I ever started really listening to, it remains one of the best, most informative, and consistent of all the podcasts I listen to. Even better, it is regular with a new episode every week. Whenever I take a break and listen to an audiobook or two, I end up with a nice backlog of episodes to catch up on.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

If I had to choose between The Skeptics’ Guide and Hardcore History … I don’t know what I would do! Dan Carlin has an incredibly accessible and personable style of bringing history to life. The only downside is that he does such amazing in depth shows, spending months to research each one, so there aren’t more of them! But if you’re just picking it up, there are 50 episodes out, often at 3-4 hours each. Get listening… you’ll thank me later.

The Candid Frame

Ibarionex Perello is one of the more talented interviewers I have ever enjoyed listening to. His knowledge and understanding of the world of photography is certainly significant, but that alone can’t account for his insightful questions and astute observations. I would suggest that many of the interviews of fascinating and worthwhile even for non-Photographers.

A Few More

For whatever reason, I may not listen to each of these as consistently, or find them as consistent, as my personal favorites above. But they are all good productions that I enjoy listening to.

Common Sense with Dan Carlin

I suspect this may become a favorite soon enough, but I only just began listening to the show. Halfway through the first episode, though, I am finding it as engaging and interesting perspective on politics as Hardcore History is to the historical subjects it covers.

NPR Planet Money

Planet Money is another that I didn’t initially expect to enjoy, but they do in-depth and fascinating stories on subjects. The stories often break down major, current events into understandable, digestible concepts.

This American Life

This American Life has been on the air for many years. It is an enjoyable radio show, and I personally have enjoyed some of the new episode directions towards investigating current events and communicating them to a larger audience. The joint This American Life and Planet Money episodes are particularly excellent.


Somewhat in the vein of This American Life, RadioLab explores different themes each week and brings us seemingly disconnected stories that end up coming together. The earlier episodes were particularly more interesting to me, but it is still something I will listen to occasionally.

The Moth Podcast

Real stories by real people. These range wildly in quality and content, but generally are interest and worth listening to.

Astronomy Cast

A great science and astronomy oriented podcast. Each episode dives into an interesting topic for an hour or more. Great for learning more about an interesting subject.

Smodcast – Jay & Silent Bob Get Old

For pure entertainment, Kevin Smith rambling for an hour or two is still lots of fun.

The Best Podcasts?

I have a lot more podcasts on my phone, but these are the ones I listen to the most. How about you? What are your favorites? There’s always room for more!