Best Podcasts of 2015

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Sometimes the iTunes charts can be misleading. With so many new podcasts coming out, it can be hard, if not impossible, to keep up. I did the best I could to be more mindful and try to broaden my horizon this year by listening to as many new podcasts as I could. To be fair, I will say that I have not listened to everything and that the only vote that matters in this list is my own.

10. Serial | WBEZ
cover170x170 (1)Sarah Koenig’s spinoff of This American Life was the runaway greatest podcast of all podcasts last year with its suspenseful first season that may help get a convicted murderer off the hook. Unfortunately, season two is very unlikely to be as amazing as season one. Either way, the first four episodes of season two, which dropped in late 2015, are enough to get Serial into my Top 10.

Check out: S2E1 DUSTWUN

9. Planet Money | NPR
cover170x170 (2)It’s about money and the economy. It makes me feel smart when I listen to it. The longest running podcast from NPR is still relevant and always a great listen.

Check out: #634 Worst Case Scenario

8. Death, Sex & Money | WNYC
cover170x170 (3)The three things people like to avoid talking about the most, talked about every week.

Check out: Siblinghood

7. Hidden Brain | NPR
cover170x170 (4)My new favorite podcast by NPR features a segment called “Stopwatch Science” where the host Shankar Vedantam has 60 seconds to present fascinating social science research in layman’s terms to his listeners.

Another podcast that makes me feel smart.

Check out: Episode 3 : Stereotype Threat

6. StartUp | Gimlet Media
cover170x170 (5)StartUp is a true podcaster’s podcast. Last year, season one documented the start of Gimlet, the newest heavyweight in audio storytelling. In 2015, StartUp followed a new tech company and brought us a mini-season with updates on Gimlet. If you love podcasts like I do, you will obviously love a show that’s essentially all about podcasts.

Check out: #16 The Secret Formula

5. This American Life | WBEZ
cover170x170 (6)The show we all know and love. A public radio staple has been producing great content for 20 years strong.

You can listen to TAL on Impact 88.9FM every Sunday from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Check out: 562 & 563: The Problem We All Live With

4. Note to Self | WNYC
cover170x170 (7)Formerly New Tech City, Note to Self is a show about the human side of technology. You and your parents should listen to it after you argue about social media and cell phones.

Check out: Seriously, Listen to Your Voicemail

3. RadioLab | WNYC
cover170x170 (8)Radiolab makes science appealing to those who don’t like science – like me! This podcast goes beyond making me feel smart. It actually makes me smart. Radiolab is currently No. 5 on iTunes top podcasts chart, so if you don’t want to take my word for it, take theirs.

Check out: Eye in the Sky

2. Invisibilia | NPR
cover170x170 (9)Two women with similar-sounding voices host a show about the invisible forces that control human behavior. Although NPR only produced six episodes and two bonus stories during 2015, Invisibilia is still arguably the top podcast of the year. It’s very hard to explain the show’s greatness in text form. Just give it a listen.

Check out: Fearless

1. Reply All | Gimlet Media
cover170x170Here’s where my rankings may get called out as extreme. Strangely, there are several people (see iTunes reviews) who don’t like this show at all. However in this poll, only one man’s opinion matters in ranking the best of the best.

Reply All is the first Gimlet production after StartUp. Hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman got their start at WNYC’s TLDR. The quirky dynamic-duo moved to Gimlet last year to produce essentially the same show as TLDR, just with a new title and more consistent releases. While Reply All is dubbed “A Show About the Internet”, its stories go much deeper. Thought provoking topics and incredible production with a soundtrack by The Mysterious BreakMaster Cylinder is sure to bring pleasure to your ears.

I’ll admit that I’m being slightly biased by ranking my favorite podcast No. 1. I was originally going to place Reply All No. 2, behind Invisibilia. But after I heard the latest episode, which provided updates on several of its great stories from 2015, I bumped Reply All to its ever deserving No. 1 spot.

Check out: #28 Shipped to Timbuktu

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post! I have really gotten into podcasts this year and it’s great to see some of my favorites up there. What’s even better is that I have a couple new ones to listen to.

  2. Sports Podcasts: SI Media Podcast, Hot Takedown
    Other Podcasts: Risk!, 99% Invisible, The Memory Palace, Song Exploder, What’s The Point