It’s Time to refresh our 2019 podcast list with a few addendums. Here are more to consider that we feel will make the Best Podcasts 2020 list. Of course, we still have entertaining options to listen to from the Dec, 2019 list, if you haven’t already (see below). They’re just as fun to listen to as they were a few months ago.
The new podcasts we look at today fall into 3 categories, that may help combat “shelter in place fatigue” Each serves as a welcome distraction. Use your favorite listening apps to download now!
- Funny Podcasts to Listen to
- In depth News podcasts
- Podcasts for Sleep
Funny Podcasts to Listen to
If you can laugh in the face of adversity, you’re bullet-proof. – RICKY GERVAIS
Having a good laugh is the ultimate destressor. A funny podcast will brighten your mood and help to keep everything in perspective.
“Relationship advice from completely unqualified Hollywood types. Join me on a mission to create a community where those of us who have no idea what the f*ck we’re doing can find comfort, support and laughter”
Unqualified, with host Anna Faris, serves up light hearted interviews with celebs and cultural icons. At the end of the podcasts, Anna & her guests contact listeners and “assist” them with relationship and other advice (the “unqualified” part).
After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that.” Each week Conan & his assistant Sonja sit down and interview very entertaining celebrity guests. The self deprecating humor & back and forth banter is sure to bring a smile to your face.
“My Favorite Murder is the hit true crime comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Since its inception in early 2016, the show has broken download records and sparked an enthusiastic, interactive “Murderino” fan base who come out in droves for their sold-out worldwide tours.” True Crime & comedy are melded together in this wildly popular podcast. 22 million followers can attest to My Favorite murders success! One to the Best podcasts for 2020.
Spotify only – Kevin Bacon, along with Funny or Die, produced this 10 episode comedy story. It tells the story of struggling actor Randy Beslow (Veep actor Matt Walsh) and his obsession with Kevin Bacon. Randy doesn’t want to be 6 degrees from Bacon… he thinks he should be Bacon! Having lost the lead in “Footloose” to Bacon 30 years ago, Randy’s out for revenge! “It’s my destiny to kill Kevin Bacon!,” Beslow shouts in the trailer. Kyra Sedgwick, NPR’s Terry Gross and Rob Reiner also star.
In Depth News
Nowadays, breaking news is delivered through a fire hose. The steady stream of information regarding covid19 & the economy is a lot to digest. Each of these news podcasts take a deeper dive into the week’s important topics, bringing clarity on the topics that affect us all.
by the Wall Street Journal – The Wall Street Journal goes in depth on money, business and power from today’s headlines . One or two of the most important stories are covered in greater detail. The Journal is hosted by Kate Linebaugh and Ryan Knutson.
by the New York Times – The world class journalists from the NYT’s offer their in depth perspective. This 20 minute recap of recent events of the biggest stories is refreshed daily, by 6am.
NPR – Short on time? NPR’s Up First is the news you need to start your day. The 10 minute update is a great way to quickly get up to speed on 3 of the most pressing topics!
Podcasts for Sleep
There’s more than a few reasons to have your sleep disrupted these days. A good night’s sleep keeps us healthy and on an even keel. Try some of these popular sleep podcasts to get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. How great is it that these podcasters main goal is to have you fall asleep in the middle of their show! 🙂
Bedtime stories for grownups – Nothing much happens provides soothing bedtime stories to ease the mind. After a hectic day, the stories guide you on a relaxing, although not riveting story. Your attention is drawn to the story and the calming voice, which washes away the concerns of the day. The story where “nothing much happens” lulls you into a relaxed state, affording you restful sleep.
To say narrator and creator Drew Ackerman’s stucato, rambling delivery of bedtime stories is unique is an understatement. It reminds me of an 8am business law class I took in college… It was a struggle to stay awake. And that’s the point!
Sleep with Me’s humorous approach to insomnia is wildly popular and has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker and Dr Oz.
A gentle rain. Trains passing through town somewhere in the distance. Sheep wandering through a field in Southern Spain. Footfalls through a forest, with birds singing from the tree tops. Old style typewriters, humming in the background. Slow Radio combines a mixture of soothing sounds, music and carefully interjected dialogue, which tells a relaxing, cloud like story. Each episode features unique sounds and stories, intended to slow the mind down; a perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep
Have you read Jaunty’s “Tips on How to Meditate”
From Jaunty’s December 2019 Podcast post –
2016 – As my slog through traffic inched forward, the news station droned on in the background. It’s understood that LA & traffic jams are forever intertwined. Yes, I’m aware that I’m not “in” traffic…I am the traffic”.
Anyways, in that moment of tedium, it occurred to me just how repetitive news channels can be: Pundit re-spins bad news every 15 minutes; new pundit spins same news every hour, 24 hours a day. Wake up, repeat…
I’d reached a tipping point, which thankfully led to my obsession with podcasts. After four years, podcasts are still a source for fun and insight. They broaden my worldview & compliment many routine activities.
Where do I get them? How do I play them?
If you new to podcasts …
Apple’s iphone & Google Android phones ship with a built in podcast app, which is a good place to start. You can search and subscribe to podcasts, within the apps.
There are also several free or Podcast apps available for IOS & Android with a variety of features. I prefer the free version of “castbox” on my iphone, but it’s just one of many great podcast apps. Head online to the App store for Apple & Google Play to download your favorite podcast app
If you use music services like Spotify, Google play or Sound Cloud you can also use those apps to subscribe to podcasts.
Plus, podcasts are accessible & playable from your desktop. Many Podcasts have their own web site from which you can launch your episode.
Favorite podcasts for 2019-20
Revisionist History podcasts never fail to generate lively conversation with friends. I’ve referenced Gladwell’s podcasts more than any other. He’s authored 5 NY Times best sellers, including The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David & Goliath.
4 seasons of Revisionist History, are already available!
“Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past—an event, a person, an idea, even a song—and asks whether we got it right the first time. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.” – Malcolm Gladwell and Pushkin Industries
How does a Stanford prodigy, founder of Theranos & self made billionaire end up facing a 20 year jail sentence? The Drop out chronicles the inconceivable true story of Elizabeth Holmes rapid rise to success & eventual nosedive.
Rebecca Jarvis, from ABC news brings this podcast to life with captivating detail and 1st person interviews of those involved, including recorded testimony from Elizabeth Holmes. Episodes are about 45 minutes in length.
“Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. Why did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges — to which she pleaded not guilty — and up to 20 years in jail? Did her technology, meant to revolutionize healthcare, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way?
ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, along with producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, take listeners on a journey that includes a three-year-long investigation. You’ll hear exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first-time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes, and those at the center of this story.” – ABC News & Nightline
Started in 1984, TED (technology,entertainment & design) speakers cover a diverse array of topics, that have spawned into several formats: TED Talks Daily, NPR’s TED Hour, The TED Interview and several more. Experts from Science, Business and everything in between deliver an endless variety of interesting content. How to lead a conversation between people who disagree, How to Revive your faith in democracy, The Surprising Connection between brain injuries and crime, How hip-hop helps us understand science, are examples of some recent topics. TED talks daily podcasts average about 18 minutes in length.
NPR’s long running, comical news hour, features celebrity panelists & guests. Recorded live each week in Chicago, Wait Wait… Don’t tell me generates lots of laughs with recurring segments such as “Whose Bill this time” “Bluff the listener” (think two truths and a lie) and Panel discussions on current topics. A light hearted, fun listen…
“Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is NPR’s Peabody-award-winning weekly hour-long humorous quiz program. Each week on the radio you can test your knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what’s real news and what’s made up” – NPR
A good, old fashioned, who done it, “Over My Dead Body” details the true story of a prominent Florida couple, both successful attorneys, as they battle through an acrimonious divorce. Yep.. someone doesn’t come through the divorce alive!
“In “Tally,” the first season of OVER MY DEAD BODY, Dan and Wendi are two good-looking attorneys whose wedding is featured in the New York Times. But when this “perfect” couple falls apart, it leads to a bad breakup, a worse divorce, and a murder case involving a menagerie of high-priced lawyers and unexpected co-conspirators. From Wondery, the team that brought you “Dirty John” and “Dr. Death,” “Tally” is a story that says as much about love and marriage as it does about justice, revenge, and the lengths some people will go to get what they want.” Hosted by Matthew Shaer – Wondery
Mo Rocca, formerly of CBS Sunday Morning, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Broadway etc… hosts Mobituaries. Through detailed exploration Mo examines the literal and metaphorical death of people & things, throughout history.
A few of this season’s episodes include: The death of a famous Auburn University Oak tree by an Alabama fan, Sitcom deaths and disappearances, the death of the career of a JFK impersonator to name a few
“Mo Rocca’s long love of obituaries has him led to create Mobituaries, an irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people (and things) of the past who have long intrigued him—from an unsung Founding Father to the first Chinese-American superstar, from Neanderthals to the station wagon.” – Mobituaries podcast site
Part old radio show, part Podmusical, completely ridiculous! This podcast just makes me laugh. The Fall of the House of Sunshine describes itself as “A serialized podcast musical adventure” I’m halfway through season 1 and looking forward to season 2! I’ll let the creators description of season 1 do the talking…
“Season 1: Brushee Sunshine is the host of the children’s’ tooth cleanliness show – The Sunshine Smile Hour. But suddenly he’s murdered via bullets fired through a rip in space time. Detective Dankent is called in to help solve the mystery. The suspects: Flosso, Brushee’s older brother who was relegated to second banana; Braceletta, the buxom beauty with the braces on her legs and her teeth and also fiance to Brushee; Elsa, Bracletta’s assistant who acts like a loyal dog. And that’s only the beginning. Join us as we take an audio adventure of musical proportions.”
Did you enjoy Moneyball, The Blind Side & The Big Short as much as I did? Then you’ll love this podcast! In one of the most divisive eras ever, Michael Lewis’ Against the Rules couldn’t be more timely.
His podcast series takes us on an in depth look at what we consider fair or just, across a multitude of storylines in society today. Which side of the argument you may land on is always open for debate, but Against the Rules is never dull!
“Journalist and bestselling author Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short) takes a searing look at what’s happened to fairness—in financial markets, newsrooms, basketball games, courts of law, and much more. And he asks what’s happening to a world where everyone loves to hate the referee.” – Against the Rules website