Favorite Podcasts - 2021 Edition

In March of 2017 some folks did a thing called “Try Pod.” It was an effort to get more people listening to podcasts. I shared my favorites, then and have now published updated lists for 2018, 2019, everything went on hold in 2020, and now for 2021. It’s mostly the same, but a few have been added, some removed.

Weekly Listens

In no particular order, these are the podcasts I’ll listen to every time they come out.

This past year and a half has brought science and reasoning to the forefront of my thinking, so it’s no surprise that OH NO Ross and Carrie and Science Vs. are at the top of my list this year. Ross and Carrie try out fringe science (healing crystals, electric brain stimulation, cults) so you don’t have to (NSFW). Science Vs. takes on one topic per show, and rounds up the evidence backed facts around them. They’ve been crucial in my understanding of COVID-19, but also have put the spotlight on everything from blue light blocking glasses to orgasms. (Surprisingly that was the most NSFW show. Most are pretty tame.)

This Week in Google (TWiG) is largely about consumer technology, and how that impacts our lives. TWiG is hosted by Leo Laporte, as part of the TWiT Network, and features cohosts Jeff Jarvis and Stacey Higginbotham as they cover the latest news about Google, Facebook, Journalism, and connected smart home devices.

Judge John Hodgman (of The Daily Show and Apple’s Mac vs PC ads) is a fake internet judge. People bring him disputes - from who should drive during a road trip to whether or not a husband should take up taxidermy as a hobby to how often a couple should eat at the in-laws house. It’s funny, and honest, and a great listen.

Stuff You Should Know is one of the most informative shows I’ve ever listened to. Josh and Chuck take on a topic, do their own research, and then sit down in front of microphones and share their takeaways from their research. I’ve learned about serial killers, microscopic organisms, anesthesia, and even DB Cooper.

Levar Burton Reads is exactly what you think it is. Your favorite Reading Rainbow host reads short stories - this time for grown ups - that he hand selects. There is something that will always be comforting about hearing his narration. I also really enjoy most of the short stories, often from writers I haven’t yet discovered. They usually have a supernatural or Sci-Fi twist, too.

A few more of my favorites

I may not get to them every week, but I listen as often as I can.

  • Pop Culture Happy Hour - NPR writers and a rotating series of guests discuss pop culture - movies, tv, books, comic books, and more.
  • All About Android - Weekly show about Android phones and apps
  • Ask Me Another - a fun trivia show from NPR - This was their last year. They didn’t survive the pandemic. Still one of the best NPR podcsts ever.
  • Dead Pilots Society - comedy tv shows that were written, sold to networks, but never made it to the pilot. They get a staged reading on this podcast (Potentially NSFW)
  • Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me - NPR’s weekly news quiz show
  • Reply All Largely focused on technology and the internet, how that impacts our lives. They got into a bit of trouble for the way they reported a story - while completely ignoring their own internal issues. It was an interesting look at how hey handled/are handling it. (Sometimes Often NSFW)
Permalink for Favorite Podcasts - 2021 Edition