The podcasts I recommend the most

The podcasts I recommend the most

Full disclosure: I’m obviously a little biased to getting more people to listen to podcasts–my full-time job is at Gimlet Media (the HBO of audio, nbd!). But in my personal life, I’ve also become a very committed podcast listener: when I’m walking Gertie in the morning, when I’m stuck in traffic, when I’m cleaning the apartment. There are some times I take Gertie on a walk just to listen to a new episode!  I still read books before bed, but my life in San Diego (aka more active driving than sitting on subways) is a lot more conducive to getting informed and being entertained via audio.

Although I’ve dropped a few recommendations into Of the moment posts, I wanted to share a few of the podcasts I listen to regularly. On the practical side: I listen using the Overcast app. It’s not perfect, but I find it infinitely easier and more intuitive than Apple Podcasts. Having wireless headphones has made it SO much easier to listen when I’m walking, and I’m also obsessed with syncing all of our Sonos speakers so that I can seamlessly listen while I’m doing things around the house.

The Daily

This is probably the podcast I’m most dedicated to: it’s the first thing I listen to every weekday morning when I take Gert on a walk. Hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by the New York Times newsroom, The Daily is a 20-minute news podcast. It’s usually a deep dive into the top news story of the day (think hurricanes, mass shootings, a proposed federal policy) with a variety of voices.

Episodes to check out: how the NRA became what it is todayHurricane Maria and climate change, forgiveness and a hate crime

The New Washington

And on the weekends: I listen to The New Washington. An outgrowth of The Daily, it’s an interview series with the biggest political players in Washington.

Episodes to check out: lobbying in the Trump era, Senator Mitch McConnell, Representative Nancy Pelosi

Reply All

It’s technically “a show about the internet,” but really, it’s all about the weird ways that technology affects us (and how we affect technology) in 2017.

Episodes to check out: In the Desert, Shine On You Crazy Goldman, Long Distance


From the Center of Investigative Reporting comes Reveal, a podcast that works to “hold the powerful accountable and reveal government fraud and waste of taxpayer funds, human rights violations, environmental degradation and threats to public safety.” It’s incredibly thought-provoking and sparks great conversations–a few of my friends also listen, and we love discussing recent episodes–sometimes we don’t agree with every conclusion, but we do appreciate what’s being brought to our attention.

Episodes to check out: a welfare checkif you can’t afford a lawyerrunning from cops

How I Built This

Conversations with the people who founded some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world. My favorite part of every episode: hearing whether the founders believe if luck had anything to do with it.

Episodes to check out: Southwest Airlines, Spanx, Whole Foods, Drybar


A conversation with a non-fiction writer on how they tell stories. Disclaimer: it’s most interesting if you listen to someone whose work you’re familiar with!

Episodes to check out: PJ Vogt & Alex Goldman (after you listen to Reply All, of course), Elizabeth Gilbert

Science Vs

I have to admit: I’m not much of a science person. I never have been, and I’m usually lost in conversations that pertain to it. But host Wendy Zuckerman is super upbeat, and I appreciate the quirky tone of the show: it’s all about pitting facts against fads, and seeing where the science stacks up in today’s hot topics.

Episodes to check out: detoxing and cleanses, vaccines and the rise of anti-vaxxers, meditation 

Planet Money

I was a business minor in college, and I had an incredible economics professor that made econ interesting, exciting and relatable. (In other random business minor facts: I almost considered switching my major to accounting since I loved the intro class so much!) Planet Money makes me feel like I’m back in his class: stories and explanations of the economy that don’t feel boring at all.

Episodes to check out: the benefits of bankruptcy, flood money, hard work is irrelevant

Sword & Scale

I’m a sucker for true crime, and Sword and Scale is my go-to for creepy, skin-crawling stories in podcast form. The episode can get a little disturbing, so I have tried to curb listening to them when I’m traveling alone for work or if I’m having a rough week.

In the Dark

The first season of the In the Dark focused on a notorious child abduction case, and revealed a lot of the ways that our system allows events like this to slip through the cracks.

Dirty John

Dirty John is the six-part podcast of a seriously evil con man, produced by the Los Angeles Times. It’s a true story, and the twists and turns are enthralling.


Also, if you have no idea where I work: this is the podcast that started Gimlet! Season 1 is still my favorite, even though we’re going into season 6 of all sorts of tales about successes, failures and entrepreneurs. Listen to How Not To Pitch a Billionaire first.

Also, here are a few podcasts that are constantly recommended to me but that I can’t quite seem to get into: My Favorite Murder, Mortified, The Moth (although I love the live shows!), Call Your Girlfriend and Pod Save America.

What podcasts are you listening to now? 

  • Taste of France

    Wow, I’m a big Gimlet fan!
    I also love Fresh Air. Terry Gross is possibly the best interviewer around.
    This American Life is another gem.
    Pod Save America is very intelligent.

  • Georgia

    Hi Christine – thanks so much for sharing this list with us. I’m a big podcast fan, and I’ve actually listened to a couple of the podcast series you’ve recommended in the past, such as In the Dark. I’ve just subscribed to Reveal, Dirty John and The Daily, so here’s hoping they’ll keep me busy. I’m personally a huge Criminal and Radiolab lover, and The Inquiry is also excellent for weekly, in-depth news analysis (it’s UK-based, but hopefully that doesn’t put anyone off) the last few were on how we can stop people dying in floods, are South Africa’s police failing and who gets to have their own country.


  • Liza in Ann Arbor

    I’m all over the place with podcasts: Pod Save America of course, Travel with Rick Steves (relaxing escapism!), Young House Love, Bon Appetit foodcast, Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast + her sister Liz’s Happier in Hollywood and recent obsession you mentioned above, My Favorite Murder. Depends on my mood I guess. I did start listening to the Daily on your recommendation, but haven’t heard many of the others. Will have to look into those soon!

  • Gillian @ That’s G

    So pumped to see Dirty John on this list! I’ve been a Gimlet fan since the Start Up podcast – and it’s amazing how it has transformed to the leader in the space. A guilty pleasure of mine is “Brain Candy” – it is hosted by Susie Meister and Sarah Rice (of MTV’s The Challenge) fame, but they cover pop culture and current events through a feminist lense. I also love Lovett or Leave It, and several Bachelor podcasts I am too embarrassed to go into anymore detail about here.

  • Caroline Eubanks

    I like Up and Vanished and Serial Killers for true crime, Gravy about Southern culture and food stories, Dear Sugars for a pick me up, and This Pod is Your Pod for social justice.

  • gracesface

    I listen to How I Built This almost every week and Call Your Girlfriend pretty often. I like CYG pretty well but it depends on the episode – I find the sound quality of their interviews to be kind of crappy (I guess I just don’t like hearing people interviewed by phone any more?). And also it can be kind of a downer. Other podcasts I like include Twelve Angry Minutes (interviews by Roisin Agnew followed by a rant by the guest) and Who Weekly (hilarious entertainment babble by Bobby Finger and Lindsey).

  • Liz Carlson

    Love how I built this and my favorite murder (sometimes I just want to laugh). I also love Dear Sugars, Judge John Hodgman, stuff you should know, and Art vs Commerce 🙂

    PS one of my secret ambitions is to start a podcast.

  • camorose

    Woohoo! So glad to hear you’re a fan of Gimlet! 🙂

  • camorose

    All of those topics for The Inquiry sound so interesting–just downloaded it! Thank you for sharing!

  • camorose

    I just can’t get into My Favorite Murder! It feels like something that would be right up my alley, but can’t quite get into the hosts. Sounds like you have a very good podcast lineup though!

  • camorose

    I listened to StartUp before I started working at Gimlet too–it’s nutty to be on the inside of it now! You know I’m a Challenge fan, so I’ve just downloaded Brain Candy. Aaaaand it’s out of season but I’m obviously very committed to Here to Make Friends 🙂

  • camorose

    Downloading Dear Sugars and This Pod is Your Pod now! ty ty!

  • camorose

    Omg SAME. I actually turned off the last CYG episode because the phone quality was so bad, and I just couldn’t! Too spoiled with good sound quality on others now, I suppose.

  • camorose

    I can’t get into Stuff You Should Know, but I just downloaded Dear Sugars! I can’t get into MFM, don’t know why. Also….can totally see you with a podcast!!!

  • Gillian @ That’s G

    Haha YES! Okay, I basically need to take your word for every podcast rec from here on out. Love Here to Make Friends – it makes me feel a little less guilty about an otherwise shamefully guilty pleasure. 🙂

  • camorose

    Haha yesss I feel a little ridiculous when I’m spending like 4 hours a week on Bach related content BUT I really like HTMF in the background when I’m driving or when I’m getting my nails done. It’s like I’m hanging out with some girlfriends!