15% of Americans listened to a podcast in 2014. That’s the highest amount ever according to a study by Statista, and 66% higher than 2008.
With over 100,000 available podcasts in the iTunes store alone, there are endless options available to you to start listening for the first time. But cutting through the clutter can be difficult.
At Sqrl, we’re self declared podcast junkies. Our CEO Ryan loves the Gist, I love Star Talk, and our Chief of Success Jimmy never misses a BS Report.
With all the hours of podcasting under our belt, we wanted to give others who spend over 8 hours a day staring at computer screens an alternative to stale playlists and worn out Pandora stations.
Here’s 25 of the best podcasts to listen to while at work.
“Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won’t know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings. Serial, like This American Life, is a production of WBEZ Chicago.”
Why we like it: Serial comes from Sarah Koenig of This American Life, perhaps the most popular public radio show (and podcast) in the last 20 years. Serial follows the mystery of an actual murder in real time. So you can follow along with the reporting and be just as surprised at the ending as Sarah herself.
“First-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising.”
Why we like it: This American Life does a better job narrating our modern world than any other show or program I’ve ever heard. Ira Glass is a master storyteller with an endearing tone. Many of the profiles from the show as obscure, but told so well, you’re captivated no matter the subject material.
3) Radio Lab
“On Radiolab, science meets culture and information sounds like music. Each episode of Radiolab® is an investigation — a patchwork of people, sounds, stories and experiences centered around One Big Idea. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, Radiolab is produced by WNYC public radio.”
Why we like it: If Bill Nye created a podcast for adults, it would be Radio Lab. The two hosts explore wonderfully mundane topics, that just like This American Life, will suck you in immediately. For example, did you know our human ancestors used to be the prey of Eagles? Finally explains why we have loads of respect for that beautiful bird.
“How do viruses work? How did the Great Train Robbery work? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the Stuff You Should Know about everything from genes to the Galapagos in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.”
Why we like it: The title of the podcast says enough, you need listen, because you should already know this stuff!
5) Planet Money
“Money makes the world go around, faster and faster every day. On NPR’s Planet Money, you’ll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks — all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy.”
Why we like it: Planet Money, like This American Life, is one of the premier NPR podcasts. As former accountants ourselves, we love economy talk, and the loads of fact and perspective make it more interesting than your Econ 101 class.
6) Star Talk
“Science meets comedy and pop culture on StarTalk Radio! Astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, his comic co-hosts, guest celebrities and scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe.”
Why we like it: I don’t know if the whole team likes this one, but I do. Ever since college I’ve been a nut for all things space, and Neil deGrasse Tyson presents the abstract concepts of space and physics in an easy to understand way. I mean what’s more exciting than talking about the final frontier?
“Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day – WTF? He’ll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head.”
Why we like it: Ok, we’ll be the first to admit we’re not huge Marc Maron fans. But the show itself is entertaining and he interviews a lot of great people. If you’re a fan of stand-up comedians, you should definitely be listening to WTF with Marc Maron.
“A series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one. With Alex Blumberg from This American Life & Planet Money.”
Why we like it: This has become one of our favorites around the office. Hearing Alex Blumberg divulge his entire “starting a business” experience in real time is fascinating, awkward, and endearing. For anyone else at a startup or thinking of starting a business yourself, this podcast is a must.
“In “Hardcore History” the very unconventional Dan Carlin takes his “Martian”, outside-the-box way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This is a difficult-to-classify show that has a rather sharp edge. It’s not for everyone. But the innovative style and approach has made “Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History” a New Media hit.”
Why we like it: If you’re a history buff, Hardcore History is the best podcast available on iTunes. But be warned, it is definitely hardcore, with episodes sometimes longer than 4-hours, Hardcore History is not for the feint of heart.
10) The Nerdist
“I am Chris Hardwick. I am on TV a lot and have a blog at nerdist.com. This podcast is basically just me talking about stuff and things with my two nerdy friends Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, and usually someone more famous than all of us. Occasionally we swear because that is fun. I hope you like it, but if you don’t I’m sure you will not hesitate to unfurl your rage in the ‘reviews’ section because that’s how the Internet works.”
Why we like it: Admittedly I was late to the Nerdist, not jumping in until their interview with Anthony Bourdain (episode 528). But it’s full of amazing interviews with famous personalities and celebrities. If you’re looking for a beginner podcast to get up and running, we’d definitely suggest The Nerdist.
11) The BS Report
“Grantland’s Bill Simmons discusses sports and pop culture with celebrities and media personalities.”
Why we like it: We love Bill Simmons and sports, so this one is a no-brainer. If you’re looking for a sports talk show in podcast form, The BS Report is defintiely for you.
12) Comedy Bang Bang
“Join host Scott Aukerman (“Comedy Bang! Bang!” on IFC, “Mr. Show”) for a weekly podcast that blends conversation and character work from today’s funniest comedians. While Scott begins by traditionally interviewing the celebrities, the open-door policy means an assortment of eccentric oddballs can pop by at any moment to chat, compete in games, and engage in comic revelry.”
Why we like it: Comedy Bang Bang is an unconventional brand of comedy. But their cult following has propelled them to success and a television show on IFC. Trying to figure out if Comedy Bang Bang is for you, watch this clip of co-conspirator Reggie Watts, and if you dig it, you should try the podcast too.
“Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him “the world’s best human guinea pig,” and The New York Times calls him “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk.” In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.”
Why we like it: Read The 4-Hour Workweek and you’ll understand. Tim Ferriss is the master of efficiency, self-sustainability, and living life to the max. If any of those things interest you, hit play on the The Tim Ferriss show immediately.
“TV Host and Foodist Alton Brown reviews recent food news, chat’s with Celebrities about their culinary passions, takes calls from listeners and basically does whatever he flippin’ wants for 45 minutes.”
Why we like it: There’s nothing more to say than we’re a team full of foodies. If you watch Iron Chef each night before you go to bed, you should probably listen to The Alton Browncast too.
“Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Blog reveals all of his online business and blogging strategies, income sources and killer marketing tips and tricks so you can be ahead of the curve with your online business or blog. Discover how you can create multiple passive income streams that work for you so that you can have the time and freedom to do what you love, whether it’s traveling the world, or just living comfortably at home. Although Pat confesses he is not a millionaire, he’s been supporting his family 100% with passive income generated online, easily earning a six-figure salary while working only a few hours a week. Automation, outsourcing, crowdsourcing, search engine optimization, building authority and trust, niche sites, social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasting, eBooks, online courses, affiliate marketing, getting things done and everything that works (and doesn’t work) to help you better understand how to crush it with your online business.”
Why we like it: Because who doesn’t want smart passive income? Pay Flynn loads each podcast full of tips and advice on how to grow your personal wealth with little to no work. Sound crazy? Pat Flynn will make you think it’s believable.
“Entrepreneur On Fire is a podcast created for you, the Serial Entrepreneur, Side-Preneur, or Small Business Owner. If you are looking for inspiration, motivation, and ACTIONABLE advice during your daily commute, workout, or “me” time, John Lee Dumas delivers 7-days a week. Each episode brings you a successful Entrepreneur who shares their journey: Their failures, AH-HA moments, successes, and much more”
Why we like it: When I started work on my first business I listened to EoF everyday. Listening to the war stories of other entrepreneurs was the only mentorship and guidance I had. And with Entrepeneur on Fire playing 7-days a week, I always had something to listen to on the drive to work. If you’re considering starting your own business, this is a wonderful podcast to help you along your journey.
17) The Gist
“Slate’s The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you’ll be discussing with friends and family tonight.”
Why we like it: The Gist is a perfect balance of news and current events, with a dash of humor. Since it’s delivered daily and only 30 minutes long, it just may be the best commuter podcast on this list.
“Join us for weekly interviews with 500 Startups founders, investors, and mentors.”
Why we like it: Again with the startup thing, we know. But it’s so cool to hear from founders of companies in one of the world’s top startup accelerators. The good, the bad, and the ugly in 30ish minute increments. If you’re in the startup world, this is another must listen for your team.
“THRIVEal is a place where CPAs build Community, Collaborate, focus on Technology and Innovate for the future of the CPA industry. The THRIVEcast, the monthly podcast from the Network, is Jason and Greg’s dysfunctional journey through the changes taking place in the public accounting space. Journey with them and their warped humor to a place of greater business enlightenment in your business and in your freakin’ life! Change is coming… (dang it!)”
Why we like it: We’re former accountants and huge fans of Jason & Greg. While this podcast is not for everyone, we think small businesses owners and accountants would love the fresh take (and humor) these two offer on the Thrivecast.
20) The Beancounter
“The Bean Counter is your guide to a successful accounting career! Whether you’re in University looking for you’re first job, or crushing it at your full time career, The Bean Counter is the show for you! We have topics ranging from preparing your resume and interviewing, to dealing with salary negotiations and being promoted. We’ll have interviews with today’s most inspring accountants and find out how they got where they are today, and what advice they have for you! We’ll also talk with recruiters to find out what they’re looking for, so you can best position yourself for the career of your dreams!”
Why we like it: It’s an accounting thing, we know, but this an awesome podcast for accounting students deciding on what to do after graduation. Andrew Argue is one of the few content crafters specifically for the accounting industry and does a wonderful job of delivering value to his listeners with each episode!
“Ask Me Another blends brainteasers and local pub trivia night with comedy and music into a rambunctious hour-long show. Play along as Host Ophira Eisenberg invites in-studio guests and listeners alike to stretch their noggins, tickle their funny bones, and enjoy witty banter and guitar riffs from house musician Jonathan Coulton. What you’ll hear resembles the casual intimacy of game night at a friend’s house: one where scores are forgotten in favor of hilarious gaffes.”
Why we like it: Another NPR production, they’ve perfected the podcast and this one is no different. Although less focused on storytelling and science, Ask Me Another is produced in-front of a live audience and carries a fun and different theme than most others we listen to. Another great starting point for first-time podcast listeners.
“What up what up! My new podcast has 3 elements: the interview, someone commenting on the interview, and me. Sweet! It’s entitled Interested. Why do I call it Interested? ‘Cause I’m actually INTERESTED in the people that I’m talking to and I hope you are interested too. My guests will include Arsenio Hall, Andy Dick, Whitney Cummings, Chris Rock, and others outside of the comedy world.”
Why we like it: One word, hyphenated, “Bio-dome”
“What happened during China’s Cultural Revolution? Join Holly and Tracy as they bring you the greatest and strangest Stuff You Missed In History Class.”
Why we like it: We’re history and information nerds. We spend our happy hours talking about obscure articles and coffee breaks chatting about interesting facts. Neither of which have to do with work (and that’s the point). If you’re looking to catch up on things you missed while dozing off in school, give Stuff You Missed in HIstory Class a try.
24) Jalen & Jacoby
“ESPN’s Jalen Rose and David Jacoby give the people what they want, breaking down the latest in sports and pop culture as only they can.”
Why we like it: I started listening to Jalen & Jacoby in the last couple months after at the suggestion of a friend. When you combine sports and hip-hop references, we can be friends. You hear that Jalen & Jacoby?
“How does cooking at high altitudes work? How does popcorn work? How do calorie meters work? Join Marshall Brain as he explores the science behind everything from microwave popcorn to metal detectors.”
Why we like it: Our team can’t get enough interesting facts and tidbits. While all of our mothers wished we had this thirst for knowledge as youths, we’d have nothing to talk about at lunch if it wasn’t for podcasts like Brainstuff
If there are any we left out that you love to listen to, let us know in the comment section below!!