The year of the podcast.

The year of the podcast.

Podcasting has never been bigger. The pundits and prophets have declared 2016 “the year of the podcast” (although some said that about 2015 and 2014, as well).

Everyone seems to have a “radio” in their pocket these days, and the popularity of megahits like Serial prompted legions of podcast newbies to finally figure out how to listen.

I have a regular rotation of podcasts that automatically download to my iPhone. I listen while I’m on a run, driving by myself, and folding the laundry (although I get “behind” on my podcasts fairly regularly, because I typically alternate a few days of podcast listening with a few days of an audiobook.)

It’s so easy once you get the hang of it, although Apple really through me for a loop when they changed their player a few months back. I almost switched to the Stitcher app (which is also available on Android) but finally settled on the Overcast app (also free), which feels a little more seamless than the native podcasting app for iOS.

(If you’re just getting started, check out Hollywood Housewife’s How to Listen to Podcasts 101 post.

You can subscribe and listen to every episode of a podcast, or you can listen to just one episode (I currently have quite a few single episodes queued up to do just that).

I’ve shared my favorite podcasts before; here’s an update on what’s high in my rotation right now:

• Start Up. I love Gimlet’s first podcast about launching a new small business. Well done, fun to listen to, and a great discussion starter at my house. This is the first thing I listen to when a new episode appears.

Personality Hacker. So much fun for MBTI geeks like me.

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert. I was iffy on the first few episodes, but her shows and guests recently have been fantastic: Cheryl Strayed, Ann Patchett, Brené Brown, Rob Bell.

The Popcast with Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden. This pop culture show is devoted to “the things that entertain, but do not matter,” and it’s a breath of fresh air when my reading and listening skews towards the Very Serious. I was listening to this while brushing my teeth recently and I spit my toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror when Jamie started singing. You’ve been warned.

I was currently a guest on two of my current favorites: 

Sorta Awesome with Megan Tietz. This show is so warm and comfortable and funny, and Megan is perfect for the host role. I was recently on episode 38 to discuss the best books of 2015 with Laura Tremaine.

Read Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. This wonderful show is devoted to reading with kids. Sarah and I had a great chat in episode 37 about cultivating a reading life at home (for grown-ups and for kids).

Individual episodes I’ve loved, or currently have queued up in Overcast:

• “Britney” on The Mystery Show. When I told my husband I loved the “Belt Buckle” episode but hadn’t heard any others, he said “have you really not heard the one about Britney Spears’s book?” That got my attention. I just listened to this yesterday and it is delightful.

• J. K. Rowling on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. When I blogged about speeding through Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series, you recommended this episode. Thank you! Well worth a listen.

The Problem We All Live With Parts I and II by This American Life. Important and fascinating—even more so because I live in Louisville, Kentucky, a city singled out in the show for being an anomaly in terms of integration. I learned so much about my own city from this episode.

Ira Glass on the Longform Podcast. Because who can resist Ira Glass?

• I’ve also been cherry picking from The Atlantic’s list of the 50 best podcast episodes of 2015.

What are YOUR favorite podcasts? What do you subscribe to, what app do you use (if any), what favorite episodes would you recommend? 

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  1. Bridget says:

    I also second The Read Aloud Revival, Morning Basket, and Homeschool Snapshots, but my absolute favorite that I didn’t see listed is The Busy Mom podcast with Heidi St.John. She does the podcast with one of her friends and it’s very encouraging to moms. I also like that it tends to be short (10-15 minutes per episode), so you can listen to it in “one setting.” Heidi and Derinda are hilarious too!

  2. Jenny says:

    Overdrive (ebook lending through library’s) recently put out a podcast. They have different staff members each week talk about what they’re reading or upcoming books. I enjoy it but the sound quality is pretty poor most of the time.

    Also, Masterpiece just realeased a podcast! Get your Downton, Mercy Street, Sherlock, etc fix every Monday morning.

  3. Ayatz says:

    The Simple Show with Tsh Oxenrider
    Read Aloud Revival Podcast with Sarah MacKenzie
    (Which is also how I figured out who you are, although I’ve seen you mentioned by MoneySavingMom)

    How did you come up with the name Modern Mrs. Darcy?

    I will be interested to know how you like Spark Joy by Mari Kondo.

    Have you read 20 Lessons from Madame Chic, author Jennifer L Scott? She has two other books, all worth reading. I breezed through these at a faster than normal pace for me.

    Thanks for your site, I’ll be visiting again.

    • Anne says:

      I loved the first Madame Chic book! I’m looking forward to reading the third but haven’t yet.

      Modern Mrs Darcy is a riff on Jane Austen. The name was born late on a December evening over sushi and conversation with my husband.

      So glad you enjoyed the RAR podcast!

  4. Jamie says:

    Being on a list of yours makes me happy in all the squishy ways. Some of my favorite episodes:
    Death, Sex, and Money (Joy Williams episode)
    Arc Stories (Creeper Cop episode)
    Invisibilia (How to Become Batman episode)
    OffCamera (Matt Damon or Bill Lawrence episode)
    The Moment with Brian Koppelman (Jon Acuff episode)
    Mortified (The Girl Who Cried Y2K episode)

    • Anne says:

      You have great taste so I’m so glad to have your list!

      The Joy Williams episode of Death, Sex, and Money was phenomenal. I’ve never heard of Arc Stories or Mortified but am queuing up now. The first episode I listened to of Invisibilia creeped me out but I keep hearing this particular episode is amazing. I keep meaning to try OffCamera: thanks for the tips on where to start. And I do love The Moment, but it’s Mary Karr’s episode that has a special place in my heart.

  5. Dianne says:

    Love the suggestions so far. I love history and genealogy and books. So my favorite podcasts include these: Ben Franklin’s World_A Podcast About Early American History (This is my most favorite podcast and podcaster), Books On the Nightstand, Get Booked (book recommendations from Book Riot), The Bowery Boys (NYC History), A Way with Words (English usage in a fun way).

  6. Tracey says:

    Thanks for introducing us to Overcast. It is so much cleaner and simpler to use than the native Apple app, which drove me nuts! Will look forward to checking out some of the podcasts you suggested. I jumped on the “Serial” bandwagon too, but also listen to a lot of Australian podcasters such as Chat 10 Looks 3, 2 Fat Expats and the Mia Freedman Podcast Network. I have an hour drive each way to work, so perfect listening time.

  7. Katrina says:

    The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean is my favourite. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Stuart’s shows live twice and his voice is a guaranteed dose of calm. My kids love the stories, so it’s a great one to listen to as a family, at home or on long drives, and the listener story exchange letters make me feel warm and fuzzy every time.

    • renee @ FIMBY says:

      I concur. Thank you thank you for the personality hacker link. Oh, I’m eating that stuff up. Fresh understanding, new lightbulb moments. I’ve been devouring the site and the podcast for the past couple days, since you mentioned it. Thanks Anne.

      • renee @ FIMBY says:

        opps this comment was supposed to thread under the next comment. Ironically, I must also endorse Vinyl Cafe. One of my absolute favorite. You would LOVE it Anne. It’s kind of like a Canadian version of A Prairie Home companion, but with a completely different flavor. Stuart McLean’s stories about Dave, Morley and their life in Toronto are best part of the show (though the music can be really good also.) Oh… just listen. There are years worth of stories you could get into. I’ve “known” Dave, Morley and their kids for ages, sigh.

  8. Brandy says:

    Thanks so much for mentioning Personality Hacker! I’m not an avid listener of podcasts, but I do like having a few stored on my phone if I want something different while I’m exercising. Right now, I’m enjoying Personality Hacker so much that I’ve listened to several episodes in a row, and that never happens with any kind of audio, be it talk radio, podcasts, or audiobooks. I’m not great at focusing on audio, and I find myself tuning it out quickly, but I’m not having that problem at all with this podcast.

  9. Stacey says:

    I can’t wait to spend time going through some of your new-to-me suggestions! I am totally in love with podcasts right now. Th only ones that I like that you didn’t mention are the Book Riot podcasts. They have a bunch- I like their main podcast, All the Books and Get Booked the best.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I love the idea of podcasts, but I find that I don’t get to listen to them that often. The podcast I always make time to listen to is Sally Clarkson’s new podcast. She is so encouraging to mom’s in the trenches and I love hearing her speak. I also listen to Kat Lee’s Inspired to Action podcast as it is also very encouraging for moms.

  11. I’ve not heard of most of these podcasts. But I do listen to the Read Aloud Revival podcast. Your episode with Sarah was great! Oh and I just got my blog post up for the reading challenge yesterday. Here’s the link:

    I’m so looking forward to this challenge. And I actually completed another category after I posted my blog post yesterday….a book you can read in a day. Love The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Great book!

  12. megan says:

    Podcasts are the best! I’ve been making a new “must listen to” list from this comment thread. My 9yo likes listening, too, so I’m always looking for kid-friendly ones. Thank you so much! Some (not necessarily kid-friendly) podcasts that I already listen to are:

    Snap Judgment
    Stuff You Missed in History Class
    Stuff You Should Know
    This American Life
    Death, Sex, & Money
    The Mortified Podcast

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Are you a Downton Abbey fan? I remember seeing in a Kindle deal email that you at least were at one time! If you stopped watching somewhere in the middle pleeeaaase give it another try…this sixth season is shaping up to be one of the best, I think 🙂 But if you enjoy behind-the-scenes inside talk, you should check out a new podcast series called Masterpiece Studio! With this sixth and final season airing right now, they’re running the podcast series every week and featuring conversations with the cast, producers, and the show’s historical adviser. So interesting! There have been two so far, and last week’s was a chat with Michelle Dockery, the actress who plays Lady Mary. I’m really looking forward to listening every week over the next month or so!

  14. Wow – I have added lots of these suggestions to my already very full podcast list. I drive a lot for my job and listen to podcasts in the car and in my kitchen.

    In the UK they are not quite so popular, but there are still plenty to choose from.

    I love the quintessentially english Radio 4 Women’s Hour
    The Moth podcast makes me laugh and cry
    Answer me this is hysterical too.

  15. Jessica Austen says:

    My three favorite podcasts are fictional stories that are wonderful to get lost in.
    1) Welcome to Night Vale
    2) The Black Tapes (done in the style of Serial)
    3) Tanis

  16. Lara says:

    My favourite is definitely Dear Hank and John – they are two of my favourite personalities and I learn so much (and laugh so much!) each episode. They discuss anything and everything.

  17. Kate says:

    Oh podcasts, my loves.
    I’m super addicted to The Black Tapes Podcast and Tanis. They are both docudramas which focus on the supernatural, demons, hauntings and are full of twists and turns in every episode. They are 2 separate series so I recommend listening to them from the beginning.

    Also The History Chicks is a personal favourite of mine.

  18. Podcasts are the BFF that make household chores enjoyable! Here are my top 3:

    1. The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: it’s like having a lighthearted conversation with a girlfriend over coffee or drinks
    2. “What Should I Read Next” (duh): literary matchmaking at it’s finest
    3. “The Balanced Bites Podcast”: great for geeking out on nutrition, with a hint of pop culture sprinkled in

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