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. Kelly says:

    I LOVE PODCASTS so much. I listen when I work out. I love:
    Jamie Ivey Podcast (love)
    Happier with Gretchen Rubin
    Serial (of course!) (I’m now on season 2)
    Jess Lively Show
    God Centered Mom

  2. Lindsay says:

    Podcasts are my go to entertainment when working out, cooking, or cleaning the house. I really don’t know how I did any of those things before I started listening to podcasts. Some of my favorites are Serial, The Read Aloud Revival (loved your interview!), The Simple Show, On Being with Krista Tippets, Stories Podcast( kids love to listen to this one), and the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I’ll be adding some of those episodes you mentioned to my listening list.

    • Anne says:

      I *just* listened to my first episode of The Happy Hour and really enjoyed it. I love Krista Tippets too—-I should really subscribe to that one, not sure what’s been stopping me.

  3. Julie says:

    I am always listening to podcasts. I love them so much and I probably subscribe to too many…lol I love the Popcast and Sorta Awesome too. I also really like Dear Book Nerd, On Being, The Drunk Ex-pastors, Being Boss, The Mom Hour, Book Riot, Stuck in the 80s and I will go and search for podcasts after I watch a good tv show or movie and want to hear more about it.

  4. Melanie says:

    I use Podcast Republic and mostly listen to homeschool and theology podcasts. The Briefing, Circe, Cultivating the Kingdom, Cultivating the Lovely, and The Straight Stick are some favorites. I love to listen while I take my walk or when I’m alone in the van.

  5. Alyssa says:

    Thanks for this! I am always late to the party when it comes to tech stuff. I just subscribed to Netflix yesterday. I know.

    It’s not that I find podcasts scary, just that I don’t really know where to begin. This will be a good starting place!!

    • Anne says:

      I’ve been listening to that since it began but I let the episodes start piling up when they started diving deep into the four temperaments. I might declare podcast bankruptcy on Happier to move forward, because I do enjoy it.

  6. Kelty Brittle says:

    Ah! Thanks for this. I love podcasts but some of my old faves have grown cold for me and I was in need of some new ones. I’ve gotten back on the train with Serial (My husband is in the Army National Guard and deployed to Iraq in 2009, so for a myriad of reasons, at first the Bowe Bergdahl storyline was a little weird for me. I have very mixed feelings. Didn’t know if I wanted to go there, but it’s been wild and extremely interesting.)

    Anyway, I’m so glad to hear you say that about the Apple Podcast app update! I thought I was the only dummy who couldn’t get used to it! I had the other one figured out so I could pretty much dial up podcasts while driving without taking my eyes off the road. Now, it requires way too much concentration. Going to check out Overcast now! Happy New Year!!

    • Anne says:

      Oh golly, it’s not just you. 🙂

      I can see how the new season of Serial would be VERY strange. I love your description: “wild and extremely interesting.”

      • Kelty Brittle says:

        Unexpected upside to this Serial Season: I actually talked Ben (my husband) into listening to this season of Serial with me. It’s been great to be able to say to him, “Would that really have happened that way?” or “Was it really like that?” and get his perspective. He tends to be pretty taciturn when it comes to talking about his deployment and I usually don’t know what to ask to get him talking about it, so it has given me opportunities for greater insight into his experience and that year we were half a world apart.

        Deep thoughts about podcasts. Funny how that works. 🙂

  7. Jill Foley says:

    I just listened to the two podcasts you were on…

    The podcasts I listen to regularly are:
    Read Aloud Revival
    Your Morning Basket
    Homeschool Snapshots
    Phil Vischer Podcast
    Inspired to Action
    the Simple Show
    Sorta Awesome

  8. Sarah Jensen says:

    I’ve gotten to where I only listen to podcasts while I run! This American Life is my all-time favorite. Others I listen to are:
    -The Splendid Table
    -The Texas Tribune
    -TED Radio Hour

  9. Sarah M says:

    I was never into podcasts until about 2 years ago, when I discovered doing all the chores in the house while hearing interviews, interesting stories, and the like made that time go so.much.faster. Now, I’m a total podcast junkie. I try to top it at 10 a week. (I often listen to them on long drives as well.)

    My favorites are, in no particular order: On Being with Krista Tippett,
    Read-Aloud Revival, Goins Writer, Elise Gets Crafty, Radiolab, Spilled Milk (hilarious and fun to cook beside, but explicit), The Simple Show with Tsh Oxenreider, Brains On! (Science podcast for my kids), and Pam Barnhill’s 2 homeschool podcasts, Your Morning Basket, and Edsnapshots.

  10. Sarah R says:

    Laura at the Hollywood Housewife showed me podcasts and now I don’t know what I did before. It makes drives and cleaning up so much more enjoyable.

    I loved hearing you on Sorta Awesome. You have a beautiful speaking voice.

    I subscribe to:
    The Mom Hour
    Get Booked
    The Book Riot Podcast
    Edit Your Life
    The Popcast
    Dear Book Nerd
    The Simple Show
    The Lively Show
    Books on the Nightstand
    Happier with Gretchen Rubin
    A Slob Comes Clean
    Sorta Awesome

    I listen with the iphone’s native podcast app. What are the differences/benefits of a different podcast app?

    • Anne says:

      That’s a great list! I didn’t know Nony had a podcast. 🙂

      As for the podcast apps, they are all designed for podcast listening, but they have different designs and different features. I like Overcast because I like the way it looks and operates, it’s easy to search and subscribe and keep track of what I listen to, and the speed is variable.

  11. Katy says:

    Oh, anf after a while using Doggcatcher app for Android and not liking it much, I’ve switched to Pocket Casts, which is free but for one time fee of 9$ the paid version includes sync between devices, and also a web interface.Easier to add new podcasts to the list that way. Also, the interface is more to my liking.

  12. Kirsten says:

    Thank you so much for this updated list! I’m dragging myself reluctantly into the world of podcasts (and audiobooks, while I’m at it). I’m not an auditory learner, so I often tune out when people read aloud to me, but I’m finding podcasts and well done audiobooks so helpful when jogging and ironing. The only podcast I’ve found that I don’t see listed above is Reading Lives, where various people (many of whom are authors) talk about the books that influenced them, starting as children. I can’t wait to listen to you on Read Aloud Revival, by the way!

  13. Dawn says:

    I love several that have been mentioned here! One of my favorites that wasn’t mentioned is Brilliant Business Moms. Beth Anne and Sarah do such a fantastic job talking to women who have started their own businesses!! They also do Blabs which they turn into podcasts, and just this week aired one with Crystal Paine, who gave over an hour of her time coaching women who called in on how to take their businesses to the next step. BBM is awesome!!!

  14. Sarah says:

    I wanted to share my podcast Pantsuit Politics. My friend Beth and I started it because we were tired of all the partisan bickering and plain old meanness. Beth is conservative. I’m liberal and we respectfully and kindly discuss important issues and news of the day and how we think both sides could move forward.

    Mainly, we just try to understand and learn from each other!

  15. Sarah says:

    I wanted to share my podcast Pantsuit Politics. My friend Beth and I started it because we were tired of all the partisan bickering and plain old meanness. Beth is conservative. I’m liberal and we respectfully and kindly discuss important issues and news of the day and how we think both sides could move forward.

    Mainly, we just try to understand and learn from each other!

  16. Sunshine says:

    I’ve recently got into Slate’s The Gist. It’s an interesting, level headed, look at headline news with a little bit of random discussion (example top hits of 1989).

    Vinyl Café Stories from CBC radio is my all time favorite.

  17. kelli says:

    I loved your interview on the Read Aloud Revival. We have just recently figured out that our 11 year old son is HSP. As a non-HSP I really struggle!! Do you have any advice for book screening for a HSP child? Thank you for the additional podcasts… my laundry would never be folded.

    • Anne says:

      “Do you have any advice for book screening for a HSP child?”

      This sounds like such a simple question but the answer could be a book! The short version: know YOUR child’s areas of sensitivities. Help him choose books that are appropriate for HIM. And be prepared to do a lot of pre-screening.

  18. Mairsydoats says:

    I love many of the podcasts mentioned – Happier, Magic Lessons, On Being, Sorta Awesome Megan, Spilled Milk, but also Dear Sugar Radio, Invisibilia, and America’s Test Kitchen (which is always far more interesting that one might think). These keep me seated and on task when my what I’m doing at work is tedious. And housework might never get done if not for podcasts. Seriously. I also take advantage of being able to listen to St. Gregory Nyssa and House of Sinners & Saints sermons without being able to attend those churches. Ain’t nothing like finding one’s tribe!

  19. Natasha Malouf says:

    I’m obsessed with ‘Stuff you missed in history class’, Mystery show, Serial and the Joy the Baker podcast.

  20. Liz says:

    * I always listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour by NPR. That is the only way I know what movies are coming out or what shows to watch. Otherwise there are just too many choices in the world!
    * I also adore To the Best of Our Knowledge, which comes out of Wisconsin Public Radio. There are a couple episodes that I refer back to again and again. The Uses of Enchantment episode is fantastic. They also did a Boots on the Ground series several years ago about the war in Afghanistan & Iraq that is phenomenal.
    * My two favorite episodes of On Being featured Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu: A God of Surprises and Kevin Kling: The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into.
    * For anyone looking to do a Couch to 5K program, the Chubby Jones podcast is a lot of fun. Mia Jones mixes all kinds of music and tells you went to walk and run with little tidbits of her own experiences peppered throughout. Some episodes have some bad language, but nothing crazy.
    *My husband loves the Judge John Hodgman podcast.
    Thanks for the great post, Anne!

  21. Sonja says:

    I use Stitcher an I’m very much in love with Serial, stuff you should know, Women of the Hour, Stuff you missed in History Class and Pop Culture Happy Hour. I just recently discovered podcasts for myself and now really have to catch up 😉

  22. I LOVE PODCASTS! I’ve been obsessed with them for years now, way before it was a “thing,” but I am thrilled more people are into them now. I now have people to chat about with them!

    I love the Totally Married, Totally Laime, and Totally Mommy Podcasts!

  23. Jeannie Reid says:

    I didn’t get into the first season of Serial, but season two has me HOOKED SO HARD. I can’t wait to listen to the new episode today. Isn’t that theme music awesome? I like the Phil Vischer Podcast and Scholastic Reads for all my teacher/book/nerd needs. With all your recommendations, I am set for a nice, long road trip now. Thanks!

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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).

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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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