Radio “just ain’t” what it used to be. In the olden days, you’d turn the dial, try to avoid the whistles and pops, then land on a station that plays Hotel California every half an hour. Today, you can build your own music playlists, and you can also line up a stream of talk-radio-style podcasts that cover every topic you can imagine. Here are ten of the best to listen to this year:
If you liked the Freakonomics books, you’ll love Stephen Dubner’s podcast which is full of interviews and analyses that make you go, “huh.” It’s a solid mix of economics, social studies, and stuff that makes you think.
Motley Fool Money
If you want to understand what’s happening in the world of business and finance, Motley Fool has always been the place to turn. Its money-based podcast airs on the radio every week in many major cities, but you can also subscribe to its take of business news on iTunes and Stitcher.
Bad Crypto Podcast
One of the most significant innovations in money recently has been the growth of cryptocurrencies. If all the talk of Bitcoin and virtual coins has given you a real headache, then the Bad Crypto Podcast is your aspirin. It’s fun and down-to-earth, but it’s also a useful and clear guide through the world of digital currencies and ICOs.
The Dave Ramsey Show
Sometimes, you want your financial advice to feel personal and focused on family issues. Dave Ramsay is a financial coach who has been successful, been broke, and learned the lessons. He now brings those lessons to others. His podcasts offer common sense, life and money tips.
Crime is big on podcasts. Crimetown looks at criminal activity in a different city each season. Lately, it’s been digging up dirt on Detroit. Even if you’re not from the city, it’s interesting — and a warning to everyone. It’s only on Spotify.
This American Life
If you haven’t been listening to This American Life, you haven’t really been listening to podcasts. This is the podcast that set the standard, with true stories covering a smorgasbord of life in America. It’s always surprising and always worth hearing.
Serial isn’t only about the failures of the justice system, but that’s precisely what Undisclosed places its focus. Each episode takes one case and explores the investigation, the trial, and the result of difficult cases. It’s frustrating and challenging, but it’s also fascinating and essential.
If investigative reporting is your thing, then Reveal should be on your listening list. The topics range from national security and criminal justice to history and science. It’s like a great news magazine landing in your ears every few days.
How Did This Get Made?
There’s nothing like sitting down in front of a movie with a group of friends and a bucket of popcorn — and ripping shreds off the mess on the screen. How Did This Get Made? brings together a group of mates to watch very poor movies and say rude things about them. It’s hilarious.
Malcolm Gladwell is best known for his books The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. His Revisionist History podcast takes a second look at an event, a person or an idea from the past. It’s an excellent opportunity to think again about something you thought you knew.
The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry
If science is your bag, then you really should listen to The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry. Made by the BBC and presented by geneticist Mark Rutherford and mathematician Hannah Fry, the pair answer scientific questions every week in a show filled with insight and humor.
In Our Time
And if you really feel like expanding your mind, then the BBC’s In Our Time is like a series of university courses. Each week a group of academics come together to explain a topic from the worlds of culture, history, science, philosophy, and religion. It can be a tough listen, but it’s always an enlightening one.
This podcast, with host Tiffani Bova, is like listening in on two friends talking over coffee. With her eclectic guest lineup including leading thinkers, Best Selling Authors, an Olympic Athlete, an NFL Coach, and a Grammy Nominated Artist all sharing what they have learned along the way, and What’s Next for companies and individuals as they look to innovate and grow both their business and themselves.