Podcasts worth listening to

I was late to podcasts but when the podcast app appeared on my phone after a software update a couple of years ago, I was curious.

I started with Serial. In retrospect, a dumb move because Serial is so goddamn good and for a while, I didn’t think much could match it. Since then, the podcast world has exploded and I’ve discovered lots of great things to listen to.

As I’m always asking others for their podcast recommendations (and suggesting good places to start for those new to podcasts), I thought I’d put together a list of the ones I think are truly worth listening to.

A couple of things to note: there’s a fair bit of true crime reporting on the list – it seems to have found its domain in podcasts. Secondly, there’s not any bookish podcasts – I know there are lots and lots out there but blogging and reading dominates my bookish time, so I simply haven’t got into literary podcasts. Lastly, I listen to a few work (counselling) related podcasts – I haven’t included them here unless I think they have broader appeal.

Start Here


  • Trace – Australian true crime story about the 1980 unsolved murder of a woman
  • Unravel – three seasons of unsolved Australian true crime stories
  • Slow Burn – a new perspective on the Monica Lewinsky/ Bill Clinton situation
  • The Dropout – riveting story about medical fraud
  • Happy Face – what happens when you’re the daughter of a serial killer?
  • Alone: A Love Story – a memoir about a marriage
  • Chasing Ghosts – ignore the NZ accents and get stuck in
  • Heaven’s Gate – if you feel like cults instead of true crime
  • In the Dark – in depth look at two separate cases.
  • Broken Harts – true crime meets the dangers of living the Facebook lie
  • Dr. Death – almost unbelievable…
  • Homecoming – fictitious but gripping
  • Dirty John – I was hooked from episode 1 and binge-listened the whole thing
  • Accused – two seasons, two different true crime cases
  • Gladiator – the cost of sporting glory?
  • Believed – all the trigger warnings for this expose on Olympic gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, and his abuse of hundreds of women and girls over decades
  • The Dream – pyramid selling, how it sucks people in, and why it always fails the majority
  • UnErased – the history of conversion therapy in America
  • Silent Waves – trigger warnings. Story of one girl’s traumatic childhood
  • Missing Richard Simmons – ethical questions have been raised – shouldn’t we just leave Richard alone? Perhaps
  • Phoebe’s Fall – Australian true crime investigation
  • American Fiasco – I’m not a soccer fan but this is terrific
  • Who the Hell is Hamish? – spoiler: an Australian conman
  • Over My Dead Body – ongoing murder investigation
  • One Plus One – in depth look at great collaborations
  • Legal Wars – the story behind legal precedents (more exciting than it sounds!)
  • Death in Ice Valley – real life Nordic noir

Or when you’ve only got time for one episode..

  • Gastropod – food with a side of science and history
  • Joan and Jericha – so, so wrong on so many levels but so, so funny
  • Invisibilia – human behaviour, storytelling and scientific research
  • Household Name – the odd stories behind some of the biggest brand names
  • Revisionist History – pick and choose your episodes but here is a good place to start
  • Change Agent, – unusual approach to problem-solving that makes for compelling listening
  • Hit Parade – the eighties and nineties episodes are tops
  • Tall Tales & True – laugh-out-loud funny
  • All in the Mind – radio show turned podcast (all about behaviour and the brain)
  • Love Me – stories about the messiness of love and relationships
  • Where Should We Begin? – couples counsellor Esther Perel does her thing
  • Embedded – journalist creates podcast ‘feature stories’.
  • Heavyweight – a ‘therapist with a time machine’

Are there any podcasts that you’d recommend? Let me know and I’ll add them to my TBLT (to-be-listened-to) list.


9 responses

  1. I feel I might be really missing out by not trying to bring podcasts into my life. My 15 year old son loves podcasts, he’s always listening and telling me about what he’s into but so far I’ve only listened to a little bit of one bookish one. It was good, but then I forgot about it.

  2. I also mistakenly started with Serial as well and didn’t listen to podcasts again for months! I ended up loving S-Town and Dirty John and I listened to Dr. Death just recently. There’s a new one from them called Over My Dead Body that I’ve added but have yet to listen to. I haven’t commited to starting another one yet so I’ve been listening to one-off episodes of Criminal. Definitely going to have to check out more of these on your list!

  3. Sooner or later you podcast advocates are going to persuade me. I asked my granddaughter about synching my phone (or a dedicated mp3 player) to the truck radio and she said for a few bucks I could get wifi speakers and sit them on the dash. That slippery slope will take me down to an audio-book account, I know.

    • Thin end of the wedge, Bill! 😀
      In all honesty, I listen to podcasts because I can’t justify forking out for an audio book account when I have so many books unread at home. I listen to some audio books however my library has a very limited selection and I have pretty much exhausted the titles I’m interested in. Podcasts fill the gap (I listen when I go walking or am driving) – I do prefer ones that are serialised, I guess because they have a narrative pull.
      Anyway, when the time comes and you let podcasts in, I promise you’ll find loads of good stuff to listen to.

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