Nine Must-Listen-To Podcasts Before Swotvac

24 April 2017

About a year ago I became addicted to podcasts. If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you my addiction is ‘pretty annoying.’ As March was #trypod month, a National Public Radio (NPR) initiative celebrating podcasts, so there is no better time to start listening. To avoid scrolling through 250,000 obscurely named podcasts, here are my recommendations.


The NPR Politics Podcast is an American podcast hosted by either NPR’s White House correspondent, Tamara Keith, or congressional reporter, Scott Detrow. They have at least two shows a week and cover the latest from Washington. The discussion is in depth yet punchy. If you want to understand what the hell is going on in the US, this is where I’d head.

Also try: The Daily from the New York Times.



You may know Richard Simmons as that fitness freak with curly hair. In 2014 Simmons didn’t show up to teach a fitness class, and nobody’s heard from him since. Missing Richard Simmons was created by Simmons’ friend who wants to know why the larger-than-life public figure went into hiding. It’s one of the weirdest stories I’ve ever heard.

Also try: Making Oprah and Up and Vanished.



This is not for the fainthearted. It’s about historical murders, but is also a comedy. The humour is dark, with classic lines like “I love kidnappings” and “if you’re in a cult, call your dad” the norm. The hosts read listeners’ hometown murder stories once a week, and release a longer episode where the two discuss one of their ‘favourite’ murders. Listen to a few episodes, and I’m certain you’ll start wanting to sign off emails with, “stay sexy, don’t get murdered.”

Also try: Last Podcast On The Left, The Dollop With Dave Anthony And Gareth Reynolds and True Crime Garage



From the co-creator of Freakonomics comes live show and podcast Tell Me Something I Don’t Know. Contestants try to teach experts from various fields something they don’t know, and some of the facts are amazing. They make for fantastic dinner party conversation and networking ice breakers. It is one of iTunes’ most popular ‘edutainment’ shows.

Also try: Freakonomics Radio and Stuff You Should Know



In 1989, Jacob Wetterling, his brother and his friend were approached by a masked man who said he had a gun. He took Jacob, and told the other two boys to run. Almost 27 years later, In the Dark tried to find out what went wrong. When the podcast began, Jacob’s fate was a mystery, but during the podcast’s creation, the case was solved.

Also try: Serial and Up and Vanished



A lot of people think economics and finance are boring. Planet Money proves them wrong. It is real-world economics explained through incredible stories. My recommended entry episode is #416: Why The Price Of Coke Didn’t Change For 70 Years. Maybe you love economics; maybe you’re a sceptic. Either way Planet Money is for you.

Also try: Freakonomics Radio and Embedded



Song Exploder is unique. Each episode Hrishikesh Hirway asks musicians to pick apart their songs, from inception to end product. From the Downton Abbey theme, to CHVRCHES, to Carly Rae Jepsen, this is an incredible show about the creative process, and how it differs from one genius to the next.

Also try: Sorry, there’s nothing quite like Song Exploder.



Here to navigate you through the mess that is Australian politics are journalists Patricia Karvelas (Marvelous Karvelas) and Fran Kelly. They host guests including Waleed Aly and Annabelle Crab, to cut through the noise of modern government, and take a deep look at politics and policy.

Also try: The Minefield, Insiders, Q&A, RN Drive and RN Breakfast



I’ve saved the best for last: a three-part podcast on the career of Oprah Winfrey. Before I heard this biography, I had little interest in the TV hosts’ life and work, but the evolution of The Oprah Winfrey Show is an incredible story, particularly given the analysis of it in a social context. If there is one podcast you should listen to for #trypod month, it’s Making Oprah. Highlight: When host Jennifer White finds out that they’ve secured an interview with Oprah.

Also try: This American Life and Missing Richard Simmons

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