The podcast is the breakout communications medium of the last couple of years. Fans have Serial to thank for its explosive popularity, and although the story of Adnan Syed well worth a listen, it’s not the only game in town. This is the golden age of podcasting, after all. 2016 has seen a brilliant crop of new podcasts join the fray. Check out the year’s most binge-worthy below and update your subscriptions asap. Your commute is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
How did it take this long for Malcolm Gladwell to get a podcast? Revisionist History sees the best-selling author re-examine past events that have been unjustly overlooked. Each week for 10 weeks, the podcast reviewed and reinterpreted something – an event, a person, an idea – deemed neglected or misunderstood by history. Gladwell’s trademark style makes Revisionist History extremely accessible to all audiences because, as the tagline says, “sometimes the past deserves a second chance.”
How I Built This
It started with Spanx and grew into one of the year’s finest business podcasts. How I Built This is an NPR offering about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they build. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity, and insight told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands. If you’ve ever built something from nothing, something you really care about – or even just dream about it – How I Built This is required listening.
Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People
One phone call. One hour. No names. No holds barred. That’s the premise behind Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, hosted by comedian Chris Gethard. Every week, Chris opens the phone line to one anonymous caller with just one rule: Gethard can’t hang up first, no matter what. From shocking confessions and family secrets, to philosophical discussions and shameless self-promotion, anything can (and does) happen. It’s easily one of the year’s most experimental, honest, and extraordinary new podcasts.
Pardon My Take
Pardon My Take promises to become your new favourite sports talk show thanks to its roster of fresh daily topics, special guests, and “an inability to tell what the hosts might be doing.” Those hosts are internet-famous duo Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter, who bring an engaging mix of analysis, interviews, and satire to the table. Since its debut in March, Pardon My Take has remained in the top five most popular podcasts in the iTunes Sports category.
In The Dark
Never fear, Serial fans, we didn’t forget about you. True crime podcasts are a dime a dozen these days, but In The Dark managed to advance to the front of the pack in 2016. Over eight episodes, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran take on the case of Jacob Wetterling, a 27-year child abduction investigation that changed America forever. It’s a grim tale, and like many true crime podcasts, isn’t always easy listening. What makes it different from its colleagues is that, less than two weeks before In The Dark was set to premiere, police finally broke the decades-old case. Knowing how the story ends offers a different kind of dread.
Technically it started at the end of 2015, but we’re giving this one a pass. Surprisingly Awesome brings former Saturday Night Live writer Adam McKay and NPR journalist Adam Davidson together to try to ‘out-fascinate’ each other. In each episode, one of the hosts picks a seemingly boring topic and must convince the other that it’s actually interesting (make that “surprisingly awesome”). The topics so far have included mold, pigeons, broccoli, cardboard, and even the 1997 Chumbawamba hit, “Tubthumping.” Prepare to leave this podcast with an entirely new appreciation for life and all its mundanities.