10 Podcasts to Improve Your Commute

We’re back! And now with even more podcasts we love — all to help fill that time between wake up and work (coffee not included). Podcasts have seriously taken off since the days of iPod minis (remember when there wasn’t even a dedicated podcast app?) and now we’re inundated with new and trending podcasts at every turn.

We’ve previously brought you some awesome choices (and then even more), but today I’m breaking down a few of my favorites and why you should add them to your “subscribe” list, pronto. (You can thank me later.)

1. The Nerdist

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An oldie, but just as good now — arguably even better — as it was back in 2010. Join Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira, and Jonah Ray as they interview hoards of amazing celebs, creatives, and influencers (I HIGHLY recommend all three of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s episodes) with plenty of nerdy delights thrown in along the way. Bonus: New episodes are dropping all-the-damn-time, and with a truly ginormous backlog, you’ll never have “nothing to listen to” again.

Start with: 2016: The Year of No Chill

 

2. 99% Invisible

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Roman Mars (podcasting legend) hosts “99% Invisible,” a deep dive into the design all around us, and most that we frequently forget to really see. It’s a truly fascinating look at the structures that make up our world — why they exist, how they were put in place, and their relevance now. I learn something new and incredible every time I turn this on. Plus, Roman Mars has one of the BEST radio voices. Delightful.

Start with: 226 – On Average

 

3. The Lively Show

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Need a little motivation to start your day? You’re not alone! Join Jess Lively and her bevy of amazing guests as they talk through struggles, triumphs, and setting intentions for life — from the daily grind to long-term goals. It’s the perfect inspiration for anyone feeling overwhelmed or needing encouragement from someone who’s been there.

Start with: TLS #188: The Law of Attraction (and the 3 most common misconceptions)

 

4. How Did This Get Made

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In “How Did This Get Made,” hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas (#notontwitterguys) seriously ponder — but not all at seriously most of the time — how the more unique movies of our time get made (from “Death Spa” to “Teen Witch”). This is the podcast that introduced me to podcasts and is maybe my favorite thing in the world. It’s HILARIOUS and has turned me on to so many amazing and talented comedians. I’ve recommended it to countless people — solicited and unsolicited, cause that’s how I roll — and have never heard a bad word. Which is to say: Why aren’t you listening already?

Start with: Ep. 95: Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (w/ Katie Aselton)

 

5. Lore

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“Lore” was recommended to me by one of the coolest people I know and I am now officially obsessed. Delving into the history of superstitions, “Lore” explores the eerie, mesmerizing world of the bizarre and supernatural — in easily digestible 30-minute episodes. Catch it now before the upcoming TV show (especially to be all hipster and claim you knew it “before it was a thing”).

Start with: Episode 15: Unboxed (warning: creepy af)

 

6. My Favorite Murder

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What is it about murder, death, and all things gruesome that is so fascinating? Join Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark as they share their favorite murder and true crime stories. A place to indulge an obsession with the macabre, all judgment checked at the door. I listened to four hours of “My Favorite Murder” on a drive from Ann Arbor to Chicago in the dead (see what I did there) of night and was completely captivated the entire time. This is for anyone looking to fill the “Serial” / “Making a Murder” void.

Start with: Seven Murders in Heaven

 

7. Women of the Hour

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Lena Dunham’s podcast did an episode entirely on cats — I’m serious — so it’s instantly aces in my book. Dunham’s impressive dossier of guests includes amazing and influential women who have stories to tell, big or small. It’s fascinating to hear and so important as a space for ordinary and extraordinary women to share a small slice of their journey.

Start with: Trapped: Season 2, Episode 1

 

8. Anna Faris is Unqualified

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A colorful mix of improv, call-in advice, and gentle bickering, “Unqualified” makes me laugh out loud in public places — which is always the sign of something really good. Also a happy coincidence: The unqualified (get it?) advice for call-in listeners is actually really constructive and useful. Who knew? (I did, and now you do too. You’re welcome.)

Start with: 2016 Memorable Moments Vol. 1

 

9. Call Your Girlfriend

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Having just moved away from my (lovely, talented, and amazing) bff — miss you, Amy! — I connect with Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow’s podcast, “Call Your Girlfriend” on a soul-deep level. Episodes range from politics to pop culture to food to emerging tech. A mash-up of earnest conversation between two undeniably smart women, it’s truly enjoyable to listen to (and for anyone who needs a little girl talk now and again).

Start with: Episode 71: I Have No Proof

 

10. You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

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Another interview style show, but this one gets DEEP — nothing is off limits, including spirituality, death, and any/all of our human vices. It’s seriously nice to hear opinions and thoughts on topics that aren’t usually covered in a standard interview — there’s no judgment here (Holmes is an excellent host that way), it’s just about digging in and getting to whatever truth the guest has to tell. It makes you think, in a way that’s enjoyable and introspective all at the same time.

Start with: Emily V. Gordon or Keegan-Michael Key

  • I would also recommend Criminal, Accused, In The Dark, and Garance Dore’s Pardon My French! Happy listening!

    • Devon

      Criminal is soo good! They are also short so you can listen to one episode in one go rather than having to break it up.
      If you liked Serial, I would recommend Undisclosed. The first season they break down the Adnan Syed case but season two is all about a new case, Joey Watkins. They really find their groove in the second season too.

      • I had no idea Undisclosed had a second season!! I will have to listen!

    • Thanks for these recs! I’ve been hearing such good things about Criminal, can’t wait to try it out 🙂

  • i’m always on the hunt for good pod casts! I actually listen to them at work in my headphones. It’s always nice to be entertained and inspired while working 🙂 Thanks for the share!
    http://www.luellapearl.com

  • Biana Perez

    I love How I built this on NPR – they have some great entrepreneurs on there from Instagram to Dry Bar! BlovedBoston

    • I just started listening to this series too! So well done!

  • I LOVE 99% invisible it’s so so so good

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • Courtney Johnson

    I would also suggest Made It by Maker Academy for Creative Entreprenuers, Gilmore Guys and Adventures in Happiness!

    • I loved Gilmore Guys! I need to start watching Bunheads so I can keep up with their new episodes.

  • I also love Criminal, Reveal, Code Switch, Nerdette, More Perfect, Embedded, Stranglers, Hidden Brain, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and various book-related podcasts. There are so many! I’ve had to start deleting one each time I subscribe to a new one because I have no space on my phone haha.

    • Lol, I hear you! I’m constantly like “do I need these photos or do I want more podcasts?” Literally so many good ones out there! Thanks for these recs 🙂

  • Thank you for these recommendations! I have been listening to LORE since it’s beginning and I LOVE IT.
    My podcast recommendations are:
    LORE
    Criminal
    Don’t Keep Your Job
    DIY Musicians Podcast
    Freakonomics
    The School of Greatness
    True Murder

    🙂 ENJOY!

  • Thank you for these recommendations! I have been listening to LORE since it’s beginning and I LOVE IT.
    My podcast recommendations are:
    LORE
    Criminal
    Don’t Keep Your Job
    DIY Musicians Podcast
    Freakonomics
    The School of Greatness
    True Murder

    🙂 ENJOY!

    • Freakonomics is a huge fav of mine as well – thanks so much for these other recs! I have so much listening to do lol

  • AGV

    Other excellent podcasts: Reply All, Two Dope Queens, Crimetown, This American Life, and The Guilty Feminist.

  • I second “Women of the Hour”! I love how it ranges from serious to nonsensical. Lena Dunham cracks me up!

  • Amber

    Please don’t forget Radiolab. Only the best storytelling around!

  • Erica

    I’m a big fan of Pod Save America!

    • I’ve been really enjoying Pod Save America as well! Love their dynamic and explanations of complicated issues. Tommy’s “Pod Save the World” on foreign policy is also great! 🙂

  • Tardy to the comment party, but I’ve fallen in love with The One Part Podcast – so many inspirational voices on there. Dear Hank and John is also delightfully nerdy-funny (DFTBA) – and yes, I do mean the author John Green of The Fault in Our Stars fame. I love the Nerdist! I had no idea that Anthony Mackie was so freaking funny, and Tracey Ullman’s episode was a delight. Looking forward to some of these recs! xx

  • EarbudsPodCollective

    I send out a weekly email with a theme and then 5 podcast episodes on that theme, curated by a different person each week! We’re called the EarBuds Podcast Collective – join us for a community of pod listening: http://eepurl.com/cIcBuH