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Alright, I will admit that, at first, I was into the whole ‘podcast thing.’ Ironic, I know, given the title.

You see, I’ve always seen myself as a visual learner; when I want to learn something new I watch something on the topic, a tutorial, Ted Talks, documentaries — even historical-period movies or shows. I even did a test back in high school that claimed I was only 20 per cent auditory in my learning style, however, any chance I get, I tune out the world and my worries with music. Perhaps podcasts were suitable for me?

I tried a couple of years back to dive into the podcast-world that so many of my friends spoke of, but my attention span was short, and my brain felt the need to be fed some visual component alongside the script. However, in the past year, with the unprecedented reality of being at home day-in and day-out due to the pandemic, I have found that I have had a lot of time on my hands, with a lot more headspace to listen.  

Podcasts have helped make the daily grind a little more bearable. They have provided much-needed escapism from lockdown, surprisingly bringing moments of enlightenment and fun to otherwise mundane household chores. I will confess that since embracing auditory-storytelling, podcasts have steadily become a part of my everyday life. 

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of podcasts — like yours truly — or looking for your next great listen, this list has got you covered. Just like your favourite song, podcasts are a great way to keep the mind occupied while doing chores, preparing dinner, working out or commuting, and you can rest assured that you’ll find a new favourite here. Whether it’s delving into the gritty details of a true-crime podcast, learning something new or simply laughing out loud, these are the podcasts that you need to make time to listen to. 

Ologies with Alie Ward

Genre: Science

“Ologies,” a comedic science podcast, is hosted by Alie Ward — an Emmy Award-winning science correspondent. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional-ologists’ obsessions. From volcanoes, drunk butterflies, to the science behind procrastination and kissing, Alie Ward asks experts questions to get answers that might change your life. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and on her website

Code Switch

Genre: Society

Hosts Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji explore culture and society through the lens of race and ethnicity. Often personal, the topics delve into the complicated dynamics of redefining one’s ethnicity or offering a deep exploration into how colonialism and Western values impacted beauty standards across seas. The show contextualizes current phenomena in America’s charged racial history.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Dolly Parton’s America

Genre: Biography, Culture

This fun biographical podcast explores the Dolly-verse with Radiolab co-creator Jad Abumrad, who presents Dolly Parton as one of the best and most radical lyricists of our era. This nine-part series pulls from 12 hours of interviews conducted with the country legend, including archival interviews with Parton and analysis from music journalists. Abumrad traces the arc of Parton’s career — from writing about taboo topics like abortion and domestic abuse to her more joyful moments.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Happy Place

Genre: Wellbeing, Mindfulness

Fearne Cotton delves into what happiness means to different people. In intimate conversations with a variety of guests, this podcast finds a large part of its success in how universally relatable it is. Uplifting and sincere, Happy Place covers issues like mental health that are often hidden in the public eye, while reminding us that celebrities face a lot of the same obstacles that the average person does. Listeners will find the podcast to be a uniting, positive force — something we could all use a little bit more of.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

The Daily

Genre: News

Host Michael Barbaro breaks down the biggest news of the day in a quick and concise format so you know what’s happening out in the world. As a journalism student, I am a fan, so if you only listen to one news podcast, make it this one. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Alarmist

Genre: History

This one investigates some of the greatest failures of our time, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the Flint water crisis. Not only does the podcasts discuss how they happened and what went wrong but also whether these events could have been prevented. History buffs who want a chuckle, this one’s for you.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Moth

Genre: Storytelling

An unscripted podcast, told live about true stories, makes for compelling storytelling moments. While some of the guests are polished professionals, many are just ordinary people with a microphone and an extraordinary tale to share. Some episodes are funny, others are real tear-jerkers, but all are a great listen.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

1619

Genre: History

The New York Times launched the 1619 Project back in 2019, on the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing on America’s shores. The wide-ranging series, aims to give new context and grapple with the complicated legacy of slavery in the United States, including a podcast hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones that tells that story through narrative, archival audio and essay-like observations. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Stuff You Should Know

Genre: Educational

Hosts Chuck and Joe deliver informative content in a light, engaging manner, as the duo manage to make even the most boring of subjects interesting (yup, there’s even an episode about how soil works). 

The wide range of topics covered makes it easy for listeners to pick out episode titles that pique their interest. And with new episodes four times a week, you’ll never be bored again. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Dating Game Killer

Genre: True-Crime

This six-part series follows the story of a notorious serial killer you’ve never heard of; a bachelor contestant on the popular TV show The Dating Game. Unbeknownst to viewers, bachelor number one was a diagnosed sociopath and serial killer. With perfectly kept hair, confidence and charisma, he became a crowd favourite. No one would possibly suspect that this man was one of the US’s most notorious killers, committing crimes with multiple victims over an 11 year period. With vivid storytelling, this series is sure to be your next binge-listen.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster

Genre: Food, Comedy

Hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster talk to guests about their dream menu, from appetizer to dessert. Although an unconventional approach for a comedy podcast, it makes for a laughter-inducing listen. 

With a range of guests, every episode has its own varied, hilarious tangents. Foodies will applaud, and comedians alike will snicker. Just don’t listen on an empty stomach, okay?

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

The Lazy Genius

Genre: Advice, Motivation 

Finding motivation can be hard, especially these days. Whether you’re having a hard time keeping it together or need a little nudge to get things ticked off the to-do list, this podcast will help you hack it. 

Get advice on how to deal with little things like organizing your life or bigger stuff like navigating political differences or faith.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Serial

Genre: True-Crime

This podcast hit zeitgeist with its first season, in which journalist Sarah Koenig investigated the case of Adnan Syed, a teen convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend. The current season explores the topic of race and public schools in New York City.   

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Carolina Di Giulio is a third-year journalism and political science major at Carleton University. A lover of books, cooking, thrifting, and the news, she is always on the hunt for new stories to tell.
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