Do you listen to podcasts? I do and I have subscribed to many of them over the years—and listened to even more. I am a true fan of the format.
Some of the subscribed ones I listen to every single episode. That’s how good they are (to me, at least). Some I cherry-pick.
These categories are always in flux, of course. That’s, why this is a “snapshot”.
Here are my current go-tos—in alphabetic order:
99% Invisible (en)
The award-winning show is a must. The team around Roman Mars reports on the small—invisible—things of the built world. Every episode is a gem. And I have heard all of ’em.
Listen to the first episode of 99% Invisible
ARD Radio Tatort (de)
This German radio play series is an audio adaptation of a very successful crime TV series, that has been running for decades now. There are several settings (in different locations) and every case plays out in one of them.
Visit the Tatort podcast archive
This true crime show—hosted by Phoebe Judge (no pun intended, I assume)—reports on historical as well as contemporary, sometimes mysterious, crimes. Amazing stuff.
Go to the Criminal website
Fake Doctors, Real Friends (en)
Real-life friends Zack Braff and Donald Faison review the hit comedy series Scrubs, in which they played the main characters. One episode per—well—episode in chronological order. Sometimes they have other members of the cast or team on. This show is making me laugh a lot (although I unfortunately do not watch along, as many listeners do).
Listen to the first episode of Fake Doctors, Real Friends
Fest & Flauschig (de)
The most successful German podcast is a bi-weekly conversation between satirist Jan Böhmermann and musician/entertainer Olli Schulz. The show started out as an actual radio show—under the moniker Sanft & Sorgfältig—and hasn’t lost any of its appeal since moving to Spotify. Jan and Olli are just hilarious.
Listen to the first episode of Fest & Flauschig
„Kein Mucks!“ (de)
Bastian Pastewka is a famous German comedian and a real connoisseur of the German audio play scene. He unearths decades-old audio plays from the archives of the radio station Bremen 4 and presents them with a lot of background information on the speakers and the stories.
Listen to the „Kein Mucks!“ episode “Strafentscheid”
Planet Money (en)
The fine folks of PM turn economical and financial topics into entertaining stories. Sometimes taking it to extremes. E.g. when they started their own comic book series to learn about the economics of the industry or when they had their own satellite launched. Fascinating!
Listen to the Planet Money comic book episodes
This is the audio track of the daily German TV news show Tagesschau. I almost never manage to watch it live at 8 p.m., so I help myself by listening to the podcast version while doing chores.
Visit the Tagesschau podcasts listing
WTF with Marc Maron (en)
Marc is an American comedian gone podcaster—interviewing colleagues from the industry as well as other famous people, like former US president Barack Obama, musician Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) or designer Aaron Draplin. The latter was the reason I started listening to WTF.
Marc is artfully tickling very personal details out of each guest. Great entertainment.
Listen to the Barack Obama episode of WTF
There are many more in my podcast app of choice, of course. Debbie Millman’s Design Matters (en), Große Frage, kleine Pause (de), Netlify’s Remotely Interesting (en), Snap Judgement (en), Jeffrey Zeldman’s The Big Web Show (en), The Truth (en), This American Life (en) to name but a few. They are all great, too. Just not my regulars—right now.
Have a favorite podcast, that is missing from my list? Let me know on (twitter: @nilsmielke text: Twitter rel: me).