Want to Start Listening to Podcasts? Check Out These 8 Amazing Shows

Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past decade, and it‘s easy to see why. These digital audio shows make it possible to consume entertaining and informative content on any topic imaginable while commuting, working out, doing chores or just relaxing.

In 2023, there were over 2.4 million podcast shows available and more than 66 million episodes – a 23% increase from 2022. Each week, 26% of Americans (around 73 million people) listen to podcasts. And 40% of monthly podcast listeners tune in to more than 11 shows per month. (Source)

With so many podcasts competing for your ears, it can be hard to know which ones are worth subscribing to. Whether you‘re a podcast newbie or just looking for your next audio obsession, here are eight amazing podcasts that you should definitely check out.

Comedy Podcasts

1. Conan O‘Brien Needs a Friend

Beloved late night host Conan O‘Brien brings his trademark wit and self-deprecating humor to this podcast where he interviews fellow comedians, celebrities and notable figures.

With nearly 300 episodes released since its 2018 debut, Conan O‘Brien Needs a Friend averages around 9 million monthly downloads. Popular guests have included Michelle Obama (the show‘s most downloaded episode), Bob Newhart, Will Ferrell, and Hillary Clinton. (Source)

Conan‘s natural rapport with his guests and ability to balance hilarious bits with insightful conversation makes this a must-listen. It‘s a master class in comedy from one of the all-time greats.

2. Office Ladies

If you‘re a fan of the iconic sitcom The Office, then Office Ladies is essential listening. Hosted by the show‘s stars Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela), this rewatch podcast features the real-life best friends dissecting every episode of The Office and sharing never-before-told stories from behind the scenes.

Office Ladies consistently ranks in the top 10 most popular TV & film podcasts on Apple Podcasts. The show‘s most downloaded episode was its debut, "Pilot," with 2.7 million downloads in its first week. (Source)

Jenna and Angela‘s genuine friendship, infectious laughter, and treasure trove of on-set memories make Office Ladies a delightful dose of nostalgia. It will make you want to rewatch The Office right along with them.

3. How Did This Get Made?

If you‘ve ever watched a movie so bizarre and ridiculous that you had to ask, "How did this get made?", then this is the podcast for you. Each episode, comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas watch and discuss terrible movies, from big budget flops to straight-to-DVD disasters.

How Did This Get Made? has released over 280 episodes since launching in 2010 and averages around 1 million downloads per month. Some of the show‘s most popular and unhinged episodes include "The Country Bears," "Con Air," and "Moonfall." (Source)

The hosts‘ hilarious commentary, raunchy tangents, and exasperated reactions to cinematic horrors make How Did This Get Made? laugh-out-loud funny. It shines a spotlight on some of the most bafflingly bad films ever made.

True Crime Podcasts

4. Serial

Serial is often credited for popularizing podcasts when it debuted in 2014. Hosted by This American Life producer Sarah Koenig, each season is a deep dive investigation into a single true crime case, told in serialized weekly episodes.

Season 1, which re-investigated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, was the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads in Apple‘s history. As of 2018, Serial had been downloaded over 340 million times across its first two seasons. (Source)

Serial‘s gripping storytelling, meticulous reporting and cliffhanger episodes make it the gold standard of true crime podcasts. It‘s a thrilling listen that will keep you hooked all season long.

5. Crime Junkie

Each week on Crime Junkie, hosts Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat tell the story of a different crime, from murders to missing persons to unsolved mysteries. What makes this podcast unique is how the hosts put the focus on honoring victims and raising awareness for cases.

Since its 2017 launch, Crime Junkie has continuously ranked as the #1 true crime podcast in the U.S. and averages 30 million monthly downloads. Some of the show‘s most impactful episodes include coverage of serial killer Israel Keyes and the still-unsolved cases of Maura Murray and Kendrick Johnson. (Source)

With its well-researched storytelling and powerful advocacy, Crime Junkie strikes the right balance of sharing shocking tales while shining a light on important cases that need more attention.

Business & Entrepreneurship Podcasts

6. How I Built This

On How I Built This, host Guy Raz interviews the founders behind some of the world‘s biggest companies and brands about their entrepreneurial journeys. From humble beginnings to massive success, guests reveal the challenges, triumphs and insights they experienced while building their businesses.

NPR‘s How I Built This averages around 19.5 million downloads per month and has featured interviews with the creators of Airbnb, Patagonia, Bumble, Warby Parker, Chipotle and many more. The show‘s interview with Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher has been downloaded over 1.2 million times. (Source)

How I Built This offers an inspiring and informative look at what it takes to build a successful company straight from the innovators who achieved it. It‘s a must-listen for any entrepreneur or business-minded person.

7. Masters of Scale

Legendary entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman tests his theories about how businesses can scale successfully in interviews with famous founders. In each episode, Hoffman proposes a theory on growing and scaling companies which is then challenged and discussed by guests who have put those ideas into practice.

With nearly 200 episodes released since 2017, Masters of Scale reaches 12 million listeners per month. High-profile guests have included Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington, and Jessica Alba. (Source)

From candid conversations to thought-provoking insights, Masters of Scale offers compelling content for entrepreneurs and anyone fascinated by how great companies are built. Hoffman‘s business genius shines through in every episode.

Science & Technology Podcasts

8. Ologies

On Ologies, science lover and humorist Alie Ward geeks out and gets curious with experts across diverse scientific fields to break down complex topics in an accessible, entertaining way. Each episode deep dives into a different "ology," from commonly known ones like biology and psychology to obscure areas of study like corvid thanatology (crow funerals!).

With over 250 episodes released since 2017, Ologies has been downloaded more than 70 million times. Some of the show‘s most popular episodes include "Awesomeology (FANDOM)" with 1.6 million downloads and "Phonology (BEATBOXING)" with 1.2 million downloads. (Source)

Alie Ward brings endless enthusiasm, curiosity and comedic flair to every interview, making Ologies a delightful way to explore the wonders of science. You‘ll learn something new with each listen and find yourself eager to discuss the most bizarre facts with anyone who will listen.

Storytelling & Slice of Life Podcasts

9. This American Life

This American Life is the OG of storytelling podcasts. Each week, the show curates a set of fascinating true stories centered on a different theme, from summer camp to superpowers to mind games.

As the #1 most downloaded podcast on Apple Podcasts for several years running, This American Life averages around 4.4 million listens per episode. Some of the show‘s most iconic episodes include "Notes on Camp," "The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar," and "129 Cars," which was adapted into the Oscar-winning film Spotlight. (Source)

Helmed by master storyteller Ira Glass, This American Life‘s stories are moving, surprising, hilarious, and revelatory. The show finds the extraordinary in the ordinary and makes you see the world in a whole new way.

10. Mortified

And now for the podcast that inspired this entire article – The Mortified Podcast. On Mortified, adults dig up their most embarrassing childhood writing – journals, poems, lyrics, letters, schoolwork – and read it out loud in front of total strangers.

What started as a small stage show in 2002 has grown into a global phenomenon, with live events in over 20 cities worldwide, two books, a documentary series on Netflix, and of course, the podcast. Since launching in 2015, the Mortified podcast has released over 200 episodes that have been downloaded more than 20 million times. (Source)

The show is laugh-out-loud hilarious, cringey in the best way possible, and surprisingly poignant. As adults revisit their childhood and teenage thoughts, it reveals so much about how we grow up, how we see ourselves, and how universal the awkward experiences of youth truly are.

Some of the very best episodes of Mortified include:

  • "Mortified 67: How The Nerd Got The Girl!" – a teenage boy‘s awkward but sweet attempts to woo his crush
  • "Mortified 122: Where is Validation?" – dramatic diary entries from angsty goth kids in the ‘90s
  • "Mortified 161: Step by Step" – one girl‘s obsessive chronicling of the lives of ‘90s sitcom characters
  • "Mortified 205: A Very Mortified Christmas" – embarrassing childhood stories about the holidays

You‘ll laugh until you cry, cringe so hard you can‘t stop, and feel overwhelming relief that your own childhood diaries are hidden safely away. What‘s more humanizing than laughing at our younger selves?

Whether you‘re a pimply preteen scrawling bad poetry or an angsty emo kid on LiveJournal or a 40-year old adult laughing along to a podcast, Mortified serves as a reminder that we‘ve all been through the awkwardness of growing up. And that‘s a beautiful thing.

Why You Should Be Listening to Podcasts

From true crime thrills to side-splitting comedy to mind-expanding science, the world of podcasts has something for everyone. And with this list, you now have eight amazing shows to get you started.

Podcasts offer an intimate and immersive form of entertainment and education that you can enjoy anywhere, anytime. All you need is a pair of headphones (or a good set of speakers) and a curious mind.

Not only will these shows keep you company during long commutes or workouts, but you‘ll also gain new knowledge, discover fresh perspectives, and maybe even start to see the world a little bit differently.

So hit that subscribe button and start listening. Trust us, you won‘t regret it. And if you‘re looking for your next binge, definitely check out The Mortified Podcast for all the awkward, hilarious, cringeworthy fun you can handle.

Happy listening!