The best podcasts of 2016 and beyond

Everyone’s doing a podcast these days, and everyone’s always looking for new recommendations. I’ve listened to podcasts almost exclusively during my 1,000 miles of running this year, as well as during my 20-some-minute commute most weekdays and some weekends. Here are my favorites:

Intelligence Squared US Debates Intelligence Squared US Debates If there is one thing to be learned from political discourse over the past 18 months four years presidential administration decade and a half, it’s that it is often not based in facts or informed by reason. IQ2’s debates — nerd fests but in the best possible way — aim to be a bastion for opposite. While held live in New York City, these aren’t simply propping up liberal ideals (a debate over the failure of Obama’s foreign policy gave the win to the side affirming that, yes, it has been), and I learn something from the smart, expert debaters every time. The best part is the skilled moderation by John Donvan. If only we had more moderators like him.


Recode Media with Peter KafkaRecode Media with Peter Kafka It’s been many years since I was a dedicated reader of Romenesko and his coverage of media inside baseball, but I still love to listen to Kafka’s mix that’s one part media insider, one part news media moguls can use, smeared over a guide to the changing landscape of media (topped with a dash of dad humor). Kafka chats with independent tech bloggers, media critics and columnistsexecutives and others.


Reply AllReply All Nearly 90 percent of the US population uses the internet, so it’s refreshing to have media acknowledge the Internet as a driving cultural force without treating it like some bizarre niche for weirdos. Reply All’s hosts, For example, are clearly plugged into “internet culture,” but as part of the show’s occasional Yes Yes No segments, they go about explaining, digging into and demystifying internet in-jokes. But the show isn’t “about the internet”. Rather, it treats the internet as a way to explore current events and culture. Don’t miss episode #56 about Zardulu and modern myth making.


99pi99% Invisible You know about this show: the thought — the design — behind things we don’t think about: the iPhone unlocking sound, the I ❤ NY logo, the dumb names created for neighborhoods, and, of course, flags. The show has hit nearly 250 episodes, built a new podcast network and successfully collected a legion of fans because it skillfully tells stories of the built world without the use of visuals. If you want a quick introduction, consider the most recent episode of mini-stories.


workingWorking I’ve long been fascinated by skilled people doing what they do. Working talks to high-level practitioners — Stephen Colbert, a nightclub doorman in NYC, a man who’s been protesting outside the White House for three decades, the woman who selects correspondence for President Obama to read every day, and Santa — about what they do. Every episode is worth a listen, but your enjoyment will vary based on your love of the interviewer (David Plotz, Aisha Harris and Jacob Brogan were all inquisitive without stepping on the subject) and your interest in the subject (the third season about work relating the White House was both timely and interesting).


What podcasts do you love?

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