20 Podcasts to Get You Through Even the Worst Commutes

Podcasts are the modern talkshow, and there are literally thousands of them to choose from. I am admittedly very late to the scene, but I’ve caught up over the last couple of months. Whenever I drive, do laundry, or have downtime while working, I’m listening to an episode of one of these.

From a novice podcast listener to you, here are some of my favorites:

News and Politics Podcasts:

BBC’s The World This Week 

In about twenty-five minutes, hear and catch up on the major international news events of the world via good journalism. You’ll hear about the news stories that you probably already knew about, but “The World This Week” highlights news stories that don’t typically make big media waves. 

The Argument

Especially important with today’s political spectrum, this New York Times podcast is composed of three different hosts, who present differing viewpoints and takeaways on the latest political news. They aren’t angry, hateful, or obstinate when sharing their opinions, but instead respectful and understanding. How it should be, right?

NPR Politics

Paying attention to politics is always important, and one could say especially so today. Even more so with the 2020 election looming in the future. Given the avalanche of constant political developments,  NPR Politics has recently become a daily listen lasting anywhere from about fifteen to thirty minutes. 

NPR News Now

Typically lasting about four minutes and continuously updated throughout the day each day, this is a succinct and easy way to get caught up on the major news highlights of the day.


Raw, fascinating and oftentimes devastating. From The New York Times and hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, this weekly podcast examines the African-American experience, both historically and through personal narratives. Each episode dissects a new topic. 

Podcasts with a Strong (and Sometimes Lighthearted) Human Element:


I cry at the drop of a hat, and that holds true to this podcast. Each weekly episode features guests who are amazing, really and truly. An episode can be inspiring, heartwarming, heartbreaking, amusing, devastating, as we listen to the amazing deeds, tales, and stories that people have to share.


This is pure joy to listen to. HumanNature shares stories about human nature – the joy, sadness, humor, darkness and everything else that the human experience is all about from from all types of people. But what makes it special is that all of these emotions and stories are a result of something experienced while out in the natural world. 

Fresh Air

Terry Gross is arguably the best interviewer around. She knows how to talk to people and to establish a sincere, easy conversation with literally anyone: entertainers, artists, writers, business owners, and politicians. She talks to them and with them  I began listening to Fresh Air when I was a teenager and am still in awe of how each time she has a conversation with someone, it sounds like she’s catching up with a friend.

Good News Podcast

Everything about this podcast is in the name. Every few days, it’s only about good news, baby. Each episode lasts about five minutes and focuses on one or two good news stories from around the world. Please listen, even if just to remind yourself that the entire world isn’t dead inside.

Armchair Expert

Hosted by Dax Shepard of the T.V. series “Parenthood,” this podcast is gritty, and raw. Shepard interviews a plethora of people, including Monica Lewinsky, Norah Jones, and David Sedaris. Seriously, each episode is an utter delight to listen to because while the conversation gets real, Shepard manages to keep it from feeling too heavy.

Podcasts To Learn Something. And To Get Spooked:


Hands down my favorite podcast. In each weekly episode, host Alie Ward interviews a PhD expert about that week’s topic. What type of topic? Anything from pumpkins, sea turtles, cabins, the moon, personality psychology, fear, spider webs, word etymology. Even if you believe you don’t have any interest in that week’s topic, Alie’s questioning and the sincere enthusiasm of the expert will make each episode a joyful occasion. 

Up and Vanished

Okay, so your girl hasn’t actually listened to this podcast. So why is it here? Because three people have recommended it to me as one of their favorite true crime podcasts, and I make up a small minority of people who don’t listen to true crime podcasts. If I’ve had that many people recommend it to me, it’s bound to be good. Up and Vanished is an investigative series, with season one focusing on a cold case of the disappearance of an educator episodes.

Two Girls One Ghost

Okay, so unless you’re obsessed with the supernatural world and paranormal activities, chances are this podcast is at its most popular in October. Hosts Sabrina and Corrine (the aforementioned two girls) are believers, and stick to the paranormal and supernatural themes throughout each episode. They share listener stories pretty often, which is always exciting.

So Many Damn Books

Book recommendations. Author interviews. A new drink recipe every episode. Need I say more? This bi-weekly podcasts talks writing, publishing, reading, and drinking. It’s hilarious and always fascinating, and one of my fave ways to get lit.

Book Fight

Maybe more popular than “So Many Damn Books,” this podcast is slightly more brutish and feisty. Each episode is an uninhibited discussion centering around a piece of literature, be it a book, essay or other type of written story.

Fun Podcasts on Pop Culture, Life, and Trivia: 

No Such Thing As A Fish

Perfect for the trivia buff and lover of obscure facts. Through four usually funny British hosts, you can learn the most random, bizarre, outlandish and obscure facts you never knew you wanted to know.  

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Brought to you by NPR, I like to think of this as my twice-weekly round up of all things movies, TV, and books. Lasting anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes, some episodes are previews of what’s to come, a review of a book or movie, interviews, or even critiquing a pop culture trend. Good for those who don’t keep up with pop culture (talking about myself) to quickly become aware of current pop culture.

The Guilty Feminsit

This weekly podcast has won a whole bunch of awards for a reason. It’s quickly became one of my favorite podcasts to listen to because Deborah Frances-White and guests to the show talk honestly about modern-day feminism with a serious but – because she is a comedian – humorous tone. It addresses a whole host of topics, ranging from male privilege, orgasms, to women of color. 

The Read

It’s legit like listening in on you and your bestie having one of your most hilarious conversations, ever. Hosted by Crissle and Kid Fury, the friends chat and gossip about pop culture, life, celebrities, and whatever else may float along. The episodes are long but the playful banter makes it go by in a moment.

Call Your Girlfriend

I’ve only listened to a few episodes of this women-empowering podcast, but I love it. It’s call your girlfriend, as in call your best friend. The two hosts are long distance besties who go between fluffy and fun chats to serious talks on the latest of politics and pop culture while also interviewing interesting women from a plethora of backgrounds.

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