The 16 Best Podcasts We Listened To This Year

I’ve been considering loads a few piece from Nicholas Quah in Vulture this fall about how podcasting had failed to provide a zeitgeisty, water-cooler present because the heights of “Serial,” when it appeared everybody — your co-workers, your folks, strangers on the subway — had a principle on the homicide of Hae Min Lee. Podcasting has soared since then in quantity, if not reputation. There’s all the time a brand new present to recap the most recent TV collection or a actuality TV star with a modest Instagram following who simply purchased a mic. The prime podcasts on Apple’s charts are nearly all the time the identical few with huge followings. There are additionally the stable on a regular basis listens — “The Daily,” “Today Explained” and “Up First,” amongst others — that persistently repopulate one’s feed, perhaps pushing down the extra area of interest collection and experimental listens that may have taken maintain a decade in the past.

That’s to not say nobody’s attempting something new or unearthing a narrative that hasn’t but been advised. It simply may be tougher to search out it.

Anecdotally, it looks as if the easiest way to find a brand new present is by phrase of mouth — I’ve had a number of folks advocate the pleasant “Normal Gossip,” which seems on the listing under, IRL. Others I downloaded simply because the premise appeared fascinating.

Not each present on this listing was began this 12 months — there are some established podcasts nonetheless doing nice work that deserved nods — whereas others are a few of our favourite new choices. Among the exhibits under commonly replace, whereas others are self-contained seasons. All in all, they’re one of the best issues the HuffPost workers has listened to in 2022. We hope you’ll discover a new favourite amongst them. — Jillian Capewell

I’ve laughed, cried and furiously taken notes all through my time listening to Monica Padman and Liz Plank’s new podcast, “Race to 35.” The two chronicle their egg-freezing and retrieval journey on the pod, which is dedicated to insightful conversations about womanhood, fertility, parenthood and Monica’s reluctance to do TikToks.

I’ve liked how each severe and foolish this podcast is, as the 2 give themselves permission to ask company entry-level questions (that all of us need to know the reply to), admit once they’re scared about sure components of the method, speak by means of their unease and discomfort and pleasure round probably turning into a mum or dad, and actually pioneer a brand new dialog round egg freezing. The two have had such wonderful company — Emily Oster, Chelsea Handler and Christina Perri amongst them — and have coated subjects like what it’s prefer to undergo miscarriage after miscarriage, why some folks need to be childless and the best way to greatest educate your self on the misinformation that comes together with ladies and medication (can we get extra funding, PLEASE?!).

Full disclosure, I’m not really fascinated with freezing my eggs, however I’m a faithful ArmCherry and simply wished to see what this podcast “was all about.” I’m so glad I listened — and you may be too. — Carly Ledbetter

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The ethics of gossip and the usually sexist judgments towards gossiping are incessantly a subject of dialog amongst my pals, so it is smart that now we have latched onto Defector Media’s “Normal Gossip.” Hosted by Kelsey McKinney, a self-proclaimed unbearable gossip, every episode includes a completely different visitor who shares their relationship to gossip after which listens to McKinney learn them a juicy, anonymized story submitted by a listener. Whereas the podcast was solely launched this 12 months, there are already three seasons’ price of messy tales, starting from good friend journeys gone incorrect to neighborhood scandals; my private favourite is Season 2, Episode 6: Podcast Well-known, which tells the story of a good friend group’s intense obsession with a podcast that crosses boundaries in utterly surprising methods.

“Normal Gossip” elicits the sensation of doing recon in a bar lavatory with pals, or receiving a textual content that claims, “Can I say something mean?” — it’s thrilling, it’s hilarious and it’s reclaiming the enjoyment of being nosy. — Alexandra Niforos

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“Citations Needed”; “Finding Raffi”; “Normal Gossip.”

Courtesy “Citations Needed”/iHeartRadio and Fatherly/Tara Jacoby

Regardless of stories that I used to be a “Baby Beluga” diehard in toddlerhood, I hadn’t thought a lot about legendary kids’s singer-songwriter Raffi since then — till I stumbled upon this podcast. Host Chris Garcia, a comic and new father who turns into curious concerning the man behind “Bananaphone,” tracks the musician’s beginnings, his enduring legacy and his advocacy for kids, interspersing interviews with Raffi himself alongside his collaborators and youngsters’s specialists.

Raffi, who began out in Toronto’s folks scene, stood agency in opposition to massive manufacturers and studios that wished to capitalize on his reputation, sustaining that he didn’t need to topic his younger followers to an more and more commercialized world. It’s an interesting, nostalgic and comfy have a look at the originator of so many childhood favorites. — Jillian Capewell

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Being a nationwide information reporter can typically really feel like being a hazmat diver: It’s a paycheck, however you find yourself coated in muck. Politicians, PR masters, company communications departments, mainstream media networks — everybody has their “spin” on present occasions, and highly effective pursuits are sometimes profitable in shaping headlines and influencing the favored understanding of “the news.”

That’s the place “Citations Needed,” a podcast about “the media, power, PR and the history of bullshit,” is available in. Hosts Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson are specialists at unpacking the information behind the headlines, choosing aside phony research, and exhibiting how the historic inertia behind nebulous ideas like “national security” or being “tough on crime” is usually used to prop up, effectively, bullshit. Shirazi and Johnson have an incredible rapport and infrequently embody well-informed company. Value a hear for those who’re attempting to decontaminate your information food regimen. — Matt Shuham

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“Cocktails and Takeaways” is among the freshest and most conversational podcasts I listened to this 12 months. Hosted by the ever lovable and charismatic Madame Joyce, the podcast is like pulling up on one in all your homegirls with a bottle of wine and taking pictures the shit about any- and all the pieces. Amid a podcast universe the place poisonous masculinity and trifling relationship recommendation can really feel as all-consuming as ever, Madame Joyce brings simple dialog with quite a few company who discuss all the pieces from their unpopular opinions to risqué however relatable sexual exploits to celeb gossip.

Nothing is left uncovered on the collection, and the podcast staff can effortlessly hop from episode to episode speaking concerning the housing disaster within the U.Ok. and psychological well being consciousness or BBLs and the most recent drama on “Love Island.” Best of all, Madame Joyce has an infectious chortle that can go away you smiling all the best way to the final second of the episode. — Erin E. Evans

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When folks consider the phrase “cheerleader,” I’d wager an honest quantity of them envision the star-spangled, high-kicking Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. I’m fairly positive I knew what a DCC was as a child, even earlier than I discovered the Cowboys had been a soccer staff. However there’s much more behind the pompoms and hip swivels — Cowboys cheerleaders are anticipated to be horny however healthful, athletic however lithe, they usually’re advised they’re dwelling the dream whereas barely making hire.

On “America’s Girls,” host Sarah Hepola explores the DCC’s historical past and legacy, inspecting the contradictions inherent within the group whereas nonetheless celebrating it and honoring the ladies who contributed to the squad. Hepola speaks to former cheerleaders, together with the primary girl to ever don the enduring uniform, the dressmaker who put it collectively and the onetime English trainer who began the squad itself. This illuminating present, peppered with charming interviews, is one price cheering for. — Capewell

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“Rockonteurs,” hosted by rock musicians Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) and Man Pratt (Pink Floyd, Madonna), appears at musicians, producers and different figures behind a number of the largest bands, songs and concert events of the Sixties, ’70s and ’80s. Highlights of the present’s 2022 season embody the episodes with Noddy Holder of Slade; rock-journalist-turned-publicist Barbara Charone; and music producer Ken Scott, who labored with the Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie and extra. Kemp and Pratt are additionally a part of Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets and techniques, which recreates the early Pink Floyd sound, they usually’ve had Mason on the present twice. — Ed Mazza

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Like many Individuals, I found the present “Derry Girls” on Netflix and instantly fell in love with the characters, in addition to the backdrop for his or her hilarious antics ― the town of Derry, Northern Eire. Sadly, the third and closing season of the present wasn’t out there to U.S. viewers till October of this 12 months, however as I awaited its launch, I used to be lucky to have the women of the “Talking Derry Girls” podcast to maintain me firm.

The podcast is each a wonderful companion to the present and a pleasant standalone hear. Hosted by three women who group up within the titular city, “Talking Derry Girls” provides hilarious and heartwarming commentary concerning the collection, interviews with solid members and precise Derry locals, a stable dose of tradition and historical past, and loads of “craic.” Over the course of my listening, I’ve laughed, cried and discovered a variety of Irish slang that I hope I can use throughout a future go to sometime. — Caroline Bologna

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“Fruit Love Letters” is true to its title, in that the episodes are fairly actually odes to fruits that lots of our provide chain-normalized palates may see as frequent or underappreciated. Host Jessamine Starr, a chef based mostly in Atlanta, dives deep into the typically inconceivable histories of sure fruits with farmers, scientists, cooks and lovers to reciprocate in sort the love fruits give to us commonly. Via her expansive analysis into completely different cultural makes use of and place-based origin tales, you’ll by no means take with no consideration an avocado, apple or fig once more. — Jared Greenhouse

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"Welcome to Provincetown"; "We Were Three"; "Fruit Love Letters."
“Welcome to Provincetown”; “We Were Three”; “Fruit Love Letters.”

Rococo Punch, Stitcher and Room Tone/Pablo Delcan/Alexandra Bowman

Listening to this podcast felt like tagging alongside on a life-changing summer time trip — one spent in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a once-sleepy seaside city on the Cape that’s now referred to as a haven for artists and LGBTQ of us. Host Mitra Kaboli spends a season documenting P-town and its residents, from queer youth on their very own for the primary time to old-timers to performers hustling nonstop whereas enterprise is sweet.

By checking in commonly with a rotating solid of characters, Kaboli showcases the city’s bass-thumping, party-centric aspect — she calls it at one level “the horniest place I’ve ever been” — in addition to the less-fun actuality of a city the place housing, particularly reasonably priced housing, is scant, limiting who can really come and dwell out their greatest P-town summer time. It’s a loving travelogue and a testomony to the significance of accessible queer areas. — Capewell

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Very like grief, the pandemic is just not a tidy factor with concrete edges and ends. From a chook’s-eye view, a lot is again to regular: The airports are full once more, the trains filled with commuters, weddings and birthdays occurring as deliberate. However up shut, so many are nonetheless coping with COVID-19 and its aftershocks, the lack of greater than 1 million American lives and a populace that’s fast to overlook.

That’s the greatest case I could make for why “We Were Three” looks like a vital a part of our collective processing. The three-part podcast facilities on Rachel McKibbens and her relationship along with her father and brother, who each died from COVID. Their story strikes between current historical past — 2020, when paranoia and misinformation had been peaking — and earlier of their lives. “We Were Three” is a looking, heart-wrenching have a look at loss, household, abuse and the probabilities that the pandemic minimize brief. — Capewell

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We’ve gotten to know radio character Angie Martinez over time as “the voice of New York” on Scorching 97 and Energy 105.1, interviewing a number of the world’s largest celebrities and artists. This 12 months, she lastly launched her personal podcast, “Angie Martinez IRL,” the place she talks to celebrities about their lives, their fears, their wishes and their superpowers.

The collection kicked off with a deeply introspective dialog with actor Lauren London, who misplaced her associate Nipsey Hussle in 2019. London talks matter-of-factly about her grieving course of in a manner that’s relatable to anybody who’s been “on the front row of a funeral,” she says. That episode particularly has caught with me because the podcast’s premiere in July.

In different episodes, Martinez effortlessly will get celebs — together with Mary J. Blige, Derek Jeter and Usher — to be their most susceptible selves. And in some episodes, just like the one with Kelly Rowland, Martinez herself opens as much as audiences like by no means earlier than, sharing the story of when she discovered that her estranged father was actually nonetheless alive. It’s a heartfelt and infrequently enjoyable hear that can have you ever fascinated with your individual life in brand-new methods. — Evans

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Typically all I desire a podcast to do is to take over my inner monologue so I can provide my very own ideas a relaxation. Emma Chamberlain’s “Anything Goes” is ideal for that — the YouTuber with a wonderful eye for inside design and a knack for making small speak on the Met Gala covers all types of subjects, from failure to intercourse to dwelling in Los Angeles, in a chill, stream-of-consciousness format. Certainly one of my favourite current subjects was “Is anyone actually cool?”

I desire it to the everyday format of celebrity-led podcasts with a rotation of well-known company. There’s no preamble or mutual gushing, simply Chamberlain’s reflections and beyond-her-years insights put middle stage. I actually might have used this podcast in my 20s, however I nonetheless have a lot to study, and the clear-eyed, mild journeys by means of Chamberlain’s thoughts are perfect for a quiet second of self-care. — Capewell

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Chicago comedians Dan Friesen and Jordan Holmes have spent 5 years and greater than 700 episodes peeling again the curtain of the conspiracy platform Infowars. The two hosts have sacrificed their very own sanity to deliver listeners an in-depth have a look at the circus run by Alex Jones, the host of “Infowars” who was just lately ordered to pay greater than $1 billion to the households of Sandy Hook Elementary Faculty taking pictures victims for lies he unfold about them on his present. Informative, enraging and all the time humorous, “Knowledge Fight” has been cited by quite a few publications over time, and it’s required listening for anybody all in favour of how purveyors of disinformation make their cash off lies. — Sebastian Murdock

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A podcast centered on sound may sound like an apparent idea — after all, a medium you primarily hearken to could be well-suited for that. However “Twenty Thousand Hertz,” which has been doing wonderful, area of interest deep dives on the sounds of every day life since 2016, is something however apparent. This 12 months, host Dallas Thomas explored the enduring gibberish language of “The Sims,” Home windows log-on jingles, the TikTookay voice-to-text girl and 900 numbers of the ’80s and ’90s, to call only a few. Studying extra about every sound provides a richness to the quotidian, the conclusion that there’s a lot extra behind the issues we hear on a regular basis. In case you haven’t given this present a strive but, you need to. — Capewell

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Even probably the most diehard actuality relationship present devotee (me) can admit the style is missing in some severe methods. There’s the evident lack of range (race, sexuality, physique dimension — you title it). The overly produced drama. The well-worn tropes. Typically you simply need the enjoyable of listening about another person’s relationship life with out all the luggage — which is the place “This Is Dating” is available in.

4 singles have their first dates recorded on video chat — with producers listening in and throwing them dialog starters and questions aimed to get previous typical small speak alongside the best way. Behavioral scientist and relationship coach Logan Ury can also be available to work by means of relationship hangups and supply insights for anybody who’s swiping endlessly into the void. It’s a pinch of voyeurism, a touch of self-help and, if nothing else, welcome commiseration for anybody nonetheless searching for the one. — Capewell

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