From true crime to sex questions, Perdeby’s got you covered with a guide to five of the most entertaining (but still arguably educational) podcasts around. Never has procrastinating during your study sessions been easier to rationalise.
This American Life
This American Life is a weekly hour-long podcast that explores true stories of everyday life in America. This podcast exposes the wonder of the everyday – whether that r be thought-provoking or light-hearted. Each episode has a theme and consists of an introduction followed by several acts that explore the theme in different ways. The podcast covers extremely varied topics and personal experiences, and usually includes a range of interviews and hosts per episode. This American Life has reported on issues and stories ranging from tornados hitting small towns on prom night and productions of Hamlet in high-security prisons, to Afrofuturism and the recent increased social prevalence of white-supremacist groups (Episode 626: White Haze). Favourite episodes: Prom (episode 186) and #1 Party School (episode 396).
Serial is the go-to podcast for any fan of true crime. Serial tells one nonfiction story over the course of a season. In each season, it focuses on a different plot with different characters and follows the story wherever it goes. This means that the creators don’t know how each season will end, allowing listeners to investigate and hypothesise along with investigative journalist and host Sarah Koenig. Its first season aired in 2014 and the podcast has since won a Peabody Award for its innovative telling of a long-form nonfiction story, and released both a second season and a spin-off podcast called S-Town (which is also recommended). g. Favourite episode: (it is advisable to listen to the podcast in order) Season 1, Episode 05: Route Talk (an investigative road trip with dry humour and relatable parking traffic)
Savage Lovecast is a long-running sex and relationship advice podcast hosted by Dan Savage – a controversial journalist and LGBT activist. Dan Savage is infamously witty and irreverent when it comes to handling potentially sensitive issues, and the podcast’s popularity means that he has a wide variety of sensitive listener-submitted questions to answer. Savage Lovecast is sex-positive but definitely not free from harsh criticism, which Savage readily doles out. In return, he offers listeners the opportunity to disagree with (and phone in to rebut) any advice he gives. So whether you always think he’s right or not, the podcast provides an amazingly open environment for candid questions and enlightening opinions.
Favourite episode: Episode 75 (features practical advice on abusive relationships)
The Naked Scientists
The Naked Scientists is a one-hour science podcast aimed at helping you both understand and participate in discussions about modern science and medicine. Each episode includes brief summaries of current science-related news stories, answers to listener-submitted questions, and guest interviews with famous scientists like James D. Watson – who co-discovered the structure of DNA. The Naked Scientists also includes an interactive section, Kitchen Science, which talks you through how to conduct various experiments at home while you listen. This segment also features recordings of the hosts conducting more complex experiments with other researchers – such as testing how fat a person needs to be to stop a bullet at Cambridge University.
Favourite episode: Fidget Spinners in Space?
No Such Thing as a Fish
No Such Thing as a Fish is a podcast that features four main writers from the BBC comedy quiz show, QI, discussing the most interesting or surprising facts they’ve found (and then researched) each week. This is a great podcast for picking up truly unexpected conversation starters, while also enjoying the hosts’ cheerful banter. If you can actually remember all the facts you hear, you’ll be very impressive.
Favourite episode: No Such Thing as Books for Pirate-Children