I know that finding a new podcast that you love can be bloody hard. Where do you look? There’s so many out there! Well our founder Vic Elizabeth Turnbull is here to help you…
I reckon that one of the best ways to discover podcasts is through recommendations; your pal at work, your mate down the pub or your besso over a brew. So as your best podcast buddy, I want to share with you the podcasts that I couldn’t get enough of in 2019.
They’ve all been listened to
It sounds like a daft things to say, but it’s worth noting, I’ve listened to all of these podcasts. They’ve not been sent to me via press releases, I’ve not been paid to listen to them or am I doing a favour for any pals. These podcasts have been the soundtrack to my 2019 cooking, cleaning, commutes, jogging etc..
Listen to them
We’ve also made a special Spotify playlist with episodes from all of the following podcasts on there! Isn’t technology amazing. We’ve also included some bonus podcasts that we loved on there too. We’ve popped the playlist at the bottom of this post. You can also get it by clicking here, where it will open in Spotify.
You can also find everyone of these on the podcast player that you use, simply search for them, or follow the link I’ve provided after each podcast. To learn more about how to listen to podcasts see our helpful blog post here
Share the love
If you dig any of these podcasts, then please do our podcast pals a huge favour and leave a review or share the love on your social media channels. This way, more people can discover the podcasts and share the love, then…. and you get the picture!
Also A BIG THANKS AND WELL DONE to the production teams behind the podcasts too; they’re the dudes on the other side of the mic making the magic happen.
Right, here we go…
[health & well-being]
If you’re having trouble nodding off, then this is the podcast for you.
We had a busy final few months of 2019 and I was struggling to get to sleep – until I discovered Sleep Cove that is. Pop it on and let Christopher the host, guide you into a peaceful sleep.
Some similar podcasts are a bit cheesy or creepy (I think it’s quite important you don’t get yukked out by someone you’re taking to bed with you!). Sleep Cove has found that balance, mixing peaceful music, great production and Christopher’s soothing voice.
I’ve never actually finished a full episode as I’ve been fast asleep before the end!
You can set your podcast player to stop after a set time, so that the podcast doesn’t keep playing too. Have a play around with your podcast app’s setting to find this feature.
Sleep Cove is a great example of how flexible the podcast medium is. Podcasts are not just conversations, the possibilities are endless!
Listen & fall asleep: SleepCove.com
The first of two podcasts from Gimlet Media on this list, Heavyweight sees (or should that be hears?) host, Jonanthan Goldstein, invite people to revisit unresolved things from their past.
Jonathan’s a This American Life alumni and the storytelling is to die for. Those two thing are related I’m sure. As a podcast host and producer I’m totally envious of the way Jonathan can tell a tale. He delivers humour, with a good dollop of awkwardness (I’m all about being awkward), curiosity and sarcasm. Listen to Jake Brennan from Disgraceland for another lesson in podcast storytelling.
The stories are wide ranging and are rarely delivered in a linear way, from a woman who isn’t very good at maths, to a father who left one day and never came back.
Despite some serious undertones in lots of the stories, I love it because it’s heartwarming, it’s like a big hug. I hate being physically touched, so an embrace from a podcast is perfect for me.
Season 4 came out in Summer 2019, but a firm favourite of mine is episode #2 Gregor – go seek it out.
Listen, binge and fall in love with Heavyweight: Gimletmedia.com/shows/Heavyweight
The Naked Podcast
[interviews / real life]
I first came across Jenny and Kat, the hosts of The Naked Podcast, when they spoke at Pods Up North, a little event we co-founded last year and I absolutely fell in love.
The podcast does exactly what it says on the tin, they get naked and so do their guests. It’s all about celebrating our bodies and bashing down those heebeejeebees and taboos most of us have about our naked selves.
In each episode they sit down with a guest, in the buff, and chew the fat over all sorts of things such as eating disorders, miscarriages, gender, having babies, sexual abuse, being hairy, being big, cancer survivors all with loads of different women and blokes too – all in their birthday suite.
A podcast bugbear of mine is when you’re listening to group of people chatting and as a listener, feel ignored or not a part of that conversation. With the Naked Podcast, it’s like you’re with your pals (if you hung around naked with your pals – and why not?), you’re vulnerable with them, you feel the naked fear of some of the guests, you laugh and you cry along.
It’s revealing, warm, honest, brave and empowering – all injected with good old Northern humour.
There’s something rather powerful about a podcast that gives you all the feels and the Naked Podcast does. They’re also from Sheffield, my motherland, so triple brownie points.
The ‘He’s Here!’ episode is pretty special, which is a wonderfully frank account of childbirth and “I went through a stage of calling it my Margaret because it reminded me of my nan” with the gorgeous Lou Conran.
Listen, binge and get naked here: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p063wfw6
Who The Hell Is Hamish?
[true crime / documentary]
I love true crime podcasts and I listened to some pretty gruesome ones in 2019. Now, this podcast isn’t gory but it is equally as shocking.
If you like the ‘WTF?’ Factor – this podcast is for you.
It’s about a serial conman called Hamish, who swindled his victims out of more than $7m. I was hooked and binged it in just a few days.
It’s a production by The Australian and they make bloody good podcasts (see Teachers Pet). The contributors they find to talk to, are those that have lived and breathed the deception. It’s not a second or third hand case of what happened, most of the time it’s coming from the horse’s mouth.
I bet you can’t listen to this podcast without saying “how did he get away with it for so long?”
Listen & Binge shout in disbelief: TheAustralian.com.au/podcasts/podcast-who-the-hell-is-hamish/news-story
The Horror of Delores Roach
[fiction / horror]
The 2nd podcast from Gimlet on our little list.
One of the big things that I took away from visiting Podcast Movement in Orlando last year was that fiction is one of the biggest growing genres of podcasts. Now, I have to admit I’m not a fictiony gal. I like my facts. But, and it’s something I spout off about all the time, go beyond your comfort zone with podcasts and you might just find something you love. I did, and this is it.
The Horror of Delores Roach is macabre tale that follows the main character of the same name, as she’s released from prison after sixteen years. She heads back to her old New York neighbourhood and discovers it’s not as she left it. The podcast develops into a story that’s been told a thousand times before, but not quite like this.
I love that it’s terribly naughty; with graphic language, horror and a bit of how’s your father! Oh my! It’s taking radio drama to the next level – as this stuff could never be broadcast on a mainstream station.
I’m a huge fan of podcasts that generate a physical reaction from the listener, whether it’s an ‘urghhhh’, a ‘omfg’ or a ‘no way!’. The Horror of Delores Roach did this in spades. You’re there with her, feeling every creek, splat and scream.
Also kudos to Daphne Rubin-Vega who plays Delores, it’s a fine performance.
By their nature, podcasts are totally personable. I think it’s such an exciting prospect for fiction producers to play on this and create direct, sensory tickling, imagination fuelling pieces. Again, the possibilities are endless with podcasts.
Season 2 came out in Autumn 2019, but listen from the very start.
Listen, binge and go ‘urgh!’: Gimletmedia.com/shows/Dolores-Roach
We’ve all had that one pal from school who we’ve not heard from in 25 years, pop-up on facebook messenger to tell us about a shampoo / business / gel / miracle pill / makeup range we just gotta get our hands on and sell ourselves! We could make hundreds of pounds in our sleep!
It all seems a bit too good to be true doesn’t it?
What most of us won’t understand is the big business behind your old school pal flogging hair serum. The Dream delves into the murky world of multi-level marketing – which is definitely not a pyramid scheme, because as we learn in The Dream, pyramid schemes are illegal.
I was pretty naive to the world of MLM’s until The Dream. The podcast speaks to people who’ve sold through MLM’s and they even go through the process of becoming reps themselves. It’s incredibly fascinating, especially some of the stories from sellers themselves, including a woman who missed her best pal’s wedding to attend a MLM event!
The host and producer Jane Marie, another This American Life veteran, is a delight too, her approach comes across as genuine, unscripted and honest – all the ingredients for a great podcast host.
Season 2 came out in late 2019, but start at Season 1.
Listen, binge, but don’t buy the shampoo: podnews.net/podcast/1435743296
My Dad Wrote a Porno
[storytelling / comedy]
You’ve probably heard of this podcast. It’s the one where Jamie discovered his dad writes amateur, erotic literature.
Each series is one of his dad’s books, where the narrative is based around the imaginary world of the pots and pans industry. Sexy huh?
Every episode is a chapter of his dad’s ‘work’, cringingly read by Jamie, along with his buds James and Alice. Thing is, his dad’s, who adopts the pen name ‘Rocky Flintstone’, is not very good. He compares breasts to pomegranates, gets confused where the cervix is and misjudges how many woks it would take to fill Wembley arena.
I have never laughed out loud so much at a podcast, which is a bit unnerving to other passengers when you’re on the bus, and even more manic when you’re walking down the street. I would advise against driving whilst listening to MDWAP.
The podcast’s format is really simple, but my god it works. Since launching in 2015, the podcast has sold out the Sydney Opera House, bagged a HBO special, released loads of merch….
MDWAP is a great example of how not to over complicate things to create bloody great content. Having a pervy dad helps too.
Series 5 came out in 2019, but do start at the very beginning for maximum porno.
Listen, binge and get dirty: MyDadWroteaPorno.com
[Travel / comedy]
Ok, disclaimer this is one of ours, but I’m super proud of the episodes we put out in 2019.
Tourist is an alternative travel podcast with comedians and well-known faces as your tour guides!
The podcast is as a way for people to discover, in a different way, some hidden gems, unusual places and favourite hotspots in the city that they live, work, visit or admire from a far – and whilst they’re at it, find out about some new comedians they may not have heard of.
When I thought of the idea for Tourist, I was also pretty tired of glossy and staged travel instagrammers and blogs. This is an antidote to the fake, tiresome influences with some real, honest and hilarious ‘on your doorstep’ tourism!
Tourist has been to gothic libraries with a Britain’s Got Talent finalists, taken an award-winning Canadian comic to Wigan in search of the best pie and loads more. They’ll be more in 2020, promise.
Listen, binge and get a return ticket: TouristPodcast.co.uk
[health & well being]
This podcast is a brilliant example of grabbing the zeitgeist and creating a community around it. Everyday Positivity was originally (and one of the early) Alexa skills briefing. It can still be heard by shouting at your Alexa, plus now it’s a daily podcast, a Facebook community of almost 5,000 and a youtube channel.
Presenter and producer Kate Cocker has done a real corker with this. She sounds fab too; not airy fairy or patronising as some of these style of podcasts can be. Again a simple idea and one that was executed at just the right time. Well done pal.
Listen, binge and get some zen: https://anchor.fm/Everyday-Positivity
Two Shot Pod
[Interview / entertainment]
An utterly delightful conversation series hosted by Craig Parkinson.
I really love how everyone’s interviewed on a level-playing field, regardless of stature or success. There’s no smoke blowing up people’s wotsits. This creates a warm, matey vibe, which y’all know by now is what I AM HERE FOR. If you look at some of the episode photos the guests look like they’ve had a ball with Craig too.
Craig should also be studied by podcasters as an example of great interview skill and technique; especially when it comes to getting the most out of your subject. He’s laid back, kind, inquisitive, empathetic, knowledgeable and challenging.
Two Shot have a bloody great selection of guests and 2019 was no different, with the likes of Dermot O’Leary, Martin Compston, Jodie Comer, Gaz Coombes, Nile Rogers and Jodie Whittaker.
Listen, binge and make a new pal or two: Twoshotpod.podbean.com
Listen to our top 2019 playlist now!
I’ve also chucked a few extra in for good measure, plus my picks from 2018 too. Enjoy!
Enjoyed our wee selection of podcast recommendations? Every week, over on twitter, we recommend a podcast for you – just follow the hashtag #PodcastTipOff