Podcasts are an amazing form of entertainment. If you've never listened to one, you should really think about giving them a try. There are literally thousands, if not millions, of choices out there. Everything from audio dramas to scientific discussions. It's pretty amazing. I listen to a lot of podcasts but I thought I would outline my top ten favorites for you. Note, these are just my personal recommendations and not in any particular order.
1. Welcome to Night vale
This podcast might be a little hard to explain. It's like an audio drama told from the perspective of a radio host for a local station in a small town known as Night Vale. Weird things happen in Night Vale but it's everyday life for the citizens. Cecil Baldwin, the narrator, breaks down the latest news of the town and outlines current events. It's a very fun show and the production quality is spectacular. I actually went to see one of their live shows last year and it was amazing. If audio drama and weirdness is your thing, you have to listen to Welcome to Night Vale.
2. Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories
Once I started listening to this show, I couldn't stop until I was caught up. The cases they discuss are all real murders which, to this day, have never been solved. The show gets its real character from the audio drama elements they borrow. The hosts, Carter and Wendy, outline details of each murder and in between the crucial parts of the stories are acted out by voice actors. Think of it like part documentary, part old time radio program. I've learned a lot about unsolved murders. Even ones I thought I knew so much about already.
If you haven't heard of Lore, you really need to look it up. It became one of my favorite shows after about one episode. The show has expanded too. It's now a show on Amazon Prime and even a book series. All of which are incredible. Basically, the show is narrated by the wonderful Aaron Mahnke and it outlines stories about lore and legends. Everything from ghosts possessing a child's doll to the hysteria of a town fearing vampires. Lore showcases the real stories surrounding the lore. The show is amazingly produced and the music is awesome. (Shout out to Chad Lawson) If you only listen to one podcast from my list, I highly recommend this one. Especially if you're into legends and history.
4. Sword & Scale
This is a true crime podcast. If you can't tell, true crime is one of my favorite subjects. Sword & Scale presents these stories in a fascinating way. Real audio is used to tell the story whether it be 911 calls, audio from court hearings, or even interviews with experts and eye witnesses. Basically, this podcast is not just a guy relaying a story into the microphone. Sword and Scale makes the stories come alive and become real. Which might make several of the cases much more disturbing. I will warn, some of the cases mentioned are highly disturbing, so don't listen if you're squeamish.
5. 60 Second Science
Have you wanted to listen to a podcast but don't have a whole lot of time? Then this show is perfect for you! Each episode is only a couple of minutes long and talks about current studies and stories in the scientific community. Think of it like hearing a brief news report about the latest scientific discoveries. Since it's only a few minutes long, don't expect detailed explanations but what they do explain is very informative. If you have a few minutes to spare, check it out.
6. Hostile Worlds
Speaking of science, this quickly became one of my favorites. I was hooked from episode one. It's part audio drama, part science documentary. Trust me, you won't be bored listening to this podcast. The hosts travel through space in a ship named the Tardigrade and visit planets and moons such as Venus and Titan. As they explore these alien worlds, they explain what it's like to explore these places in great detail. You might actually believe they are truly there. It's fun and educational.
7. The No Sleep Podcast
Do you love horror? Do you love audio drama? Then this is perfect for you. Each episode consists of several stories found on the No Sleep forum of Reddit. The voice actors portray the stories in true audio drama fashion. The sound effects are great and really add to the level of horror this show already provides. There are so many talented voice actors on this show it's ridiculous. It's by far my favorite horror podcast. Nothing can top it.
8. Serial Killers
I know, a lot of true crime in my playlist. But they're so good. Especially Serial Killers. It's under the same network as Unsolved Murders. Hosts Greg and Vanessa break down the motives and methods of different serial killers. Everyone from Ted Bundy to Elizabeth Bathory. They give facts about the case and even breakdown the psychological profile of each serial killer. I have learned so much about serial killers I thought I knew and even learned disturbing new ones. And, it has sparked a few book ideas as well. If you love true crime or the topic of serial killers in general, this is perfect for you.
9. American History Tellers
I am a big fan of history, always have been. American History Tellers breaks down American history one era at a time. It started off with Cold War and is currently explaining the days of prohibition. What's interesting about this podcast is it puts you in the shoes of someone living in that period. The listener is presented with stories and information about history which may have eluded them in history classes in school. I love hearing the true history of my nation. It's much better than the watered down versions so many schools introduce. History buffs should definitely sink their teeth in.
10. Thinking Sideways
This podcast is a little different than everything else on my list. The hosts present real life mysteries such as the Somerton Man Mystery or the Wow! signal and talk about the mysteries circumstances surrounding them. Near the end they give their own theories which sometimes involve aliens, jokingly of course. The three hosts, Devin, Joe, and Steve, have great chemistry and really engage the listener in these mysteries. Out of all of the the shows I listen to it's probably the least structured and scripted but that's what makes it so much fun. It's three people, in a room, talking about mysteries. You can't go wrong there.
These are just ten of the many podcasts I subscribe to and I'm always looking for more. If you have a suggestion from one of your favorite shows, drop a comment below. I will most likely subscribe and have a listen. Podcasts are a great form of entertainment and even education. With so many shows out there, it's hard to list only ten. I hope you enjoyed my list and hopefully you discover a new favorite show to listen to. Thanks for reading and, as always, keep wandering, just not alone.
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.