Pioneer podcasts that all newcomers should put at the top of their list

I’ve been listening to podcasts for well over a decade and in that time there’s been some absolute classics. If you’re new to podcasts, it can be intimidating to look at a highly recommended show and see an episode list a mile long. It’s tempting to either skip to the latest episode or avoid an older show entirely. But there’s value in checking out some of the pioneers and their back catalogue, and seeing what all the fuss is about. Here’s three that any newcomer should download.

This American Life

Alice Levine, Jamie Morton and James Cooper, whose incredulous responses to Belinda's exploits have made the <i>My Dad Wrote a Porno</I> podcast a global hit.» src=»$width_375%2C$height_211/t_crop_fill/q_86%2Cf_auto/b9fbca4ff08561b7502403ed8f60997fd8caefc2″ srcset=»$width_375%2C$height_211/t_crop_fill/q_86%2Cf_auto/b9fbca4ff08561b7502403ed8f60997fd8caefc2,$width_750%2C$height_422/t_crop_fill/q_62%2Cf_auto/b9fbca4ff08561b7502403ed8f60997fd8caefc2 2x»></picture></div>
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Alice Levine, Jamie Morton and James Cooper, whose incredulous responses to Belinda’s exploits have made the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast a global hit.

The inspiration for this column, thanks to a family friend who had never heard of This American Life. TAL is a true veteran of the genre. Ostensibly a public radio show but known worldwide through the podcast, This American Life was one of the first shows to explore and define what narrative journalism could be. The team at This American Life has been exploring issues, stories and topics since 1995 so it would be a Herculean task to absorb its entire back catalogue. Luckily it has assembled a list of recommendations for episodes to start with: Some of the many spin-offs include Serial, Planet Money, and S-Town – with alums Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, Dan Savage and the amazing David Rakoff.

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Podcasts are a great format for comedy. One of the best comedy shows so far, MDWAP has hordes of zealous fans and for very good reason. The title says it all – one of the three hosts reads his father’s shockingly bad erotic novel to his two friends as they provide running commentary. The joy of it comes from both his squirming embarrassment as well as the surprisingly complicated schlock novel. The first season can’t be topped, though it is still going strong now in season four. Be warned though, if you listen to podcasts on your commute or in public, you will be laughing hysterically the entire time.

Chat 10, Looks 3

Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb shouldn’t need an introduction, and neither should their podcast. The two close friends started this show in a low-tech, casual environment – earlier episodes have a real community radio sound and feel – but have now got a thriving support base and a more polished product. Between live shows, merchandise and a Facebook community numbering in the tens of thousands, Chat 10 has grown bigger than the sum of its parts. The benefit of listening to some earlier episodes is to see their progression, and feel the joy of their friendship and their growth. You could just start with the latest release but you’d be missing out.




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