The 10 Free Podcasts You Need To Be Listening To

Ever since I got rid of my TV—yes, I really did—I’ve gotten passionate about podcasts. In case you have never ventured into the podcast world, they are basically weekly radio shows you subscribe to that are streamed directly into your iTunes. I find them endlessly fascinating and so much more stimulating than (most) television shows. Plus, they’re more low-maintenance. I can listen while doing other things—like cleaning my apartment or surfing the web. The best part is that most of them are free. After the jump, 10 podcasts that you need to start listening to right away.

  1. This American Life: Duh. I’ve been a loyal fan of host Ira Glass since 1998, when I was so obsessed with the radio show that I used to order the cassette tapes and have them sent mail order to my apartment. They pick a topic each week and produce really moving, thoughtful, and original stories on that topic. A podcast must.
  2. The Ricky Gervais Podcast: Because I think that everything Ricky Gervais does is pure comic genius, I naturally subscribe to his podcast. It’s Ricky Gervais, partner Stephen Merchant (“The Office UK” and “Extras”), and random guy Karl Pilkington talking about nothing important. Mostly Ricky and Stephen make fun of Karl and hilarity ensues.
  3. The Moth: I’ve been a big fan of The Moth, a storytelling group organizing events for over 10 years now. Needless to say, I was beside myself with glee when they started a podcast. The Moth podcast features live stories told without notes at their story slams and live performances. You won’t be disappointed.
  4. Savage Love: What’s not to like about sex advice guru Dan Savage answering questions for an hour? Nothing. I thought I knew a thing or two about what was up until I started listening to his podcast regularly. Dan Savage totally schooled me.
  5. The New Yorker Fiction: The New Yorker knows its fiction. In this awesome podcast, a contemporary author picks a fiction selection from the archives, reads it aloud, and discusses it with the host. It’s kind of like taking a literature class, but way cooler.
  6. WNYC Radiolab: I recently discovered this gem of a podcast through “This American Life.” It’s a really thoughtful exploration of the place where science, philosophy, and human experience collide. It’s hard to explain, but it’s fantastic. Trust me on this one.
  7. Today In The Past: This is a daily calendar, presented by writer John Hodgman, of faux facts that supposedly occurred on that day in history. Funny and fantastic.
  8. Destination DIY: This podcast discusses and then teaches cool do-it-yourself projects like urban farming. If you are a DIY adventurer, you will love it.
  9. NPR: NPR podcasts are too great to pick just one. Some of my faves are “On the Media,” “Story of the Day,” “Fresh Air Podcast,” and “Planet Money.” Best part? They will make you sound smart.
  10. Onion News Network: If you like your news podcasts ridiculous and comedic, then you are guaranteed to laugh. “Christ Announces Hiring of Associate Christ.” Need I say more?
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