I listen to a lot of podcasts. It’s a thing I do while commuting, cooking or cycling. Usually this means I listen to about 10-15 episodes and 5-10 hours of podcasts every week. From the list below you notice that most of the podcasts I listen to investigate our culture, world around us, technology and news.
The idea for this post came from work when people started sharing their podcast recommendations at our internal discussion forum. I added my 2 cents there as well, but wanted to elaborate my favorites a little more and share the list for wider audience to enjoy as well. Hopefully you can find something new to listen to from here :)
For most of the shows I tried to find examples of episodes I really liked. For some shows I just didn’t have any special favorites and for some shows I think it didn’t make any sense to pick favorites. In those cases just pick first/last or something where the title sounds interesting.
Western culture and the world around us
99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.
Stories about design of various objects and other things. These can be pretty much about anything, like the Norwegian seed vault or selling power from your own solar panels to national grid. Every episode is really well produces by professionals, thus both content and technical quality is really good. The best podcast I have encountered!
The stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds
This is pretty similar to 99% invisible, but the topics are allways related to sound. For example how the THX audio log was created or how other planets might sound like. Pick up your best headphones or biggest speakers, these guys really paid attention to the sound quality!
Investigating a strange world.
The Radiolab is “investigative use of radio to make science accessible to broad audiences”. In practice this means that episodes are somehow related to science and they experiment with different ways of describing the world around us with audio only.
Again, lot of similarities to 99% Invisible, but this time way more experimental. Take for example the episode about Colors where they map colors to sound. Again great production value and interesting topics.
Decoder Ring is a podcast about cracking cultural mysteries. Every month host Willa Paskin, Slate’s TV critic, will take on a cultural question, object, idea, or habit and speak with experts, historians, and obsessives to figure out where it comes from, what it means, and why it matters.
Rather new podcast about small details of Western culture. Each episode goes very deep into a topic and looks into it from multiple different angles. Start from the beginning with the history of laugh tracks in TV.
What‘s so weird and wonderful about Finland? British born Joel Willans, creator of social media sensation Very Finnish Problems, and best-selling author of 101 Very Finnish Problems: The Foreigner’s Guide to Surviving in Finland discusses, with a variety of fascinating guests, life in his much-loved, adopted country.
English author moved to Finland, wrote a book about Finnish stereotypics and now talks about the book with people who are somewhat related to each topic. Very funny observations about us and interesting conversations about each observation.
Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.
In each episode some famous artis or band tell the story behind one of their songs. I’m not gonne recommend any episode here. Instead check the episode list and pick one with artist you like. I promise you will like it.
This show is a weekly, fun, casual Con Law 101 class that uses the tumultuous and erratic activities of the executive branch under Trump to teach us all about the US Constitution.
Another podcast by Roman Mars. This one is about United States constitutional law, especially related to Donald Trump’s Tweets. It’s funny and interesting even to those of us who are not that much into law or don’t live in the USA.
Radiolab’s first ever spin-off series, More Perfect, connects you to the decisions made inside the court’s hallowed halls, and explains what those rulings mean for “we the people” who exist far from the bench. More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings.
Another podcast about US law, especially about Supreme Court. This one is by Radiolab which means that there is quite fun experiments included. Or what you think about making songs of the the amandments of US constitution?
We engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy.
Hihghly political investigative journalism about controversial topics. For example I love Tesla, but it was interesting to hear another viewpoint to their factory conditions. The reporting is very US-centric, but the topics usually are something that similar things are happening all around the world.
A tech podcast we accidentally created while trying to do a car show.
Three friends with very strong opinions talking about technology. The topics are mostly related to Apple and these guys are fans, so don’t expect too objective analysis, especially related to Google, Android or Microsoft. The style is quite personal so this show is not for everyone. Try the latest episode and see for yourself if you like it or not.
Despite the name, ‘Reply All’ isn’t a podcast about technology — it’s a podcast that tells gorgeous, painfully human stories that happen to have bits of technology sprinkled in.
I just got a tip about this show and listened to two first episodes which were nice. I’ll listen to more and maybe update this when I have better idea of the show.
Webbidevaus.fi -podcast on internetissä suunnilleen viikoittain ilmestyvä, web-kehityksestä kertova suomenkielinen puheradio-ohjelma.
This is a Finnish podcast about web development, made by one of my current colleague and one former colleague. Even though I don’t do much web development this is clear enough so I understand what’s happening and the guys are fun.
Another Finnish technology podcast, but with wider variety of topics. It’s a three-person discussion about some technological topic and it’s effect on our daily lifes.
Jaa ohjelman sisältö vai? No se on sellaista sekalaista horinaa teknologiasta ja sen sellaisesta.
Guy talking about different technology related matters in his personal life. It’s kind of like a voice diary he is sharing to whole world. The show started over 10 years ago, was on a long break and did a comeback recently. It’s not very polished and the format is definitely not for every listener, but for me it’s nice background listening for moments when I don’t want to concentrate too much.
If you decide to try this out, start from the couple of latest episodes. These are somewhat tied to current events and technologies, so listening to old episodes is not going to give you much.
People and organizations
Boss Level is a podcast on people and organizations breaking existing paradigms and building new ones. The podcast discusses how we should change our organizations now that the world around us has already changed.
Sami Honkonen intervieving famous, intelligent and influential people about various topics. Really interesting discussions about important topics. This one is “heavy” listening, I need to put my full concnetration to the topic at hand to understand what’s happening. But it’s worth it.
Again, no episode suggestions. Pick some episode with a topic you are interested in.
Soft Skills Engineering is a weekly advice podcast for software developers. We answer questions about all the stuff you didn’t realize you needed to know about being an engineer.
People, management, organisation and other life skills to software developers who thought they don’t need to know this stuff. Good tips on how to advance your career and be a better developer without improving your technical skills. Highly recommended to every technical person. Especially if you skipped the “softer” courses at school (like I did).
Criminal Is A Podcast About Crime. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.
Real life stories about crimes or innocent people convicted of crimes or something between. These change a lot, but every episode has been interesting.
Serial tells one story — a true story — over the course of a season.
The first season tells a story of Adnan Syed who is convicted of murder. The story investigates whether he is quilty or not, as there is evidence to both ways. The story is very well presented and the reporters have done incredible amount of work to talk to different people related to the case.
I haven’t started season 2 or 3 yet, but I assume they are skilled storytelling as well. Start from the beginning of season, otherwise it won’t make any sense.
Uutisraportti podcastissa Helsingin Sanomien toimittajat Tuomas Peltomäki, Marko Junkkari ja Aino Frilander käyvät läpi viikon tärkeimmät uutistapahtumat. Jokaisessa jaksossa intentään, nauretaan, analysoidaan ja mennään todella syvälle kolmeen juuri nyt tärkeään aiheeseen uutisista, politiikasta, somesta tai ulkomailta.
Finnish weekly discussion about recent political news by 3 journalists working for Helsingin sanomat. Good analysis and lot of opinions by people who know their stuff. Yet again, if your political views are far from them, you might find them really annoying.