11 best podcasts to listen to right now: February 2024

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Key Takeaways

  • More podcasts mean more choices, making it harder to find quality content. I’m constantly searching for new, quality episodes to stream.
  • To make it easier for you to find the top podcasts actually worth trying, I’ve compiled my pick of the best ones to listen to right now.
  • I asked Pocket-lint’s editors to weigh in too, to help round out my selections.

It’s become a tired joke that everyone has a podcast, but that just means more audio content for us to try.

Sure, the sheer amount of podcasts available can make it hard to find something good. I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I know the struggle. Podcasts are one of the tricks I use to stay awake while trying to get my toddler to sleep at night, and I like to listen to podcasts while cleaning, driving — doing just about anything where background noise is useful. I’ve started to run out of podcasts to listen to because of how often I have my AirPods in my ears. This just causes me to constantly search for the best podcasts to stream on Spotify and elsewhere.

Since I’m already doing the work on a weekly (if not daily) basis, here is a roundup of what I’ve found to be the best podcasts of 2024 so far. I will keep this list updated monthly with my top picks. I’ve also sourced input from Pocket-lint’s editorial team to determine the best and hottest podcasts right now.

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1 Hooked on Freddie

The unbelievable tale of a man and his dolphin

Hooked on Freddie

The true story of an activist who works to free captive dolphins. He befriends a dolphin who appears in the harbor of his English fishing town, and that decision ends up ruining his life.

Host
Becky Milligan

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
Documentary

New episodes available
Series completed

Number of Episodes
7

Listening Length
35 minutes

Hooked On Freddie tells the story of Alan Cooper, an activist dedicated to freeing captive dolphins. One day in 1987, a wild bottlenose dolphin appeared in the harbor of the English town of Amble. The town becomes obsessed with the creature, making it a local celebrity and naming it Freddie. Eventually, Freddie latches on to Alan Cooper, and their relationship has the people of Amble asking unusual questions.

2 Plain English

Complex topics broken down in plain English

Plain English

Plain English takes on subjects making major headlines throughout the world — from deep dives on Ozempic, to the growing number of wars around the world.

Host
Derek Thompson

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
Pop culture

Number of Episodes
100+

Listening Length
30 to 45 minutes

New episodes available
Every Tuesday and Friday

Derek Thompson brings on experts to discuss the biggest questions facing our world today. Plain English normally does self-contained episodes that revolve around a single subject. Recently, though, the show featured a three-part series on the rise of Ozempic-like weight-loss drugs, and another on the troubling trend of wars breaking out throughout the world. Both three-part series are some of my favorite podcasts I’ve listened to in 2024 so far, because they pack a ton of expert-level information into short consumable bites.

3 My Perfect Console

Guests pick five games to create their perfect console

My Perfect Console

Simon Parkin hosts this podcast that sees an eclectic group of guests pick five video games to immortalize in their own perfect console.

Host
Simon Parkin

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
Technology

Number of Episodes
100+

Listening Length
60 to 80 minutes

New episodes available
Every Monday

This relatively new podcast features a wide range of guests, including actors, journalists, comedians, and heavyweights in the video game industry. They build their “perfect console” by selecting five of their favorite video games. The best episodes feature in-depth discussion about how video games affect us all, while remembering some classic games. It’s also fun to find out people you might not expect, like Ronan Farrow, are huge gamers.

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4 Morbid

A light-hearted take on true crime stories

Morbid

A true crime podcast that tries to keep things light and breezy while dealing with the macabre.

Host
Alaina Urquhart , Ash Kelley

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
True Crime

Number of Episodes
500+

Listening Length
60 to 90 minutes

New episodes available
On Monday and Thursdays

Morbid focuses on all things spooky, with episodes detailing horrifying true crime stories or historical events that get a little dark. It’s hosted by Alaina Urquhart, an autopsy technician, and Ash Kelley, an astrology-obsessed hairstylist. The pair keep things fun despite the subject.

5 The Retrievals

A horrifying true story

The Retrievals

A podcast that begins as a true crime story, but delves deeper into how women are treated by our healthcare system at large.

Host
Susan Burton

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
True crime

Number of Episodes
5

Listening Length
35 to 60 minutes

New episodes available
Series is finished

Susan Burton narrates the story of dozens of women who went to the fertility clinic at Yale hoping to become mothers, but instead, we’re abused by a nurse who stole pain-relieving drugs. The real question the podcast asks, though, is: why did the doctor not believe the women who were telling him they were in excruciating pain?

6 New Heights

The Kelce brothers talk life, football, and Taylor Swift

New Heights

NFL football players and brothers Travis and Jason Kelce document their lives during the NFL season, along with Travis’ worldwind romance with Taylor Swift.

Host
Travis Kelce , Jason Kelce

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
Sports, Pop Culture

Number of Episodes
79

Listening Length
90 minutes

New episodes available
Once a week

New Heights is hosted by the Kelce brothers, two future NFL Hall of Famers. The pair dive deep into their lives as NFL players while including guests from their lives. The podcast has exploded in popularity as it merges the Kelce brothers’ background knowledge of the NFL with their own down-to-Earth comedy. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Travis started dating Taylor Swift. Maybe she’ll join the pod some day.

7 Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

The best history podcast

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Hardcore History shines a spotlight on the major events and figures throughout history with expansive 4+ hour-long shows.

Host
Dan Carlin

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
History

Number of Episodes
70

Listening Length
1 to 6 hours

New episodes available
Sporadic, but about once every six months.

Hardcore History dives deep into all eras of human history, finding interesting ways to connect our modern perspectives to some of the most interesting events of the past. The episodes are long, though, with most of them spanning more than four hours, but that’s why there’s a pause button. Hardcore History will often dive deep into topics over the course of multiple episodes.

Our favorite episodes of Hardcore History include Ghosts of the Ostfront, which covers the eastern front of World War II, and The Celtic Holocaust, which discusses Julius Caesar’s final expedition in Gaul before returning to Rome to become Emperor. The series really comes into shape with the Punic Nightmares series, which are episodes 21 to 23. We’d recommend you start your listening there.

8 The Big Picture

Shining a light on the silver screen

The Big Picture

Sean Fennessy and Amanda Dobbins cover everything Hollywood, from the latest films in theaters, interviews with stars, and plotting out which movies could contend for Oscar consideration.

Host
Sean Fennessey , Amanda Dobbins

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
Popular culture

Number of Episodes
600+

Listening Length
1 to 2 hours

New episodes available
2 to 3 new episodes weekly

Hosts Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins tackle everything Hollywood in The Big Picture. The series features loads of interviews with the top stars, critics, and creators in Hollywood. They also tackle all the biggest new releases in theaters with episodes that you can revisit whenever you catch the film they discuss. The best episodes might be the Movie Drafts. Sean, Amanda and a guest will pick a year and then draft their favorite films from that year to see who can assemble the best crop of movies.

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9 Shutdown Fullcast

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Shutdown Fullcast

What started as a college football podcast over a decade ago is now just as likely to feature meditations on religion, life as a journalist, and whatever happens to be trending on Twitter or TikTok.

Host
Spencer Hall , Jason Kirk , Ryan Nanni , Holly Anderson

Genre
Sports and Pop Culture

Number of Episodes
700+

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Listening Length
60 to 90 minutes

New episodes available
Every Wednesday

For a show that begins each episode announcing that you’re listening to the internet’s only college football podcast, the Shutdown Fullcast spends as much, if not more, time talking about pop culture, history, and religion as they do discuss sports. That’s in large part because the show has lived on for over 10 years despite the hosts all being let go from SB Nation, which originally hosted the podcast. We recommend you start with the disaster episodes, which detail listener-submitted stories of times things went horribly wrong for them. You can check out a playlist of just the disaster episodes here.

10 Not Another D&D Podcast

Another D&D podcast (it’s just really good)

Not Another D&D Podcast

Listen to a crew of four friends go on adventures, and face impossible odds, while playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

Host
Brian Murphy , Emily Axford , Jake Hurwitz , Caldwell Tanner

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Genre
Fantasy

Number of Episodes
300+

Listening Length
60 to 120 minutes

New episodes available
Every Friday

Not Another D&D Pod features four friends playing Dungeons and Dragons. The series has been around since 2018 and has finished multiple Dungeons and Dragons campaigns in the years since its debut. That means a huge catalog of evergreen episodes you can listen to at your own pace.

11 Gardener’s Question Time

A BBC question and answer show

Gardener’s Question Time

A group of experts answer gardening questions submitted by listeners.

Creator
BBC

Genre
Gardening

Platforms

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Music, Pocket Cast, Overcast.

Number of Episodes
1000+

Listening Length
42 minutes

New episodes available
Every Friday

This audio-version of a BBC show is a great way to grow your own green thumb. It features a cast of rotating experts answering questions from real life gardeners. New episodes are released weekly, making listening to each episode a good way to force yourself outside and into your garden for at least 40 minutes each week.

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FAQ

Q: Which podcasts didn’t make the cut but are still great?

Aside from the list above, here’s some more of our favorite Podcasts broken out into genres:

Be sure to check out the Discover hubs on the major podcast streaming services, like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. They’ll usually have new shows you might be interested in based on the podcasts you already listen to.

Q: What’s the best app for listening to podcasts?

I’ve switched between Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts for my podcast listening. I don’t love any of them, but I mostly use Spotify now. I have been testing Overcast too, because of its supposedly better sound quality.

Q: Can you speed-up long podcasts?

Podcasts that are over an hour long can be hard to fit into one sitting. Every podcast app has an option to speed up the playback of podcasts. If you switch the speed up to 1.2 or 1.5 times the regular speed of the recording, you can finish longer pods like Hardcore History in a fraction of the time.

Q: Do you have to pay to listen to podcasts?

Most podcasts are free. Some podcasts do offer subscription services that give subscribers access to exclusive content through services like Patreon. You can also subscribe to add free versions of podcasts through most of the podcast streaming services.

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