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Listen To These Podcasts If You Have No Clue Where To Start

In case you thought podcasts only meant This American Life, think again. Here are some brand new podcasts, as well as a few that you may have never heard of, to fresh up your listening list or help you break into that podcast game. Go to the search box of whatever podcast listening app you use and search these shows.

apple podcasts

Start here

  • NPR’s Up First – a daily 10-15 minute show which covers the 2-3 most pressing news items that day. 
  • Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell explores different topics and events, but always from an unexpected angle. The show is conducted in “seasons” and season 3 was just released. 
  • Converge – Gamify everything they said, so Casey Newton, writer at The Verge is making interviews with tech people into a gameshow. It works and it’s fun. 
  • The Indicator from Planet Money – a bunch of money related topics and ideas, but in super short chunks. Get smarter in the time it takes you to wait through a long traffic light. 
  • Westworld: The Recappables – Westworld is back in 2018 (and just conclucuded) and while you can find a podcast about any TV show, Westworld is one of the few that needs an accompanying discussion just to keep up with what’s going on. This podcast from The Ringer site does recaps and theories and mostly stays on topic.

  • Balanced Bites – this one is all about natural health, wellness, and eating, from a primal/paleo perspective. 
  • NPR’s How I Built This – if your a fan of the soothing voice of Guy Raz and you love inspiring documentaries that make you want to quit your day job and join that #sidehustle life, then this is the podcast for you. It features the stories of how powerhouse companies like Airbnb, Five Guys, and Cliff Bar started from the bottom and made billions. 
  • You Can Make This Up – of course Netflix has a podcast about the behind-the-scenes dealings of its shows. This show is the chaser to the binge.

Interested but have no idea how to actually listen to a podcast? Check out The Digital Hype’s guide to getting started in just six steps.

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The Best Podcast App Includes This One Amazing Feature

podcast app

There are a dozen decent apps that you can use to listen to podcasts across Android and iOS; but they’ve become so similar that the biggest difference is how they look.

Podcast apps like Castro and Apple’s default podcast app are fine and provide plenty of functionality, but, after venturing out and trying some new ones, I found it nearly impossible to switch away from the podcast app Overcast, for one simple reason:

Overcast includes a feature called Smart Speed.

overcast podcast app

Smart Speed shortens the silence gaps between people speaking and helps you get through podcast episodes quicker, without having to listen to the whole thing at an unnatural speed.

Typically, if you want to listen to something faster, you play the whole thing at 1.25x or 1.5x the original speed. Speeding the whole thing up doesn’t sound great and can make listening harder. Dynamically shortening the silence between talking, moves things along without making people sound funny.

Smart Speed sounds neat, but is making the short time between people speaking really saving that much time? Yes. After two years, Smart Speed has trimmed 77 hours off the podcasts I’ve listened to inside Overcast.

Put another way, I’ve saved more than 3 days of listening time.

smart speed overcast

In addition to Smart Speed, another feature called Smart Resume now intelligently resumes playing a few seconds earlier than when the episode was paused or stopped (without starting in the middle of a word). A less significant feature, but equally as nice to have.

Overall, Overcast is a fantastic podcast playing app and well worth trying out–especially because it’s the only app to have a Smart Speed type of feature. It’s available for iPhones and iPads in the App Store.