The Best Podcasts of 2018
Here are the best podcasts of 2018. They have become a huge part of my life this year. From learning about weird and questionable moments in history, American politics and discussing important issues around pop culture and the social media based lives that so many of us live today. I like to think that podcasts have enriched my mind without having to stop and take a moment to read a single novel, newspaper article or scrounge around on twitter for the latest news.
If you haven’t got onto podcasts yet, I highly recommend giving the list below a listen. I have been subscribed to some of these since January, some since they just started as podcasts themselves and some as of last week. I think it’s important to keep editing your podcasts subscriptions and adding things into the mix that you wouldn’t normally listen to. Widening your world view is something that needs to be done in this day and age and I hope you can enjoy these as much as I do.
I listen to all of these on the Apple Podcast App. I know you can get some of these on Spotify, Soundcloud and on the iHeartRadio App too.
Best Pop Culture Podcasts
The Bechdel Cast By How Stuff Works Network
This podcast has been around since the end of 2016 but I only started listening around mid-2017 when my brother told me about it! Weekly episodes are hosted by two LA-based comedians, Caitlin Durante and Jamie Loftus. They’re excellent at forming a well-rounded view of so many films, I don’t know how they can watch so many movies that have misogynistic undertones and they can still remain funny and entertaining humans.
If you’re feeling like your masculinity is a little threatened right now, don’t worry yourself - it’s not a ranting feminist podcast, it’s not man-hating and all that stuff that so many men are scared of listening to. These girls talk about it well and discuss so many important topics around the films they watch. It can be a little heartbreaking to realise how problematic your favourite movies actually are though.
Listening to this podcast has made me so much more aware of the things I would normally just accept because it’s how I know things to be. It’s awesome to be aware of not only inequality for women, but also for poc and the LGBTQI population too. This one is a real eye-opener and I recommend listening to this even if you’re not a female.
Favourite episode: Mean Girls with Jenny Jaffe
This is a new one, only started this year! I’ve listened since the first ep, you’ve probably seen me talk about it a few times on my Instagram Stories. It’s hosted by two Melbourne journalists, Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews. Scrap the idea of slut-shaming and negative glossy magazines, Michelle and Zara cover celebrity gossip and trending news topics in an informed and educated way. They call it ‘the podcast for smart women who really love dumb stuff’.
Weekly, the two go through the latest news cycle and discuss/argue through details of a few stories to (sometimes) come to a conclusion around what issues the story highlights, how we can be aware of it and whether there are things we can do to change certain views or ideas. To me, it’s more than just discussing the dumb stuff. There are so many underlying themes in our everyday media consumption and it’s always good to take a critical look at what we’re filling our heads with. Ps. They’ve just started some interview type episodes and they’re great for another pov!
They handled so many tricky situations this year. They talked a lot about Instagram influencers without pointing fingers, they brought up incredibly important points around our social media culture and handled Melbourne Cup in a way I only wish I could.
Shameless is great for challenging your own ideas and listening to some constructive criticism in a respectful way. It’s almost like listening to my internal debate and trying to figure out where I stand on a topic, while also reminding myself that I don’t always need to have an opinion.
Favourite episode: Too many to choose! I loved Fact Checking a “healing princess” and Would you like some fake followers with that?
Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham is a model and a body activist, you’ve probably seen her on magazine covers and in the Levi campaigns. She interviews guests about their lives, topics around culture and their businesses. The podcast only started in October last year but has already had a few high profile interviewees! I love gaining insight into peoples lives in this way. The interviews don’t feel forced or prepared, they go with the flow without digressing too far from the subject.
Favourite Episode: Kim Kardashian West
After Work Drinks
Isabelle Truman and Grace O’Neill are who I’d love to hang out with and just talk about stuff, the only thing is, they’re both definitely funnier than me. Their podcast makes me feel like I’m not alone in being interested in the current news. They go through so many issues and I love that they know it’s important to discuss things from politics to celebrity news. If you’re looking to learn and also form your own opinions on things, give this podcast a listen.
The Cut on Tuesdays
This is pretty much everything you want in a podcast. It’s by the New York Times and Gimlet Media, hosted by Molly Fischer. She’s so damn good. I love listening to her speak a well-rounded view on things and chat to educated guests about their opinions too. It’s full of so much stuff, I can’t possibly describe it one word. It’s definitely pop culture but it ties in with news, very important things, fashion, beauty etc.
Favourite Episode: Women of the Caravan
The Business of Fashion Podcast
I don’t know what I did before I listened to this podcast. The Business of Fashion goes through so much that I never knew was even related to or affected by fashion. They unpack so much to do with the industry. What’s happening in the fashion space for 2019, what has been discovered about the past? What do we need to be doing as consumers to ensure that the Earth survives?
So many incredibly educated people are shedding light on the things that we wouldn’t normally know. So much good stuff. You need to be listening to this if you’re a budding designer, working in a fashion agency, PR, a blogger or just an interest in fashion at all. You will learn SO MUCH.
Favourite episode: Christopher Wylie: 'Fashion Data Was Used to Help Bannon Build the Alt-Right' (This episode describes targeted advertising so well. Please listen to this, I think it’s so important)
21st Century Women
This podcast chats to amazing women doing things that are changing minds and making waves. It’s self-described as a celebration of women and a judgement free chat. I always feel like a fly on the wall with these conversations and I love hearing the incredible insight on issues and ideas that come from so many inspiring women.
Seize the Yay
I’ve only just recently listened to the Seize the Yay Podcast by Spoonful of Sarah (Sarah Holloway) and I’m already really enjoying it. I first heard Sarah on the Shameless podcast and found her to be so real, transparent and inspiring. Her podcast influences me to look at the good things in my life that I’m grateful for, that I need to focus on and that I need to nurture. I love the way she constructs her interviews, they’re fun and easy to listen too and it feels like I’m the third person in the room.
I’m still listening through old podcasts at the moment so I don’t have a #1 favourite yet!
Keeping it Candid
I loved listening to this podcast last year. Sophie Milner and Millie Cotton discussed some important topics over their episodes and I loved hearing their opinions in my ears. So many important things were talked about including mental health, Instagram culture, some celebrity news and pop culture issues too. My favourite thing about these two is that they talk so candidly about the Influencer world and mainly what they get paid/what work they’re doing. I feel like no one does this! I have so many girls DM me to ask for help because they don’t know what they’re doing with their pricing structure. These two are based in the UK so the Instagram environment is a bit different (way higher engagement) but I still appreciate what they’re doing! They’re having a little break at the moment but I can’t wait to hear what issues they tackle again this year.
Favourite Episode: Ep 14: What We Really Earn From Instagram & Blogging with special guest Chloe Plumstead
Alison Rice is an award-winning journalist and I absolutely love the honest structure of her podcast. She chats with the women you see on your Instagram feeds and talks about the unfiltered and honest side of things. It’s a great way to understand the women who look like they’ve got it all put together online. It has humanised so many people for me and provided inspiration for me to just keep keeping on. It’s a great resource for reminding yourself that everyone is human, everyone has struggled and you’re not alone. I listen to every single episode so I don’t have one single favourite for this one!
Best Crime and History Podcasts
The Teachers Pet
The Teachers Pet podcast has become one of the most popular true-crime podcasts in the whole world. It’s been downloaded close to 30 million times. The main episodes are finished and the podcast is being updated with new info on the investigation. Pretty much, Hedley Thomas from The Australian started the investigative podcast to give a voice to Lyn Dawson, a woman who mysteriously disappeared from her home on the Northern Beaches in NSW, 1982. The podcast exposes the terrible investigation at the time and gives a lot of insight into her relationship with her husband and ex-rugby player Chris Dawson. So many new witnesses have come forward since the podcasts inception, people that the police never bothered to interview. If you haven’t listened to this podcast yet, you’ve probably already seen some developments in the news late 2018. The whole podcast is definitely worth listening to, it’s a great reminder of why investigative journalism is still very important.
Best News/ American Politics Podcasts
Abe Lincoln's Top Hat
Hosted by Ben Kissel and Marcus Parks, this podcast has taught me SO much about American politics. This was something that I knew I should know about. I was always hearing stuff on the news and couldn’t figure out what was going on, who was who and why all of these things were important. This was an easy way for me to grasp an understanding of what’s actually happening over there. Sometimes it does get deep into American political crap that I don’t quite understand, normally they go over most of the main points at the beginning or I can skip through the details to the next part.
The Squiz Podcast
This podcast is a super quick round-up of the news each morning and a good way to catch up on anything you might have missed overnight. It’s Australian based so I love listening to this when I get in my car first thing in the morning. I love knowing what might be happening that day in a non-biased way and arming myself with a good spiel of what’s going on in case an adult decides to talk to me in public.
Tell Me It’s Going to be Ok
If you can’t already tell, I’m obsessed with trying to understand what’s going on in the world around me. If I can soak up information, I will. I remember being so clueless about the Bush and Obama administrations when I was younger, I decided that I’m not going to be ignorant or misinformed anymore. This is by the Mamamia Podcast Network and hosted by Mia Freedman and Amelia Lester. It’s an Australian podcast that talks through the Trump world and explains it in easy to understand manner. Yep, that’s what I love. It has been a big year and they’re having a break at the moment but it has been excellent to wake up on a Thursday morning and find that someone has summarised the weeks' info for me. I don’t have to be on Twitter or subscribe to any news sites. I like to listen to this podcast first and then I dive deeper with Abe Lincolns Top Hat or Pod Save America.
The Last Podcast on the Left
I’ve listened to some messed up stuff on this podcast that I’ll never forget. Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks will take you through the ins and outs of some historic crimes, ideas and conspiracy theories. They are American but they cover some stuff I’ve heard of before and some Australian topics too. I always laugh like a mad lady alone in my car driving along the freeway when I’m listening to these guys. They’re witty and clued up about a lot of stuff and I always turn to this podcast when I just want to listen to something.
Favourite episode: The Biggie and Tupac three part conspiracy! I cant believe P.Diddy is still alive.
Pod Save America
I have never ever understood American politics and I have obviously tried really hard over the last year to listen to some content about the situation over there. They describe themselves as “A no-bullshit conversation about politics” and it’s exactly that. I’ve just read on Wikipedia that there are 1.5 million listeners an episode. IT’S GOOD. It’s a progressive political podcast They have had so many intelligent guests on the show and talk to some very high up political figures, eg. Barak Obama. The hosts, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor (former Obama staffers) and Dan Pfeiffer discuss the weekly news and explain it in a way that’s easy to digest and understand. They talk about Trump's tantrums and what’s actually happening in the office while he’s off on a twitter rage, what’s actually going on with the people and they dissect the news reporting on issues too.
They really cover a lot about how the American people are suffering because of some serious stuff going on. It’s something that not many of us actually think about. There are so many people who aren’t getting their paychecks, getting government services, supporting their families, people who aren’t getting healthcare and education. They really encourage action and want to incite change. If you’re American, please check this one out!
Russia, if You’re Listening
Another Trump podcast. Not sorry! This is from the perfective of the Russia investigation and the progress with it. Matt Bevan is a great host, he interviews so many people with great perspectives and insights into the weird world of politics. It talks about the foundations of the investigation and everything involved.
Podcasts for Work
7 Minute Job Interview Podcast
The Host, Dayvon Goddard is a Job Interview Coach and I love listening to his tips and tricks. I think it’s a great idea to listen to this podcast if you’re looking at starting or changing into a new job, moving your career in a different path etc. He helps with interviews and resumes, down to why your LinkedIn profile is important. I listened to his podcast before an interview just recently and I got the internship! I feel like there’s always something we can learn, especially great if you don’t have to make the mistake first and you can just listen to the podcast.
Work Life with Adam Grant
Adam Grant is an expert on motivation and learning. I think he’s a great thinker and I love the way he talks and writes. I have one of his books at home ready to read called Option B. I’ll let you know how it goes! He talks a lot about how you can make work not suck. Yes, please. I found his podcast really great to listen to when I wasn’t loving work in the office, if I felt stuck in a situation or when I felt I needed to prepare for a certain reaction or management decision.
I know I’m not making it sound super thrilling but it’s a great eye-opener into what we can do ourselves to make us love our lives a little more.