10 Best Learning Podcasts to Binge Listen Right Now

Love mind-bending stories and incredible events? You’ve come to the right place!

1. Hardcore History

Hardcore History is run by political commentator, Dan Carlin. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in History from a University in Colorado. He got his career start as a television news anchor in the 1980's. He famously covered the 1992 Rodney King riots. He has since left television and live air radio in order to pursue internet radio. Hardcore History is now his most famous podcast.

Hardcore History is considered to be the best educational podcast because it covers an unlimited range of global history not typically covered in classrooms. They are typically discussed in a theatric style. New episodes take up to seven months to release. Carlin has won numerous awards for it, including Best History Podcast from iHeartRadio in 2018 and the Stitcher for Best Educational & Learning Podcasts in 2012.

Episode Sample: Hardcore History 63, Supernova in the East II

2. Ted Talks Daily

Even if you've never heard of their audio podcast before, chances are, you've probably seen a few Ted Talks videos. Their audio show is said to be just as good as the videos. Like the videos, the podcast is also one of the best places to listen to mind-expanding content.

Episode Sample: The Uncomplicated Truth About Woman's Sexuality by Sarah Barmack

3. You Are Not So Smart

While the title may sound belittling to some, it's considered to be one of the best learning podcasts. This is because it is one of the few that's willing to explore controversial topics such as irrationality. It also explores topics that they have are a part of folk wisdom but have no foundation to back themselves on. It also teaches about emotionally intellectual topics such as how to have difficult conversations, how people justify the status quo and even the concept of evil.

Episode Sample: YANSS 143-How to Talk to People About Things with Misha Glouberman

Best Podcasts for Road Trips

4. Unladylike

As long as you're not bringing any young children with you and if you like controversy, Unladylike is a fun podcast for road trips. It is a feminist podcast that covers topics concerning women, from diets to sex. It is designed to be mind-expanding on a bunch of controversial topics, such as handling sexism in the workplace, running a sex toy business, and whether it's proper for women to slam dunk in basketball.

Episode Sample: Episode 39: How to Slay Sexism Like a Professional

5. In the Dark

If you like crime shows, In the Dark is a new podcast covers real-life crime. As of this writing, they are now in their second season. So far, it has most famously covered the Jacob Wetterling and the Curtis Flowers cases. It won the Peabody Award in 2016. Investigative reporter Madeleine Baran hosts the show.

Episode Sample: S2 Update: Q&A + A Fire in Winona

6. Keep It!

If you're into pop culture and politics, this is the podcast for you. It is hosted by Ira Madison III who is a longtime culture writer and Twitter aficionado. He hosts comedians, actors, musicians, journalists, and famous activists on the show every week. It covers the latest movies, music, and even the latest Tweets.

Madison claims that he came up with the name for the show as a nicer take-off of cussing out news that he didn't like. He said he came up with the title when he heard the Megyn Kelly was joining Fox News. When he did, he reiterated from the Hollywood Reporter and found himself writing the phrase "keep it". The phrase stuck. From there, he was regularly appearing on Crooked Media podcasts. Then one of Anne Marie Cox's producers suggested that Madison and Cox figure out a way to work together after his first appearance on Lovett or Leave It. They started to format Keep It! that summer.

Episode Sample: Bohemian Rhapsidon't

7. The Daily

If keeping up with the daily news is important to you, then The Daily is the podcast for you. It is hosted by The New York Times and Michael Barbaro. They feature only the best journalists on the show. They cover mostly political news such as negotiations with the Taliban and general Presidential news, such as the Trump Investigation. It is on for twenty minutes a day, five days a week. Aside from reporting on the daily news, Barbaro also interviews various other reporters and experts.

Episode Sample: What Motivates Mitch McConnell?

8. Vox's The Impact

If politics is your passion, The Impact is one of the top podcasts for it. It is hosted by Sarah Kliff and its main purpose is to give the facts behind political debates, explaining how political decisions did or didn't change things for the better, and how the country and states are trying to solve the biggest issues.

Episode Sample: Denmark's Paternity Leave Problem

9. The Takeaway

The Takeaway is designed to be an alternative to the typical daily news. The thing that makes them stand out is that they take call-in's from listeners. They believe that this allows them to explore topics in a more diverse way. It is also a way to make people truly feel as if they have a say in things.

It is hosted by Amy Walter and Tanzina Vega. They cover everything from politics to national news to cooking.

Episode Sample: ICE Force-Feeding Immigrant Detainees, In Seemingly Unprecedented Move

10. The Dollop

The Dollop by comedians and hosts Gareth Reynolds and Dave Anthony are designed to tell about U.S. history. What makes them stand out is that they try to do it from various never-heard-of-before angles. For example, they'll not only tell you about the plane with 60,000 pounds of cannabis that crashed in Yosemite, but they'll also say that's only the start of the story. Then they'll proceed to give you the backstory behind it.

Episode Sample: 363-The Convent in Charlestown (Live)

Are There Any Podcasts for Kids?

Oh, yes!

Sesame Street has its own podcasts these days. They are basically the longtime television show converted into the podcast version. It features all the favorite muppets such as Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, and Elmo. They teach the same lessons about love, patience, and getting along in the world.

There are numerous others which are meant to be educational for kids, such as Brains On!, which is hosted by Molly Bloom. Brains On! is designed to encourage kids' natural curiosity about the world in science and history. Though Bloom emphasizes that anyone of any age is welcome to listen to Brains On!

There are also some that feature children's stories, such as Little Stories for Tiny People. That one is primarily targeted at tired parents, early elementary school teachers, and babysitters who don't know what else to do. It features various children' stories that are lovingly written with humor that they can understand.

So if you have a young one, yet another perk of most podcasts being free is that they can listen to their favorites on a regular basis as well.

Learn More About Podcasts

Podcasts are yet another outlet on the internet that makes it possible for almost everyone in the world to have a voice. Before the internet, if you wanted to have your own radio show, talk show, or become a pop star, you had to have a lot of connections with the right people. Either that or you would have needed to already be wealthy.

Unlike old-fashioned live air radio, podcasts are available to be downloaded 24/7. Even though the word "podcasting" is partially derived from "iPod", you don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts. Instead, they are now available on just about any mobile device. Some are free. Though if there's a certain topic that you're passionate about, you also have the option of subscribing to a related podcast through its RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

The History of Podcasts

Podcasting as we know it today was made possible primarily by MTV VJ Adam Curry in 2004. His first program design was called iPodder, which made it possible for him to download online radio broadcasts to his iPod. Several software developers, including Dave Winer, capitalized on Curry's idea and the rest is history. Today, Curry still hosts The Daily Source Code.

Are There Any Regulations?

The same copyright laws do apply. However, Podcasts don't currently have any government regulation otherwise. This means that podcasters don't need to purchase licenses or conform to the FCC's (Federal Communication Commission) decency regulations. However, they can purchase licenses or copyrights if they desire. Creative Commons is the most popular resource for that.

Where Do People Podcast?

Many giant corporations are now jumping into it. However, most podcasters are amateurs and do it in the comfort of their own homes. Another reason that people can currently podcast about anything is that podcasts don't currently rely on ratings. Most podcasters, however, typically stick from one to a few main subjects. This is what helps them draw loyal listeners.

How are Podcasts Set Up?

The audio is typically recorded on an iPad. If you're recording a song, the GarageBand app is particularly recommended. Their audio is excellent and their "Noise Gate" icon eliminates background noise.

Once it's completed, the individual can then share it on his or her iTunes Library. He or she can also e-mail it to him- or herself. However, larger episodes tend may not be able to be delivered via e-mail. That's why iTunes is the best outlet for eventually uploading it to the best podcasting service.

Once it's on iTunes, the iPad is then connected to the computer to add to the iTunes Music Library. This takes some steps as this involves saving the new file to the iPad's Desktop and then Add to Library.

The MP3 File then has to be tagged by downloading and purchasing an ID3 Editor. From there, the MP3 is downloaded and the podcast's information is added. The MP3 File is then uploaded to the podcast hosting service.

Are Podcasts Free?

Yes, almost all iTunes podcasts are currently free. You are like radio segments that you can download 24/7. As some put it, they are like short radio programs that are downloaded and stored on MP3's.

Apple does not currently provide direct updates for podcasts. Instead, those podcasts have to come directly from its producer. If you own multiple devices, you may want to download iCloud. With that, you can simply align all of your subscriptions throughout all of your devices. Otherwise, you will have to go through the downloading process multiple times with at least one or more of your devices.

Paid Podcasts

As described above, you don't have to purchase most podcasts to access them. However, some paid subscriptions do come with a bonus. For example, Savage Love provides cuts ads and podcasts twice as long in their subscription version.

If you want to subscribe to a podcast, it's usually very easy. All you need to do is find their "Subscribe" button and click on that. Then you will need to find their Library menu to request the number of downloads that you want at a time. You do so by clicking on the Feed button.

Whenever you want to delete a podcast, all you'll need to do is find the "Delete" or "Delete From Library" button. Once you choose an episode, it should stay on your menu until you decide to delete it.

You can also unsubscribe from a podcast at any time. All you need to do there is find iTunes' Library section, click on the series you're unsubscribing from, and then find the three-dot icon or right-click on the podcasts. Then click "Unsubscribe Podcast". Podcasters are perfectly aware that paid podcasts are a luxury and you shouldn't have to pay for something that you no longer want or can no longer afford.

Some Podcasts Have a Video Feature

They take more time to make than the audio, but some podcasts have their own videos and other visual features. A lot of artists, vloggers, and filmmakers prefer this avenue.

So do many entrepreneurs who want to sell products. In the past, only the big businesses could afford the sophisticated studio route, which made those just starting outlook cheap. Also, some of the latter were forced to turn to door-to-door soliciting, which results in a lot of disgruntlement. Podcasts have solved this issue.

Like it sounds, a video podcast involves making videos. A visual one, such as for artistic display, involves using still photographs.

Video podcasts tend to take longer to make because the uploading process involves using apps and icons such as special effects and graphics. It also involves finding a podcasting host that fits the video's size and bandwidth.


The only thing that can be overwhelming about podcasts is that there is currently an unlimited number of them to choose from. They can serve as anything from simple information updates about a subject to workshops to being something fun to listen to in order to kill time.

Currently, it seems that news and crime-related podcasts are the most popular. This isn't too surprising as much of the U.S. population is into both.

It has been predicted that podcasts will eventually replace live air radio completely. Only time will tell whether that will be so. However, with the current popularity of podcasts, it is a real likelihood. If and when they do, it is probably going to be like when DVD's replaced VHS's. Podcasts will probably have had their presence for quite some time. They will probably replace live air radio as soon as the demand for the latter goes down to just a few people per the global population.

It is definitely well-known that podcasts have eliminated a lot of the obstacles of previous generations. For example, if you wanted to listen to a song on a cassette tape a second time, you had to rewind it guessing whether you were at the beginning of your song. Unlike CD's podcasts also don't carry the risk of freezing when you bump into them. CD's also tended to stop working when they got scratched up or very dirty. CD's and cassettes also had to be purchased individually, which most podcasts currently do not need to be. Podcasts also don't carry the damage risks that cassettes and CD's did.

Looking for more? Check out our other entertainment guides: