I wonder, at times, how people start listening to podcasts. I started with Welcome to Nightvale and eventually found a passion for non-fiction podcasts. While I still listen to audio dramas, I follow the finished podcasts and often take a long time listening. We don’t have to marathon podcasts, but I do like to see an end in sight.
Evo Terra has a great newsletter called The End, highlighting finished fiction. I realized when scrolling through a selection, that finished podcasts might be great to get people into listening to a podcast. I can’t imagine jumping into talk-show-type podcasts. Sure, everyone has a reason to listen to New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce right now - but these chat-style podcasts based around known people are just the tip of the iceberg in podcast land. They are an introduction to opening a podcatcher, finding a podcast, and hitting play. People can subscribe to The End to find fiction podcasts.
What’s another direction a person can wander into in non-fiction land? Where does the trail lead?
So in the vein of finished non-fiction podcasts, I present Podcasts to Dip Your Toes In.
The criteria: completed series, excellent audio, and great stories.
A sports podcast that covers a scandal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in season one, and in season two talks about gender identity in professional figure skating. There are also some excellent one-off episodes after.
Read My Review of Season One Here
Read My Review of Season Two Here
Father Wants Us Dead
A locally produced true crime podcast for the ages. Westfield NJ witnessed the tragic murder of the List family by the father John. This excellently produced and reported podcast was an early Release Day Review of mine, but the whole series is a phenomenal and feeling true crime podcast.
Read My Review Here
The Turning: Room of Mirrors
This podcast hooked me from the first episode of season one. Heartfelt and personal, while also sharing perspective-shattering accounts of insulor communities these sister reporters did some of the most interesting work I saw last year. Covering the Sisters of Charity and the world of ballet, the seasons are both so different and so alike I couldn’t stop listening.
Read My Review Here
One of the most important, but difficult podcasts I’ve ever listened to Dear Alana tackles religious trauma in the life of a young girl named Alana. Dealing with themes of abuse, LGBTQ struggles, and religious trauma this is not for the faint of heart. Hopeful despite the pain, I count this among one of my all-time favorite podcasts.
Read my Review Here
While most of these podcasts have some heavy subject matter, it’s only a selection of some of the non-fiction podcasts I love. Podcasts challenge me to think, to feel, and explore aspects of the world I never had before. It’s all there, in my ears as I wash dishes, knit, clean, or play Tetris on my phone. I can balance my curiosity with my day.
If you have a favorite limited series, nonfiction podcast, with excellent audio - comment what it is below! More importantly, remember to subscribe so you get The Monthly Magpie a round-up of my monthly reviews! Free!