The Most Popular Podcasts in 2020

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Table of Contents

If you’ve ever wanted to explore or delve into a topic or niche in great depths, there is no doubt that podcasts are the way to go. With just your smartphone and an internet connection, you can find even the most obscure interests in the right podcast, all readily available for you to download or stream at your convenience.

With podcasts being so readily available, there has been a huge surge of new podcasts over the past several years. More and more hosts are exploring new ways to add variety to popular genres with their own twist, which has resulted in some outstanding podcasts as of late.

Today, there has never been such a vast selection of podcasts to choose from, and in this article, we’ll outline some of the best for each major category to help you find your next favorite podcast.

News

This daily podcast covers the Coronavirus pandemic in incredible detail, with episodes that are 2 hours long on daily.

The title of this podcast says it all: learn everything you need to know about the Coronavirus in a bite-sized format with this show.

Hosted by Dr. Celine Gounder, the Epidemic podcast covers in-depth details on COVID-19, from breaking down the most up to date information to answering common questions about the virus.

Produced by Vox, The Weeds explores political and policy discussions in a conversational format.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow hosts this daily podcast that covers top news, politics, and pop culture.

Get your quick news fix with Up First, a 10-minute daily show produced by NPR that covers the top news of the day in an easy to digest format.

An award-winning podcast hosted by investigative journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now covers pressing global news with uncompromising editorial independence.

Global News is a 30-minute excerpt compiled from BBC’s 24-hours news coverage that features 2 episodes per day.

The Daily is a 20-minute podcast from The New York Times that airs every weekday. If you’re into the New York Time’s coverage, you’ll love this podcast.

The Takeaway is yet another daily news podcast with a twist: it comes from the field and listener call-ins.

Comedy

This is a podcast that needs no introduction. Joe Rogan interviews some of the most exciting figures from around the world to get a deep dive into interesting thoughts with a humorous twist.

3 brothers give hilarious commentary and advice on listeners’ questions that will crack you up.

Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds explore funny historical events or figures, such as the 1976 plane crash with 60,000 pounds of pot on board.

This political comedy podcast discusses issues on bigotry, women’s rights, sexism and more in a hilariously vulgar take.

A comedic true crime podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark that is a regular on the top 10 iTunes podcast chart.

Are you a fan of The Office? Office Ladies is hosted by The Office co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, where they break down each episode in this podcast and share exclusive behind-the-scenes stories.

A weekly podcast that covers the current events in hip hop and pop culture with comical banter and camaraderie.

Dax Shepard explores the ‘struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy’ in this comedic podcast.

A weekly podcast hosted by stand up comedian Marc Maron that offers brutally raw, thought-provoking comedy.

Comedian best pals Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer share funny stories in this biweekly podcast that will definitely brighten up your day.

A comedic podcast that explores the daily life of married co-hosts Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky.

Andy Zaltzman hosts the satirical self-proclaimed “audio newspaper” as he gives his take on global events alongside comedians such as John Oliver, Anuvab Pal, Nish Kumar, and more.

Music

Rap Radar covers everything under the sun in the world of rap, such as A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg’s run-ins with the law.

Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton introduce listeners to all kinds of genres of music in this podcast for those that are looking to discover their next new favorite music.

Legendary London DJ trio Above & Beyond hosts this weekly 2-hour long podcast that is a must-listen for fans of electronic dance music.

Sound Opinions provides excellent and engaging music criticism in a conversational format in this podcast to enrich your appreciation of music.

In this podcast, host Lior Phillips explores first concerts of prominent music figures, pre-show rituals, festivals, and much more intricacies of the music industry.

Science and Philosophy

Hosted by the one and only Neil deGrasse Tyson, StarTalk covers all things pop culture to current events in the eyes of the famous astrophysicist.

Tune in to TED’s podcast to hear from experts around the world on business, technology, science and more.

Enlighten yourself in the world of vegans with Bob Linden as he sheds light on issues of animal abuse, environment, world hunger, cookie recipes more.

Science Vs explores a wide range of topics from a scientific perspective both for serious issues and lighthearted discussions.

This podcast presents a fun way to learn about how things work : from the chaos theory to wastewater treatment and everything in between, Stuff You Should Know covers complicated topics to make them digestible for the average person.

Freakonomics, the mega-best-selling book, in a podcast format hosted by the author that explores ‘the hidden side of everything’ from a twisted economics perspective.

From scientific revelations or mysteries of the universe, Stuff to Blow Your Mind has answers that will certainly blow your mind with each episode.

Philosophy students explore big philosophical questions or ideas in a roundtable informal discussion that is both intellectually stimulating and casual.

A candid and fresh view on women in terms of psychological, biological, sociological aspects of women, Stuff Mom Never Told You is an informative podcast on all things women.

NPR correspondent Shankar Vedantam sheds light on the unconscious mind behind human behavior with science and storytelling.

Host Ira Flatow interviews the top figures in science and technology, ranging from Jane Goodall to Elon Musk in this podcast, covering entertaining and educational stories along the way.

Journalist Ezra Klein delves into big topics in culture by talking to experts and challenges his guests to provoke insightful discussions that deepen the audience’s understanding of how the world works.

Storytelling

This bi-monthly podcast goes over real-life crime stories that are more frightening than fiction.

The Moth podcast is a rerun of stories told on live Moth stages, a storytelling organization that presented thousands of true stories worldwide since 1997.

This American Life indulges in short form fiction that has surprising plot twists, compelling people in the narrative journalism flavor.

Latin for invisible, the name of this podcast says it all. Explore the invisible side of human beliefs, ideas and assumptions in this narrative podcast that combines storytelling and science.

A podcast that presents spooky retellings of real crime such as the Slender Man stabbings and West Memphis Three incarceration, along with commentary over beer.

The official podcast of Joe Exotic of Netflix fame where untold stories behind the entire Joe Exotic saga are presented first hand by characters in the show.

A weekly fix for true crime that is a straightforward retelling on some of the most suspenseful crime stories.

Anna Sale features intimate conversations with listeners and celebrities on nuanced topics such as divorce, parenting, and everything in between.

Dan Carlin explores extremely brutal, intensive historical stories with a touch of deep questions and commentary.

This podcast presents a first-person perspective from people who have gone through life-changing events that are either devastating or incredibly unbelievable.

Sports

From WWE being deemed an essential business to wrestling terminology, Jim Cornette gives an uncensored take on everything wrestling in this weekly podcast.

One of the most downloaded sports podcasts of all time, Bill Simmons discusses all things sports from the upcoming NFL draft to iconic NBA finals with a rotating crew of celebrity guests and athletes.

Dunc’d On is a podcast on the nitty-gritty details of NBA management, going over statistical analysis, roster management, and more.

Michael Davies and Roger Bennett discuss the reception of soccer in the United States, along with soccer recaps and interviews with athletes.

The Starters is a podcast that covers the daily stories of the NBA, covering off-court antics with a wicked sense of humor.

Jalen Rose, former NBA player, offers insider knowledge and professional context on breaking down the ins and outs of the NBA.

Technology

This Week in Tech is one of the oldest technology podcasts, dating all the way back to 2005. This Week in Tech covers the latest trends in digital tech, both from the perspective of experts and journalists.

Hosted by Linus Sebastian of the popular YouTube channel LinusTechTips, this podcast is a conversational commentary on the latest news on consumer electronics.

Reply All is a podcast that offers more of a narrative take on stories about technology, with an emphasis technology has been woven into aspects of modern life.

The weekly BBC technology podcast that covers technology stories and news that focuses on big, global stories.

Produced by Vox, Kara Swisher, host, interviews politicians, tech execs, and more about the bigger picture around technology and the Internet.

An incredible one man show from John Gruber; one of the most profound Apple experts in the world. Daring Fireball covers all stories related to Apple, along with conversations with tech journalists and experts.

Produced by the popular tech blog Digital Trends, this podcast covers everything in the tech industry and beyond.

The Giant Beastcast talks about the culture and industry surrounding video games, from the latest PS5 controller to Animal Crossing.

Marques Brownlee from popular YouTube tech channel MKBHD takes a deep dive into consumer tech to see which products are worthy of your hard earned money.

Society and Culture

Recently launched by The New York Times, Rabbit Hole is an incredibly nuanced podcast about how the internet is changing, and how it is changing society along with it.

A roundtable discussion on timeless cultural topics, from music reviews to books, movies, memes and everything in between.

99% invisible is a podcast that gives detailed insights on the inner workings of things we don’t normally think about, like the origins of the fortune cookie or how inflatable men became fixtures.

Explore the thought process behind creators such as cartoonists, musicians, artists, podcasters, and more in this longform podcast about how creatives work.

A duo of licensed counselors shares the most disturbing stories that they’ve amassed for over 20 years.

A group of popular Twitch streamers shares stories of their daily lives, adventures, shenanigans and more.

Business

The OG of all business podcasts, Tim Ferriss dissects top performers from all fields to learn about their tools, tactics, productivity hacks and more.

Dave Ramsey gives practical answers for difficult money questions to help you get out of debt, achieve financial freedom and take control of your money.

Hosted by one of the top experts in the podcasting space, Pat Flynn gives insights on how to build an online business and interviews prominent entrepreneurs along the way.

John Lee Dumas interviews top entrepreneurs to inspire you to create the life you’ve always dreamed of.

A weekly podcast where top entrepreneurs are interviewed on side hustles, building online businesses, and making a living online.

From negative oil prices to stimulus checks, Planet Money uncovers the inner workings of the global economy and how it affects us.

Alex Blumberg, a co-founder of Planet Money, reflects on what it’s really like to start a business, including his own company, Gimlet Media, which was later acquired by Spotify.

Kai Ryssdal explains the complicated workings of current economics to make it digestible for the average person as he interviews small business owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs.

This weekly podcast takes the audience on a narrative journey on how some of the best known companies around the world are built.

That’s all for our top picks on the most popular podcasts! We’re certainly sure that there is something for everyone on this list, and we hope this piece has helped you discover your next favorite podcast.

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