10 Podcasts to make your commute more fun

Remember way back in 2005 when podcasts were heralded by the media as the future of radio? 

Well, a few years later everyone collectively became a bit sick of audio, and the same publications were quick to ring the death knell for the once-beloved podcast. 

But, thanks to a number of outrageously popular podcasts over the past few years (we’re looking at you Serial), podcasts have had a huge resurgence. 

Now it’s not just the interview format that makes the best podcast ear candy, but advice shows, conversations between friends, comedy series, horror series, tales about the past and so much more. 

We’ve collected together just a few of our favourite podcasts to liven up your morning commute. Whether you like to laugh, cry, scare yourself silly or expand your mind on your way to your 9-to-5, we’ve got something for you. 

Lore

You can get an ultra-creepy, yet totally captivating, dose of award-winning podcast Lore every two weeks.

Each episode digs up a new, dark tale from our past in a ‘gather around the campfire and share your most spine-tingling stories’ kind of way.

A mixture of strange creatures, tragic events, unsolved mysteries and unusual places makes for super-addictive listening that’s almost impossible to pause.

And with a tagline like ‘sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction’, you know you’re onto a winner.

(Psst… fans will be happy to hear there are rumours that Lore will be turned into a TV show soon too.)

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Let’s imagine that you found out your dad had written an actual porno. Your dad. A porno. *Shudders*.

Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jamie Morton. But, rather than ignore it, or bottle it up, or feel rather disgusted like most of us probably would, he decided to read through it with the help of Radio 1’s Alice Levine and James Cooper.

And that’s how My Dad Wrote a Porno was born. Carter reads a new chapter each week, and it makes for truly laugh-out-loud-funny listening.

Dear Sugar Radio

The baby of hugely successful American novelist Cheryl Strayed and short story writer Steve Almond, Dear Sugar is a contemporary spin on advice columns, created to answer questions posed by those who are struggling with love, life and, well, everything in between.

It originally started as a column that Strayed wrote anonymously for literary website The Rumpus, but as it became increasingly popular due to her wisdom, compelling writing style and buckets of empathy it soon evolved into the weekly podcast so many subscribers know and love today.

The Adam Buxton Podcast

Credit: Matt Crockett
(Image: © Matt Crockett)

Beloved British comedian Adam Buxton became the joint king of comedy podcasts when, many years ago, he presented with chum Joe Cornish on cult UK radio station BBC Radio 6 Music.

Fast-forward to the present day and Buxton has begun a new, interview-based podcast, which he releases roughly every other week.

Each episode sees Buxton having deep conversations, also known as ‘ramble chats’, with the likes of Louis Theroux, Richard Ayoade and Jonny Greenwood.

They feel much more real and relatable than other interviews you’ll hear, and Buxton shares a lot too, rather than just firing questions at his guests.

Call Your Girlfriend

The structure of this podcast isn’t rambling or interviews; instead it’s two best mates having a good ol’ chat about everything from feminism, ‘free boobin’’ and friendship to politics, periods and pop culture.

Fronted by two extremely smart and hilarious women, digital strategist Aminatou Sow and journalist Ann Friedman, the weekly podcast also answers listeners’ problems, and features a Phone-a-Friend episode in alternating weeks, full of in-depth interviews with some of their most interesting best friends.

Criminal

Another hugely popular podcast, but this time for true crime lovers who want to get engrossed in quirky cases and the odd murder mystery on their way to work.

It’s not really overly gory, but instead explores curious legal tales that you really couldn’t make up, and centres on the people who have done wrong (or are accused of doing something wrong, at least).

It’s truly a must-listen for fans of Serial who just can’t get enough of playing podcast detective on the bus.

You Must Remember This

You Must Remember This is a beautiful, and in many ways tragic, storytelling podcast that delves back into the secret history, long-forgotten mysteries and lesser-known figures of early Hollywood.

Former film critic Karina Longworth puts an amazing amount of research into each episode, which in the past have covered the largely untold stories about the likes of Charles Manson, Theda Bara, Frances Farmer and Ronald Reagan.

A must for those interested in movie nostalgia and unearthing the hidden gems you wouldn’t usually read in a Hollywood history book.

The Guardian’s Football Weekly

The Guardian produces some brilliant podcasts week-on-week, and its football (or soccer, for those in certain climes) rundown is no exception.

The Football Weekly podcast is fronted by TV presenter and journalist James Richardson, who brings his sporting know-how and impressive knowledge of the European game to the week’s biggest football news, dissecting performances and games, filling fans in on the latest news, and often including an in-depth interview or extended chat with a big sports personality.

Distraction Pieces

Dreamed up by spoken word artist turned DJ Scroobius Pips, this podcast is essentially all about having truly meaningful conversations with interesting guests.

It manages to straddle the line between ‘fun and silly’ and ‘deep and meaningful’ effectively, with an eclectic mix of guests, from a mortician who discusses death and a doctor who delves into the science behind recreational drugs, to big names like Simon Pegg and Russell Brand.

TED Radio Hour

Brought to you by the team behind the fascinating and addictive TED Talks, the weekly TED Radio Hour podcast presents ideas, new ways of thinking, and compelling stories for you to mull over on the way to your dull office job.

Topics range from ways to save our dying planet and unpicking the problems with democracy, to a frank peek at the ways in which we love.

If it’s brain food you’re after on your commute, rather than creepy stories or endless laugh-out-loud moments, then TED Radio Hour is what we prescribe.