Nothing beats a good podcast. Whether you prefer a mystery with your morning walk, a funny interview during your commute, or a tech news summary to accompany your chores, the world of podcasts has something for everyone. We asked Illinois graduate students for their favorite podcasts, and these were your recommendations! We've got quite a few podcasts to add to our queue.
Did we leave out your favorite podcast? Drop us a line with your recommendation!
The Podcast Canon: A Survey Seminar
You said: "I love the reporting in Radiolab. It's a beautiful blend of science and storytelling and I am always captivated by the stories."
This American Life
You said: "Every episode is interesting and well-researched. I find myself ruminating on these stories, and often they find their way into future conversations. In a glut of unimportant media, this podcast adds to the human experience and understanding of it!"
You said: "The topics are wide-ranging, very interesting, and usually not covered by anyone else."
Worlds of Knowledge
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
You said: "Armchair Expert is fun, while also thought-provoking and intellectual. It’s because of this podcast that I realized how much I enjoy learning and wanted more. For that reason, I applied to grad school and here I am today in the iMBA program."
You said: "Ologies literally covers every 'ology' in the world. From Mars and epidemics to fish and fear, I've learned so much about the things that surround me every day through this podcast. Informative, soothing, and at times, quirky - everything I look for in a podcast."
You said: "My friend and I record Queerly Natural to share our knowledge/research into queer species. In each episode, we focus on a different animal, plant, or fungus and discuss not just what they are and where they live but also their behavior that is considered queer. Want to learn about a 5 gendered fish, a female-only lizard species, a sex-swapping tree, or queer bonobos? Queerly Natural is the place to learn more!"
Unboxing Queer History
You said: "A podcast from Gerber/Hart - Chicago's LGBTQ+ Library & Archives - each episode takes a deep dive into a different archival collection. It's like time traveling! I'm one of the co-creators, and had an absolute blast working on it."
The Energy Gang
You said: "Excellent commentary on contemporary energy and environmental sustainability issues with academic leaders, policymakers, and industry pioneers; the episodes are always relevant to timely developments in the field so as to keep its listeners educated of the latest news and advancements in the field and practice."
You said: "It’s witty, engaging, and informative. The two hosts play well off each other in a way that’s not completely esoteric and isolating, and they engage on topics that are highly relevant. It’s a unique blend of technology, social issues, and cultural commentary that I don’t get in other places."
Zero 2 Asic
You said: "It gives an insight into the new revolution beginning with open-source PDKs and the Google Skywater project. It also provides example projects which were selected in the Skywater shuttle."
Stay Tuned with Preet
You said: "Preet Bharara served as a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York from 2009 to 2017. He covers many topics including power, policy, and justice from a legal perspective, and also interviews people from all walks of life. He is funny, intellectual, and inquisitive. For someone who has an affinity for legal inquiry, I enjoy his analysis and interviews."
You said: "I like the topics they tend to discuss and that they manage to stay entertaining even when discussing news topics."
My Favorite Murder
You said: "A true crime comedy podcast might seem off-putting or oxymoronic at first, but MFM tries to respect the gravity of the things that happen while adding levity to accepting the world we live in. Focused more on telling an engaging story than getting the facts 100% correct, the hosts find ways to connect the stories to their lives or other humorous anecdotes. Episodes can be focused on historical events or people or "Home Town" stories sent in by listeners."
Black Girl Gone
You said: "I am an avid true crime fan and as a Black woman, I know how much discrimination Black women, girls, and people overall face when it comes to our missing and murdered. I enjoy this podcast because it sheds light on cases - both active/unsolved and solved - and underscores the prevalence of missing white woman syndrome and the injustices Black people face at the hand of the police system when our stories need the same platform, resources, and attention as anyone else’s."
You said: "This well-researched podcast consists of true crime tales told by three dudes hanging out in a basement. Mike, Ian, and Dave are the hosts and they are hilarious!"
Black Box Down
You said: "It's a podcast about airplane disasters that looks at the crashes and near crashes in a technical sense without being too technical. I like it because it blends the technology of flying with the psychology of people (especially pilots and higher-ups in the aviation industry). There is a large backlog of episodes and the two hosts bounce off each other very well!"
Use Your Imagination
The Lit Round Table
You said: "It's a podcast where two siblings talk about all things storytelling--they talk about recent shows, books they're reading, and games they're playing. Sometimes they talk about craft and current events in the sphere of storytelling too."
The Boulet Brothers' Creatures of the Night
You said: "The Boulet Brothers and Ian DeVoglaer provide great recaps of their show, Dragula, and other horror books, shows, and movies. It's often very funny and leaves you with some good recommendations."
Hello From The Magic Tavern
You said: "A couple of guys from Chicago perform some recorded improv about a magical land called Foon. Each week new guests appear on the show, such as a goblin, a shapeshifter, a wizard, etc, etc. Super funny jokes, bad dad puns, or just general shenanigans are gotten up to! Just a good podcast for when you're walking or commuting."
My Brother, My Brother, and Me
You said: "It's a show about three goofy brothers giving terrible advice and doing fun bits. They are always positive and never fail to put a smile on my face."
Bill Simmons Podcast / Ryen Russillo Podcast
A dual recommendation! You said: "Both are sports and entertainment podcasts. They are passionate about sports and knowledgeable about sports history. They often use pop culture references / occasional irreverent humor as well. They are great podcasts that don’t get too analytical, but they are informational and entertaining."
You said: "This podcast takes a two-pronged approach to discussing the NBA, watching players in-game and using statistical methods to predict and analyze team performance. I love how the hosts don't succumb to "narrative" and give more holistic analyses. A good try for any pro basketball fan."
Dollars and Cents
You said: "As someone not in the business world, having a 15-minute daily podcast that focuses on 1 topic broadly related to "money, business, and power" has been really informative to me.
You said: "The weekly, hour-long podcast presents conversations about economic and not economic topics such as artificial intelligence, education, philosophy, pharmaceuticals, and others. There are over 800 episodes in its library. EconTalk is hosted by Russ Roberts, President of Shalem College in Jerusalem, and the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution."
How to Money
You said: "It is a great podcast series to learn about personal finance."
Freakonomics Network Podcasts
You said: "A variety of different topics, not only about economics but also about social phenomena."