Podcasts You Should Listen to in 2020: Our Recommendations

Posted by Chris Straigis on February 11, 2020
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Each day, thousands of people across the world choose to spend their personal time – whether it be commuting, walking the dog, relaxing or even cleaning the house – by tuning in to another episode of their favorite podcast.

It’s no surprise that we’re now in the golden age of podcasts, not just because of volume but because of the quality of great listens that are out there. Podcast topics are almost literally endless. They range from political talk shows to true crime mysteries, and reach a vast audience of engaged listeners unlike any other medium out there. And with today’s technology, you can literally listen to them anywhere and anytime.

If you’re willing to give them a shot, I bet there’s a podcast for you. Or, if you’re like me and you’re already an avid podcast listener, there are probably some new shows out there just waiting for you to queue them up.

At AAC, we’ve taken a particular interest in podcasts over the last year or so, after launching our very own, Scrappy. If you haven’t had a chance to give it a listen, it’s about small companies doing some very big things to change the world with their limited resources, and we’ve just wrapped up Season One. 

Needless to say, we’ve had podcasts on the brain. So I’ve asked some of my fellow AAC teammates to share the different podcasts they listen to and why they enjoy them – and now I’m sharing them with you. Here’s what we’ve got!

AAC’s Favorite Podcasts

Chris Straigis - Senior Manager, Video Services

Me, Chris Straigis

I may be a little biased, but Scrappy is at the top of my podcast list right now. All joking aside, becoming a podcast producer has given me a different perspective on what makes a great podcast, and a newfound appreciation for the craft. Before I share with you what my teammates are listening to, here’s a few podcasts on my personal recommendation list:

This American Life:  A weekly show hosted by Ira Glass where each episode has a different theme featuring stories that explore aspects of human nature. This podcast set the standard for long-format story podcasts.

Radiolab: This podcast has a similar story-telling format and focuses on creative topics, usually of scientific and philosophical nature. The hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, are really engaging and I enjoy the way they deliver the unique content in an interesting way.

Stay Tuned with Preet: Preet is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who conducts longform interviews with prominent guests on his weekly show. It’s a refreshing take on timely legal and political topics.

In Our Time: What’s not to love about haughty Brits discussing deep topics in history, philosophy, science and more? 

Amy Romanofsky Schneider - Vice President, Creative Services

Amy, Vice President

Hidden Brain: “The goal of this podcast is to help people better understand the world by telling stories through science – in a fun way! Host Shankar Vedantam uses science to reveal what drives our human behavior and shapes our choices. This is interesting to me because it makes psychology, human behavior and science fun and interesting.”

The Sporkful: “This podcast uses humor to give a new perspective on food. It covers all the things that define what we eat, like history, identity, culture, economics and more. I love food and this podcast approaches it from so many different angles.”

Anthony Stumpo - Marketing Account Manager

Anthony, Marketing Account Manager

Spittin Chiclets: “With episodes every Monday and Thursday, this podcast features former NHL players Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette along with Barstool Sports’ Rear Admiral. They are outspoken with opinions that leave me laughing. It focuses on the NHL but also touches on different pop culture topics.”

Pardon My Take: “This is Barstool Sports’ flagship sports podcast hosted by the brand’s own Big Cat & PFT Commenter. This podcast really set the standard for sports comedy podcasting with their ‘hot takes’ on current sports culture and notable special guests.”

S-Town: “Unlike a regularly scheduled podcast, S-Town tells the story of a complex and interesting man named John, who challenged host Brian Reed to investigate an alleged murder in his small town of Woodstock, Ala. There are seven chapters of this story that take you on a journey through Brian’s investigation into the murder and what he finds along the way.”

Joe Rogan Experience: “This is a long-time, chart-topping podcast that features a new well-known guest, from a wide-variety of backgrounds, on every episode. Joe interviews each guest and the conversations are always funny, interesting and refreshing.”

Gabriella Fundaro - Marketing Communications Specialist

Gabriella, Marketing Communications Specialist

Burn It All Down: “I love nuanced women’s sports coverage, I love tearing down patriarchal systems and I love listening to sports talk from people who recognize that we live in a society. This one’s got all three.”

“Finding Cleo”, Missing & Murdered Season 2: “Connie Walker’s reporting on a missing First Nations child, one of tens of thousands of Indigenous children systematically taken from their families by the Canadian government and adopted into white families, is as heartbreaking as it is necessary to listen to.”

Ear Hustle: “Co-produced and co-hosted by former inmate Earlonne Woods, Ear Hustle takes you inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison. You get an honest look at those involved with the American prison system, as well as those reintegrating with society after serving their time.”

Jon Remsa, Programmer - Project Manager

Jon, Programmer, Project Manager

No Such Thing as a Fish: “The researchers for the popular British quiz show QI put together this hilarious weekly podcast in which they share the most interesting and obscure facts they found during the last seven days. For example, Winston Churchill looks grumpy on the £5 note because the photographer who took the picture had just removed his cigar. Or in 1567, the man with the world’s longest-ever beard broke his neck and died after tripping over it. And did you know that in 1903, the Boston Police Department got the first ever police car in America? But since no one knew how to drive it, they had to hire a chauffeur to drive them around to crime scenes.”

Judge John Hodgman: “A weekly podcast in which John Hodgman (former Daily Show correspondent, perhaps better known as the P.C. Guy from the Mac commercials) pretends to be a judge and helps settle real-life, often silly, disputes.”

Mark Rodenhauser - Marketing Coordinator

Mark, Marketing Coordinator

The Side Hustle Show: “I love this podcast because the host is straight to the point (with no unnecessary chit chat or attempted humor). The show features a wide range of guests, topics and questions that are relatable and revolve around how to improve your own life.”

Bear Brook: “I’m not usually a fan of murder mysteries, but this is a mini-podcast that focuses on the crimes of the Bear Brook Serial Killer (which happened 5 minutes from my hometown in New Hampsire)! Suspenseful and exhilarating, the host does a good job by wrapping together the entire story of killer and victims.”

Monica Hedden - Digital Marketing Manager

Monica, Digital Marketing Manager

The Dropout: “I love a good story, and similar to books, a podcast needs to have an interesting storyline for me to keep listening. The Dropout tells the story of the youngest self-made female billionaire, Elizabeth Holmes, and the rise and fall of her company, Theranos. From business to romance to tragedy, this story’s got it all!”

Wine and Crime: “This podcast focuses on two major things I enjoy in life (try not to judge me too hard): wine and true crime. In the three years it’s been running, each weekly episode of this podcast features a new true crime topic and a crime-related wine. The three hosts are smart, funny and oftentimes tipsy which makes for a great balance of informative and easy listening.”

Stephanie Stocker - Director, Marketing

Stephanie, Marketing Director

Truth & Justice with Bob Ruff: “This is great for someone who wants a really deep dive into true crime, with the host running a live, crowd-sourced investigation of a different possible wrongful conviction each season. While the Adnan Syed story of Serial fame is what got him started in podcasting, over the years, he’s helped a couple of likely-innocent men get sent home from jail while their cases are re-evaluated.”

Freakonomics Radio: “From one of the authors of the popular Freakonomics books, this podcast is billed as digging into ‘the hidden side of everything.’ I love how it takes something that you think you know – economics – and turns it into a study of human psychology, behavior, sociology and more. Episodes have touched on everything from the opioid crisis to the long-term effects of children growing up in language-poor households.”

Crazy/Genius: “This is a newer podcast with just a few seasons out. It’s focused on the latest trends in technology, from AI in the criminal justice system to autonomous cars to privacy laws. The episodes are short but will really get you thinking.”

The Dream: “The first season of this podcast was a whirlwind of an exposé into the dark underbelly of the multi-level marketing world (read: pyramid schemes). It’s really eye-opening and will make you think twice about the next Facebook event invitation you receive.”

And that’s a wrap! We’d love to hear what your favorite podcasts are and get some new listening suggestions. So tell us, what podcasts are a must-listen-to?

For more on Scrappy, visit the podcast site here: scrappypod.com

For Podcast Support

Chris Straigis - Senior Manager, Video Services

Chris Straigis
Senior Manager, Video Services