Podcasts for the keen listener

With the recent resurgence of podcasts, here are some for routine laughs, insight and inspiration

The Serial podcast, which follows complicated crimes in its developments and various aspects, is often credited as sparking the resurgence of podcasts.
The Serial podcast, which follows complicated crimes in its developments and various aspects, is often credited as sparking the resurgence of podcasts.
Supplied by Casey Fiesler

Two years ago, I spent my summer as a solitary barn worker caring for 30 horses. My days were 10 hours long and devoid of human company. 

To this day, I attribute what sanity I maintained to the great podcasts I listened to while mucking stalls and filling buckets of grain. 

Podcasts are a great option for thought-provoking listening material while you’re running errands or getting ready in the morning. They’ve also recently seen a surge in popularity. Here are my picks for a few shows everyone should give a listen:

The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek and perhaps the world’s most famous human guinea pig, hosts this show. 

In each episode, he interviews top-performers in diverse fields frtom entertainment to business to professional sport. 

Although guests come from all walks of life, they’ve all found great success. 

Ferriss explores how these individuals push themselves to perform so well and how listeners can implement these strategies in their own endeavours. 

The show’s a great listen, whether you’re working towards a goal and looking for tips or just looking for a regular dose of inspiration.

The Vinyl Café

The Vinyl Café is a touring live show that’s recorded and broadcasted on CBC Radio, and then released as a podcast. 

Because every show is held in a different Canadian town, Stuart McLean begins each episode by describing his experience in the respective town. 

Stuart then introduces a Canadian musical act and reads a story submitted by a listener. The show really shines, though, when Stuart tells his short stories. 

These stories recount the exploits of his fictional couple Dave and Morley and their children and their neighbours — and the stories are always laugh-out-loud hilarious. 

This show has aired on radio for more than 20 years and charmed the hearts of listeners beyond Canadian borders. 

With its wholesomely humorous anecdotes of a small-town Canadian family, it’ll make you feel more Canadian than a moose in a maple syrup factory.


From the creators of This American Life (a perennial classic), this show is often and rightly credited with the resurgence of the podcast. 

A non-fiction, in-depth story told an hour at a time, Serial investigates complex, sometimes unanswerable questions about human action and culpability. 

The first season looks at Adnan Syed, who was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend at 19 years old. This year’s season focuses on Bowe Berghdal, an American soldier who was held by the Taliban for five years after walking away from his post. 

If you do well with moderation, cherish each episode as it’s released every two weeks. If good stories consume you until they’re told in full, wait for the release of the whole season and enjoy a 10-hour bender.

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