Recommended Podcasts

by Dan Stout in

I love, love, LOVE podcasts. I listen to them while I work out, while I clean around the house, and when I'm in the shower. I'm listening to one as I write this post. 

I'm often asked about which podcasts are my favorites, and every time I have that conversation I realize later that I forgot to mention one or another that I think that person would have loved. So for my sanity and convenience I wrote up this list of the podcasts I listen to regularly. 

Some of these are still active and others have shut down, but in all cases the archives are still available. There are so many more options than the ones I've listed here, and I encourage you to explore and find the podcasts that resonate with you.

(The lists are in no particular order, and I'll add notes over time. All of them should be able to be found via iTunes or your podcast app of choice.)

*last updated 8/08/18*

Fiction -- Short stories or serials, these casts bring the enthralling drama.

Strange Tales -- Old-Time Radio tales of the unusual & unnatural, presented for your listening pleasure.  Website

The Horror! -- From the makers of Strange TalesThe Horror! showcases the best in ghosts and demons from the 30s to the 70s.  Website

PodCastle -- Fantasy-themed shorts and flash. Website

PseudoPod -- Horror-themed shorts and flash with teeth. Website   Facebook

Toasted Cake -- Flash fiction curated by Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin and Seriously Wicked. Good stories, short episodes. Give it a listen. UPDATE: Tina recently read one of my stories on Toasted Cake, and I couldn't be happier with it. 

The Magnus Archives -- Creepy & clever.

Selected Shorts -- from NPR, this podcast features stage & screen actors reading classic short stories.

We're Alive -- Long-lived serial set during a zombie apocalypse. Just getting into this one now; the entire story was released over the course of multiple years. 

Welcome to Nightvale -- Pop culture phenomenon about a town in... well, it's somewhere near Desert Bluffs. Check it out, but stay away from the Dog Park.

Limetown -- Just starting out, this podcast is like listening to David Lynch produce a season of Serial

Plan B Magazine -- A market near and dear to my heart, Plan B was the first journal to publish my work. Currently on hiatus, their podcast has an archive of crimes gone awry. [Edit: their Website is down.]

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine -- The venerable mystery magazine shares audio version of current and classic stories.

Thrilling Adventure Hour  -- New stories told in the style of Old Time Radio. You'll love it. It's currently on hiatus.

Rabbits --  A radio mockumentary that explores an ancient, secretive game, and the people who still play it today.

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast -- New Yorker fiction authors reading New Yorker fiction and providing a critique of the work. Some of the narration quality is spotty, but the insights from the guests are always interesting.

Storytelling -- Non-fiction or a blend of fact and reality, these podcasts highlight ways to tell an exceptional story.

This American Life  -- The flagship of contemporary audio storytelling. Website

Hardcore History -- As host Dan Carlin often says, "I'm not a historian, just a fan of history." His podcast examines historical periods with the fervor and excitement of a fan, and it makes for fantastic listening. These podcasts are long, and amazingly immersive. Carlin excels at placing you in the shoes of common people caught up in epic events. Well worth checking out for fellow history fans.  Website

The Moth --  Real people telling true stories in front of a live audience. Sometimes good, sometimes great, always engaging. 

Story Corps -- People and loved ones recording their stories for posterity. Makes me cry every damn time I listen. 

Campfire Tales

Serial -- One true story, examined in depth over the course of a single season. Serial shattered records for number of downloads, becoming the most popular podcast in history during its first season. Season 2 begins in December of 2015.


Ted Talks  -- Although they cover a wide range of topics, I often find some insightful talks on storytelling and communication.

The Mystery Show -- It was so good, and so short-lived. 

Lore -- Tales of odd occurrences and strange happenings. Also has a spin-off series of books and a TV adaptation on Amazon.

The Memory Palace


CrimeTown -- A documentary series, focusing on one town each season. 

Writing Craft & Business -- As a writer, I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my skills. The podcasts in this list either address the craft of writing or discuss writing from a reader's perspective.

You Should be Writing -- The impossibly likable Mur Lafferty created this podcast to chronicle her struggles as a writer and it documents her rise to become a published author. Along the way she interviewed luminaries from the writing and publishing worlds. A very up-beat 'you can do it' vibe permeates this podcast. Website

The Creative Penn -- Joanna Penn's podcast on writing & self-publishing. Lots of topics covered. Website

Sword & Laser -- A science fiction & fantasy audio book club. Good for catching new developments in those genres and hearing how readers react to the finished product. Website  Goodreads

Writing Excuses -- Short & to the point, a panel of accomplished authors discuss issues of craft & career, as well as listener questions. Skews to Scifi & Fantasy.

Ditch Digging -- Mur Lafferty & Matt Wallace talk about their experiences as authors. Fiction-focused with a slant to Scifi & Fantasy, but good advice no matter your genre or style. Swearing abounds.   Website

Beyond the Trope

Unreliable Narrators

Books on the Nightstand -- No longer active, it was hosted by two industry pros, talking about the books they loved and the ins and outs of the publishing. 

Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

The Secrets -- One of the earliest writing podcasts, host Michael Stackpole discusses the process behind his best-sellers. Some very good stuff on craft; I suspect that the industry notes are dated by now. No longer active. 

Hide & Create

Nerdist Writers' Panel -- Ben Blacker interviews tons of writers (mostly from TV writers' rooms). Blacker's a good interviewer, and there's a wide range of experiences and skills demonstrated by the writers. 

Helping Writers Become Authors

Mad Writers Union -- Hosted by three recent graduates from the Viable Paradise writers' workshop (Tim Boerger, Nina Niskanen, and Jay Wolf), MWU explores the craft and business of fiction writing from the point of view of the 'neo-pro' writer. (At this point, I think it's gone dark.)  Website

DIY MFA — Hello, hello word nerds!! Gabriela Pereira talks story craft and inspiration with a wide range of guests. Great interviews and plenty of good advice. Website

The Author Biz -- Host Stephen Campbell focuses on the business side of being a working writer. Each episode brings a new guest, and Stephen does an excellent job of cutting to the chase and coaxing out the most useful information from each interview. Website [I believe it’s podfaded at this point.]

Pub(lishing) Crawl 

Odyssey SFF Writing Workshop -- Excerpts from the Odyssey Writer's Workshop sessions. A number of talented authors talk craft.

Books on the Nightstand -- No longer active, this show featured two publishing industry veterans talking about the books they loved, and how the industry is evolving. The book recs are still worth checking out, but the industry insight is less and less relevant as time goes by, naturally.

Story Grid  -- A podcast which explores Shawn Coyne's highly recommended guide to editing and story structure, 'The Story Grid'. Hosted by Tim Grahl, a book launch expert who's learning how to write a story that works.  

Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire -- Recently discovered this one, by YA author Mindy McGinnis. Solid interviews, and a great tag line: "Where writers talk about things that never happened to people who don't exist." Website

The Outer Dark

Fictitious — Adron Buske welcomes SFF writers and publishing pros to talk about craft, work habits, and the down and dirty process of making a living telling stories. Website [This is another podcast I’m happy to say I’ve been on. Click-through for my episode.]

Crime Time Podcast -- Just discovered this one. Two Australian fans of crime fiction talk about thrillers, horror, and any other kind of writing that strikes their fancy. Their banter is sharp and funny, and their enthusiasm for the work is truly infectious. It's so good!  Website

Story Wonk Daily / Story Wonk Sundays  -- No longer in production, but with a healthy archive, Story Wonk was a daily podcast for 300 episodes. They switched to a weekly format in 2012, and lasted for another 100 episodes. I just discovered this one recently, and I'm diving into random spots to explore the back catalog.  Website

Other -- Podcasts that range from horror movies to economics to French language practice. 

Planet Money --  Weekly podcast that examines some aspect of economics or the free market in a fun, accessible fashion. From NPR.  Website

Horror, Etc. -- "Kings Town Ted" and filmmaker Anthony D.P. Mann talk about the latest in horror film and review the classics in this long running podcast. Both hosts are direct and disarming, and approach the genre from an intelligent fan's point of view. This was a hugely influential podcast, and even though they aren’t currently producing more, their  Facebook community is still going strong.

Faculty of Horror  -- Love this one. An academic take on the horror genre, each episode tackles no more than a few titles, providing a deep-dive approach from the hosts, Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West.  There are a handful of very episodes with audio issues, but overall highly recommended.

United Nations of Horror -- The UNH brings an international perspective to the dark corners of the horror genre. With hosts from several different parts of the globe, and guest commentaries from an even wider array of nations, this podcast alternates between deep examinations of niche topics and wider-scope overviews. I've contributed some content myself, and it's been tremendous fun watching this podcast spread its wings and begin to fly. Highly recommended.  Facebook

Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me --  The comedy/quiz game show from NPR.

The Projection Booth -- Quality film criticism and phenomenal interviews with the creators of seminal works.

The Good, The Bad, and The Odd --  Join Mark and Same on an exploration into all corners of pop culture. They do one-offs, but also deeper dives; their run on Universal Horror is especially recommended. Also of note is that they keep the podcast clean, and suitable for listeners age 14+.  Both hosts have great attitudes, and manage to mine out the good in even the most odd of movies, tv, and comics.    Website  Facebook

History of Horror

Stuff to Blow Your Mind  -- Exploring the science behind subjects that range from fantastical (zombies and Gremlins) to the everyday (dreams, yeast).  Website

Titanium Physics -- Have questions about physics? Need them explained in an easy-to-understand fashion? Just like listening to physicists try to explain complex ideas in an easy-to-understand fashion and mostly succeed? Then you're in luck, friend.  Website

Girl on Guy -- Aisha Tyler interviews comedians, actors, writers, and whoever else she pleases. The fairly lengthy interviews allow the conversation to go in unexpected directions, making for compelling listening. Some episodes stay light and airy, while others tackle fairly difficult topics.  [Note: will soon be switching to a subscription model]

Castle of Horror

Hot Takedown -- Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight crew talk sports. 

Dark Discussions --  A panel of hosts discussing horror film, fiction, and all things fantastic. A fun show that's been consistently putting out episodes for years. They also have a series of shows focusing on Game of Thrones, the wonderfully entitled, "You Know Nothing, John Snow".  Website  Facebook

Monster Kid Radio -- A celebration of all things Monster Movie. Film reviews, horror host interviews, and new release previews. If it's in the spirit of classic movie monsters, it's covered here. Website

MonsterTalk -- A podcast by skeptics who love monsters, MonsterTalk examines the ways that science and crypto-zoology connect. If you poured over books like "The Vampire in Europe" or the D&D "Monster Manuals" as a kid, then you'll love this show. The final episode aired in 2015, but the cast left 100 solid episodes to check out. **UPDATE** Monster Talk began releasing new episodes in 2016, so now there's even more content to enjoy.  Website

Tested / Still Untitled  -- Adam Savage on Movies, Making, Mythbusters, and other assorted topics.

Common Sense -- Dan Carlin's political podcast.

1 Thing in French a Day -- Like the title promises: one topic, discussed in easy to understand French. 

History of Horror

The Last Horrorcast

Kaiju 101  -- Ever wonder how Godzilla's atomic breath worked, or whether Rodan could have actually broken the sound barrier? Kaiju 101 is a quick dive into the science behind giant monsters. Each episode explores one power or behavior, then looks for real-world animals that demonstrate similar behavior (though admittedly on a less than city-shattering scale). It looks like this one may have stopped recording, but the existing episodes are lots of fun. Website

Kaijucast  -- Giant monsters! Rubber Suits!  SKREEE-ONNK!  Website

Daily Tech News Show -- Tom Merritt and a revolving crew of experts dive into all things tech. 

The Movie Crypt -- Adam Green and Joe Lynch talk film, pop culture, and what it's like to work behind the scenes in Hollywood. Don't be deceived by the title, it's not just horror, and both hosts lay out the emotional highs and lows of a career in the arts. Website

This is Horror -- In-depth, multi-episode interviews with horror writers, examining their approach to craft and how they've made it in the business. Website

The X-Files Files -- Kumail Nunjiani's fantastic episode-by-episode examination of the original X-Files run is smart and funny. Well worth a listen if you're a fan, the X-Files Files drew attention and guest spots from writes, directors, and actors from the series, and may have helped create the buzz that led to the new series.  [I believe it’s gone dark]

Reel Reviews -- One of the first podcasts I ever listened to. Reel Reviews explored one movie per episode (something that at the time was revolutionary), and only tackled movies that the host, Michael Geoghegan, considered classics. Terrific deep dives into the structure of these films, exploring what made them stand out from the crowd. Currently shut down, but the back catalog is solid. Website

Lycan It -- UPDATE: Looks like this had pod-faded, and the feed is being used by another podcast.
I tried this short-lived podcast based solely on the cleverness of the name. It's a review of all things werewolves, and each episode consists of two film discussions, a featured song, and news of upcoming werewolf related media like movies, comics, and books. It only ran for six episodes, but they're fun, and they get cool points for their release schedule... new episodes came out with each full moon. Website

Marianne's Macabre Movie Review

Ancient History Fangirl -- This one is a lot of fun. The two hosts clearly love these topics, and they're not afraid to laugh at the absurdities of the ancient world. It's fresh and funny, and Jen & Jenny aren’t afraid to let their history fannishness show.  Website

On Deck -- Podcasts that have been recommended to me, but I haven't had time to check out myself. I can't vouch for them personally, but give them a listen... they may be great!

WTF -- Marc Maron's high profile interview podcast.

Last Podcast on the Left -- Podcast examining horror both real and fictional. Website 

Not In A Creepy Way --  Film and pop-culture podcast by Eric Anderson.  

Stories for Nerds

Exploding Heads Horror Podcast

Children of Tendu




Uncaring Universe

Heroine's Journey

Astronomy Cast

Wolf 359

by Dan Stout