Podcast recommendations

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Ever since I discovered podcasts, I pretty much stopped reading non-fiction books. Whether or not that is a good thing is another discussion, but it speaks to the power of podcasting as a format and the many excellent podcasts that were produced/are in production ever since the “podcast boom” in 2019-ish, which is when I started very actively listening.

As with every medium, there’s good, bad, very bad and ugly podcasting. This list contains only the podcasts I encountered that I found superior in content, delivery, focus, enjoyability and production value.

In terms of software: if you are using an Android device, I highly recommend the FOSS application Antennapod: it provides all listening features the other players have, has a clean UI, allows for offline listening, respects your privacy and - a deal maker for me - is by far the best maintained Android client that supports gPodder synchronization with my Nextcloud instance.

If you speak Dutch, scroll down for a separate Nederlandstalig category.

1. Recurring


Weekly // 30-60 mins

The GOAT. Unrivaled in form, hardly beaten in content. New topic every week, high degree of variation. Never disappoints.

This Day in Esoteric Political History

3 per week // 10-20 mins

What happened on this calendar day in US history? Upbeat and extremely knowledgeable cast of historic experts.

Darknet Diaries

Weekly // 45-90 mins

Despite its cringy moniker, enticing stories about cyber crime. Often accompanied by interviews with white/red/black hat industry experts.

Twenty Thousand Hertz

Weekly // 30 mins

Stories behind (often everyday) sounds and their design.

99% Invisible

Weekly // 30-45 mins

Exploring “invisible” design, genre “why do I never notice curbwalks”. Although they seemed to have scraped that barrel (+500 eps.) and explore more niche design stuff as of late.

Lex Fridman Podcast

Weekly // 120-240 mins

For me, Fridman does right what Joe Rogan did wrong. Impressive guest list, content-focused conversations, less “persona”. Here’s to hoping I don’t want to remove this entry in a few months.

Here Be Monsters

Monthly(-ish) // 20-60 mins

Interesting form factor, field-recordingesque. Wide variety of topics told in a very intimate way.

Why We Bleep

Monthly // 90-180 mins

In-depth interviews with electronic musicians and synth nerds.

2. Non-recurring

Slow Burn

7 seasons, 8 eps each // 50 mins

Well-made US history stories. Covered topics: Watergate, Lewinsky, Biggie v. Tupac, David Duke, Iraq war, L.A. Riots, Roe v. Wade.


3 seasons, 10 eps each // 50 mins

Stories about US history that the country has not fully reckoned with. High emphasis on racial relations.

The Coming Storm

10 episodes // 40 mins

BBC podcast on QAnon, January 6th and the more outlandish strain of conspiracy theories enfulfing contemporary US politics.

Heaven’s Gate

10 episodes // 45 mins

The unbelievable history of the Heaven’s Gate cult and its mass suicide, of which its followers thought it was a UFO cab ticket.

The Missing Cryptoqueen

11 episodes // 45 mins

Ruja Ignatova scammed millions and disappeared into thin air. Podcast not only details her story, but actively Sherlocks her current whereabouts.

Wind of Change

8 episodes // 50 mins

Did the CIA write the Scorpions’ hit to stir revolution in the USSR? More interesting than the answer to the question are the accounts of to what lengths psyops in the Cold War went.

The Chernobyl Podcast

6 episodes // 50 mins

Accompanying the (excellent) TV series, providing additional historical context to the eponymous nuclear disaster.


6 episodes // 50 mins

Probably the best investigative journalism about the rise, heyday and fall of ISIS I’ve heard.

Day X

5 episodes // 30 mins

NYT podcast about right-wing extremism’s orchestrated infiltration into Germany’s military and police force.

Welcome To Your Fantasy

9 episodes // 45 mins

I could never predict that a podcast about The Chippendales could be this entertaining. A look at the history and the behind-the-scenes of the male stripper ensemble.

3. Nederlandstalig

Klara podcasts

Ik moet de eerste historische podcast van Klara waar ik niet met volle teugen van genoot nog horen. Steeds verteld door topical experts, steeds de perfecte lengte, steeds een mooie balans tussen entertainment en historische nuchterheid.


Wekelijks // 60 mins

Gezellig technieuws, goede cast. Prima blend tussen enthousiasme en cynisme.

Nerdland Maandoverzicht

Maandelijks // 120 mins

Populairste Vlaamse podcast, niet zonder reden. Belangrijk en quirky wetenschapsnieuws van voorbije maand op goede (doch iets te upbeat) manier gebracht.

Vranckx & Byloo

Maandelijks // 30-60 mins

Verhelderende gesprekken over “de stand van de wereld”. In realiteit meestal de onderbelichte kluwens van het Midden-Oosten. Plus, het is Rudi Vranckx.

Bjorn in the USA

Onregelmatig // 60 mins

Björn Soenens geeft in longform achtergrond bij het nieuws in de VS, op typerende dichterlijke wijs.

Zaad zonder naam

4 afleveringen // 30 mins

Aandoenlijke getuigenissen van de vier spermadonoractoren: de dokter, de moeder, de donor, het kind.

De schaduw van Dutroux

5 afleveringen // 45 mins

Als kind van de vroege jaren ‘90 weet ik perfect weten wat Dutroux gedaan heeft, maar kan ik zijn stempel op onze samenleving niet inschatten - en net daarop focust deze podcast.