The world of podcasting has flourished in recent years, with thousands of hours of engaging (and free) new content flowing through apps every week. Established comedians, journalists and broadcasters as well as fresh talent have taken to the platform, creating must-listen shows that often become water cooler talk.
Liven up any situation with hilarious, educational, inspiring and thought-provoking audio at your fingertips via our pick of the best podcasts to listen to right now.
Best Podcasts: Comedy
This rip-roaring comedy will have you in stitches wherever you’re listening. As the title suggests, presenter James Morton discovers, to his horror, that his 60-year-old dad has written an amateur erotic novel under the pen name Rocky Flintstone. To process this discovery, Morton invites his friends to do dramatic readings of the cringeworthy material, along with hilarious running commentary, and the enduring show has become a cult favourite.
Available on Acast and Spotify
Billed as the podcast for “smart women who love dumb stuff”, listening to Shameless is like catching up with two of your sharpest, most clued-in mates. Melbourne journos Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews cover anything and everything, from the Bachelor and ‘Instagram Face’ to Drake and Youtube vloggers. They tackle each topic with humour and a keen eye, often linking pop culture phenomena to bigger societal issues such as fame, feminism, prejudice and body image.
Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts
In one of funniest new podcasts on the scene, comedians Bea Barbeau-Scurla and Lauren Bonner invite fellow comics, athletes, and writers to ask the burning question – were you hot in high school? Delving deep into the teen experience, they uncover nostalgic, surprising and often touching insights into the world of youth, teen angst, body image, sexuality and self-esteem, with plenty of laughs along the way.
Available on Whooshkaa and Apple Podcasts
Best Podcasts: Self-help
Legendary couples therapist Esther Perel opens the door to her practice, recording real-life sessions in which men and women bare the most raw and intimate details of their troubled relationships. No issue is off limits – infidelity, impotence, childlessness, addiction and cross-cultural barriers – while endlessly wise Perel guides each couple to conflict resolution, healing and forgiveness. Regardless of your relationship status, there’s plenty to learn about empathy and communication from these compelling real life interactions.
Available on Esther Perel and Spotify
Routines and Ruts is one of the best podcasts to listen to as many of us adjust to the self-starting requirements of working at home. Host Madeleine Dore speaks to freelancers, artists, comedians, writers and other creatives about how they find flow and how they recover when they go completely off track. Guests cover resilience and rejection, motivation and procrastination, successes and setbacks, with plenty of invaluable lessons to learn.
Available on Spotify, Pocket Casts and Apple iTunes
Get on top of your finances (or even boost them) with the help of this light-hearted podcast covering money issues for millenials. The conversational show hosted by Glen James and John Pidgeon teaches, encourages and entertains all at once, covering a diverse range of topics including working from home, slow fashion, goal setting, moving overseas, superannuation, salary packaging and more.
Available on Spotify
Best Podcasts: Crime
This gripping series explores the case of Theo Hayez, an 18-year-old backpacker who vanished last year while on holiday in the beautiful beachside town of Byron Bay. Unlike other crime podcasts that revisit old cases, The Lighthouse was produced in parallel with a major police investigation and recorded as local volunteers, Theo’s family and journalists from The Australian explored multiple theories and searched for clues.
Available on The Australian, Apple Podcasts and Spotify
Offering something a bit different to the usual murder, Scam Goddess takes a lighthearted look into fraud and those who practice it. Each week Laci Mosley and a guest comedian deep dive into a new scam, racket or hoodwink, from Instagram imposters and first date scammers to Ponzi schemes and Airbnb bamboozlers.
Available on Earwolf
Get a behind the scenes look at the dark side of Australian life in this podcast presented by true crime author Emily Webb and self-confessed true crime obsessive Meshel Laurie. They take listeners on a journey through some of the most mysterious and disturbing cases to have ever taken place in our towns and suburbs, exploring our nation’s underbelly via interviews with writers, victims, investigators and even perpetrators.
Available on Australian True Crime
Best Podcasts: News & Current Affairs
Start the day with 7am, a daily news show from the publishers of the Monthly and the Saturday Paper. Some of Australia’s best reporters unpack the big stories of the day and expertly explain who's involved, what it means and why it matters. Whether it’s politics, science, economics, climate, industry or crime, each topic is covered with expert journalistic values and storytelling panache, making it a news show that’s both trustworthy and approachable.
Available on 7am Podcast
Background Briefing is essential listening for any Australian after daring, in-depth narrative journalism, and one of the best podcasts to listen to when you’ve got your full attention to spare. Each week, award-winning reporters forensically uncover the stories at the heart of our nation’s biggest issues, exposing injustice, holding those in power to account and illuminating stories that deserve to be heard.
Available on ABC, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts
In Trust Me, I’m an Expert, The Conversation's editors bring you a plethora of fascinating stories from the academic world. They invite experts to bust myths, explain science and put the news headlines into context, diving into big questions as diverse as “what’s dark energy?” and “how do I detect political spin?”
Available on The Conversation and Apple Podcasts