1. Pod Save America
For my politics jam, the Pod is where it's at: four intelligent adults, former Obama advisors all, discussing the weekly news in all its crazy scary Trumpian glory. Obviously, the show skews to the left, but after two years of this President and this Republican party, my interest in neutrality is gone. The Pod hosts have the background to understand the issues and the ability to explain it in a way I can comprehend, and listening to them kvetch is extremely cathartic.
2. Dressed: The History of Fashion
It's fashion history! Of course I enjoy it. Each episode focuses on a particular garment or designer or cultural moment, and the hosts frequently interview fashion experts from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most episodes are about an hour long, which is the perfect length, and if you follow their Instagram account you can see pictures of the different clothes discussed.
3. Stuff You Should Know
This is the perfect bedtime podcast. I pick a topic (they are many and varied) and start the show. I may nod off right away or listen for a bit, but the soothing voices of Josh and Chuck eventually send me to sleep. I do a very poor job of retaining the information, and sometimes I'll listen to the same episode 2-3 times in a row because I fell asleep so quickly, but Stuff You Should Know has become my favorite sleep aid.
Aaron Mahnke has built a bit of an empire off of this podcast, with a TV show and a book series in addition to regular new episodes. It's very impressive. He has a very distinctive way of reading his scripts that seems a bit stilted but once you get used to it, it really works for his style of storytelling. I also like his other show Cabinet of Curiosities, and his history podcast Unobscured was fine.
5. The Daily
Each episode of The Daily, which is produced by the New York Times, is a half-hour deep dive into a particular news topic. While it's often politics, they also file reports on international current events that I otherwise would never hear about. I'm really impressed that they produce the episodes with the regularity that they do, and the quality of the reporting is top notch.