Favourite Podcasts of 2019

I didn’t get to read as many books as I would have liked to in 2019 (7 compared to 50 in 2018!) but audio has always been a favourite format of entertainment of mine so I’d thought I’d share some of my old and new favourites, as well as some I’d like to try in 2020.

Being an android user means that I don’t have a standard podcast app installed. That being said, one of my friends recommended the Pocket Casts app to me a few of years ago. It used to cost a couple of dollars to download, but is now available on the Google Play and iOS app stores FOR FREE!

Passenger List – Radiotopia

“Atlantic Flight 702 has disappeared mid-flight between London and New York with 256 passengers on board. Kaitlin Le (Kelly Marie Tran), a college student whose twin brother vanished with the flight, is determined to uncover the truth.”

Is it cheating to have your favourite ‘podcast’ of 2019 be an audio drama? What distinguishes this podcast/drama from many others I have listened to is that it isn’t a book adaptation, nor is it set in a fantasy world. I think it’s safe to say that this programme has taken inspiration from the MH370 tragedy from 2014, in both its premise and the investigation of the theories surrounding incident. The opening credits of the programme give me chills every time, as it serves of a strong reminder of the true events it was inspired by. Where it deviates from real life however, is there is eventual closure for the story. Kelly Marie Tran and Colin Morgan do a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life, and making their constructed reality more immersive. The first season has currently finished airing and I can’t wait to hear how the story will conclude in 2020.

99% Invisible – Radiotopia

Roman Mars’s 99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With over 150 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Based in beautiful, downtown Oakland, CA.

99% Invisible is an old favourite of mine that I discovered in 2016 after being recommended Roman Mars’ TED talk on YouTube. It presents the information through a series of interviews with subject-matter-experts, interspersed with facts presented by the episodes producer, which is staged as a discussion with Roman. This podcast is an eye-opener into many different societies and cultures around the world, and focuses on topics through many time periods. If you’re interested in learning about some obscure history or design knowledge, presented in an interesting format, 99% Invisible is for you.

My Brother, My Brother and Me – Maximum Fun

An advice podcast for the modren era. The McElroy brothers are here to take your questions and turn them, alchemy-like, into wisdom.

This podcast is another old favourite of mine and has grown to be the podcast I look forward to listening to most each week. I think you’d pretty hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t listened to or at least heard of this podcast in 2020. It’s a good weekly dose of laughs where as the episodes progress, the content is less about providing advice, and more about the brothers riffing on each others jokes. It’s sort of a difficult premise to sell to someone so you’ll just have to give it a listen yourself. The McElroy brothers also do a DnD podcast with their father Clint, if that’s more your style.

Life Kit – NPR

“Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together.”

If you’re just starting to, or are in the thick of navigating your adult life and have ever though to yourself ‘I wish they had taught me this in school’, then look no further than Life Kit. I started listening to this podcast after finding it in the ‘discover’ tab on the Pocket Casts app! (something I should be looking at more, I think). The topics covered are broad and often cover things you may not have thought about before, like ‘Group Travel: How To Keep The Peace’, and most recently, ‘How To Have A Good Weekend’. My only gripe with this podcast is how it can be very ‘America-centric’ it can be in some episodes, making the advice no-longer universal.

What’s next for 2020?

This year I’m going to finally start listening to The Penumbra Podcast, which was recommended to me in the second half of 2019 by one of my dear friends.

I’ve also finally purchased the 魔道祖师 audio drama, which I’ve heard is the most faithful adaptation to the novel. Anyone who is a close friend of mine will know how much I adore this story.

Share in the comments your favourite audio drama / podcasts that you think I should hear this year.

That’s all for now!