Nonfiction Podcasts

A curated podcast list by eladams
Creation Date November 27th, 2018
Updated Date Updated September 16th, 2019
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I mostly listen to audio dramas. Here are a handful of non fiction podcasts I'm listening to or have queued up.

Storytelling and Slice of Life Profiles

2nd Story
2nd Story is dedicated to creating and crafting story-sharing experiences that foster meaningful connections between individuals and communities. We believe that well-crafted, well-told stories can be a catalyst for change for artist and audience alike. We believe that stories are what bind us to each other. We want to live in a world driven by empathy. We host events in and around Chicago that elevate the storyteller’s words to deliver a unique, live, literary/theatrical experience unlike any other in the city. From small bars in Rogers Park and North Center, to big venues in Lakeview and the West Loop, to restaurants in Lincoln Park and Evanston, we produce over 30 events every season and facilitates over 145 artistic collaborations. We craft story-sharing experiences in the form of both performances and workshops and classes. A typical show or event consists of several stories dispersed throughout the evening like courses of a meal. The stories range from the earnest and serious to the light-hearted and humorous, and can simultaneously provoke and entertain. Our venues are as varied as our stories, and run the gamut from intimate wine bars and pubs to spacious performance halls, conference rooms, and open-office environments. Our storytellers are equally diverse, and come from all walks of life: a pastor, a bartender, a child psychiatrist, and a lawyer…their individual stories help to bridge the gap between the personal and the universal, and break down the walls between and unite artists and audiences in and among different communities.
Arc Stories
Arc Stories is simply stories. Imagine you're finishing dinner. Maybe you’re at a party, maybe it’s your family’s Sunday supper. You push back from the table while coffee is poured. You congregate out on the front porch because it’s cool enough now. Maybe the first sign of what’s to come is a laugh-tinged “You will never believe what happened to me at work...” Or a wistful “Do y’all remember that time...” But it always comes. Here, in our little corner of the country, they always come. The South has always marked time by its stories. They carry our history. Our fathers and grandfathers. Wars. Hunting trips. Good dogs. Great loves. Brass badges and bank robbers. Our everyday lives. Arc Stories is the celebration of that great tradition. It is the chance for our stories to move off the front porch, or from around the campfire, or out of the coffee house, and be put on stage in front of friends and strangers alike. True, Personal Stories - Told In Person - In the Southern Tradition
Criminal
Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
Kind World
1
Kind World is a show about compassion. Through stories big and small, we explore the effect one act can have on a life, to better understand each other and ourselves.
First Day Back
1
First Day Back is a documentary podcast series about people facing and trying to overcome life’s most challenging moments.  Each season, host and creator Tally Abecassis tells the story of someone attempting their own personal comeback. In 2019, First Day Back is back.  On May 3rd 2017, comedian Jason Weems collapsed on stage from an asthma attack. His heart stopped beating for a full 5 minutes. Jason was lucky enough to be revived by a member of the audience.    Now the Baltimore comedian is dealing with his death the only way he knows how: by making jokes about it. Jason wants to turn these jokes into a 1 hour special that he hopes will make him a household name.   For the past year, Tally Abecassis and the First Day back team have been following the life and career of Jason Weems, a man who lives and died for comedy.
The Moth
10
Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of true stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. Moth storytellers stand alone, under a spotlight, with only a microphone and a roomful of strangers. The storyteller and the audience embark on a high-wire act of shared experience which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Since 2008, The Moth podcast has featured many of our favorite stories told live on Moth stages around the country. For information on all of our programs and live events, visit themoth.org.
Mystery Show
42
A podcast about mysteries, hosted by Starlee Kine. From Gimlet.
Nocturne
A storytelling show that explores the night, the landscape of the unseen, and how thoughts, feelings and behaviors transform in the dark.
The Nocturnists
The Nocturnists is a live show and podcast where doctors tell stories from the world of medicine. Based in San Francisco and hosted by physician Emily Silverman, our show is animated by a deep-seated curiosity about health, disease, and human connection. Welcome to the family.
Snap Judgment
10
Snap Judgment (Storytelling, with a BEAT) mixes real stories with killer beats to produce cinematic, dramatic, kick-ass radio. Snap’s raw, musical brand of storytelling dares listeners to see the world through the eyes of another. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Nancy, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, and many others. © WNYC Studios
S-Town
172
S-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who's allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man's life.
Strangers
2
This show will return soon - October 2019! Subscribe to receive new content the moment it is released. Enjoy the archive in the meantime and thank you for your immense patience during my hiatus! Strangers features true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren't even who we thought we were.
This American Life
112
This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 2.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.
UnFictional
1
This season, unbelievably true stories of perception and what it’s like to experience the world the way someone else does. An experimental treatment that works all too well. A man selling get rich schemes until he unleashes a part of himself he...

Sex and Relationships

Bodies
“What’s wrong with me?” Each episode of this documentary series begins as a medical mystery. But once you peel back the layers, more questions emerge.
Close Encounters from The Guardian
1
Honest, unguarded conversations about sex and relationships, with journalist and sex educator Alix Fox. In this podcast series Alix visits individuals and couples who have something interesting to say about their past and present loves, taking us through their sexual encounters from the first time, to the last. It will be messy, sometimes sticky and often downright rude. So you might want to wear headphones. We'd love to hear what you think so please get in touch via @guardianaudio or podcasts@theguardian.com
Dear Prudence | Advice on relationships, sex, work, family, and life
3
Advice, commentary, and conversation from Daniel Mallory Ortberg, author of Slate's Dear Prudence column. Every week, Prudie and special guests answer questions about relationships, sex, work, family, and life.
How Cum
1
At 28 years old, comedian Remy Kassimir had never had an orgasm and used this podcast to find out “how come?” and how to do it. To tackle this task & ensure that all sex stats are accurate, Remy enlisted her sister Charlotte (a former research associate producer at HBO’s Last Week Tonight) as co-producer. Come along on the journey as the most interesting, hilarious, and expert guests tell Remy about their first time cumming and gives Remy an assignment to complete her task. *Spoiler alert* she completes her goal. Listen, laugh, and learn EVERYTHING about sex that you’d ever want to know and never talk about.
The Meg-John & Justin Podcast
Meg-John Barker & Justin Hancock. They/he/we. 'Enjoy Sex (How, When and If You Want To)' is out January 5th 2017 megjohnandjustin.com
Project Pleasure
Anouszka and Frankie are putting the pleasure back in to safe sex and healthy relationships. Contains subject matter that some may find explicit. A Transmission Roundhouse Podcast.
This is Love
From the makers of the award-winning podcast Criminal, This is Love investigates life’s most persistent mystery. Stories of sacrifice, obsession, and the ways in which we bet everything on each other.
This Is Why You're Single
Creators of the humor and advice book of the same name, Laura Lane and Angela Spera candidly breakdown real-life dating disasters with a new "reason why you're single" every week.
Why Oh Why
Named a best new podcast of 2016 by The New York Times, NPR, Huffington Post and iTunes. Andrea Silenzi speaks with friends, experts, and guys in bars about where love, dating and sex meets technology. The show tells the stories about relationships often blurring the lines between memoir, documentary, and fiction.

Fairytales, Myths, and Legends

Feminist Folklore
Feminist Folklore examines fairy tales, myths, and legends from around the world through a feminist lens, asking the question: how do the stories we tell about girls and women inform our attitudes about gender, sexuality, and more?
Lore
Lore is a bi-weekly podcast (as well as a TV show and book series) about dark historical tales. Each episode explores the mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places that fill the pages of history. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.
Myths and Legends
26
Jason Weiser tells stories from myths, legends, and folklore that have shaped cultures throughout history. Some, like the stories of Aladdin, King Arthur, and Hercules are stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories you might not have heard, but really should. All the stories are sourced from world folklore, but retold for modern ears. These are stories of wizards, knights, Vikings, dragons, princesses, and kings from the time when the world beyond the map was a dangerous and wonderful place.
Thinking Sideways Podcast
Devin, Joe and Steve have always been curious. Though they don’t have any formal education to guide them, they sit down every week to discuss unsolved mysteries of all kinds: weird noises, strange website and horrific suicides that look a lot like murders. They take a skeptical approach, but never discount the truly odd nature of the world.
Unexplained
Unexplained is a haunting and unsettling bi-weekly podcast about strange and mysterious real life events that continue to evade explanation. A story-based show mixing spoken-word narrative, history and ideas - often to terrifying effect - that explores the space between what we think of as real and what is not; where sometimes belief can be as concrete as ‘reality,’ whatever that is… More info at www.unexplainedpodcast.com and on twitter @unexplainedpod and facebook.com/unexplainedpodcast

Investigative Journalism

An Arm and a Leg
No surprise, the cost of health care is… unhealthy. Reporter Dan Weissmann digs up revealing, surprising stories-- and some straight-up hacks-- that can help us get a little less scared and confused about the mess we’re in. We may be screwed, but we’re together. Let's talk
Code Switch
Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us.
Death in Ice Valley
An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century.
Dirty John
42
Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.
Embedded
11
Host Kelly McEvers takes a story from the news and goes deep. Whether that means digging into the Trump administration's past, the stories behind police shootings caught on video, or visiting a town ravaged by the opioid epidemic, Embedded takes you where the news is happening.
Last Seen
2
It remains the most valuable — and confounding — art heist in history: 13 artworks stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Twenty-eight years later, not a single piece in a haul worth half a billion dollars has surfaced. The art, and the thieves who made off with it, remain at large. With first-ever interviews, unprecedented access, and more than a year of investigative reporting, "Last Seen" takes us into the biggest unsolved art heist in history. A joint production from WBUR and The Boston Globe.
Planet Money
The economy explained. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening.
Reveal
From prisons to protests, immigration to the environment, Peabody Award-winning Reveal goes deep into the pressing issues of our times. The Atlantic says “the experience of each episode is akin to a spoonful of sugar, even when it’s telling a story about Richard Spencer’s cotton farms or a man’s final days as a heroin addict.” Reveal is a project of The Center for Investigative Reporting and is co-produced with PRX. The show is hosted by Al Letson and partners with reporters and newsrooms around the world, including The Washington Post, ProPublica, APM, The Marshall Project and The Investigative Fund. Reveal is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and has won many broadcast journalism awards, including a duPont and three national Emmys.
Room 20
2
The sign above his hospital bed called him Sixty-Six Garage. For more than 15 years, he would lay there unidentified and unconscious. Or so, everyone believed. From L.A. Times Studios and the team that brought you “Dirty John” and “Man in the Window,” comes “Room 20,” a story about the search for a man’s identity and the truth about his accident. Investigative reporter Joanne Faryon’s two-year journey is filled with twists and turns. Now, she'll finally reveal who Garage really is. But one important question remained for her upon this discovery: has Garage been conscious this entire time? This series was produced by L.A. Times Studios with support from Neon Hum Media.
Serial
166
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story - a true story - over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won't know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she'll bring you the latest chapter, so it's important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings.
Sold In America
Sold in America is an eight-episode journey into the world of selling sex in the United States. Hosted by journalist and activist Noor Tagouri, this deeply personal, deeply reported series takes listeners across the country to meet the human faces of this billion-dollar trade – and uncovers its surprising misconceptions.
This Land
An 1839 assassination of a Cherokee leader. A 1999 small town murder. Two crimes collide in a Supreme Court case that will decide the fate of one man and nearly half of the land in Oklahoma. Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, Oklahoma journalist and citizen of Cherokee Nation, This Land traces how a cut and dry homicide opened up an investigation into the treaty rights of five Native American tribes. Tune in to Crooked Media's 8-episode series to find out how this unique case could result in the largest restoration of tribal land in U.S. history.

News Headlines

The Bugle
20
It's the trans-global satiricast that leaves no hot potato unbuttered. Andy Zaltzman breaks down the news with comedians from across the world including Alice Fraser, Hari Kondabolu, John Oliver, Nish Kumar, Anuvab Pal and his sister Helen.
Pop Culture Happy Hour
Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.
Up First
22
NPR's Up First is the news you need to start your day. The biggest stories and ideas — from politics to pop culture — in 10 minutes. Hosted by Rachel Martin, David Greene, Noel King and Steve Inskeep, with reporting and analysis from NPR News. Available weekdays by 6 a.m. ET. Subscribe and listen, then support your local NPR station at donate.npr.org.

Life Skills

Ask a Clean Person
In this 45-minute show, cleaning expert and advice columnist Jolie Kerr shares cleaning tips, answers reader questions and gets really real with a rotating cast of guests about the messes life throws our way. If you're plagued by 'pit stains, not entirely clear on how often to wash your sheets, or just morbidly curious about how clean restaurant kitchens really are, this is the show for you.
Flour Hour Baking Podcast
A podcast completely dedicated to baking. Co-hosted by bakers Amanda Faber and Jeremiah Duarte Bills, Flour Hour features interviews with baking professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts. Topics cover all types of baking and the food stories that inspire culture, creativity and humanity.
How To! With Charles Duhigg
1
What if Dear Abby was an investigative reporter? Each week on How To!, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg ("The Power of Habit") takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask, but couldn’t. Until now.
Preheated Baking Podcast
In this weekly baking podcast, co-hosts and home bakers Andrea Ballard and Stefin Kohn take listeners on a trip through their kitchens and talk about what they're baking. Stay tuned for baking recipes, listener challenges, hard-won kitchen wisdom, and lots of laughs. Follow the baking podcast on their website preheatedpodcast.com or join the Facebook baking Group Preheated! You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter at @Preheatedpod or email the hosts at hosts@preheatedpodcast.com with your baking questions or baking suggestions about future shows!
Therapy for Black Girls
The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly chat about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves. Join your host, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, as she offers practical tips and strategies to improve your mental health, discusses the latest news and trends in mental health, pulls back the curtain on what happens in therapy sessions, and answers your listener questions.
UnF*ck Your Brain
UnF*ck Your Brain is the podcast for high-achieving feminist women who struggle with anxiety, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome. If you know you’ve accomplished a lot professionally but still secretly feel like you’re unqualified….if you want to feel confident but you worry about what everyone else thinks about you...if you want to succeed but fear failure...this podcast is for you. In each episode Master Certified Confidence Coach Kara Loewentheil, J.D., will teach you how to overcome social conditioning and your own self-critical thoughts so that you can reduce your anxiety and insecurity, boost your self-confidence, and get what you want in life. Download a free guide to creating confidence at www.unfckyourbrain.com/podcastconfidence.
The Upgrade by Lifehacker
Each week, Melissa Kirsch & Alice Bradley of Lifehacker bring in all-star guests to tackle the stuff that matters—like how to be happy, how to buy a TV, how to be less bad with money and how to tell if you’re dating a psychopath. Look, you're doing great, but quite frankly we think you can be a little better. All your friends do too. It's time for The Upgrade.

Science, Design, and Innovation

99% Invisible
111
Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
Flash Forward
12
Flash Forward is a show about possible (and not so possible) future scenarios. What would the warranty on a sex robot look like? How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie? Could there ever be a fecal transplant black market? (Complicated, it wouldn’t, and yes, respectively, in case you’re curious.) Hosted and produced by award winning science journalist Rose Eveleth, each episode combines audio drama and journalism to go deep on potential tomorrows, and uncovers what those futures might really be like. The future is going to be weird, so let's get ready for it together.
Invisibilia
43
Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
Ologies with Alie Ward
Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists' obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.
Radiolab
104
A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios
The Station Wagon Podcast: Exploring Mindfulness and Sibling Rivalry
Siblings Marc Shecter and Julie Kinn give you a close look at the science and history of the things we take for granted. Then they give up the topic for a couple of weeks and tell you how it goes!
TED Radio Hour
11
Guy Raz explores the emotions, insights, and discoveries that make us human. The TED Radio Hour is a narrative journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create.
TED Talks Daily
Want TED Talks on the go? Every weekday, this feed brings you our latest talks in audio format. Hear thought-provoking ideas on every subject imaginable -- from Artificial Intelligence to Zoology, and everything in between -- given by the world's leading thinkers and doers. This collection of talks, given at TED and TEDx conferences around the globe, is also available in video format.

History and Trivia

The Allusionist
18
Adventures in language: TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
BackStory
BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. We're based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. There’s the history you had to learn, and the history you want to learn - that’s where BackStory comes in. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.
The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds
59
Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds picks a subject from history and examine it.