Nonfiction Podcasts

A curated podcast list by

Creation Date November 27th, 2018
Updated Date Updated January 25th, 2021
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About This List

I mostly listen to audio dramas. Here are a handful of non fiction podcasts I'm listening to or have queued up.
  1. Storytelling and Slice of Life Profiles

  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Criminal is the first of its kind. A show about people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Hosted by Phoebe Judge.
  5. Kind World is a show about how a single act of kindness can change someone's life. In each episode, hosts and reporters Yasmin Amer and Andrea Asuaje search the world for good news stories that will restore your faith in humanity. A production of WBUR.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. A podcast about mysteries, hosted by Starlee Kine. From Gimlet.
  9. A storytelling show that explores the night, the landscape of the unseen, and how thoughts, feelings and behaviors transform in the dark
  10. We are The Nocturnists, a San Francisco-based independent medical storytelling community. Since 2016, we’ve produced over a dozen live storytelling shows in the Bay Area and New York City, three seasons of our podcast, and two special audio diary series: "Stories from a Pandemic" and "Black Voices in Healthcare." Welcome to our community.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. I'm cooking up a new season on Patreon. Join me there for just $1 per month to receive new episodes (starting November 2019) and to access the rest of the archive of 80+ episodes, all ad-free: patreon.com/strangerspodcast. Or just stay subscribed here. Most of the new work will be released here eventually. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. This season on UnFictional: Stories of fantasy: a childhood dream that becomes a life, impossible goals, underground worlds, adapting to new realities, memories of old friends and relations that become more real than the truth. It’s UnFictional,...
  1. Sex and Relationships

  2. “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.
  3. 1
    In this podcast, journalist and sex educator Alix Fox 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
  4. Advice, commentary, and conversation from Danny M. Lavery, author of Slate's Dear Prudence column. Every week, Prudie and special guests answer questions about relationships, sex, work, family, and life.
  5. Comedian Remy Kassimir had NEVER had an orgasm, so she started this podcast to figure it out. Spoiler alert: SHE DID IT! And now in its third season How Cum has helped 400+ "Cumpanions" have their first O's, we've had hundreds of expert guests (scientists/porn/Fran Drescher + beyond) tell Remy their first time cumming stories, all with huge laughs along the way. Cum join us!
  6. Podcasts about culture, sex, and relationships. From Justin Hancock. Home of the 'Meg-John & Justin' archive.
  7. 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.
  8. Love is more than you think. From the creators of Criminal. New episodes every month.
  9. Comedians and authors Laura Lane and Angela Spera give best friend advice on pop culture, politics, news headlines, workplace dynamics, dating, parenting, friendship and whatever else is on your mind. 
  10. 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.
  1. Fairytales, Myths, and Legends

  2. Folklore has been used for generations to share stories across cultures. Each week this season Rachael and Mindy, walk the winding path of folklore. They ask how the stories we tell influence today’s culture and how we view women. From murder ballads to fairytales, we discuss the power these stories have over us all. It won’t be just sad but maybe, just maybe, also uplifting. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/femlore-podcast/support
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. What comes to mind when you hear the word “forensics”? For many, the word evokes images of sterile labs and white coats. The reality, however, is quite different.In Shattered Souls veteran forensic investigator Karen Smith opens her detailed and poignant journals from her 11 years as a forensic detective in Jacksonville, Florida. She speaks of trudging through muddy swamps, dangling over crime scenes from a firetruck ladder, and the tremendous emotional toll that the horror of these crimes wreaks on the investigators tasked with solving them. Karen talks about the nightmares, the emotional and often physical pain, the scares, and the breath-holding, white-knuckle moments from the most haunting cases of her career. They’re victims you’ve probably never heard of, but they’re victims that she can never forget. Their stories - and the shattered souls of loved ones they left behind - are at the heart of every episode.Shattered Souls: A Forensic Detective’s Diary is presented by CrimeCon.Music by Sam Johnson
  6. 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
  1. Investigative Journalism

  2. A show about the cost of health care that’s more entertaining, empowering, and occasionally useful than enraging, and terrifying and depressing. Reporter Dan Weissmann digs in to show how we got into this crazy mess and how we just might live through it.
  3. What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story. "We're talking to people who have been marginalized and underrepresented for so long, who are so hungry to see themselves represented fully and with nuance and complexity," says Shereen Marisol Meraji, co-host of Code Switch, Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year for 2020. "People recognize that, because we had been having these conversations for so many years in advance, we're a trusted place where they could go to better understand all the stories about race filling up their newsfeeds and social channels." Their weekly podcast launched in 2016 but truly came into its own during this historic, transformative year, as Meraji and co-host Gene Demby examine issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity through frank one-on-one discussions and incisive non-fiction. In a year dominated by discourse about race, this indispensable show furthered them by providing powerful and timely insight, offering diverse and empathetic personal perspectives to a broad audience. "There are certain lenses that we are bringing into, both as journalists and the people that we're bringing to these stories," Demby says. "But also, we are specific people with specific fascinations and broad curiosity. If we're telling these stories, you should assume that they're going to look and sound like us."
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  1. News Headlines

  2. 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, and his sister Helen. Hear our new show, The Last Post: http://pod.link/TheLastPostFollow us on YouTube. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  3. Get obsessed with us. Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Join arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris - plus a rotating cast of guest pop culture aficionados. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. From lowbrow to highbrow to the stuff in between, they take it all with a shot of cheer.
  4. NPR's Up First is the news you need to start your day. The three biggest stories of the day, with reporting and analysis from NPR News — in 10 minutes. Available weekdays by 6 a.m. ET, with hosts Rachel Martin, Noel King and Steve Inskeep. Now available on Saturdays by 8 a.m. ET, with hosts Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Scott Simon. Subscribe and listen, then support your local NPR station at donate.npr.org.
  1. Life Skills

  2. 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 to clean a toilet, or just morbidly curious about how often people are laundering their bathrobes, this is the show for you. For bonus episodes and all sorts of other cool rewards, go to patreon.com/askacleanperson
  3. 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.
  4. What if Dear Abby was an investigative reporter? Each week on How To!, David Epstein (bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene)) 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.
  5. Lillian tackles your money overwhelm with practical, approachable financial advice (with a dash of glitter.) This is budgeting advice from someone that doesn't assume you're straight with a salary, retirement account, 2.5 kids, or a white picket fence. You'll get helpful advice for folks left out by traditional finance, you'll learn to reduce money stress and prioritize your values. Got a question for the show? Email questions@ohmydollar.com
  6. Kitchen wisdom and friendly chat from two friends who love to bake
  7. The Therapy for Black Girls podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible version of ourselves.
  8. 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.
  9. Each week, Alice Bradley and Jordan Calhoun 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.
  1. Science, Design, and Innovation

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.