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Whether you’re new to podcasts or have been listening to them for years, this guide will help you freshen up your playlist and discover some new favourites

The podcasting space has exploded to its full potential, with well-reported docu-series coming from all types of creators, scripted fiction featuring Hollywood talent, improvisational comedy that’s better than many things you’ll watch on streaming television and daily shows that give you the news with candour and empathy. Here are our picks – some chart-topping, some quirky – to line up in your listening queue.

Table of contents

Five classics you should hear right now

  • Song Exploder

    1 of 5

What makes a great podcast? A great theme, great host(s) and/or great format. Here are a handful of can’t-miss shows to get you started.

The best podcasts of 2018

  • Articles of Interest

    1 of 15

The shows that rose to the top of the ranks last year represent a huge step forward for podcasting as a medium and it felt like a cause for celebration.

Five of the most compelling serialized podcasts

  • The Habitat

    1 of 5

The best serialized podcasts are the ones that continue iterating on the multiepisode story arc format, exploding it well beyond true crime and investigations into many other bold and amazing themes.

Five science podcasts that will feed your brain

  • Flash Forward

    1 of 5

These shows rely on the best audio conventions – storytelling, thoughtful formatting, sound design and in one innovative case, future history – to lure listeners into grappling with particularly complex subject matter.

Five business podcasts that are anything but boring

  • Paychecks & Balances

    1 of 5

There are many mainstream business shows, but these are the outliers, the quirky shows that technically cover business, but also enlighten and entertain, and in some cases advise.

Five film podcasts for the majority of us

  • You Must Remember This

    1 of 5

There are few subjects that inspire more fervent dialogue and debate than film, and some of the best podcasts being made tackle movies with the equal parts reverence and irreverence they deserve.

Five food podcasts to feast your ears on

  • Table Manners with Jessie Ware

    1 of 5

Food-centric podcasts can rival any TV cooking show with their focus on recipes, techniques and cultural conversations around ingredients and dishes.

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