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Hitting the open road? Planning what you're going to listen to can be just as important as planning your route. Radio is unreliable, and even classic albums get tiresome after a while. These podcasts, and a source for audio books that puts a new spin on the term fan fiction, will keep you engaged behind the wheel. You'll get to your destination before you know it, although you might want to circle the block a few times to keep listening.


What are the top five bad movie ideas? What have been the best performances of the year so far? Hosts Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen are the best kind of movie fans: passionate, opinionated, informed and funny, plus they never take themselves too seriously. Get in on the debate with this podcast from Chicago.

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It's not a podcast, just one of the more entertaining sources of audio books. Volunteers read books in the public domain and LibriVox makes them free online as audio files. There are obvious limits to the selection, but when enthusiastic readers bust out accents and all their other nerdy enthusiasm for a text, it adds a whole other element of entertainment for listeners.

Planet Money

Economics may surround us, and may even depress us (seen gas prices lately?), but it doesn't mean we all understand it. Bone up on everything from bank runs to blind trusts with NPR's Planet Money, a twice-weekly podcast about the global economy.

Quirks & Quarks

No other science podcast is as consistently engaging – and yes, quirky – than Quirks & Quarks. Host Bob McDonald has jumped into everything from life on Mars to resetting the periodic table. With a backlog of episodes going back to 2006, there are plenty of episodes to fire your imagination like a Bunsen burner.

WTF with Marc Maron

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There's a long list of comedy podcasts to choose from – everyone who's ever told a one-liner in some nightclub now has their own, it seems – but Marc Maron's is still the best. As an interviewer, Mr. Maron is without equal when it comes to getting his guests to reflect on their own comedy.

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