Best Podcasts: 30 Hot Shows to Listen to Right Now

2021-01-28

Audio Ink Radio's best podcasts (pictured) include "Archwell Audio," "Checking in with Michelle Williams," "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend," "NRP's Up First," "Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen" and "Audio Ink Radio with Anne Erickson."

Audio Ink Radio’s best podcasts to listen to right now – Story by Anne Erickson

From Oprah to Prince Harry to Michael Cohen, here are Audio Ink Radio’s picks for the best podcasts to listen to right now

As the years go by, one trend that continues to be on the upswing is podcasting. At this point, it seems like every celebrity or public figure has their own show. So, what are the best podcasts to try out this year? With literally hundreds of millions of shows available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor FM and other platforms, finding the right podcasts to fit your taste can be a daunting task.

Thankfully, whether one’s interests are in music, comedy, politics or culture, there’s a podcast to satisfy that craving. Here are Audio Ink Radio’s 30 Top Podcasts to Listen to Right Now, featuring a range of topics, including the shows’ Spotify players with current episodes. While most of these podcasts are fairly new, others have been around since the genesis of the format and have become increasingly influential over the years.

Best Podcasts of 2021

Adam Carolla Show

Topic: Comedy

Adam Carolla was one of the earliest personalities to start a podcast, and today, his “Adam Carolla Show” is one of the most-downloaded podcasts in the world. Carolla is a radio guy-turned-podcaster, so he has the chops, and there’s no denying that he’s hilarious in pretty much every situation. On the show, Carolla gives his thoughts on daily happenings, politics, relationships and more. Think of it like a radio morning show, but for the podcast listener. Some of his regular guests include his buddy Dr. Drew Pinksy, as well as Larry Miller, David Allen Grier, Dana Gould, Doug Benson and more.

Archewell Audio

Topic: Relationships

Who better to host a relationship podcast than two people in one of the most high-profile relationships in the world? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle host “Archewell Audio,” a new podcast which launched over the holiday season, featuring discussions with major celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Tyler Perry, James Corden and even their famous child, Archie. Since Harry and Markle know many of their guests personally, it brings an added dimension to the discussions.

Audio Ink Radio with Anne Erickson

Topic: Music

We would be remiss to leave our Audio Ink Radio podcast off this list, hosted by journalist and radio host Anne Erickson. The show features interviews with influential voices in rock and metal music, including Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford, 3 Doors Down frontman Brad Arnold, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, Within Temptation vocalist Sharon den Adel and more. Episodes have been featured in TMZ, Blabbermouth, Consequence of Sound, Loudwire and more. Erickson also devotes some episodes to general music discussion and commentary. Is rock music dead? She begs to differ.

Awesome Etiquette

Topic: Relationships

Sometimes, proper etiquette seems like an outdated art form. But, it’s not. It’s never old-fashioned to follow proper etiquette when it comes to society, dating, relationships and a slew of other things- although the advice has evolved over the years. The Emily Post Institute is behind the “Awesome Etiquette” podcast, with hosts Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning answer audience questions about modern etiquette. This is a clean podcast, too, because, well, profanity is apparently poor etiquette.

Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions

Topic: Society & Culture

Bill Gates and Rashida Jones have great on-air chemistry together on their new podcast, “Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions.” On the show, they ask, well, the big questions, from climate change to technology to what the future might look like post-Covid. One of the early guests on the show is NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci, so it’s a good bet they’re get some more A-listers in 2021. This is a serious show, but Gates and Jones tackle the topics in a simplistic way, making it very easy to follow and digest.

The Bill Simmons Podcast

Topic: Sports

When it comes to sports podcasting, “The Bill Simmons Podcast” is the holy grail of the medium and, hands down, one of the best podcasts in the genre. Simmons has a larger-than-life personality that really comes across on the airwaves, as he leads the show with a rotating crew that consists of athletes, celebrities and media personalities. Simmons keeps his listeners up-to-date with everything going on in the sports world, especially the NFL and NBA, and brings on some A-list guests, such as Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant.

Checking in with Michelle Williams

Topic: Society & Culture

“Checking in with Michelle Williams” is a new podcast in advance of the Destiny’s Child member’s 2021 memoir, “Checking In: How Getting Real about Depression Saved My Life—and Can Save Yours.” On the show, Williams talks with special guests about their mental health journeys and how to manage health hardships during this wild time. She also gets personal about her own struggles with mental health. We would love an episode featuring the members of Destiney’s Child, too. Just saying.

The Clark Howard Podcast

Topic: Investing

There are plenty of financial and investing podcasts out there, but “The Clark Howard Podcast” breaks everything down into easily-understandable, practical nuggets of financial information. His topics cover the gamut, from how to save on housing to achieving one’s money goals to the most reliable used cars. Sometimes, Howard even delves into a non-financial topic, but he always comes out offering some useful information.

Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend

Topic: Comedy

After hosting late-night television for 25 years, Conan O’Brien, apparently, realized that he is lacking in the friendship department. Perhaps that’s the side-effect of being a late-night TV star? Regardless, he started this podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” with the hopes of developing a “real and lasting friendship” with his celebrity guests. The show is a weekly chance for O’Brien to hang with some of his longtime fans and, hopefully, make new friends.

Deep Purple Podcast

Topic: Music

Some of the coolest podcasts out there delve into the history and legacy of a single band or musician and tell their story and rise to success. One of those podcasts is the Deep Purple Podcast, which the hosts call a fan podcast discussing the legendary rock band’s history, music and band members. The show is a must-listen for any Deep Purple fan.

Dolly Parton’s America

Topic: Music History

“Dolly Parton’s America” is the only podcast on this list that’s a episodic show, in the sense that there’s one season available from 2019. But, if you haven’t listened yet, it’s a must-hear in 2021. The nine episodes give a detailed history on Dolly Parton’s rise to fame and everything she’s done for country music and the great musical landscape. From the genesis of the term “redneck” to the story behind her hit song “Jolene,” this podcast gives listeners a rich context for so many of the great country music of yesteryear.

The Don’s Hit List

Topic: Music

“The Don’s Hit List” on FAB Radio International is based on a unique concept: What are your “goosebump moments?” On the show, musicians from a range of genres discuss what musical moments in life give them goosebumps, from the first music they fell in love with to what parts of their own music gives them the chills to this day. It’s a novel idea, and that makes this podcast really stand out.

The Eddie Trunk Podcast

Topic: Music

Eddie Trunk is one of rock and metal music’s longest-reigning TV and radio hosts, and he brings a context to his interviews that’s engaging and insightful. Trunk, who was the host of “That Metal Show,” brings that same insight and commentary to “The Eddie Trunk Podcast,” as well as interviews with big names in music, such as Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, Tommy Shaw of Styx and more.

Izzy Presley’s FN Podcast

Topic: Music

If you’re looking for a music-centric podcast with a dash of comedy for entertainment value, Izzy Presley’s FN Podcast is a good find. On the show, Presley interviews a range of fun guests from the entertainment world, such as Vinnie Tortorich, Eddie Trunk, Todd Kerns and Chad Stewart. His “Drunken Summit” shows are a hoot, featuring several different guests all meeting in a Zoom chat.

The Jasta Show

Topic: Music

Jamey Jasta was one of the early adaptors of the podcast platform, and today he has posted more than 500 episodes of “The Jasta Show,” each featuring different guests from the music world and topics. Jasta is known for his hardcore bands Hatebreed, Kingdom of Sorrow and Jasta, as well as his time hosting MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball.” Those who are fans of the hardcore scene will appreciate Jasta’s behind-the-scenes stories about the world of hardcore music, from tales from the road to an inside look at cool collaborations.

Joel Osteen Podcast

Topic: Christianity

We promised diversity on this list, and we’re bringing it, with the best podcasts about everything from heavy metal music to Christianity. The “Joel Osteen Podcast” falls in the latter category. Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria post daily episodes aimed at inspiring and motivating their listeners for the day ahead. Recent topics include living in faith, learning to live well and getting ready for a promotion, so these are real-life topics with faith and Christianity at the core of the Osteens’ message.

Life Kit

Topic: Health & Fitness

Wouldn’t it be nice if life actually came with a life kit? Yes. Yes, it would. That’s the concept behind NPR’s “Life Kit” podcast. The show gives tips on a variety of life topics, including getting fit, saving money, deep cleaning and even the dreaded breaking up. Topics change wildly for every show, making “Life Kit” a dynamic listen.

Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen

Topic: Politics

“Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen” is the new podcast hosted by President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and New York Times best-selling author Michael Cohen, and the show is a blistering listen. Cohen is an excitable host with a raw and real delivery, as he delves into the political topics of the day and talks with figures in politics and pop culture. Recent guests included Ben Stiller, who actually played Cohen on “Saturday Night Live,” and Soledad O’Brien. With fresh episodes every Monday and Friday, “Mea Culpa” might be the political fix that will get you through this turbulent era in American politics.

METALLICAST – THE Metallica Podcast

Topic: Music

True Metallica fans know the in-and-outs of every blasted Metallica riff, rhythm and story. “METALLICAST – THE Metallica Podcast” is the Metallica podcast for the die-hard fan, featuring commentary about the longstanding metal band that’s difficult to find anywhere else. The show also features a slew of Metallica-related guests, including authors of Metallica books, uber fans, journalists, radio personalities and more. Master!

The MetalSucks Podcast

Topic: Music

The MetalSucks website always offers a wealth of information on the metal news stories of the day, along with some pretty witty commentary, and the podcast seeks to do the same. Hosted by Petar Spajic, Brandon Hahn and Jozalyn Sharp, the show features interviews with metal musicians and lengthy chats about all things metal. A recent highlight is the show’s January 2021 episode featuring Ice-T of Body Count, talking about the band’s second Grammy nomination.

NRP’s Up First

Topic: Daily News

What are the biggest stories of the day? That’s the concept behind the NPR podcast “Up First.” Each weekday at 6 a.m. ET and Saturday at 8 a.m. ET, a new episode posts featuring the three biggest news stories of the day, plus reporting and analysis from NPR News. It’s the jump start any news junkie would appreciate.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Topic: Society & Culture

Those who miss “The Oprah Winfrey” show days should find plenty to like in “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations.” The podcast covers the topics of spirituality, motivation and health and wellness with the goal to “guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self,” according to the show’s description. Oprah interviews a collection of special guests on the show, too, including Dr. Maya Angelou. When it comes to in-depth interviews, Oprah is the reining queen, and this show is an apt vehicle for her interviews to shine.

Shout It Loudcast

Topic: Music

Kiss has such a massive, excitable following that there are many podcasts devoted just to Kiss and the band’s antics. One such podcast is the “Shout It Loudcast,” which is about all things Kiss, from the early days to what the band is up to now. They feature a range of guests on the show, too, including Chris Jericho of Fozzy and WWE, Charlie Benante of Anthrax and more.

Sibling Revelry With Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson

Topic: Society & Culture

“Sibling Revelry With Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson” looks at that unique sibling bond and how the family dynamic impacts the human mind and body. Even if you’re an only child (like this writer), the conversations are interesting, free-flowing and laid-back, making the show a delightful listen. The two also host some high-profile guests and their siblings, including Emily and Zooey Deschanel and brothers Rooster and Matthew McConaughey. It’s a novel concept for a show and makes for an entertaining listen.

Talk of Love with Lacey Sculls

Topic: TV & Film

Those who enjoy VH1’s many reality TV shows will find lots to like in the new podcast from Lacey Sculls, who was one of the contestants on past VH1 shows “Rock of Love” with Bret Michaels and “Charm School” with Sharon Osbourne. Sculls is a natural as she interviews a collection of guests from past VH1 reality TV programs, including “Rock of Love,” “Daisy of Love,” “Flavor of Love,” “I Love New York,” “Charm School” and more. She gets at the heart of the questions, “What’s it really like to be on reality TV?”

That Metal Interview with James

Topic: Music

Metal-heads looking for a show that exclusively features the heaviest of metal guests will find it in “That Metal Interview with James.” The program features interviews with artists that appeal to the pure, true metal fan, such as Rich Shaw of Cradle of Filth, Blasko of Ozzy Osbourne’s band and Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly Sepultura. It’s a heavy, fist-pumping listen.

Ouch, You’re on My Hair

Topic: Music

Whether or not you call the hard rock and heavy metal out of the ’80s “hair metal,” there’s not denying the genre had some great hair styles. Hence, the tongue-and-cheek name of this heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll podcast is a fun one: “Ouch, You’re On My Hair.” The show discusses the ’80s era, plus works in some new names, and the interviews are entertaining and engaging. Except, ouch! You’re on my hair, buddy.

Three Sides of the Coin

Topic: Music

“Three Sides of the Coin” is a podcast all about one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands on the planet, Kiss. Episodes are fun and whimsical, from a recent “Kiss wish list” for what they’d like to see the band do this year to interviews with various names in the rock world. “Three Sides of the Coin” is, according to their website, “unofficial and unsanctioned and has no affiliation with the band Kiss,” but they still rock.

The Triple R with Riki Rachtman

Topic: Music Interviews

Riki Rachtman is well known for his lengthy career in radio and hosting television shows, such as MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” and various VH1 reality shows. Rachtman knowns his way around the mic, and “The Triple R” podcasts shows him at his best, telling stories from his life and giving his take on the week’s news stories in music and beyond. He also features guests on the show, such as Burt Reynolds and Jesse James Dupree.

WTF With Marc Maron

Topic: Comedy

Sometimes, there’s no beating the original. Sure, the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast is one of the longest-running podcasts out there, but it still warrants a regular listen in 2021. The show was really one of the trailblazers of podcasting back in 2009. To date, Maron has hosted a bevy of high-profile guests, including Robin Williams, Conan O’Brien, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Nicole Kidman and President Barack Obama. Maron keeps the show’s format spontaneous and engaging, so no two episodes are ever the same, making this one of the best podcasts of all time.

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