My 2017 Podcast Picks

December 30, 2017

As an avid podcast listener, one of my favorite year-end activities is reading through the “best of” lists of the best podcasts and episodes of the year. Below are a few of my favorite lists of favorites (meta, right?) to get you started:

The Atlantic – The 50 Best Podcasts of 2017

Vulture – The 10 Best Podcasts of 2017

Vulture – The 10 Best Podcast Episodes of 2017

IndieWire – The 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2017

My typical approach is to review the lists and their descriptions, then add episodes that sound interesting to a new playlist in my preferred podcast app, Overcast.

This year, I thought I’d share my own list of some of my favorite podcasts:

Free Agents – Starting a business as a freelancer or independent worker? This podcast is a good place to start. Hosted by an attorney/author and a freelance writer, they discuss the ups and downs of starting a business and offer valuable insight from their own experiences and those of others who have made the jump from working for someone else to working from themselves.

S-Town – S-Town sits in the top 10 of most of the best of lists for 2017, and for good reason. We even did a four-part series on the Lancaster Law Blog analyzing some of the legal issues that arose in the show: Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. To avoid spoilers, start with the Introduction.

The Ezra Klein Show – I don’t listen to every episode, but typically pick and choose specific ones that sound interesting to me. My favorite two episodes from this year were “What Buddhism got right about the human brain” and “Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media”.

Limetown and LifeAfter – Up until this year, I only listened to podcasts that were non-fiction or talk show style shows, but after a recommendation on Twitter, I decided to try out these two podcasts, which are both fiction. I was immediately hooked by each, which were as addictive as season one of Serial. It consistently amazed me how the stories were produced to take full advantage of the audio-only nature of podcasts.

Limetown is a public radio style investigative report into what happened to the people of a small town in Tennessee, who mysteriously disappeared.

LifeAfter channels one of my favorite TV shows, Black Mirror, and is the story of an FBI agent who spends his days conversing online with his late wife via a voice-based social media app.

Reply All – Reply All is “’a podcast about the internet’ that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.” Standout episodes for me in 2017 were “The Prophet”, which discusses a physical attack that quickly shifts into an investigation of online hate mobs and a ruthless subculture on the internet, “At World’s End” which helped a listener find a vanished video game from her childhood, revealing a fascinating backstory, and “Long Distance” and “Long Distance, Part II”, which discuss tech support scams.

99% Invisible – This podcast is billed as “a tiny radio show about design, architecture, and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” The show features tight storytelling about fascinating topics from unexpected places. My favorite episodes of this year were “La Sagrada Familia”, which I was fortunate enough to visit in person earlier this year, and “The Age of the Algorithm”.

Hello Internet – This show features two YouTube personalities discussing various minutiae that might be of particular interest to those of you who are a bit on the nerdy side. Check out the Star Wars The Last Jedi Christmas Special and probably my favorite podcast episode of the year, “Sloppy Buns”.

I hope you find something new and interesting from my list, but I’d love to hear your favorite podcasts of 2017. What should I be listening to? Let me know on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University Commonwealth School of Law and works regularly with business owners and entrepreneurs.