The Curated Commute

Here are our favorite podcasts for better, more enriching listening when you’re on the move. There are so many to choose from…our current list is a mix of classics and new finds.

The Dinner Party Download

This is possibly our current #1 favorite podcast. Hosted by Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newman, this weekly show is designed to “give you an edge on your weekend dinner party conversation,” full of fascinating short factual segments plus an impressive interview lineup with cool musicians, authors, actors, directors, etc. There’s also a weekly segment on etiquette, answering all of life’s little manners quandaries.

The Sounds in My Head

Each Monday, Daniel (no last name) of Williamsburg, Brooklyn posts his weekly (mostly) indie pop discoveries mixed with cool soundbytes he finds. He’s got great taste, the show is perfectly edited, and it’s a good way to keep up on new small bands.

99% Invisible

Roman Mars curates snappy design/architecture segments that are far from the mainstream. He’s not after the big names, but instead he covers people, places and phenomena that make a subtle but important impact on the design zeitgeist. From the disappearing art of sign painting to public stairways in Los Angeles, each show is short but rewarding.

The Moth

“True stories told live” pretty much sums it up. These live, nationwide events are edited into fantastic radio shows and podcasts. Check out the list to download the ones that captivate you the most. Journalist Sebastian Junger’s poignant piece on War and his experience making the documentary Restrepo with Tim Hetherington is one of many worth tuning into.

The New Yorker Podcasts

Both the Fiction and the Out Loud podcasts from The New Yorker are worth signing up to. In the fiction cast, editor Deborah Treisman discusses a great short story with a writer of note who then reads the story. It’s monthly and a great way to listen to some powerful fiction. Meanwhile, Out Loud’s weekly segments feature deeper insights and conversations on a variety of the weekly print magazine’s stories.

The Organist

A new monthly podcast from the creators of the Believer and the San Fran based publishing company McSweeney’s, it’s a mix of fiction, humor, true stories and more. It has the same brand of intellectual quirkiness that McSweeney’s is so famous for.

Design Matters 2013 with Debbie Millman

For the last four years, Debbie Millman has continually interviewed the design world’s most important luminaries from Grace Bonney to Dominique Browning and many, many more. Listen to this if you’re interested in design.

BBC World Service

A daily podcast covering the main headlines in world news, plus coverage on major scientific breakthroughs, and often, short pieces on endangered animals. The podcasts last around 30 minutes each – perfect for the morning commute into work.

Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Alec Baldwin makes a great radio show host in conversation with artists, writers, comedians, directors, etc. There are a lot of SNL vets on the show, and those interviews especially are very worthwhile.

This American Life

This may be the most well-known and loved podcast out there featuring true stories that we can all relate to. In the capable hands of legendary host Ira Glass, each week is a highlight, but a few favorites are a two week special embed at a public school in Chicago, comedian Tig Notaro’s hilarious/heartbreaking stand up routine on cancer and the “Middle of Nowhere” on getting a complaint through to the top at the phone company.


Another classic. The breadth of topics and revolutionary ideas covered are always inspiring and there’s something for everyone. We love hearing Anthropologist Helen Fisher’s scientific findings on love and of course, Brené Brown’s timely presentation on vulnerability is a must.

Meet the Press

A great listen to keep up on American and world politics. This is the audio cast of NBC’s weekly Sunday show where world leaders, politicians and political analysts discuss the week’s most crucial issues. A friend recommends you listen to this one on fast forward, as politicians tend to talk slooowwwly.

A History of the World in 100 Objects

This show aired on the BBC in 2010 featuring 15 minute segments on important historical objects like the Rosetta Stone and Hokusai’s The Great Wave print. Each segment provides fascinating commentary on the wider historical context by historians with spectacularly posh British accents. Great for kids to deepen their history curriculum.

NPR Planet Money

During the financial crisis and its aftermath, this show has been invaluable for understanding the financial climate. They have a knack for making money talk easy to digest. Tune in twice a week for a quick 20 minute segment.

All Songs Considered

Another excellent NPR show. Opt for the “New Music” ‘casts where hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton cover a variety of new tracks no matter what the genre.