From science and advice-casts to audio horror, give these podcasts a try!
I am a chronic podcast listener. While cleaning, working on assignments, or staring at the wall in unshakeable dread, nothing passes the time and connects me to the larger world like a well-loved show on the airwaves. As a theatre-lover, my tastes tend to veer towards audio fiction, and the fascinating ways people can perform through the medium of sound. But regardless, there are many kinds of podcasts out there. They come in every genre imaginable, and as the years pass, the community only grows: astronomy, cooking, spirituality, politics, horror, true crime, comedy; every subject has a podcast. Below, I have collected a few of the Argosy staff’s favourites for your listening pleasure. So give them a try and enjoy!
We begin with a personal favourite: Spirits. A history and comedy podcast, Spirits is self-described as “a boozy dive into mythology, folklore, and urban legends.” Every week, hosts Amanda McLoughlin and Julia Schifini pour a drink and explore cultural and urban mythology, making for educational and hilarious listening. I adore their urban legend segments, wherein listeners send in their own weird, creepy, and hilarious stories from home. Every Multitude production is fantastic, but Spirits is one of the best.
In the vein of creepy, another show I adore (but can never bear to listen to) is The Magnus Archives. A British horror anthology series by Jonathan Sims, The Magnus Archives follows the head archivist of the Magnus Institute, a company dedicated to recording instances of the supernatural. As he slowly digitizes past files and relays their information to his recorder, unsettling one-off stories grow and blend into something much larger and more sinister. Terrifying and performed incredibly well, The Magnus Archives is worth the listen. Preferably with the lights off.
To leave the esoteric behind, with one last entry into the uncanny, Welcome to Night Vale is a widely-celebrated fiction podcast adored by millions around the globe. Following radio host Cecil as he provides updates to the desert community of Night Vale, the strange everyday life of this town is highlighted in unwilling, squirming detail. Flashing lights glow overhead, the librarians are out for blood, and do NOT enter the dog park. Remaining incredibly heartfelt and philosophical with positive LGBTQ+ representation and a healthy dose of existentialism, this show pulls on the heartstrings and refuses to let go, even as the blood spills.
In the world of culture, I turn to Podcast Playlist when I want to listen to everything at once. This CBC show finds new and notable shows for you, playing samples of each and interviewing their creators. Culture, music, fiction, fast fashion…one can find anything here. This show is fantastic for those looking to expand their podcast tastes.
In the vein of “a bit of everything,” for those who love science, we suggest Ologies with Alie Ward. This show delves into specific scientific endeavors—really specific. To quote the show’s biography, “Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death.” Every ‘-ology’ you can think of, the weird ones—they are explored here. An incredible production for the life-long learner, as we all are.
Speaking of life-long learning, Mt. A was recently visited by Terry O’Reilly, as part of the Ron Joyce Speaker Series. His celebrated podcast Under the Influence highlights the hidden worlds of marketing and advertising and the ways in which brands and businesses influence our own lives without realizing. Smart and funny, this show is the kind to change how you see the world, and perhaps more importantly, how you think about the world. Available online or on CBC radio weekly, this childhood road-trip classic continues to challenge our perceptions for the better.
For those of us in search of (dubious) life advice, consider My Brother, My Brother and Me: the three McElroy brothers answer listener questions on every subject imaginable, and any YouTube search of ‘My Brother, My Brother and Me highlights’ will demonstrate their comedic success. ‘Guestsperts’ (guest experts) periodically appear to marvel at the brothers’ comedically unhinged process, but even on their own these brothers and the stories they share are worth the listen.
Unfortunately, we could never fit all our favorites in one article. So explore on your own! What are your must-listen audio shows? Share them with us, a friend, a loved one— it’s the best way to support the creators you love.