Storytelling is an age-old art, a thread that weaves together the fabric of humanity. From the ancient tales told around campfires to the modern narratives shared on digital platforms, stories have always been the heartbeat of our existence. They shape our understanding, mold our emotions, and offer a window into worlds both real and imagined.
While books, movies, and television shows have long been celebrated mediums of storytelling, there’s a rising star in the narrative universe: podcasts. These audio gems offer an intimate, often unfiltered, exploration of tales and the craft behind them.
Whether you’re a seasoned storyteller, an aspiring writer, or simply someone who cherishes a good yarn, diving into the world of podcasting can be a transformative experience. Let’s embark on this auditory journey and discover some of the best podcasts that celebrate the magic of storytelling.
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Top Podcasts About Storytelling
The beauty of podcasts lies in their versatility; they can be consumed during a morning commute, a workout session, or even as a bedtime story. For those passionate about the art of storytelling, podcasts offer a treasure trove of inspiration, techniques, and, most importantly, stories that resonate.
So, if you’re looking to hone your narrative skills or simply seeking tales that tug at your heartstrings, the podcasting realm has something for everyone. Dive in, and let the voices guide your imagination.
1. The Moth
The Moth is not just a podcast; it’s a celebration of raw human experiences. With its roots in live storytelling events, this podcast brings together individuals from all walks of life to share their personal tales, unscripted and unfiltered. From heartwarming anecdotes to gut-wrenching confessions, The Moth is a testament to the power of storytelling.
Each episode of The Moth podcast is a mosaic of real-life true stories that evoke a spectrum of emotions, making listeners laugh, cry, and reflect. The podcast not only re-airs episodes from The Moth Radio Hour but also delves into its vast archive, presenting stories recorded over the past two decades.
Whether it’s a child from the Soviet Union learning about American Halloween traditions or a poignant tale of resilience during the Holocaust, The Moth ensures that every story is heard.
2. Snap Judgment
Snap Judgment is where compelling narratives meet electrifying beats. Hosted by Glynn Washington, this podcast offers a rhythmic and cinematic approach to storytelling. Each episode is a blend of real life stories set against a backdrop of killer beats, creating an atmosphere that’s both dramatic and immersive.
From tales of breaking the rules without facing consequences to mind games that play tricks on you, Snap Judgment takes listeners on a rollercoaster of emotions with unexpected twists and turns. It’s not just about the stories; it’s about the pulse, the rhythm, and the heartbeat of life’s most captivating moments.
3. Welcome To Night Vale
Dive into the eerie world of Welcome To Night Vale, a podcast that offers community updates for the fictional desert town of Night Vale. This isn’t your typical town update, though. Night Vale is filled with mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknown powers, and announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police.
This storytelling podcast seamlessly blends the macabre with the mundane, creating an uncanny atmosphere reminiscent of works by Stephen King or David Lynch. With its unique style and compelling narrative, Welcome To Night Vale invites listeners to turn on their radios, hide, and immerse themselves in the bizarre happenings of this small desert community.
4. This American Life
This American Life is more than just a podcast; it’s a narrative journey that delves deep into the heart of American society. Produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago, each episode revolves around a theme, weaving together different kinds of stories that resonate with that theme.
From personal anecdotes to investigative journalism, the podcast offers a diverse range of tales that reflect the multifaceted nature of life in America. Whether it’s exploring the intricacies of relationships, societal norms, or the challenges of everyday life, This American Life provides a nuanced and insightful look into the American experience.
5. The Memory Palace
The Memory Palace is a podcast that stands at the intersection of history and storytelling. Created by public radio producer Nate DiMeo, this podcast offers listeners a journey through time, revisiting forgotten moments and unsung heroes from the past. Each episode is a carefully crafted narrative, blending historical facts with evocative storytelling.
From tales of the thundering herds of yesteryears to stories of individuals who left an indelible mark on history, The Memory Palace ensures that these memories are not lost to the sands of time. It’s a place where history comes alive, one story at a time.
Longform is a platform that has been curating and posting great new and classic non-fiction articles from across the web. Founded by Max Linsky and Aaron Lammer in April 2010, the site has recommended over 10,000 pieces of nonfiction.
However, it appears that Longform.org is shutting down its article recommendations service, though the Longform Podcast will continue to publish new episodes weekly. The founders express their gratitude to the contributing editors, supporters, publications, writers, and readers who have been part of their journey.
7. Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan is a multifaceted personality who has made significant contributions to the world of comedy, mixed martial arts, and podcasting. As a stand-up comedian for over two decades, Rogan has released several comedy specials, with “Joe Rogan: Strange Times” premiering on Netflix in October 2018. His comedic journey includes other notable specials like “Joe Rogan: Triggered” and “Joe Rogan: Rocky Mountain High.”
However, many recognize Rogan for his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” This long-form conversation podcast, hosted by Rogan, features a diverse range of guests, from comedians and actors to MMA fighters and authors. The podcast’s candid discussions, insightful interviews, and Rogan’s unique perspective have made it one of the most popular podcasts among the best storytelling podcasts, now exclusively distributed on Spotify.
Beyond the world of comedy and podcasting, Rogan has a deep passion for mixed martial arts. He has been providing color commentary for the UFC since 2002. His love for MMA began at a young age, earning him several accolades, including the US Open Tae Kwon Do Championship.
8. LeVar Burton Reads
“LeVar Burton Reads” is a podcast that offers listeners a unique auditory experience, blending the best of short fiction with the unparalleled voice of LeVar Burton. Known for his roles in “Roots,” “Reading Rainbow,” and “Star Trek,” Burton’s voice has become synonymous with storytelling. In each episode, he invites listeners to take a momentary escape from their daily routines and immerse themselves in beautifully narrated tales.
These stories, handpicked by Burton himself, range from works by renowned authors such as Stephen King, Toni Morrison, and Nnedi Okorafor to Kurt Vonnegut and Ken Liu. The podcast’s immersive audio, best experienced with headphones, is designed to transport listeners into the world of each story, making it a truly unique listening experience.
Beyond his podcast, LeVar Burton has been a beacon of education and reading advocacy. His work on “Reading Rainbow” has inspired multiple generations to discover the joys of reading. As an author, Burton has penned award-winning books like “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” and “A Kids Book About Imagination.” His dedication to literature and storytelling is evident in every episode of his podcast, making it a must-listen for anyone who cherishes the art of the spoken word.
“Heavyweight” is a podcast that delves deep into the pivotal moments of people’s lives, moments that they wish they could change or revisit. Hosted by Jonathan Goldstein, the show takes listeners on a journey back to these significant instances, unraveling the stories and emotions tied to them.
Each episode is a deep dive into personal stories, from a man who can’t stop painting portraits of his ex-wife decades after their divorce to another who ponders why he never asked out his crush on Valentine’s Day in junior high. The podcast is currently gearing up for its eighth season, and its past episodes have garnered significant attention, with features in notable publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.
Goldstein’s approach is both empathetic and investigative, as he seeks to understand the profound impact of these moments on the lives of his guests. The episodes are not just about revisiting the past but also about seeking closure, understanding, and sometimes, redemption. With its unique premise and heartfelt storytelling, “Heavyweight” stands out as a podcast that resonates deeply with its listeners, offering them a chance to reflect on their own life-changing moments.
10. The Truth
“The Truth” is a podcast that takes listeners on a journey into the world of fiction, but not just any fiction. These are stories that are meticulously crafted to be more than just tales; they are auditory experiences. With a tagline of “movies for your ears,” “The Truth” offers cinematic audio productions that play with the boundaries of reality and fiction.
Each episode is a standalone story, allowing listeners to dive into a new world every time. From suspenseful thrillers to heartwarming narratives, the podcast covers a wide range of genres, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. The immersive sound design and stellar voice acting make each episode a treat for the ears, transporting listeners into the heart of the story.
11. Symphony Space
Selected Shorts by Symphony Space is a celebration of the art of the short story. This podcast brings together stories from some of the world’s most celebrated authors, performed live on stage by renowned actors from stage, screen, and television. Each episode is a blend of classic and contemporary tales, ensuring a rich mix of narratives that cater to all tastes.
The stories are not just read; they are performed, making each episode a theatrical experience. From tales of love and loss to stories of the supernatural, “Selected Shorts” offers a diverse range of narratives that captivate, entertain, and provoke thought.
12. Reply All
“Reply All” is not just another tech podcast; it’s a deep dive into the intricacies of the internet and the fascinating stories that emerge from it. Hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, this podcast uncovers the mysteries of the digital world, from bizarre online subcultures to the most pressing tech dilemmas.
Each episode is a journey into the heart of the internet, revealing its impact on our lives, society, and culture. Whether it’s exploring the origins of a viral meme or investigating a hacker’s motives, “Reply All” offers a unique and insightful perspective on the digital age.
“Serial” is a podcast that redefined the landscape of audio storytelling. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, this investigative journalism podcast delves deep into real-life mysteries, one story at a time. The first season, which garnered international attention, focused on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed.
Through meticulous research, interviews, and analysis, Koenig unraveled the complexities of the case, presenting listeners with a narrative that was both compelling and thought-provoking. Each season of “Serial” tackles a new story, but the essence remains the same: a commitment to truth, a quest for justice, and a narrative that captivates listeners from start to finish.
“Committed” is a podcast that delves into the heart of relationships, but not just the romantic kind. Host Jo Piazza brings to the forefront the stories of couples of all kinds who have weathered the storms of life and come out stronger. From the challenges of illness and distance to the complexities of modern family dynamics, “Committed” showcases the resilience of love in all its forms.
Each episode is a testament to the power of commitment, highlighting the joys, challenges, and sometimes the heartbreaks that come with it. Whether it’s a story of lifelong friends who consider themselves platonic life partners or a couple navigating the aftermath of a tragedy, “Committed” offers a raw and genuine look into the bonds that tie us together.
“Radiolab” is a podcast that dives deep into the world of science, philosophy, and the human experience. With a unique blend of storytelling, sound design, and thought-provoking topics, Radiolab seeks to explore the mysteries and wonders of the universe. Each episode delves into a specific topic, from the intricacies of the human brain to the vastness of space, and presents it in a way that is both engaging and enlightening.
The show’s hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, have a knack for making complex subjects accessible and relatable, making “Radiolab” a favorite among both science enthusiasts and casual listeners. Over the years, the podcast has garnered numerous awards and has been praised for its innovative approach to storytelling and its commitment to intellectual curiosity.
“Invisibilia” is a podcast that delves into the unseen forces that shape human behavior, beliefs, and assumptions. Its name, derived from the Latin word for “invisible things,” perfectly encapsulates the show’s essence. Through a combination of narrative storytelling and scientific exploration, “Invisibilia” offers listeners a fresh perspective on everyday life, challenging them to see the world in a new light.
Topics range from the power of emotions to the intricacies of human relationships, all presented with a depth and sensitivity that captivates the audience. The show’s ability to weave personal stories with scientific insights makes it a standout, offering listeners a unique blend of heart and intellect.
17. Ear Hustle
“Ear Hustle” offers a raw and unfiltered look into the daily realities of life inside prison. Created by those who have lived it, this podcast provides a platform for incarcerated individuals to share their stories, experiences, and insights. The show doesn’t just stop at the prison walls; it also delves into stories from the outside, particularly focusing on post-incarceration challenges and adjustments.
The fellowship between Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, earlier confined at San Quentin State Prison, brings authenticity and depth to each episode. “Ear Hustle” is a testament to the power of storytelling, shedding light on a world that many are unfamiliar with and humanizing those who are often marginalized and misunderstood.
18. The Thrilling Adventure Hour
“The Thrilling Adventure Hour” is a delightful homage to old-time radio but with a modern twist. Presented in the style of classic radio dramas, this podcast offers a range of stories from Westerns to science fiction, all delivered with wit, humor, and a touch of nostalgia. The show boasts a cast of talented actors and writers who bring each episode to life, transporting listeners to different worlds and eras.
Whether it’s a tale of space cowboys or supernatural detectives, “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” captures the essence of classic radio while infusing it with contemporary sensibilities. For those yearning for a dose of vintage charm combined with modern storytelling, this podcast is a must-listen.
“Unexplained” is a bi-weekly podcast that delves into the eerie, strange, and often terrifying events that defy explanation. Created by Richard MacLean Smith, the show explores real-life mysteries that continue to baffle experts and laypeople alike. From haunted houses to unexplained disappearances, each episode offers a deep dive into a particular enigma, presenting the known facts, theories, and, often, more questions than answers.
The atmospheric sound design and meticulous research make “Unexplained” a chilling yet captivating listen. For those who love a good mystery and enjoy pondering the unknown, “Unexplained” offers a haunting journey into the realms of the inexplicable.
20. We’re Alive
“We’re Alive” is an enthralling podcast that plunges listeners into a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. But it’s not just another zombie story. This audio drama intricately weaves together the tales of survivors as they navigate the challenges of a world in chaos. With a rich tapestry of characters, each episode delves into the human psyche, exploring themes of trust, survival, and the lengths one would go to protect their loved ones.
The sound design is impeccable, creating an immersive experience that makes you feel as if you’re right there with the characters, facing the undead and making life-altering decisions. As the story unfolds, listeners are reminded of the resilience of the human spirit and the bonds that tie us together, even in the face of unimaginable horrors.
21. Myths And Legends
“Myths And Legends” is a captivating podcast that breathes new life into the ancient stories that have shaped cultures around the world. Hosted with a blend of wit and insight, each episode delves into tales of heroes, gods, and creatures, both familiar and obscure. But this isn’t just a simple retelling. The podcast delves deep, exploring the origins, variations, and cultural significance of each story.
It’s a journey that spans across continents and eras, from the Norse legends of Thor and Loki to the lesser-known tales from Native American folklore. Beyond the entertainment, “Myths And Legends” offers a reflection on the values, fears, and aspirations of ancient societies, drawing parallels with the modern world and highlighting the timeless nature of these stories.
22. The Leviathan Chronicles
“The Leviathan Chronicles” is an epic science fiction podcast that transports listeners to a world where immortality is not only possible but is also at the center of a cosmic battle. The story revolves around a secret society of 400 people who have achieved immortality and live hidden beneath the sea in the city of Leviathan.
However, their tranquil existence is threatened when one of their own decides to share the secrets of immortality with the world. With a blend of cutting-edge sound design and a gripping narrative, the podcast offers a cinematic experience filled with intrigue, suspense, and unexpected twists. As the battle between immortals rages on, listeners are taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, questioning the very nature of life and the price one pays for eternal existence.
23. Let’s Read
“Let’s Read” is a podcast that dives deep into the world of literature, exploring a diverse range of stories from various authors and genres. Each episode is a journey into the written word, where listeners are introduced to new worlds, characters, and ideas. The podcast doesn’t just stick to the classics; it ventures into contemporary works, lesser-known gems, and even listener-submitted stories.
The host’s soothing voice and insightful commentary add depth to the reading experience, making each story come alive. Whether you’re a seasoned bibliophile or someone looking for a new literary adventure, “Let’s Read” offers a fresh perspective on the power and beauty of storytelling.
24. Write And Wrong
The “Write and Wrong Podcast” is a delightful dive into the world of professional storytelling. With a diverse array of guests ranging from authors and screenwriters to game developers and journalists, this podcast offers listeners a behind-the-scenes look at the art and craft of weaving narratives. Each episode is a candid conversation that delves into the challenges, triumphs, and nuances of the storytelling process.
If you’re discussing the intricacies of plot development or the impact of character arcs, “Write and Wrong” provides invaluable insights for both budding writers and avid readers. The podcast celebrates the magic of stories and the individuals who bring them to life, reminding us of the power of words to inspire, entertain, and transform.
25. Future of StoryTelling (FoST)
The “Future of StoryTelling (FoST)” podcast is a thought-provoking series that delves into the evolving landscape of storytelling in the digital age. Hosted by FoST founder and CEO Charlie Melcher, the podcast features enlightening conversations with some of the world’s most innovative storytellers across various disciplines.
From exploring the craft of experience design with experts like Abraham Burickson to discussing the art of photography with pioneers like Stephen Shore, the podcast sheds light on how stories can drive positive change in the world.
At its core, FoST is a passionate community that bridges the worlds of media, technology, and communications, pushing the boundaries of how we share and consume stories in an ever-changing digital era. Each episode is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling and its ability to connect us, inspire us, and shape the future.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, where information is constantly at our fingertips and distractions are just a click away, the enduring power of storytelling remains a testament to our innate human desire for connection and understanding. Throughout our exploration of the vast podcasting landscape, we’ve been introduced to a plethora of voices, each weaving tales that resonate with our shared experiences, dreams, and fears.
Among this rich tapestry of narratives, one podcast, in particular, has left an indelible mark: “The Leviathan Chronicles.” This podcast, with its masterful blend of science fiction elements and profound human introspection, offers an escape into a world that, while fantastical, mirrors the complexities of our own existence. Its ability to intertwine the extraordinary with the every day makes it a standout recommendation for those seeking both adventure and introspection.
As we conclude this journey, it’s worth reflecting on the broader significance of storytelling in our lives. Stories, whether told around a campfire, penned in a book, or broadcasted through the airwaves, have the power to bridge divides, challenge our perspectives, and ignite our imaginations.
They serve as a reminder that, despite our differences, we are all part of a larger narrative, forever intertwined by the tales we tell and the stories we share.