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It’s the end of 2017 and that means it’s time for a “best of” post!
But real quick, let’s talk about 2017’s huge-ness for the podcast industry.
In case you think that you’re the only person you know who is super into podcasts (I think we’ve all been there), take a look at these stats regarding the growth of the podcast industry in 2017.
Keep scrolling if you just want to get to the Best Podcasts of 2017 list.
Podcast Industry Growth Stats
By March of this year, Edison Research had already published the following stats:
- 40% of Americans 12+ say they have ever listened to a podcast
- 24% say they have listened to one in the past month (a 21% increase from one year before)
- Six in ten Americans are now familiar with the term “podcasting” (a 22% increase over two years)
That was nine whole months ago. And that’s just the American podcast listening scene. This doesn’t even take into account the huge listener bases in the UK, Australia, and other parts of Europe.
Here’s another stat about podcast consumers that I love: “People who are weekly podcast listeners spend a mean time of 5 hours and 7 minutes per week listening to podcasts.” This one left me feeling warm and fuzzy, because that’s about how much I listen on a slow week.
These stats are great news for fans like you and me. They will encourage more individuals and companies to jump into the podcasting scene, creating more shows for us to enjoy.
New Podcasts Launched in 2017
I don’t have a statistic on the number of podcasts launched in 2017. New shows are launching all the time; there’s no seasonality like with TV and movies.
Even without a stat, I think it is safe to say that 2017 was a notable year in terms of number of new podcasts created.
I bet most of you didn’t know that Broadway.com launched a podcast this year. And that the U.S. Library of Congress launched its ninth podcast. Those are two organizations I wouldn’t expect podcasts from!
Podcasts are being created by so many different people, from so many different corners of the earth and society, that it is truly hard to keep up.
I often find myself discovering a show that’s already in its third season and has a massive following. It’s wonderful (if not sometimes overwhelming) to have so many choices.
Podcast Maniac’s Picks for Best Podcasts of 2017
So how the heck do I choose the best podcasts from such a huge pool of options?
First, I narrow down the parameters. In this case, I had to narrow down the categories/genres.
For my Best Podcasts of 2017 list, I’ve chosen 2-3 podcasts from each of the main categories on the blog: Travel, Life & Love, Health & Fitness, Money & Career, Stories, and Educational.
I’m also only picking podcasts that launched in 2017. You’ll notice that my picks don’t include podcasts that returned with a new season this year. There are definitely some fan favorites that hit it out of the park (Heavyweight, The Bright Sessions, Revisionist History, to name a few), but they have had their moment to shine already.
I’m super interested to know what you think are the best podcasts of 2017. Leave a comment to let me know if you agree or disagree with my choices.
Best Travel Podcasts of 2017
This podcast is produced by Our State magazine. Like the magazine, the entire podcast is about exploring the state of North Carolina, USA.
I’m an East Coast girl, but I’ve only ever driven through North Carolina or landed in one of its airports en route to somewhere else. This podcast is like an entertaining and educational road trip through the state, and is completely unlike other travel podcasts I’ve listened to.
This isn’t your typical “tips and tricks” travel show. It’s more like a This American Life of North Carolina (This American Life being a multi-themed storytelling podcast).
The host is entertaining, curious, and self-deprecating. The people he meets all over North Carolina are interesting and full of knowledge about their corner of the state.
You don’t have to have been, or have plans to go, to North Carolina to enjoy Away Message. In fact, one of the main messages of the show is that when you feel like you “just need to get away”, you might not have to go very far at all.
Vacation rentals have become almost as mainstream as hotels these days, which is why the Air2Share podcast is such a relevant addition to the podcast world.
The super-personable hosts of the show, Donna and Jeff, give a different twist on their travel stories, mostly from the viewpoint of staying in an Airbnb.
Their stories are funny, relatable, and full of information about different locations and cultures. I totally related to the “shame trash” story from the first nine minutes of the October 13 episode.
Bonus: the Air2Share website has gorgeous travel photos to go along with every episode!
Best Life & Love Podcasts of 2017
Alone: A Love Story
This podcast knocked me over right from episode 1. Michelle Parise wrote and narrated her personal story of love and heartbreak, sparing no detail, and with more honesty than most of us are comfortable with.
She also speaks with a tone and cadence that I find enjoyable – a difficult achievement, given the subject matter. The audio mixing is on point, punctuating the most emotional and significant moments in the story.
Next time you hear someone say, “hindsight is 20/20”, you’ll think about this podcast.
[Related Post] The Best Podcasts for Women, Made by Women
Conversations with People Who Hate Me
I loved the premise of this podcast the first time I heard it: Host Dylan Marion contacts the people who have left him hateful comments online, and attempts to have productive conversations with them about their ideological differences.
This podcast comes at a time when it’s easier to avoid difficult conversations and controversial topics, especially online, where things can quickly spiral out of control. But Marron is known for flying in the face of what’s easy.
Not everyone agrees with me that the conversations that Marron and his guests have are productive. I’ve had some readers (and connections on social media) tell me that they find him to be condescending and that he’s trying to provoke conflict. To this, I would say that the phone calls that make up the podcast are a better alternative to tweets and anonymous comments online.
You can read more about Conversations With People Who Hate Me in the blog post that I wrote about it earlier this year.
Where Should We Begin?
If anything fits into the Life & Love category, it’s this new podcast produced by Audible. It features recordings from real couples therapy sessions with iconic therapist Esther Perel.
This podcast provides context to all the advice that is dished out by experts and therapists on traditional advice podcasts about relationships.
We get to hear first-hand all the he-said/she-said, the mis-spoken words, the emotional reactions, and more. We get to hear Esther tell one partner that she’s terrible at communication and another one to “shut the f*** up!”
This podcast is for anyone who has ever been in a relationship or has plans to someday be in an a relationship (so, unless you’re a priest or a nun, you should check it out!)
Best Health & Fitness Podcasts of 2017
The mindbodygreen Podcast
This podcast is an off-shoot of the mega-popular mindbodygreen website. On the show, the website’s founder chats with the people behind the health and wellness brands you’ve come to recognize: Deliciously Ella, Odwalla & Califia Farms, Barre3, Whole30, and more.
There are a lot of podcasts out there that interview entrepreneurs and founders, but there aren’t many that focus only on the people who have started companies in the wellness field.
Taking care of your body – both inside and out – is practically a mainstream idea today, but this trend didn’t happen overnight. You’ll hear first-hand stories about the challenges and struggles that these founders overcame in order to bring you the best products for your health and well-being.
Losing 100 lbs with Phit-N-Phat
After decades of being overweight, Corinne Crabtree lost 100 pounds, kept it off, and has become a women’s life coach with a major focus on weight loss. Her podcast is an extension of her life coaching business, and is full of tips for creating a weight-loss mindset.
Although Corinne prescribes some of the typical tips and tricks that you’ve heard before (food journaling, meal prep, etc.), she understands why people have trouble sticking to those habits. She knows how easy it is to shame yourself into giving up, so she gives you the tools to stop negative thought patterns.
I love Corinne’s no-nonsense attitude and southern accent. And her co-host? A women who has been on her own successful weight-loss journey thanks to Corinne.
Best Money & Career Podcasts of 2017
I Hate My Boss
Regular readers of the blog will not be surprised to see this podcast in my “best of 2017” list. I Hate My Boss is a workplace and career advice podcast that put out over 30 full length episodes and over 25 short-format episodes just in its first season.
The show is hosted by Liz Dolan (ex-Nike exec and current co-host of Satellite Sisters) and Larry Seal (an executive and leadership coach, and Founder/CEO of EngagedLeadership). These two dole out advice on everything from job interviews to negotiating a raise, to dealing with favoritism (and nepotism) in the workplace, office gossip, and maternity leave.
Every episode of this show had some part that hit home for me, and Liz and Larry really don’t pull any punches with their advice. If you have a job, you owe this podcast a listen.
I Hate My Boss will be back for Season 2 in early 2018 under the name Safe For Work (because many people got the wrong idea about the show based on the title alone!)
Masters of Scale
I wasn’t sure that I needed another CEO-interview podcast in my feed, but this one really won me over.
Masters of Scale is hosted by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. He believes that there are patterns to how successful companies grow and how successful entrepreneurs think (in other words, it’s not luck).
In order to see if his theories pan out, Reid has rounded up other famous founders to hear (and analyze) their success stories. The show is fast-paced and includes fun music and sound effects.
And here’s a bonus: Masters of Scale is committed to a 50-50 gender balance for guests. I’ll take it!
Sidegigs (also known as “side hustles”) are more popular than ever right now. This podcast by Millo is a really thorough look at how to create and manage a sidegig.
I wasn’t sure that I would love a podcast with three male hosts, but the guys from Sidegig are really down to earth and provide great insights into the motivation behind sidegigs, and the mindset required to make your gig a success.
There aren’t any major bells and whistles in this podcast. Just the guys discussing themes related to sidegigs (productivity, time management, tech tips and tools, you get the picture), but they stay on topic and I’ve found their content super helpful.
I also absolutely love this show’s cover art (hey Millo, can I get that on a t-shirt, please?)
Best Story Podcasts of 2017
If there’s one podcast that made a splash when it launched this year, it’s Ear Hustle. Radiotopia marketed the heck out of this show when it dropped, yet shockingly, I still see tweets from people who have just discovered this gem of a podcast.
Ear Hustle is a compilation of stories told by the prisoners inside San Quintin prison in California. Every episode has a different theme related to prison life, and is recorded and produced inside the prison.
Local artist and prison volunteer Nigel Poor co-hosts the show with Earlonne Woods, who is currently incarcerated at San Quintin.
Ear Hustle is not a true crime podcast. It is a podcast about prison culture. But mostly, it’s a podcast about change, hope, failure, success, fear, and all the other things that come with being human.
This podcast follows the story of two toddlers in the UK on their journey to being adopted. The series includes interviews with all the individuals involved in the story: the biological parents and grandparents, the foster parents, the adoptive parents, the social worker, and the children themselves.
Every episode of this podcast is touching and eye-opening. The adoption process is long, and the emotions are raw. More than one episode made me cry, yet I was still hungry for the next one to be released.
The Adoption is a quick listen; most episodes are less than 15 minutes long. Go listen.
[Related Post] The Best Short Podcasts for Busy Days (& Busy People)
The first musical podcast that I’ve ever listened to, and it did not disappoint! I’m a musical person by nature, but I was apprehensive about this new genre in the podcast world.
36 Questions is a fictional story based on the popular concept of asking your date 36 very personal questions. The questions take “breaking the ice” to a whole new level. Articles and books about the questions have been written, and now, a musical podcast.
I found this podcast to be funny, thought-provoking, touching, and a bit ridiculous, all at the same time. And mostly while set to music. That’s a pretty tall order, but the writers, producers, and certainly the actors (and their fantastic singing voices) delivered.
Best Educational Podcasts of 2017
The Curiosity Podcast
This podcast from Curiosity.com is based on the company’s tagline, “Because curiosity makes you smarter”. That’s definitely something I can get behind.
Host Cody Gough interviews researchers and experts in fields across a range of topics, including: the human sense of smell, how to have a successful marriage, scoring music for video games, and lessons on etiquette.
If you like the Freakonomics podcast, I think you’ll like this show. And it’s slightly less taxing on the brain!
I struggled with where exactly to categorize Hackable? Ultimately, it belongs in the Educational category, with (pretend) subcategories Technology and Pop Culture. I think of this show as a cross between Gimlet’s Reply All and StartUp.
Hackable? is made by McAfee. You know, the software that keeps PCs safe from malware. The show seeks to prove, or disprove, whether the technology we see in TV and movies is for real, or just hyped up to make Jason Bourne look awesome.
From digital carjacking to smart doorbells, and whether or not you should really put a sticky note over your webcam, host Geoff Siskind and his team of friendly hackers find out what we really need to be worried about when it comes to the technology that surrounds us.
I hope you enjoyed this Best Of 2017 list! I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us for podcasts! Leave a comment or link below with your thought about my choices!
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