Short Podcasts for When You Only Have 20 Minutes

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Short Podcast Recommendations PodcastManiacBlog

I’ve recently fallen prey to the I’m-so-busy-that-it’s-taken-me-four-days-to-finish-this-one-podcast-episode problem.

This happens because I have my regular fave podcasts that I want to listen to, but I also listen to other shows to be able to write recommendations for the blog. So my favorite podcasts get paused while I listen to something else.

Thankfully, not every podcast features a marathon interview or pushes the 1-hour mark. There are many short podcasts out there. I’m talking about podcasts that can be started – and finished – in under 20 minutes.

These podcasts are perfect to listen to when you’re getting ready for work, during a drive to the supermarket, or while making dinner.

The short podcast recommendations in this list are from a variety of podcast genres, so make sure to read all the way to the bottom to see if there’s something for you.

5 Short Podcasts That Have Episodes Under 20 Minutes

Grammar Girl PodcastGrammar Girl

I’m recommending this show first because it’s really entertaining and I think just about everyone can enjoy it. (The show is so popular that it has been running for 10 years!)

In each short episode of this podcast, the host discusses familiar phrases, every day sayings, and common errors that many of us make when speaking or writing. She digs into the how’s and why’s of it all, leaving you a little smarter than you were before.

Do not think of Grammar Girl as a boring English lesson. Think: trivia night with fun anecdotes woven in. It’s even kid-friendly. I’ve used it to settle an argument with my husband!

Try this episode: Apostrophes: Ruth’s Chris and Carl’s Jr


Fairytales for Unwanted Children Fairytales for Unwanted Children Podcast

This podcast out of Canada features made up fairy tales by host Scott Thrower. The stories are unique, beautifully told, and the background audio sets the stage without overdoing it.

This isn’t a podcast for kids, as the stories lean just a little on the darker side. I can totally see teens enjoying it, though. There’s also fan art on the show’s website, which is a fun addition to the episodes.

I really enjoyed Episode 13: Wishing Well. Check it out!



First Day Back PodcastFirst Day Back

In season 1 of this podcast, host Tally documents her journey as she heads back to work after an extended maternity leave (6 years). Although her experiences and emotions have a serious side to them, Tally’s sense of humor lightens it up just the right amount.

There are obviously a lot of moms who will relate to this podcast, but as a non-mom, I still find it really entertaining, touching, and funny – all in under 20 minutes.

Start with Episode 1. And FYI: Season 2 tells a totally different story, and the episodes are approximately 30 minutes each.


The Marble GardenThe Marble Garden Podcast

I’ve been wanting to recommend this podcast for months! It’s about cemeteries and the untold stories hidden among the grounds (and their residents).

This is not a creepy podcast, nor is it about haunting. Think of it as flipping open an old photo album or encyclopedia, and discovering a fascinating story about someone.

Okay, so…there are two episodes of this podcast that are over 20 minutes, but the others do meet the under-20 requirement! The host is soft-spoken (turn up your volume) but talks at a pace that has you hanging onto every word.

If you’re not sure if a podcast about cemeteries is up your alley (it’s soooo up mine), start with Episode 06: Cemetery 101 – Superstitions, Traditions, and Folklore.



The Adoption Podcast BBC Radio 4The Adoption

This new podcast from BBC Radio 4 follows all the people involved in the adoption of two small children in England.

Each short episode in the 10-part series features interviews with a different individual involved in the story. The social worker, the foster parents, the birth parents, the children themselves, and more.

This podcast is both factual and touching, and is just in time for National Adoption Awareness Month (November) here in the USA. Start with Episode 1 and listen in order from there.

[Related Post] The Best Podcasts of 2017


Honorable Mention

I recommended The Karen and Ellen Letters in 5 LOL NSFW Podcasts You’ve Got To Listen To. The dramatic reading episodes of that podcast are all under 20 minutes (some are under 10). I highly recommend checking it out!

And if you’re looking for even more short podcasts to try, check out my other post The Best Short Podcasts for Busy Days (& Busy People).


What other under 20 minute, short podcasts do you listen to? Leave a comment below (you can even include a link to the show!)

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