Plugging in to the Best Podcasts Around

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Host: Dan Carlin

For an amateur historian, Dan Carlin sure knows a lot about a lot when it comes to some of the most important events in history.  Some episodes of Hardcore History run at more the two hours (perfect for an interstate trip) and cover some of the best, and least, known events in ancient and modern history.  From Xerxes to Genghis Khan to everything World War Two, Carlin's enthusiasm for the digging into the past is infectious and enlightening.  Hardcore History brings in commentary and analysis from some of the most important players you may never have heard of.  There's only around 60 episodes of Hardcore History and some lie behind a paywall but there's no better way to step into the past than with Dan Carlin as your guide.

Top Episodes

  • #43 Wrath of the Khans I
  • #46 Wrath of the Khans IV
  • #11 Thoughts on Churchill
  • #54 Blueprint for Armageddon V
  • #28 Ghosts of the Ostfront II


Host: Sarah Koenig

This multi award winner brings investigative journalism to your ears.  The show explores intriguing real life stories over the course of a season that spans around 10 episodes.  Serial doesn't have the episode library of some other shows on this list but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.  Sarah Koenig's investigations can be gut-wrenching, shocking and moving but are across the board, fascinating.

Top episodes

  • Season 1
  • Season 2

The Tim Ferriss Show

Host: Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is a bit of renaissance man.  As a well know author, public speaker, entrepreneur and angel investor, he's been an advisor to some of the biggest companies in the world including Facebook, Uber and Evernote.  With that kind of CV, you can bet he's got some interesting thoughts on the world.  And when he's in the room with any number of guests who are just as switched on as him, the result is some of the most insightful conversations you can find in the podcast world.  Succeeding in business, leadership, communication, planning and achieving goals  are high on the agenda in this one.

Top episodes

  • #23 Sir Richard Branson
  • #88 Stanley McChrystal
  • #264 Ray Dalio
  • #133 Edward Norton
  • #140 Shaun White

Fatman on Batman

Hosts: Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin

Need a geek fix?  Look no further than the pop culture messiah himself, writer, director and all round funnyman Kevin Smith.  As you might have guessed from the name, Fatman on Batman originally focused on the world of comics but has now evolved to become a flagship show on Smith's Smodcast network.  It's taped infront of a live audience at the Star Wars Scum and Villainy Cantina in LA.  Smith and former LA Times entertainment editor Marc Bernardin dissect all the goings on in the pop culture world including the biggest movies, TV shows, comics and comedy with some audience Q&A thrown in. There's also a ton of one on one interviews with some huge names from the geek world.  Fatman on Batman is less a podcast, more a variety show hosted by two uber geeks who live and breathe the entertainment world.

Top episodes

  • #13 Adam West
  • #67 Joe Queseda
  • #107 Brandon Routh
  • #2 Mark Hamill
  • #90 Josh Trank Part 3

Song Exploder

Host: Hrishikesh Hirway

A special one for music fans.  Kick back with host Hrishikesh Hirway as he and some of the biggest musicians, bands and composers in the world talk about the making of some of their most important songs.  Song Exploder episodes are usually less than 30 minutes long which makes them perfect for stacking up and burning through on a flight.  The commentary might take you by surprise on what actually goes into making a great song and hearing what inspires the creative process directly from the artist.

Top episodes

  • #42 U2
  • #60 Bjork
  • #102 Gorillaz
  • #101 Norah Jones
  • #26 Ghostface Killah

The Joe Rogan Experience

Host: Joe Rogan

Stand up comedian and UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan has carved out one of the biggest podcast audiences in the world with his unique take on everything including politics, sports, world events, nature, comedy, health and fitness.  Joe's got a revolving door of regular guests but regularly talks to some of the most interesting names in the zeitgeist.  If their name is in the news, chances are they've sat with Joe to shoot the breeze about what's going on the world.  The podcast is regularly ranked in the global top 10 for most downloaded and with more than 1,000 episodes, there's bound to be more than a few guests that'll tickle your fancy.

Top episodes

  • #725 Graham Hancock and Randall Carson
  • #887 James Hetfield
  • #568 Dr Rhonda Patrick
  • #835 Louis Theroux
  • #727 Bill Burr