Podcasts are slowly taking over. Talk radio, while still broadcasting live and over terrestrial airwaves, has finally begun to embrace it. Only a few short years ago paid subscriptions were required to listen to your favorite news/talk shows on demand and podcasts seemed the poorly produced bastard brother. Now, after years of pioneers like Adam Carolla perfecting the podcast model into a viable business, everyone is uploading their shows onto the easily accessed and free format. Really, everyone.
As the ease with which getting podcast content out to the public has gotten easier, it’s also made finding ones truly worth listening to more difficult to find, and a well-versed list of great ones that much more valuable. While others may pack their lists with podcasts that lean to the left (sometimes hard) and make you promises that their podcast suggestions will make you smarter, this list makes no such claim. While you wouldn’t know it to look at the Featured or Top Charts sections in iTunes Podcasts, conservatives and libertarians are also publishing excellent content in this burgeoning medium, allowing their message an opportunity to reach people it may not have otherwise.
While we can’t promise these podcasts will make you smarter, we can promise that they will make you think.
Here are some favorites for the next time you need something to listen to:
Ace of Spades HQ Podcast
Covering everything going on in the news and social media from Thursday to Thursday (the podcast drops on Fridays) co-bloggers Ace, Gabriel Malor, John Ekdahl, and Drew McCoy, along with a variety of special guests, discuss the major (and not so major) topics of the week.
And while you may come for the wit and depth of knowledge, you’ll stay for the Bradley Cooper Update.
Listen here: AoSHQ Podcast
Hosted by economist Russ Roberts, EconTalk brings economics to its listeners through interesting and accessible conversations with authors and experts on topics ranging from business and finance, politics, education, healthcare, and the “curiosities of everyday decision making.”
Listen here: EconTalk
In this podcast, radio host Dennis Prager, and a plethora of notable guests, take on humanity’s moral and ethical questions. Each podcast is less than ten minutes and delivered in a clear and concise way. Being so easily digestible, you can get through many of them in one go.
Listen here: PragerU Podcast
The Adam Carolla Show / Take A Knee
Any podcast list would be incomplete without mentioning Adam Carolla. This daily podcast brings news, culture, politics and entertainment mixed with a heavy dose of comedy, all in an hour and a half long format. Carolla talks often about how to do the practical things to get ahead and have a good life.
Take A Knee is a paid subscription podcast ($3.99/mo.) available only through the Carolla Digital app. Carolla’s stated goal for this podcast is to have long form, sit down conversations with successful people and find out how they accomplished what they have and to be motivational for the listener.
Listen here: The Adam Carolla Show
Co-hosted by Jay Caruso, Neal Dewing, Amy Otto and some douchebag from Chicago, along with a weekly special guest, Splintered Caucus covers everything from society and politics to sports and entertainment. As the name suggests, the co-hosts range the spectrum of conservative politics. As such, it frequently exposes the fissures that are seen in the wider sphere of the Republican party, and the arguments that come from those inhabiting the same side of the aisle. For a deeper understanding of what makes the right tick, give it a listen.
Listen here: Splintered Caucus
Coffee & Markets
Hosted by Brad Jackson, and often joined by veritable fount of knowledge Francis Cianfrocca, Coffee and Markets is a weekday podcast that covers economics and politics. Often going deeper into those topics that most only have a surface knowledge of in a half hour or less, it’s well worth your time.
Listen here: Coffee & Markets
This podcast is the audio version of video interviews done by Peter Robinson of The Hoover Institute. Uncommon Knowledge is a typically one-on-one interview-style podcast with experts from various different fields. Guests have included: Thomas Sowell, David Kelley, P.J. O’Rourke, and Senator Tom Cotton.
The Hoover Institute also produces several other podcasts and video discussions that are available through the link.
Listen here: Uncommon Knowledge
Stuff You Missed In History Class
Stuff you missed in history class is a lively, conversational podcast hosted by Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson. Covering historical topics from the Eggnog Riot to Jane Austen to serial killer Mary Ann Cotton, SYMIHC tells about all the interesting but often overlooked minutiae in our world’s past.
Listen here: Stuff You Missed In History Class
The Federalist Radio Hour
If you love The Federalist website, or even if you don’t, then you should take an hour to listen to this radio podcast. Hosted primarily by Ben Domenech and a guest, the show brings insights on news, politics and culture that have made the website so popular among conservatives and libertarians.
Listen here: The Federalist Radio Hour
As the host, Phoebe Judge, says at the beginning of each episode, “Criminal is a podcast about crime.” It’s goal is to go deeper in to crimes that aren’t so cut and dry. You’ll hear interesting, odd and sometimes macabre stories that, while criminal, are told from different perspectives, be it from the victim, perpetrator or innocent bystander.
Listen here: Criminal
The Buck Sexton Show
With a knowledge base stemming from his time as an analyst for the C.I.A. and for the N.Y.P.D. counter-terrorism division, Buck Sexton covers the news with a heavier focus toward foreign policy and the post-9/11 world. Young and energetic, he is able to make topics that would disinterest many into engaging topics. Although available live through TheBlaze radio on weekdays, often listening via podcast is less time consuming when dealing with a 2-hour show.
Listen here: The Buck Sexton Show
Another entry for Adam Carolla, this time along with defense attorney Mark Geragos. The two discuss societal questions through a legal lens. While many of the topics can be serious, it’s always interesting and informative of how our American legal system works in reality, while at the same time infusing Carolla’s comedic style with segments like ‘Pick Your Plaintiff.’
Listen here: Reasonable Doubt
Cato Daily Podcast
Hosted by Caleb Brown, experts from the libertarian Cato Institute discuss government and politics in ten to thirty minute segments. Topics range from discussions on America’s founding documents to “What LeBron James Can Teach You About Economics.” No, really!
Listen here: Cato Daily Podcast
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson and Charles C.W. Cooke have joined together to bring us this enlightening conversational podcast. Typically covering topics along the lines of what the two writers have been working on, this podcast allows both to delve deeper into their reasoning, thoughts and opinions on their writings.
Listen here: Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Honorable Mention: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Friends
The host of BATF, Leon Wolf, has been known to clarify that the show is not technically a podcast, but a “web show.” So, of course, it couldn’t possibly be allowed to take up space on a list of podcasts. However, I’d be remiss not to mention it as a great source of news and entertainment each week.
Leon is joined by regular panelists: Bill McMorris from the Washington Free Beacon, Scott Lincicome from the Cato Institute, Neal Dewing of The Federalist and some douchebag from Chicago.
Watch here: BATF