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5 must-listen podcasts to fill your Serial void

“Have you been listening to Serial?” The chances are that you’ve asked or been asked that question recently, as the hit podcast broke iTunes records and sent Redditors into an investigative frenzy. While the show’s runaway success got everybody talking, though, podcasts have been quietly having a moment for a while.

As the noise around high quality podcasts gradually gets louder, the difficulty now isn’t finding them, but fitting them all into your week. Having successfully funded its second season, Serial mania is likely to continue into 2015. But while you wait for the next story to start, what should you be listening to in the meantime? Give these 5 new shows a try.

1) Invisibilia

must-listen-podcast-serial-void-1Invisibilia is latin for “all the invisible things,” and that’s broadly what this podcast is about. Over weekly one-hour episodes co-hosted by NPR’s Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, the show explores hidden forces in our daily lives and discusses how they make an impact – from basic human emotions to behaviours and ideas. In one episode, for instance, we meet a woman who is physically unable to feel fear, and find just how dangerous that can be – she’s been held at either knife or gun point four times. At it’s heart Invisibilia is a show about science and psychology, but it’s told as human stories that intrigue, fascinate and inspire.

Listen to Invisibilia

2) Reply All

must-listen-podcast-serial-void-2Gimlet Media’s Reply All describes itself in simple terms as “a show about the internet.” Co-hosts Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt delve into the past and present internet phenomena, unearthing curious stories and helping to unravel the World Wide Web. There have been 12 episodes so far, with subjects ranging from the inventor of email to the guy put in charge of keeping Paper Mag afloat as Kim Kardashian ‘broke the internet’. If you love the internet as much as we do, you’ll probably love Reply All.

Listen to Reply All

3) StartUp

must-listen-podcast-serial-void-2This was the first podcast from Gimlet Media, which – rather ambitiously – tells the story of the network’s creation in real-time. What could easily be a self-indulgent subject becomes an engaging story in the hands of Gimlet CEO Alex Blumberg, a former producer for This American Life and co-founder of Planet Money. The show follows the triumphs and pitfalls of Blumberg’s StartUp – from disastrous pitches to what happens when you outgrow your business plan. On the basis of StartUp and Reply all – we have a feeling this story will go from strength to strength.

Listen to StartUp

4) Love & Radio

must-listen-podcast-serial-void-2For something completely different, look no further than Love + Radio. This superbly-produced podcast is all about it’s interview subjects, which tend to be fascinating characters from the fringes of society. While not exactly new (it’s been around infrequently since 2005), the show was picked up by Radiotopia last year and has since begun more regular production. A warning: Love + Radio doesn’t shy away from difficult issues and can often be profane, but it results in some of the most complicated yet moving stories you’re likely to hear.

Listen to Love + Radio

5) Criminal


If you’re still struggling to scratch your Serial itch, then the next best thing in crime podcasting is probably Criminal. Instead of following one story week-by-week, each episode tackles a different subject – from complex murder cases to a counterfeit money case worth $72 million. The lack of serialization means it’s not something you’ll necessarily have to listen to every week, but once you start you may find yourself doing exactly that.

Listen to Criminal

Photo: Arina P. Habich /

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