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Reddit‘s Best Podcasts: An In-Depth Look at Amazing Recommendations from Ask Reddit Threads


As a computer expert passionate about digital technology, I‘ve watched the world of podcasting explode in recent years. Advances in technology, from smartphones and smart speakers to apps and software tools, have made it easier than ever to produce, distribute, and consume podcasts on any topic imaginable.

Consider these statistics:

  • There are over 2 million podcasts available, a number that has grown by over 200% in the last two years alone. (Source: Podcast Insights)
  • 55% of the US population has listened to a podcast, with 37% listening in the last month. (Source: Edison Research)
  • Podcast ad revenue surpassed $1 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach over $2 billion by 2023. (Source: IAB)

Clearly, podcasting has gone mainstream and become a major media force. But with millions of shows to choose from, how can listeners find the best content that aligns with their interests? One great method is turning to Reddit, the popular online discussion platform with communities (subreddits) dedicated to every niche.

In particular, the Ask Reddit subreddit is a fantastic place to discover podcast recommendations. With over 37 million members, Ask Reddit surfaces the collective wisdom of the masses. Threads asking about podcast favorites frequently go viral, garnering thousands of comments full of insightful suggestions.

In this post, I‘ll do a deep dive into some of Ask Reddit‘s most popular podcast recommendation threads. I‘ll highlight the top suggestions, provide context on what makes these shows great, and look for patterns to uncover the "secret sauce" that the best podcasts share.

Whether you‘re a podcast fanatic or total newbie, my goal is for you to come away with a curated list of amazing, must-listen shows that have the Reddit stamp of approval. I‘ll also share some tips and resources for discovering great podcasts beyond Reddit. Let‘s get started!


To surface Reddit‘s best podcast recommendations, I focused on the Ask Reddit subreddit (r/AskReddit). This default sub has over 37 million members and is one of the most active on the entire platform. I searched for threads related to podcast recommendations and sorted by top posts of all time.

Some of the most popular threads I analyzed included:

I also reviewed the top posts of all time on the r/podcasts subreddit (2.2 million members) for additional suggestions and insights.

For each thread, I noted which podcasts were mentioned most frequently and compiled them into a spreadsheet. I then listened to sample episodes of the top 20 recommendations to understand their format and content. Finally, I categorized the podcasts by genre to identify trends.

Here is the final list of Reddit‘s most recommended podcasts based on my analysis:

Podcast Upvotes Genre
This American Life 24.8k Storytelling
Serial 22.1k True Crime
Hardcore History 19.3k History
Reply All 16.7k Technology
RadioLab 14.4k Science
99% Invisible 11.8k Design
My Brother, My Brother, and Me 10.2k Comedy
Last Podcast on the Left 9.6k True Crime/Comedy
Stuff You Should Know 8.8k Educational
Welcome to Night Vale 7.5k Fiction/Comedy
Conan O‘Brien Needs a Friend 6.9k Comedy/Interview
You‘re Wrong About 6.1k History/Culture
The Adventure Zone 5.4k Fiction/RPG
The Daily 4.7k News
Armchair Expert 4.2k Interview
Tiny Meat Gang 3.9k Comedy
Ologies 3.3k Science
Lore 2.8k Folklore/Horror
The Moth 2.5k Storytelling
Darknet Diaries 2.2k Technology/Crime

Let‘s break down the key themes and takeaways from this data.



Looking at the top 20 list, some clear genre trends emerge:

  • Comedy is the most popular genre, with 5 podcasts on the list (25%). Reddit users love podcasts that make them laugh.
  • True crime is another hugely popular genre, taking 3 of the top 20 spots (15%). Redditors are fascinated by stories of real-life crimes and investigations.
  • Educational/informative podcasts are also very well-liked, with a mix of science, history, news, and general knowledge shows making up 30% of the list (6 podcasts).
  • Storytelling and fiction round out the list, showing Reddit‘s appreciation for podcasts with strong narratives and production value.

Episode Format

The top recommended podcasts also tend to favor certain episode formats:

  • Interview shows (25%) – Podcasts where a host has long-form conversations with guests, often celebrities, experts, or interesting people with stories to tell.
  • Narrative nonfiction (25%) – Podcasts that tell true stories over the course of one or more episodes, diving deep into a particular topic or event.
  • Investigative journalism (20%) – Podcasts that do original reporting to uncover new information or shed light on a story.
  • Conversational (15%) – Shows with multiple hosts having organic discussions, often injected with humor.

This points to Reddit users valuing podcasts that are well-researched, story-driven, and have a strong point of view or perspective. They want to learn something new but also be entertained.


The level of engagement (upvotes and comments) on podcast recommendation threads is incredibly high compared to the average Ask Reddit post. The median number of upvotes for an Ask Reddit post is around 100, while all the podcast threads I analyzed had 30k+ upvotes.

This demonstrates just how passionate Reddit users are about podcasts and eager they are to share their favorites. The comment sections on these posts are full of thoughtful endorsements that go into detail about what makes each podcast great.

Clearly, Reddit has become a go-to place for crowdsourcing podcast recommendations, functioning almost like a "people‘s choice awards" for the medium. The cream rises to the top through the upvote system.


From an innovation perspective, many of Reddit‘s favorite podcasts are early adopters of new technology:

  • "Welcome to Night Vale" was an early example of a fiction podcast that used a mock radio show format, paving the way for other successful audio dramas.
  • "Serial" was one of the first podcasts to "go viral" and prove the storytelling power of the investigative true crime format. It experimented with releasing episodes week-to-week, almost like an audio version of appointment television.
  • "Reply All" frequently covers internet culture and the way technology is shaping society. It did a pioneering episode told entirely through Google Docs.

As these examples show, top podcasts are often the ones pushing the boundaries of what the medium can do. With each passing year, advances in recording technology, editing software, and distribution platforms allow for even more innovation and creativity.

Looking ahead, I believe some of the major trends in podcasting will be:

  • Exclusive content & licensing deals, especially as platforms like Spotify invest heavily in podcasting
  • More Hollywood talent getting involved, both in front of and behind the microphone
  • Increased focus on niche interests and serving specific communities
  • Interactive & multimedia elements like chatbots, live video, and AR/VR integrations
  • Shorter form content as listener attention spans shrink

One thing is for sure: the golden age of podcasting is just getting started. I expect the diversity and quality of shows to keep growing exponentially.


Analyzing popular podcast threads on Reddit has given me an enlightening look at not only what shows are beloved, but why. The Reddit community has great taste and is adept at identifying the common elements that make for an amazing podcast.

If you‘re looking for a new podcast but feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of options, Reddit is a great place to turn for suggestions. The upvote system has a way of finding the signal in the noise and bubbling up the shows that are truly worth your time.

Of course, Reddit isn‘t the only way to discover great podcasts. I also recommend:

  • Asking friends, family, and coworkers for personal recommendations
  • Checking out curated "best of" lists from reputable publications like The Atlantic and Time
  • Using podcast discovery apps like Podchaser and Listen Notes to find shows similar to your favorites
  • Browsing the top charts & featured sections on your preferred listening app
  • Following podcasters and podcast networks you like on social media for updates on new shows

The beauty of podcasting is that there really is something for everyone. Whether you want to learn, laugh, or lean in to a captivating story, the perfect podcast is out there waiting for you.

So take Reddit‘s recommendations as a jumping off point, but don‘t be afraid to explore and experiment. You never know what new audio obsession you might stumble upon.

One final suggestion: once you find a podcast you love, be sure to engage with it. Leave a rating and review, share it on social media, and tell your friends. Podcasting is a medium that thrives on word of mouth and creators deeply appreciate the support.

Happy listening!