Emma's Podcast Favorites

Connecting with someone new can be as easy as talking about books or podcasts. If you are like me and are always looking for a new series to binge, hopefully this list will give you some ideas for listening and in turn, having good conversation material!

Below are some of my favorite podcasts that are both currently recording, and some that were a limited production.

True Crime Podcasts

I only listen to series that are not scary or dark. Some of the episodes of these series can touch on subjects that do upset me, so I read the descriptions first. But overall, the series below are on the lighter side. Small Town Murder is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever heard, but as a warning, they can be pretty R-rated with their humor.


Criminal is the first of its kind. A show about people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

Crime Show

Stories about people. And sometimes crime.


Season 1: Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island, a city where organized crime corrupted every aspect of public life. The story of Mayor Buddy Cianci Jr., the mob, and other stories.

In Season 2, Crimetown heads to the heart of the Rust Belt: Detroit, Michigan. From its heyday as Motor City to its rebirth as the Brooklyn of the Midwest, Detroit’s history reflects a series of issues that strike at the heart of American identity: race, poverty, policing, loss of industry, the war on drugs, and our universal desire for a savior.

Small Town Murder

Two comedians look at a small town, what makes it tick, and a murder that took place there. In depth research, horrible tragedy, and the hosts' comedic spin on the whole thing. (Note: Can be a little raunchy with their humor, but if you can handle that, they are very funny)

Limited Crime Series that Follow a Specific Topic

The below series are very bingeable and left me chomping at the bit, waiting for the next episode to come out each week. If you are interested in the Kennedy family at all, the RFK tapes is very interesting and highlights holes in the case for Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.

The Improvement Association

The Improvement Association is a five-part series that features host, reporter and This American Life producer Zoe Chace as she travels to Bladen County, North Carolina to investigate the power of election fraud allegations. In 2019, Bladen County, North Carolina, made national headlines, becoming one of the few cases in modern history where a congressional race was voided due to fraud. The results of the election were thrown out because of evidence the winner’s campaign had tampered with absentee ballots.


What does it feel like to pick up the phone and scam someone out of $50 million? This is the story of Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con artists of all time.

Son of a Hitman

In this multi-part limited series, host and journalist Jason Cavanagh conducts a real-time investigation into the murders, crimes, and conspiracies of hitman, Charles Harrelson, father to actor Woody Harrelson.

The RFK Tapes

An audio documentary series that takes a new look at the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. For the past fifty years, authorities have claimed that the case was open and shut. Sirhan Sirhan was captured at the scene, gun in hand. He admitted to the crime and is serving a life sentence. But some say there’s evidence of a larger conspiracy.

Storytelling Podcasts

Anyone who knows me well can tell you I love stories. These shows are able to weave interesting plots around people that make you feel like you are in the moments with them. How I Built This has given me a new appreciation for the founders behind the brands we know and love. And if you like hip hop music, Mogul is a must listen.


Maybe you’ve laid awake and imagined how it could have been, how it might yet be, but the moment to act was never right. Well, the moment is here and the podcast making it happen is Heavyweight. Join Jonathan Goldstein for road trips, thorny reunions, and difficult conversations as he backpedals his way into the past like a therapist with a time machine.

How I Built This

Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.


Mogul is a show about hip hop’s most iconic moments, told by the people who lived them. Season 1 Chris Lighty was a giant in hip-hop. He managed Foxy Brown, Fat Joe, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, 50 Cent—anyone who was anyone worked with Lighty. But in 2012 he was found dead at his home in the Bronx, a death that left the music world reeling. In Season 2, Mogul explores the birth of southern hip hop. It all started in Miami with The 2 Live Crew, a group that took rap music and made it faster, harder, and nastier than anything anyone had heard before. In Season 3, we’re telling the story of DJ Screw, a reclusive genius who changed the sound of music forever.

This American Life

Mostly we do journalism, but an entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot. In other words, stories! Our favorite sorts of stories have compelling people at the center of them, funny moments, big feelings, surprising plot twists, and interesting ideas. Like little movies for radio.

New Perspectives on Every Day Life

We don’t know everything, and the series below are great learning tools for life or trivia questions. I appreciate that most of these series try to bring a little humor into what they are talking about, making the conversation lighter.

Hidden Brain

Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

You’re Wrong About

Sarah is a journalist obsessed with the past. Every week she reconsiders a person or event that's been miscast in the public imagination.

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Oprah’s Super Soul

Awaken, discover and connect to the deeper meaning of the world around you with Oprah's Super Soul. Hear Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.

Have some favorites that aren't on the list? Leave a comment below with your

recommendations for me and others to add to our listening material.

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