Incredible Storytelling Podcasts

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I love an audiobook. I love a podcast series. But every once in a while I just need a single episode, one incredible story that holds my attention and entertains or informs me about something.

I have a few of these single-episode story podcasts but I also asked the audience on Instagram for their recommendations on “epic storytelling podcasts”. There were hundreds and hundreds of submissions, but after selecting a handful of the ones I saw that were recommended a few times, and listening to them myself, here is a list of incredible storytelling podcasts.

This American Life 634: Human Error in Volatile Situations — This is a personal submission to this list because it’s one of the episodes I cannot stop thinking about. I listened to it for the first time a few years ago, over a holiday vacation at my parent’s house in Wisconsin. I couldn’t do anything else until I completed the episode. I was fully invested in both stories and found myself with wide eyes and heart palpitations when listening to them. 

Armchair Expert: Anonymous Prank Gone Wrong — Justin used to listen to this podcast a long time ago, and I tried it for a bit but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. This episode, however, was an easy and fun listen. I’m not much of a prankster but some of these pranks that were shared by listeners to this podcast that called in to tell their stories were shocking! The chaos! The fallout! I gasped many times during the story that happened in Utah. 

Heavyweight #18: Sven, Jury Duty — this was emotional and portrayed the long-term effects of what serving on a jury during a murder trial (specifically one with capital punishment as a potential outcome) can do to you. It’s a heavy listen, but very thought-provoking. I’ve never served on a jury but this certainly opened my eyes to a new perspective.

Reply All #158 The case of the missing hit — I have listened to this one before, but I listened again when it was submitted to the list I’m compiling. It is truly a journey that explores one guy’s memory of a song that he cannot find any evidence of on the internet. Stick with the entire episode, trust me.

This American Life 613: Okay I’ll do it – the prologue alone of this episode was SHOCKING. I mean, truly hard to believe. This is a heavier podcast, the stories are heartbreaking and dangerous. It was still a very interesting listen, but certainly not an easy and fun podcast.


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Maya Armijo says · 11.02.23

Ok, ok…this is such a brilliant idea for a new series. I am a podcast fanatic and tend to listen to the same ones.

You turned me on to This American Life and now I have so many more to try!

Love this, do more!

Dawn says · 11.02.23

I love finding a good podcast, or particular episode of one. Armchair Expert is also not my cup of tea but I’ll listen to this one after your rec.

Anne says · 11.05.23

Great recommendations! I have already listened to a few!

Lisa says · 11.05.23

I love this idea! You are the reason I listen to This American Life! Here’s Where it Gets Interesting is also a great podcast! Too many good episodes to list

Krista says · 11.05.23

I’m so excited to listen to these! Thank you!

Annie says · 11.12.23

My son & I listened to “the case of the missing hit” and it was so good & nice that we could listen to it together (he’s 11!) but we were engaged the entire time. Thanks for sharing!

Camille says · 11.20.23

I shared Reply All’s 2 part episode “long distance” with my 13 yr old son and he LOVED IT. You had originally talked about this podcast and i ended up listening to all of them, love it! I will check these out also. Thanks!!

Katy says · 11.22.23

What was the migraine podcast you listened to? Need help!!

Kate says · 11.24.23

I didn’t listen to it, my husband did. It’s an episode on Headaches by Huberman

Bryana says · 01.22.24

Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, episode “The Sinking of the S-5” is a MUST LISTEN. Ladies: your husbands will be enthralled, but so will you .. and the kids. It’s appropriate for any age, but it is a bit intense.