7 IMAGE staffers on their current and all-time favourite podcasts
From true crime shows to news catch ups and music-centric interviews, these are the podcasts we’ve been loving that should definitely be added to your rotation.
Whether you already consider yourself something of a podcast connoisseur, or still haven’t managed to get into concentrating on conversation without a visual element, I asked around IMAGE HQ to get some of the team’s current and all-time favourites.
Megan Burns, Deputy Editor, IMAGE, IMAGE Interiors
My favourite podcast by far is certainly not a niche recommendation, but it’s easily the thing I enjoy listening to most. If you’ve never listened to This American Life, it’s hard to sum up, but most episodes tell three or four stories, based around a theme. They can be funny, sad, political, strange, or anything in between. Sometimes they are first person stories, or someone reporting on an event, or they can be short stories or extracts from a stand-up set. The crux of it though is that the stories themselves are always incredible, the kind I find myself trying to re-tell to people, but inevitably fail to capture the magic of them being told on the show. It’s best to just listen for yourself.
One of the best parts is that because it has been running for so long (it’s actually a radio show, and it started in 1995), there are over 600 episodes to go back and listen to. If you want one to start with, one of my favourite episodes recently re-aired here. Or, the show itself has recommended a list of episodes to begin with here.
Sarah Finnan, Deputy Digital Editor, IMAGE.ie
I’m not big on podcasts but my absolute favourite listen is Desert Island Discs – there’s a reason it’s been going strong for over 80 years. Each week, a new guest (or sometimes a returning guest – David Attenborough has been on four times) is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would bring with them if they were to be cast away to a desert island. It’s hard to explain, but for me, this podcast is the audio equivalent of soaking in a warm bath or getting a hug from your mam when you’ve had a tough day. Hearing guests talk about their lives and loves through music is really moving and I always feel like I’ve learned something by the end of an episode (I’ve also gotten some pretty great new music recommendations). There are literally thousands of episodes to choose from (more than 3,000 episodes have been recorded since the podcast first began in the 1940s), but some of my favourite guests so far include Daniel Radcliffe, Lily Allen, Tom Hanks and Christy Moore. If you want your faith in humanity restored, then this is the podcast for you.
Holly O’Neill, Digital Editor & Beauty Editor
I look forward all week to The Group Chat: my Thursday catch-up on the week in news with my besties Gavan Reilly, Zara King and host at this year’s IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards, Richard Chambers. Particularly if there’s a big news story happening that I need explained to me – in fact, a year into the podcast, if something big is going down in the news I’ll think ‘I can’t wait to hear what Gavan, Zara and Richard have to say about this’. All three are news correspondents who will have covered the biggest stories of the week on Virgin Media News and have been right in the centre of every story from the Taoiseach’s St Patrick’s Day visits at The White House to the Oscars, so this podcast feels, as the name suggests, like you’re in their group chat, listening in behind the curtain on how exactly the news went down that week. They have a real trick for making even the most difficult news story seem interesting and easy to understand, with fantastic guests and voice notes from listeners who have been affected by the issues of the week and there’s a healthy mix of high and low too – they’re just as likely to give behind-the-scenes insight and analysis on the Wagatha Christie trial as the housing crisis. If they’re talking about it, I want to know about it – I come away from each episode feeling like I fully understand everything that’s going on in the news and never miss a single one – it’s like catching up with your smartest, most informed pals.
Lauren Heskin, Editor, IMAGE Magazine
So mine isn’t out yet but it’s coming out in May. The Atlantic is launching their own weekly podcast, Radio Atlantic and it’s going to be hosted by Hanna Rosin, who is one of my favourite podcasters and hasn’t been front of the mic for sometime. She hosted Slate’s The Waves for a long time with Noreen Malone (another favourite who is currently hosting Slow Burn’s fifth season, which is doing a deep dive on Roe v Wade, also worth a listen!). Rosin also co-founded Invisibilia before she became editorial director of The New York Times audio section.
Radio Atlantic is pitched as a show that will have “the same ambition as the magazine, which is to surface the most exciting and relevant ideas of the moment, whether through timely conversations or audio-rich reported stories”, but I’m mostly excited to rejoin Rosin’s company in whatever form it takes.
Sarah Gill, Staff Writer, IMAGE.ie
When asked for podcast recommendations, I will never not go on a passionate rant about just how much I love Caroline O’Donoghue’s Sentimental Garbage podcast. The premise is all about platforming an unyielding and far reaching discussion into the culture that women have been told to feel ashamed of by society. This can range from literary texts and film favourites to noughties fashion, girlbossing, and reality television. On paper, it sounds fun and frivolous, and it absolutely is at times, but in conversation with her myriad of guests, Caroline always manages to touch on the poignancy of art, the psychology of our affinity with these seemingly silly things, and unpicks why it is that our pleasures became guilty just by virtue of the fact that they’re primarily enjoyed by women.
Hannah Stapleton, IMAGE Marketing Intern
As a self proclaimed podcast connoisseur, I feel the need to share every podcast-related opinion I have. My love for podcasts began with the Michelle Obama pod, quickly followed by Barack Obama and Bruce Springstein’s pod – very mature, I know! I did also go through a US Election podcast phase in 2020… and who didn’t have a Two Johnnies ‘The GAA Catfish’ phase? I did, and it was all I could focus on for weeks. My all time favourite would have to be My Therapist Ghosted Me. From constant listening over the last year, I feel as though I could be the third member of Joanne and Vogue’s iconic friendship! It provides me with the laughs and light-hearted fun I need in my life!
Shayna Sappington, Senior Branded Content Writer, IMAGE.ie
Instead of turning to podcasts for inspiration and life advice, I’m one of those weirdos who prefers to delve into the grim world of true crime. It’s my daily brain teaser and I enjoy trying to puzzle out who the murderer is. My two go-two podcasts are Crime Junkie – hosted by crime author Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, who used to work for a P.I.; it’s so approachable and literally feels like you’re talking about true crime with your best friends – and Anatomy of Murder – which offers a more methodical approach with hosts Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, a career homicide prosecutor, and Scott Weinberger, a former police officer and an Emmy award-winning Investigative journalist. I often switch back and forth and find myself sucked into each episode every time.
Featured image via @joannemcnallycomedy on Instagram