Podcasts offer great commentary on the world around us, from world news to what it’s like being a human being. One genre podcasting excels at is the interview format.
Since podcast episodes range from 20 minutes to over an hour, there’s plenty of time for the podcast host and their guest to get into the nitty-gritty. Often, there are conversations that just wouldn’t happen in a shorter interview format, and there’s deeper insight into the topics they’re discussing.
Here are our picks for the best interview podcasts to listen to for meaningful conversations about a range of topics.
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Armchair Expert says it celebrates the messiness of being human. Every episode, comedian Dax Shepard sits down with a guest to discuss a range of topics, focusing on how the guest went through struggles and shortcomings in their life and career, ultimately leading to a sense of betterment.
Guests often include celebrities like actress Octavia Spencer, Sarah Silverman, and more, but also guests from other areas, like chef David Chang.
One of the oldest podcasts on this list, comedian Marc Maron started recording his podcast from his garage and continues to do so to this day. Each of his episodes is a long-form interview with a wide range of guests, most famously President Barack Obama. Other guests include Kevin Smith, Pete Davidson, Peter Dinklage, and Lorne Michaels, among others.
Award-winning podcaster Guy Raz brings you How I Built This, featuring interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs. Each episode details how they made their business, rose to fame, and the challenges and bumps they faced along the way. It’s a relevant podcast even if you’re not much of an entrepreneur – you can learn the skills necessary to be a self-starter and find motivation in their inspiring stories.
This podcast is part interview, part exploration of music production. For anyone who’s listened to a hit song and wondered, “how did the artist make this?”, Song Exploder has the answers.
Each episode is a deep dive into one song from an artist, and a behind-the-scenes look at music production, from the lyrics to audio layers featured in the track. If you’ve got a music producer’s ear, this podcast is a must-listen. Hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway, guests include Fleetwood Mac, Billie Eilish, Lorde, Solange, U2, Metallica, and more.
If you love comedy podcasts, Anna Faris is Unqualified is the show to listen to. Offering both interviews and advice, comedian and actress Anna Faris brings a curious attitude to each episode, talking to her friends and colleagues from the entertainment industry. Guests include Ed Helms, Matthew McConaughey, John Stamos, and more.
NPR’s Fresh Air podcast, hosted by Terry Gross, remains one of America’s most popular public radio programs. Its podcast format is the same as the radio show, with episodes published daily. This Peabody Award-winning show features interviews with the biggest names in multiple industries, from politics to science to sports.
For fun banter, industry insight, and personal conversations, Smartless puts it all on the table. Comedians and friends Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett take turns bringing on a guest every episode without telling the other two who the guest will be. Hilarity ensues, and the surprise makes for some fun conversations.
Radio Diaries might be the most interesting interview podcast on this list, as it takes a deep dive into somebody’s life, and it may be a person you’ve never heard of before. Instead of interviewing big names in the industry or people with extensive social profiles, Radio Diaries tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Producers arm their subjects with a tape recorder and get them to report on their own histories, making for intimate storytelling and memorable journalism.
Podcast host Krista Tippett explores what it means to be human and discovers how each of her interview subjects lives their life with their particular morals. Guests range from all walks of life and include names like Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Jane Gooddall, and Glennon Doyle.
The Man Enough podcast is part roundtable discussion, part interview. Hosts Justin Baldoni, Liz Plank, and Jamey Heath talk to changemakers, educators, influencers, and many other guests about gender roles and what it means to be a man today. This show offers a podcast interview through the lens of gender studies and modern-day issues affecting everyone.
Gimlet co-founder and Without Fail host Alex Blumberg has candid conversations with a wide range of guests from different walks of life, all of whom have been in pursuit of success. With every venture comes two outcomes, failure and success, and each interview asks the subject what worked, what didn’t, and why.
For interesting knowledge on things you may have never heard of, The Knowledge Project is here to help. Host Shane Parrish talks to people from the world of business, science and technology, sports, philosophy, and more about their big discoveries and what we need to know.
Anyone who has dinner with their parents knows they are a handful. Singer and co-host of Table Manners, Jessie Ware, knows this all too well, as she hosts this podcast with her mother, Lennie Ware. Each week, they interview their guest about their career and the foods that are important to them – all while eating a delicious meal, of course. Guests include Baz Luhrmann, Shania Twain, Michael Buble, and more.
To listen to these interview podcasts, use a podcast app on any device, like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. They’re all free to listen to with ads, so you can sit down, get comfy, and listen to these interesting interviews.
After listening to these shows, you may be thinking about starting your own podcast. Luckily if you’re thinking about it, we’ve got plenty of resources on what equipment to use, how to get started, and what makes for good podcasting topics. It can be easy to start your own podcast with the right tools. Happy podcasting!