As of 2020, there were more than 15 million podcast listeners in the UK. People enjoy podcasts on their commute, while out and about walking, or simply as a way to relax. With audiences growing steadily and podcast popularity increasing, forecasts predict almost 20 million listeners by 2024.
Do you remember the first podcast you listened to?
If you travel to work using a sustainable commuting system like Zeelo, it’s easy to sit back and relax with a podcast. Connect to the onboard wifi, tune in, and get listening.
Just finished a series and need help deciding what to listen to next? We’ve put together a handy listicle with our top picks. From crime to food, sport to music, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye – and ears.
Podcasts are fantastic, right? Episodic series of spoken word, you can listen to them via smartphone, tablet or computer. Tune in from the comfort of your home, on the go, or getting to and from work. All you need is an internet connection.
Streaming apps and services provide a convenient and easy way to access podcasts. The added bonus? Podcasts are free to download and listen to.
The word podcast is a portmanteau: a combo of iPod and broadcast. And the term podcasting was first suggested back in 2004 by Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley. As of April 2021, there were over 2,000,000 podcasts on Apple Podcasts, and in excess of 48 million episodes.
Podcasts for commuting
Listeners are spoilt for choice, so we’ve narrowed things down to our top 7 podcasts. Read on for the lowdown.
Often the crime lover’s first foray into the world of podcasts, Serial is from the creators of This American Life. Series 1 was released in 2014, with two more following after that. Telling a true story each season and hosted by American journalist Sarah Koenig, the podcast has won every major accolade for broadcasting.
The duPont-Columbia, Edward R. Murrow, Scripps Howard, and the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast – you name it, Serial’s been bestowed with it.
Season 1 takes listeners back in time to Baltimore, 1999, when popular high-school senior Hae Min Lee disappeared after school one day. A month later, her body was found, and Hae’s 17-year-old ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was arrested. But did Adnan commit the crime?
2. Great Green Questions
This green podcast is hosted by Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy – a 100% renewable energy supplier striving to power a greener, cleaner future. Great Green Questions delves into some of the most serious sustainability issues facing the planet. But it approaches them in a lighthearted and witty way, so you feel informed yet entertained each time you tune in.
Is it possible to be an environmentalist and still love cars? Are we throwing away our future with the food we eat? Is turning vegan the only way to save the planet? These are just some of the questions Juliet explores.
Joined by a range of guests including comedians and environmental experts, each episode involves a lively discussion related to living the green life.
3. The Adam Buxton Podcast
This is worth listening to for the opening jingle alone, but don’t stop there. Every week, the British comedian “ramble chats” with a different guest. Over the last five years, Adam has interviewed comedians, actors, writers and musicians. Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, Romesh Ranganathan, Billy Connoly, Philip Pullman, Ruby Wax – the list goes on and on.
Sometimes funny, other times more serious, Adam records the intros and outros for most episodes while walking his dog Rosie. With more than 150 under his belt, there’s a sizable back catalogue to work your way through. We recommend the chats Adam has with Louis Theroux, where topics range from hotel buffets to the Tiger King.
4. That Peter Crouch Podcast
This entertainment and sports podcast has a trio of hosts: former footballer Peter Crouch, British radio personality Chris Stark, and BBC Sport Interactive Journalist Tom Fordyce. A guide on how to be a professional footballer, the trio talk about everything from details of the game, dressing rooms and transfers, to managers and confessions.
Attracting 12 million listens in 2019, the popular podcast covers questions like “How do players pass the time on transfer deadline day?” and “What are some of Peter Crouch’s fashion faux pas?” Plus much more, from abusive fans to club rivalries.
The witty podcast is full of personality, bringing people together, regardless of the club they support.
5. Wardrobe Crisis
Hosted by Sydney-based journalist, filmmaker, author and presenter Clare Press, Wardrobe Crisis digs into sustainable fashion. Clare was the first-ever Vogue Sustainability Editor, and also the first Global Ambassador for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative.
Based on Clare’s book by the same name, each episode is educational and inspiring. With close to a million downloads, the podcast attracts a global audience, from industry leaders, students and influencers to everyday people – basically, anyone interested in creating a more just, equitable world.
Previous guests include activists Tarana Burke and Rosario Dawson, and supermodels Lily Cole and Amber Valletta. The issues conversed about range from the future of fashion and sustainable brands to the fair treatment of garment workers.
6. Off Menu
Presented by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster, each Off Menu episode sees a celebrity invited to the “Dream Restaurant”, where James transforms into a genie waiter. The guest chooses their favourite starter, main, side, dessert and drink, talking James and Ed through the reasons behind each item.
There’s been an eclectic range of people on the show, from Sue Perkins, Gok Wan and Teri Hatcher, to Tom Kerridge, Greg Davies and Jess Phillips. Food choices range tremendously, from specific restaurant dishes to homemade plates.
Ed and James bring tons of humour to the lighthearted podcast, and get you thinking about what your dream meal would be. It’s a tricky one, right? For extra laughs, check out the No Context Off Menu Twitter account.
7. Grounded with Louis Theroux
Who doesn’t love Louis Theroux? Okay, so you can’t see Louis’s poker face when you listen to his podcast, but there are still plenty of his classic interview techniques to enjoy. A new addition to the podcast world, Grounded was a lockdown project by the self-described ‘socially awkward nerd’.
Using the opportunity to talk to a range of high-profile individuals he’s been longing to connect with, there are conversations about Scientology, rap battles and surviving Vietnam. Guests include Michaela Cole, Boy George, Sia, Rose McGowan, Oliver Stone and Leah Remini. Expect story swapping, awkward moments, and oversharing.
The last episode is a family affair – a catch-up with actor, producer, director, screenwriter and cousin Justin Theroux.
The next time you commute to work, be it on foot or via a sustainable bus service, how will you pass the time? Some may snooze, others may read. We recommend listening to a podcast. There are millions to choose from, covering all manner of topics, from crime, comedy and sustainability to food and sports.
Which podcast will you listen to next?