Earworms: What the industry’s been listening to this week

Podcast recommendations and new launches, including shows from Acast, iHeart and Global

Welcome to Earworms - a new weekly feature all about podcast recommendations. Podcast discovery remains a perennial problem for both creators and fans, and despite many companies seeking to address this challenge, finding new podcasts still relies heavily on word of mouth. 

With that in mind, we’ve created Earworms to bring you recommendations from some of the podcast industry’s leading figures, as well as highlights of all the most interesting freshly-dropped podcasts.

This week includes recommendations across some of the most active genres in the sector, including history, true crime and news, along with new shows from the likes of Global, iHeart and Acast.

What’s in the industry’s ears?

Matt Deegan – Creative director, Folder Media

This week I've been listening to The Sound: Mystery of Havana Syndrome – it's a great documentary podcast looking into an intriguing subject. It's also got great sound design - which you'd hope, as it's all about a sound!

Emma Dibben – Head of partner engagement, Wavemaker Global

I’ve listened to the Guardian Weekend podcast a lot recently, which has the best Guardian and Observer features from the week. It gives me the chance to hear about some unexpected topics, a cultural piece. Mainly I get to hear the Marina Hyde opinion piece which is so brilliant that even if I have already read it, it’s always worth a revisit while I multitask.

Veronika Taylor – Senior vice president, Acast Creator Network

I listen to The Daily from the New York Times every single weekday. I live in New York, I'm a New York Times reader as well, but I'm a journalist by trade and by schooling. And before I worked in this space, I was a writer and a reporter, and they make you care about reporting again in a way that I find so exciting and motivating.

Dino Sofos – CEO, Persephonica

I'm a huge British Scandal fan, and I finally got around to listening to their first live recording 'The Art of the Con' about the biggest art fraud of the twentieth century, recorded last year at The Podcast Show. I wasn't sure if the format would translate to a live show, but I shouldn't have worried – Alice Levine and Matt Forde are total pros, and were completely at ease in front of an audience. All those MDWAP shows and stand up gigs have paid off! 

Karl Newman – Managing director of content practice, Publicis Media

I dipped into The Rest is History because it was Holocaust Remembrance Day last week. They did a brilliant thing on Hitler over four episodes. I followed it up with their series on a young Churchill. This makes me think that seasonally relevant content is a winner – and copying Channel 5 documentaries might be a way to go.

Freshly dropped

These are some of our picks for the most interesting new podcasts (and podcast series) launching this week, including a range of genres and styles.

Drifting Off with Joe Pera

Comedian Joe Pera has finally turned his famously soporific voice talents to podcasting, in the form of a new ad-free, Patreon-funded sleep podcast, with music by composer Ryan Dann. Produced by Grant Farsi for Pera’s production company Chestnut Walnut, the show will take the form of 15-minute episodes, released on the first Sunday of every month, starting 5 February.

This Is Not What I Asked For

Global’s latest original podcast – This Is Not What I Asked For – launched this week, featuring award-winning celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Andrew interviewing celebrity guests based on various hairstyles they’ve had throughout their lives, and the memories associated with them. The first season includes guests such as Jamie Redknapp, Romesh Ranganathan and Roman Kemp.

False Profits: Hillsong

This new true-crime podcast from Storyglass and iHeartPodcasts looks at the scandal surrounding the Hillsong megachurch, with testimonial interviews and previously unheard evidence. The series debuted 2 February.

Smoke Screen: Deadly Cure

The latest season of investigative podcast Smoke Screen, debuted this week, co-produced by Neon Hum Media, Bloomberg and Sony Music Entertainment. Deadly Cure follows the international conspiracy surrounding a so-called miracle cure which turned out to be made of poison.

Memories From The Dancefloor 

New from Acast, Memories From The Dancefloor is a podcast exploring the intersection of club culture and queer communities. The show was produced as part of the company’s Acast Amplifier incubator programme with financial support, equipment and mentorship, and launched on 1 February.