Welcome back to our weekly Earworms recommendation feature. As usual, this week’s list features a who’s-who of industry talent sharing their top picks for podcast listening, which includes a number of popular investigative and true-crime shows, as well as improv comedy and interview podcasts.
It’s also been a bumper week for new releases with a raft of new shows and returning old favourites from all across the world, including stars such as Nick Grimshaw, Kate Thornton and Eric McCormack, among others.
What’s in the industry’s ears?
Ben Firth - Creative Director, Factory Originals
I’ve really enjoyed listening to the culmination of I’m Not A Monster - The Shamima Begum Story from BBC Sounds. It was hosted by the excellent Josh Baker, who manages to successfully navigate Shamima’s story in a focused, but yet unbiased way, encouraging the listener to think about, and at times question their own views on the controversy surrounding Shamima’s role within ISIS. Using journalistic narrative, exclusive interviews and location recordings, the series was a great example of the podcasting format.
Josh Adley - Managing director, Listen Entertainment
The Prince is a brilliant deep dive into the story of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, hosted by Economist correspondent Sue-Lin. It’s such a well-rounded podcast - informative and gripping in equal measure. The risks that would have been involved in making it, only highlight the need for it to be heard by so many. Definitely one for fans of Real Dictators and beyond.
Niall Killeney Taylor - Head of production, Cue and Podcast.co
Lately, I've been a bit overwhelmed by heavy content about the AI takeover, climate and political collapse and everything in-between. So to lighten things up, I returned to the fantastic Irish comedy improv show Phoning It In. Hosted by comedian Dave Coffey, this show features Ireland's top comedians and improvisers in ever-changing roles and scenarios. It's a refreshing reminder that podcasts can be creative and daring, and not just confined to interviews and click bate clips.
Chris Stone - Executive producer, Audio & Video, New Statesman Media Group
This month I’ve returned to a long-standing favourite: How I Built This, from NPR. Guy Raz hosts, interviewing entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors about “the companies they’ve founded and the movements they’ve built”. I was drawn back in by the recent re-release of their 2022 interview with OpenAI founder Sam Altman, which sheds light on the thinking behind ChatGPT. I also loved the interview with Politico & Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei, which I’ve already shared with colleagues around the New Statesman office.
Gareth Evans - Founder, 18Sixty
Currently top of my listening list is Stolen Hearts, from Wondery & Novel. It's part true crime, part rom-com, and it's refreshing to hear a podcast having fun with genres and not conforming to what a podcast should be; it's also set in Wales and as a Welshman, that's an instant draw! Hosted by actor and comedian Kerry Godliman, her accent and a funny, well written script instantly set it apart, and it has fun with sound design and music. I used to wonder when we in the UK would find our own 'style' when it came to podcasts, if this is it then I'm pretty happy; it's unashamedly British.
I AM Story
This new podcast series by US public sector trade union AFSCME, titled I AM Story, explores the story of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike and how it altered history in the US. The podcast will feature first-hand accounts from people who experienced the strike themselves and build a narrative to transport listeners back to the streets of Memphis where people decided to take a stand against injustice. The series premiered 4 April.
Sony Music Entertainment’s new show, TAGGED, is the company’s first foray into scripted fiction. The eight-part series was created by Goldhawk Productions, and stars Jessica Plummer and Ben Hardy. The first episode was released 3 April, with new episodes weekly - or the series can be listened to in full for subscribers of Sony’s podcast channel The Binge on Apple Podcasts.
The List of Absolutely Everything That Might Kill You
A new show from Podimo and What's The Story Sounds, The List of Absolutely Everything That Might Kill You features broadcaster Matt Edmondson and bestselling author Adam Kay discussing the surprisingly deadly dangers that surround us in everyday life, and how listeners can survive them. The first episode launched 4 April.
How Can We Help?
Launched by award-winning Canadian indie podcast network The Sonar Network, How Can We Help? is a new advice show from comedians Jackie Pirico and Mark Little, which debuted 5 April.
Eating Out With Eric & Steve
Actors Eric McCormack and Steven Weber (best known for Will & Grace and Chicago Med, respectively) have launched their own dinner party podcast this week. The first episode debuted 5 April, and featured LeVar Burton and Richard Kind.
Witnessed: Devil in the Ditch
The fourth season of popular investigative true-crime podcast Witnessed, titled Devil in the Ditch, launched on 3 April. The newest series looks at the unsolved murder of host Larrison Campbell’s grandmother in Mississippi, and like TAGGED, is available as a boxset via The Binge on Apple Podcasts.
Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time
TV personality Kate Thornton has also launched a new series of her podcast, Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time, with two episodes a week talking to various guests including Bonnie Langford, Adam Hills and H from Steps. The show is now being produced by podcast company Stak, and the first episode - which dropped 4 April - is with radio legend Ken Bruce.
Broadcaster Nick Grimshaw and restaurateur Angela Hartnett return once again for series three of Waitrose’s dinner party podcast Dish, which sees guests including Nish Kumar, Charlotte Church and Dame Prue Leith join the show to talk about their experiences of food, drink and hosting guests. The new series launched 5 April.
Big Fish with Spencer Matthews
Coming back for its second season, the newest episode of Big Fish with Spencer Matthews sees the reality TV star sitting down with iconic celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, discussing everything from his first kitchen job to his ill-fated attempt to become a professional footballer. The first episode of season two dropped 5 April.
The Paul Chowdhry Pudcast
Comedian Paul Chowdhry is back with the third season of his ‘Pudcast’, in which he interviews a selection of fellow comedians and broadcasters about their lives and stories. The first episode launched 5 April, with new episodes weekly.
The Kurupt FM Podkast
A spinoff from the popular cult TV show People Just Do Nothing, The Kurupt FM Podkast has claimed multiple British Podcast Awards and met with broad acclaim. Following 2021’s tie-in film, the deluded garage wannabes are back for a third season, covering everything from business to books. The full series launched 6 April as an Audible exclusive.
The Art of Longevity
Keith Jopling’s music industry podcast The Art Of Longevity has this week launched its seventh season, kicking off with an interview with jazz singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones. The series will be running through spring and early summer.