I've been listening to podcasts for over a decade and agree with Marco Arment that they're awesome. I also think podcasts are continually becoming more mainstream and am hopeful for the future of the integration of technology all around us and it's ability to make podcasts as ubiquitous as radio. With the rate at which new podcasts are launching, it's easy to miss great shows so this is the first of an ongoing series of podcast recommendations. I want to take the mrecommendations a step further than why I like particular podcasts and provide some metrics to help provide context around how the show fits into my podcast rotation and may fit into yours. When I converse with people who don't listen to podcasts (or don't listen very frequently) I find that one of the reasons is that there's just too much to listen to and not enough time. Not every podcast is a must listen, especially interview shows. These metrics are bound to evolve and hopefully will be helpful in getting you interested in adding the show to your favorite podcast application. Let's get to the first recommendation.
Reply All's tag line is "A show about the internet." which is an apt description of the podcast. Each episode explores an event or topic where the internet played a role in one way or another. Some episodes are straightforward in their title while other episodes use the internet's involvement in the story as the crux that takes a turn you might not have expected. The show is hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman and is produced by Gimlet Media. PJ and Alex come across as longtime friends on the show which isn't a surprise as they previously created and co-hosted TL;DR in 2013 before moving to Gimlet in late 2014 to launch Reply All. The show is in my top 5 podcasts primarily because it's such a fun show with interesting topics and a great chemistry between the hosts with they're varying opinions on different aspects of the topic each week. I genuinely enjoy listening to Reply All due to the consistency of the show's quality across it's 31 episodes and the production quality that all of Gimlet's shows employ.
Picking my favorite episode is difficult since it's actually a two part story that was released in May of this year. Exit & Return Part I & Part II tells the story of Shulem Deen and how the internet broke down the walls of his communication boundaries and left him exiled from his community. It's the heaviest story that Reply All has told but is also such an interesting story of how religion and the internet can collide. I truly can't recommend these episodes enough and think everyone can find themselves somewhere in this story.
Typical episode length: 30 minutes
Explicit: They always lead the episode off with an explicit warning when the shows contains explicit content.
New Episode Frequency: Weekly
Skip-ability: I wouldn't (and don't) skip any episodes.