Podcast News

The highlights and hidden gems of podcasting in 2019

Podcasting exploded into mainstream popularity this year. CBC Podcasts touched base with several industry experts to hear their reflections on 2019, and to look ahead to 2020.

This year offered a lot of podcast gold. Here's what stood out

CBC Podcasts checked in with some audio aficionados to see what stood out to them in 2019. (Shutterstock/sklyareek)

It's been an epic year for the world of podcasting. 

From the launch of several groundbreaking series to the medium entering even further into the mainstream, audio lovers and creators alike had lots to celebrate in 2019. 

CBC Podcasts checked in with industry creators and experts to see what stood out for them over the year. Here are the standouts. 

2019's most inspiring content

(Wondery; Crimetown Presents; BBC Radio; CBC Podcasts)

"The Ballad of Billy Balls. It's my podcast pick of the year. I discovered it after all episodes had dropped and I binged it over the course of about five days. I couldn't stop listening. I started episode one thinking it was another true crime story only to be floored by the twist... The story is structured so well so from a podcaster's point of view, that's inspirational. On a personal level, it's thought provoking, funny and sad. I now want iO Tillett Wright to be my best friend." 
– Justine Kelly, ABC Audio Studios

"Nothing matches Have You Heard George's Podcast?, from George the Poet, for inspiration this year. This dazzling pod consistently takes podcasting to a new level of artistry, social commentary and production magic." 
– Julie Shapiro, Radiotopia from PRX

Too often we forget there are literally zero rules in podcasting.- Sean Rameswaram, Today, Explained

"Uncover: The Village was a really well-told true crime podcast, that was the opposite of exploitive. Just a great listen. It also managed to tell a story bigger than its subject, which is something we try very hard to do at Frequency."
– Jordan Heath-RawlingsFrequency Podcast Network

"On the professional front, I've been inspired by what the podcast company Wondery has done with its Dr. Death podcast — or perhaps I should say Dr. LaMort or Dr. Muerte or 死亡医生. Yes, back in August, Wondery became the first to launch a set of translated podcasts across the world — 7 different versions. Here at the BBC World Service, I've been looking on with interest and admiration ... The Wondery approach is one that I'm sure many of us in 'podcast-land' will be looking to learn from."
Jon Manel, BBC World Service

The hidden gems of the year

(Wonder Media Network; Gay Future Productions; People Movers; Jon Mooallem; Wonder Media Network)

"Encyclopedia Womannica. It's a daily 5-minute podcast that profiles a different woman throughout history."
– Arielle Nissenblatt, Castbox

"Have you heard the WALKING podcast from Jon Mooallem? You should. Jon takes walks through the woods in the Pacific Northwest. It's an inspiration. Too often we forget there are literally zero rules in podcasting. Jon remembered."
– Sean RameswaramToday, Explained, Vox

"Richard's Famous Food Podcast. This show is quirky, fun, weird and very highly produced and entertaining. Richard experiments with sound, laughs at himself, and also tells entertaining and interesting stories."
– Annalise Nielsen, Frequency Podcast Network

"People Movers is great. It's a podcast entirely about escalators. It's specific, which is a daring thing to be."
– Ian Chillag, Everything Is Alive

"Gay Future podcast. Imagine this: it's 2062 and the Gay Agenda has taken over. It's a narrative sci-fi comedy, made in someone's bedroom but sounds like it's worth a million bucks. Someone please help them make a Season 2!"
Arif Noorani, CBC Podcasts

Guilty pleasure listening

(Indian & Cowboy; HeadGum; Global Media & Entertainment; Armchair Umbrella; Ultiworld)

"All Fantasy Everything. It's silly, and pointless, and fun, and stupid and wonderful."
– Kevin Goldberg, Discover Pods

"The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X. It's a catch-up of the week, but if you're a fan of mostly puerile jokes, the occasional fart sound effect and a bit of showbiz, it's right up your street."
– James Cridland, Podnews.net

"I listen to a bunch of podcasts from former Bachelor alumni... They're loud and mostly dumb, but I can't get enough of them."
– Lisa Gabriele, Antica Productions

You should never feel guilty about the things you like.- Jody Avirgan, 30 for 30

"You should never feel guilty about the things you like. I listen to an ultimate Frisbee podcast (Sin the Fields) — does that count? They have great chemistry and I'm one of those people who is really into ultimate Frisbee."
– Jody Avirgan30 for 30

"Red Man Laughing. It's a brilliant podcast. I mean, it's my podcast, but it's brilliant and I feel guilty that I listen to every episode."
–  Ryan McMahon, Makoons Media Group

"I simultaneously hate and kind of love Dax Shepherd's podcast, Armchair Expert. I find his long and rambling chat with his co-host to be terribly indulgent but the interview guests are always fabulous. His lack of proper interviewing training actually makes this hugely conversational and relatable."
– Kellie Riordan, ABC Audio Studios

"I listen to podcasts free of guilty feelings and recommend all others do the same."
– Sean Rameswaram

What do you hope 2020 brings? 

How will podcasting evolve in 2020? (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
 

"Creative risk taking will prevail, despite pressures from big money and media consolidation entering the podcasting industry."
 – Leslie Merklinger, CBC Podcasts

"Fiction. There are some fantastic fiction podcasts being released at the moment — they're getting better and better all the time and I'm excited about what is next. ​​​​​​"
– Justine Kelly

"More diverse voices in all aspects of the industry." 
– Dila Velazquez, Curiouscast

As podcasting continues to grow, I'm excited to see what happens when the industry grows with it.- James Cridland, Podnews

"I'm excited for the further production of podcasts in community. The Thunder Bay Podcast by Canadaland, Crackdown by Garth Mullins and company, Justin Ling's work on The Village, all shows prove that when you give tools to communities to tell their own stories, they have incredible stories to tell. We need more of this in the podcast space in 2020."
– Ryan McMahon

"More expansive fiction that starts to look more like the breadth of genres that we're familiar with in other forms of media (books, TV, movies)... which I hope means more creatively experimental styles, stories, and structures."
– Ma'ayan Plaut, RadioPublic

"More listeners, more podcasters. As podcasting continues to grow, I'm excited to see what happens when the industry grows with it."
– James Cridland

Want to chat about your favourite podcasts of the year? Connect with us on social media and let's discuss! Find us @CBCPodcasts

Produced by Émilie Quesnel.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.