Chelsea Hawkins
January 11, 2015 8:00 am

Serial may be over, but there are literally thousands of other stories waiting to be heard. Stories that are just waiting for you to download and delve deep into. Stories of families and lovers and ghosts and even monsters. I’ve been searching the Internet for all the best bits of audio storytelling to get you started on your post-Serial journey, because what else are you going to with your time now? It wasn’t easy narrowing this list down to only a few podcasts, but these are the ones that inspired me most, moved me and left me wanting more.

Whether you’re looking for another murder mystery, an odd little modern radio drama, or a look at the lost bits of history, here are 9 podcasts you should tune into ASAP.

Criminal

Criminal is a podcast about crimes and the people who allegedly commited them. In the first episode you will hear about a case without a clear outcome and a very strange theory as to who (or what) may have done it. The podcast is hosted, reported and produced by NPR alums, so you can expect high quality story telling.

Find it here.

Strangers

This one from KCRW and PRI is all about chance meetings and life’s sometimes heartwarming, sometimes tragic encounters. The premise doesn’t sound too special; there are numerous podcasts all about the magic and sadness of everyday life. But when you listen to Strangers you feel totally immersed and invested in these people’s lives, people you never knew before they began telling their stories.

Find it here.

Reading Lives

I’m partial to Reading Lives just because I like to hear why people love the books they do, what inspires them to write, and what kind of relationship they have with their words. The gist is pretty straight forward: guests, many of whom are up-and-coming authors, join the host for a discussion on all things literary. It’s casual and conversational, like you’re having a discussion with friends.

Find it here.

The Memory Palace

If you like tales of the odd, the extraordinary and the true, The Memory Palace is exactly what you have (unknowingly) been craving. Episodes come out pretty sporadically but there’s an archive worth of stories on everything from Flappers and dance-a-thons to science and invention. Plus Nate DiMeo is an honestly wonderful and gifted storyteller; he alone can keep you hooked episode after episode.

Find it here.

Here Be Monsters

This is a podcast full of the bizarre and the terrifying, and about confronting those things that scare us most. Whether it’s death, drugs, spirituality and religion, or the gravity of loss, Here Be Monsters is a curious, intelligent series of stories born out of creator Jeff Emtman’s sleepless nights during a bout of unemployment.

Find it here.

Love + Radio

If you have a penchant for odd characters, this interview podcast talks to the most interesting people you have never even knew existed, about things you didn’t know you wanted to talk about. You will hear stories from artists, entrepreneurs, aviators and even a habitual cat-caller.

Find it here.

Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale rewinds back to an era of radio dramas, but instead of embodying a typical skit, this one comes together during a fictional small town radio show. It’s all a bit meta, a little odd and off-beat, but highly entertaining and good fun. In the desert town of Night Vale, conspiracy theories come to life, the dark and mysterious are expected, and some of our fears are given new life by the fictional radio host Cecil Gershwin Palmer, voiced by the very real Cecil Baldwin.

Find it here (be sure to start from episode 1!).

Fugitive Waves

A gift from the Kitchen Sisters, Fugitive Waves is hard to pin down; there are stories from the kitchens of Soviet Russia to the penny recordings of Tennessee Williams and his lover. Self-described as a podcast built upon “lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales from remarkable people around the world.” Fugitive Waves is all about the interesting and forgotten bits and pieces, collected from our world’s vast pool of culture and history.

Find it here.

The Heart

Previously known as Audio Smut and born in Montreal, The Heart is a new but promising show about love, sex and intimacy. It’s risque and definitely NSFW; it’s a show proud of its weirdness and enjoys being on the fringe. The first episode —appropriately about firsts— is surprisingly touching and deeply sincere. It’s a “platform for radical, queer and sex-positive storytellers to share their narratives,” but it remains tasteful even if it makes you blush a little. It’s human. It isn’t simply smut. While still young, The Heart is artistic, thought-provoking and very promising.

Find it here.

Also check out the Sound Bank over at In the Dark or give the other Radiotopia shows a listen. There’s an insane amount of knowledge waiting for you to devour and countless characters you haven’t yet discovered. Happy listening!

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