For those who may not know me, I was a former Michigan resident for most of my life. The first time I ever set foot in Nashville was in June of 2019. But it wasn’t country music or a friend’s bachelorette party that brought me to Music City. It was a trip to see a podcast live show.

Yes, I traveled hundreds of miles to see a few people sit on a stage and talk.

All that to say, I love podcasts! No matter what your interests are, there’s a podcast for you. And the best part is you can listen to them practically anywhere: while working, cooking, commuting, showering, cleaning the house, or any other time you prefer to consume content.

When you open a podcast app like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, the array of shows to choose from can be intimidating. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 4 podcasts you need to listen to in 2021—sorry true crime fans (Gretchen!), no shows about murder here.

A podcast recommendation list that doesn’t include true crime?

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Wonderful!

This weekly podcast hosted by husband-and-wife duo Griffin and Rachel McElroy is an enthusiast podcast. Before recording an episode, they each do research on a topic or two they find wonderful, and as they record, they take turns presenting their findings to one another.

Past “wonders” have included:

  • The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile
  • Tie-dye
  • Blinking
  • Abandoned waterparks
  • Arbitrary but seemingly iron-clad rules that govern adjective order
  • And countless others

It’s a wholesome show by a couple that’s completely enamored with one other. If you enjoy laughing and learning in one sitting, Wonderful! is the perfect podcast for you.

Proof

America’s Test Kitchen is known for its delectable recipes and helpful kitchen hacks for the everyday chef, but folks might not be aware they’ve also created podcasts. Proof is another weekly podcast that delves into the strange, surprising, and funny history of various foods around the world. The episodes are often told through the lens of personal experience, using extensive research, personal stories, sound bites, and interviews to educate listeners.

Episode recommendation: Cheater Cheater Chili Eater (season 4, episode 6)

Let’s Make a Music

This is a biweekly show hosted by Brian David Gilbert, Laura Kathryn Gilbert (siblings), Jonah Scott, and Karen Han. The 4 hosts delve into the songwriting process, creating new, fully-produced songs out of tweet suggestions. After creating 5 new songs, they put out an EP for listeners to purchase if they so choose. A few of their song titles include “The Original Wizard,” “Hunk Night Summer,” and “Mr. 1981 and the Monolith Man.” The show is as silly as it is impressive. It’s a real treat for anyone even remotely interested in music, comedy, and the power of social media.

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Dolly Parton’s America

Can’t mention podcasts and Nashville in the same blog without including a podcast dedicated to national treasure and country music icon Dolly Parton. Through a series of 10 episodes, Dolly Parton’s America by WNYC Studios takes listeners on a trip through the “Dollyverse.” It sheds light on the history of Dolly’s life and how she has shaped American culture. They discuss various aspects of her life, including her upbringing, the cultural significance of her biggest hits, and her theme park nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood.

While I could keep going with my list of podcast recommendations, these 4 are a fantastic place to start. Hopefully, these shows can bring you newfound entertainment and educational value like they did for me.