These are all podcasts that were either too problematic for me to recommend unreservedly or that I hadn’t listened to long enough to come to a particular opinion. In no particular order:
Serial: This is great and you should listen to it. Lots of review ink has already been spilled in its praise -it’s basically a long-form This American Life story, investigative journalism and storytelling at a high level.
Adventures With Words Podcasts: Very good podcast on literature and books in general from the other side of the pond. A bit heavy on the genre and YA fiction for my tastes, but the hosts are discerning about the quality of writing and not afraid to give a bad review. British as hell.
Three Percent Podcast: All about books in translation, with some extremely knowledgeable and qualified hosts. It’s a great resource about an often-neglected subset of literary fiction (the title is derived from the fact that only 3% of books sold in America were originally written in a language other than English) but there are times when the hosts are some of the most insufferably pretentious asshats I’ve ever listened to, complaining about how totally “last year” Icelandic authors are, or how they can’t listen to anything read in “NPR voice”, or how jingoistic it is for Americans to root for the American team in the world cup, rather than a sophisticated team like France.
The Partially Examined Life Podcast: Philosophy podcast by a group of guys who studied philosophy extensively then got real jobs instead, which was probably a good decision. Great show with some great thought, but the quality of each episode varies (for me at least) with the different guests or subjects being discussed.
The Dead Authors Podcast: Rather funny show where various actors and media personalities play famous dead authors being interviewed by H.G. Wells, who uses his time machine to grab them for a quick show before they die. Paul F. Tompkins kills it as Wells, but some of the “authors” are horrible. The humor can devolve into something like improv night, and even when it hits the jokes tend to be more of a pop-culture bent than a literary one.