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How to find a podcast you can’t live without

With so many options at your fingertips, it can be hard to choose your next (or first) podcast. Here’s some suggestions on how to narrow your options

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The Spotify app is shown on an iPad in Baltimore.

This March 20, 2018, file photo shows the Spotify app on an iPad in Baltimore.

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

With millions of podcasts available for your listening pleasure, it can be tough to find one that grabs and keeps your interest. Narrowing down your possibilities to find that pod you can’t live without just got easier.

Weekly podcast listeners in the U.S. listened to about eight shows in the last week, according to a 2021 survey from Edison Research. That may seem like a lot or a little depending where you are in your podcast search in life.

With so many options at your fingertips, it can be hard to choose your next (or first) podcast. Spotify is attempting to help us narrow down our choices with a new feature called Find the One. It’s set up like a dating app, asking preferences for a perfect evening, what holds your interest and whether you lean toward lighthearted conversations or more serious ones.

The questions seem a little obscure, so I was dubious the matchmaker would come up with anything for me.

After taking the quiz, I listened to an episode of the podcast Spotify suggested for me. “The Watch” has two hosts breaking down pop culture news of the week. I chose to listen to the episode when they discussed Scarlett Johansson suing Walt Disney Co. and enjoyed their analysis. It’s not a podcast I will listen to loyally, but I will follow it and could see myself turning to “The Watch” when news from pop culture piques my interest.

So while the quiz questions may seem goofy and I didn’t necessarily find my true love, you may want to consider playing along to see if the algorithm can pinpoint your next listening obsession.

Another way to find a favorite podcast is by correlation to music artists. Spotify reports it has “found that some listeners who share a favorite artist also share a favorite podcast.” Fans of Beyoncé also tend to enjoy the “Dissect” podcast which examines one album per season with each episode focusing on a single song.

Can’t get enough of Ed Sheehan’s music? Spotify says quite a few of his fans are listening to “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.” That podcast always has a guest and focuses on their stories, how they relate to one another’s vulnerabilities, struggles and triumphs. 

Some people who listen to the Beatles are also enjoying the comedy of the “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast, and fans of country singer Luke Combs are also into the podcast by the stars of Duck Dynasty, “Duck Call Room.”

Those listeners who are moved by a good Taylor Swift song are also tuning in to “Dare to Lead with Brené Brown” as she discusses how to step up with daring leadership to create a better world.

You might be one of those people who gets a little FOMO and wants to be able to participate in the conversation when people start talking about a favorite podcast. In that case, you may want to start by listening to the most popular pods out there.

The No. 1 podcast on Spotify in the U.S. as I write this is “Banter” with Sapnap and Karl Jacobs, two YouTubers famous for Minecraft videos. It’s a brand new podcast where the hosts bring on a friend “from the content creation scene to talk and be cool.”

While that description may not have you jumping to subscribe, it could be just what a younger audience is yearning for. People ages 12-34 make up 66% of podcast fans in the U.S., according to buzzsprout.

The current most popular podcast on Apple Podcasts as well as Amazon Music is “Crime Junkie.” The website says this pod is for you if “you’re pretty sure you missed your true life’s calling to be a detective.”

For those with a favorite podcast (or one they love to hate), Spotify is now giving listeners a way to interact with creators. 

Podcast creators now have the option of posing short questions and polls on episode pages. Podcasters could ask for suggestions for future guests or topics and allow reaction to the content. Listeners’ comments to open-ended questions will deliver privately to the creator who can choose featured responses to show publicly. If a poll question pops up, listeners can choose their answer and then see how their choice stacks up with everyone else’s. 

Good luck finding your next podcast and if all else fails, remember that a good recommendation from a trusted friend is always a good place to start.