Thinking of starting a new tech podcast? Forget it. This popular genre is full of gems, and even the fairly niche pods are pretty shiny. But that’s tech for you. It follows that an industry concerned with optimization and the cutting-edge would be reflected by podcasters who can’t help producing high-quality audio. With that in mind, we’re sure they won’t mind us pointing out areas that could be improved: many of these tech podcasts are very similar. Not only are they tonally alike — most of the hosts commanding nearly indistinguishable accents — they’re are also ideologically aligned. With a couple of exceptions, these podcasts might challenge issues within tech, but seldom question the larger aims of the industry.
For example, many tech podcasts are questioning the consequences of artificial intelligence, space exploration, and social media disinformation, but few challenge the language we use to describe technology, or its prominence in our economic model. Are the aforementioned technologies “progress”? Is this “progress” inherently good? If you’re wondering why tech has co-opted the vocabulary of social justice movements, you should listen to Tech Won’t Save Us. That said, these shows take the matter of regulation seriously. Nobody could accuse them of being cavalier. That’s because all the best tech podcasts are created by people who not only highly regard technology, but possess knowledge and experience to justify their opinions. Here’s a round-up of seven fantastic tech podcasts to keep you up to date on Big Tech, tiny gadgets, and all the developments in between.
If you’re interested in tech, you probably read The Verge. It follows that you should also be listening to The Vergecast. Presented by Nilay Patel, David Pierce, and Alex Cranz, this podcast mixes tech news with analysis that is both engaging and informative. If you only have time to listen to one tech podcast every week, this is a good bet. The Vergecast has a great flow, easily comparable to podcasts like Pivot and Planet Money.
New episodes are released every Wednesday and Friday, with the mid-week show delivering analysis of the way gadgets and technology affect our lives, while Friday’s episode discusses the latest news in Big Tech. The discourse is thorough yet accessible; if you read the news and spend time on Twitter, you’ll follow the discussion. That can’t be said for all tech podcasts. And while there’s been some criticism of the show’s direction since host Paul Miller’s departure, The Vergecast remains essential listening.
For fans of: Following the Elon vs. Zuck cage fight
Hard Fork launched with more press releases than Meta’s new Threads app, thanks to the marketing power of its New York Times platform. Where Zuckerberg’s alternative Twitter hit the app store faster than anyone anticipated, Hard Fork had plenty of time to establish itself before launch. It has mostly lived up to the hype. Hosts Kevin Roose and Casey Newton are building a good dynamic, though their topics can feel repetitive for those who listen to a lot of tech content. As you would expect, this show shines a journalistic lens on the top news stories of the moment, calling on the paper’s quality roster of writers to bolster episodes.
Speaking of the Times and tech, this year saw the launch of its audio news app, New York Times Audio. The app delivers audio journalism to subscribers in a futuristic, this-is-how-news-should-be-experienced sort of way — or so I’ve been told, since it’s only available on iOS. Promising things are happening at the intersection of audio and tech at the NYT, and we’ll be keen to see what comes next.
For fans of: Legacy media
If you’re a millennial from the UK, you might remember The Gadget Show, which jubilantly guided us through the launch of the first iPhone and told us which DVD players to buy on a budget. We’ve moved on from this retro treasure to Waveform, a podcast for gadget lovers. It’s hosted by Marques Brownlee, better known as MKBHD, a YouTuber who made his name reviewing new laptops, phones, and software. He brings a level of expertise that goes far beyond your average buyer guide.
Marques’s co-hosts Andrew Manganelli and David Imel are a welcome addition to the show, drawing him out of his polished delivery and into a more naturally discursive style. We don’t say this often, but Waveform is a show that works very well as video. It’s not essential to see the gadget being discussed, but it helps. After all, who can resist the latest shiny toy?
For fans of: Feeling superior because you use an Android
Time for something different. Darknet Diaries is a true crime podcast that explores the seedier sides of the Internet with a twist. Host Jack Rhysider is interested in all the things you might buy a VPN or password manager to prevent, including hacking, identity theft, and crypto fraud. The list of criminal activity is endless. Rhysider isn’t afraid to interview the “bad guys” along with the good. For every episode featuring a security researcher for Google’s Project Zero, he talks to a hacker involved in cybercrime forums. These interviews are fascinating without being affected. Darknet Diaries doesn’t need theatrics or hyperbole — these stories are interesting enough to speak for themselves. Rhysider does a good job of contextualizing the stories his guests recount, making the show engaging for those with only a glancing knowledge of how the dark web functions. It goes without saying that this subject matter encompasses some of the most disturbing crimes on the Internet. We’d recommend checking the show’s episode descriptions before listening.
For fans of: Wondery podcasts, even if you won’t admit it
It’s common knowledge that there aren’t many spaces on the Internet that are friendly to women. Tim Berners-Lee agrees. But women are still online — along with non-binary folk, too. From iHeartRadio, There Are No Girls on the Internet covers internet culture with a particular focus on social media and the real-world effects of decisions made by Big Tech. Host Bridget Todd explores what being online is like for women, covering everything from the latest trends to how to deal with trolls. Her guests are carefully selected and provide expertise on each week’s topics, which can range from discussing religious ideology on Instagram to exploring how technology is enabling fast fashion. Todd employs an intersectional approach to tech journalism, a refreshing perspective in a genre that typically lacks such inclusivity.
For fans of: Blocking trolls on Twitter
Endless Thread stands apart from many podcasts on this list by offering real reporting on a range of topics within the vast expanse of the Internet. Its scope is broad, covering weighty matters such as the regulation of “Deepfakes”, as well as lighter topics like exploring the “Furry” community via Google Maps.
Produced by Boston’s NPR station, WBUR, this show is clearly tailored for radio enthusiasts. However, you don’t have to be in Boston to appreciate its content. (Who would ever suggest that about New York?) Indeed, hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson rank among the finest in the realm of tech podcasting. Their interactions feel genuine, and their humor, though sparing, is always sharp and well-timed. Are they the most technologically savvy hosts? Perhaps not. Yet, for those seeking both entertainment and insight into internet culture, Endless Thread is a tech-meets-storytelling podcast well worth investing time in.
For fans of: Falling down rabbit holes while scrolling late
Accidental Tech Podcast is a self-proclaimed “nerdy” show with a dedicated following. Hardly surprising, considering they are floating around the six-hundred-episode mark. The show is a weekly discussion between hosts Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa, who each do their own writing and programming. If you’re more interested in areas of tech that encompass gaming and software development, these two-hour-long conversations will leave you spoiled for content.
Like many of the best independent shows, Accidental Tech Podcast has embraced membership options, making listener interaction one of the show’s great assets. Is it too gauche to say that this is the perfect podcast to listen to while coding? Too late. We already did.
For fans of: Not understanding the inside joke from five hundred episodes ago
Alice Florence Orr is a staff writer and assistant editor for Podcast Review. She is based in Edinburgh. You can connect with her on Twitter or read her work on aliceflorenceorr.com