Even in 2014, the podcast universe is in constant expansion. While the ears of many early adopters are full — they've chosen favorites, hunkered down and given themselves names like "blastronaut" — many more would-be subscribers are still searching for something to suit their particular brand of fandom.
The best shows are those capitalizing on brands established early on, true, but there are others making their mark by toying with traditional talk-show formats, old-timey radio plays and rant-filled monologues. And as the popularity of podcasts grow, many producers find a helpful give-and-take between cloistered recordings made on a laptop at the kitchen table and big, live events in front of packed theaters. There are favorites here — each one accessible to the casual listener, sans glossary — but this list is also a glimpse at the podcast future. Listen up. By Matthew Love