Top 10 Podcasts I Enjoyed in 2016
Saturday December 17, 2016

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Long drives, long walks, long flights. Whatever the holiday season has in store for you, sometimes a simple luxury to let go of the day, to savor an afternoon or an early morning is to add a worthwhile episode of a favorite podcast.

Many listeners of my own podcast, The Simple Sophisticateregularly ask for recommendations of podcasts that I enjoy listening to, and while I have shared a few one at a time here and there, I wanted to compile a list of the top 10 I have enjoy during this past year. Some debuted in 2016 and some have been around for quite some time. Either way, I listen to them, I love them, and depending upon my mood, where my mind is at that particular morning or afternoon, at least one of the ten listed below will suit what I am needing. Organized by category, have a look below.


Foodies & Cooks

1. The Dinner Party Download

I first learned of The Dinner Party Download podcast while listening to another food podcast included in today’s list, The Splendid Table, and now I have become a fan. Involving not only food, but also vibrant, topical conversation on current events and culture, for an entire hour, you will feel as though you too are at a dinner party with different guests in each episode. A dinner party that perks up your mind, makes you wonder and tempts your tastebuds as well.

2. Splendid Table

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has shared more than 600 episodes and with at least two new episodes released each month on Thursday, if you are someone who loves food, preparing it or simply eating it, this podcast is for you. With a variety of short segments in each 50 minute episode, discover the latest cookbook, food trend and even hear answers to your most pressing cooking and food questions. Seasonal and delicious, each episode is a treat to listen to as I have walked away more than a few times with ideas for a recipe to try.

3.Bon Appétit

Another food podcast that always teases my tastebuds and corresponds with, but also offers more detail of the most recent issue of the partner magazine is Bon Appétit hosted by the editor Adam Rapoport. With now 90 episodes to listen to, each one is seasonal, and in some ways similar to Splendid Table, but offering far longer, more in-depth conversation with authors, chefs and top-names in the industry.

Style & Fashion

4. Unstyled

For the fashion and style lovers, be sure to put Christene Barberich’s Unstyled podcast on your playlist. As the Global Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of blog/website Refinery29, the site dedicated to offering “inspiration and tools to discover and pursue a more independent, stylish, and informed life”, the new podcast is worth tuning into as she interviews leading professionals in the world of fashion, film and the blogosphere. Having just debuted in November, tune in each week to discover stories about style, life and love. My two favorite episodes were Barberich’s interviews with Stacy London (What to Wear & now The View) and Leandra Medine (The Man Repeller). Each discussion was fun, casual and honest, offering much food for thought.

5. Pardon My French

I have frequently recommended and shared my favorite episodes from Garance Doré’s podcast which went live this past March (but she has many episodes that aired on Youtube from more that four years ago). My two favorite episodes were with Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge and one of her first episodes (#4 – which can’t be found on iTunes for some reason) with Caroline de Maigret and Isabel Marant. After perusing through her earlier episodes from previous years, I am looking forward to listening to her discussion with Jenna Lyons. The discussions are casual, relaxed, and if you have a fondness for the fashion industry, you will find it interesting as well as intriguing.

Life Advice

6. Dear Sugar

No, I will not be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail as co-host of the podcast Dear Sugar did, and wrote about in her wildly enjoyed book Wild, but I will be tuning into her podcast. Why? While its logo is a bit dour – a show “for the lost, lonely and heartsick” – don’t be deterred. With co-hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, they playfully, but carefully and respectfully answer listeners’ questions each week, and invite experts in the fields of discussion to their regular conversation.

7. The Great Girlfriends Show

Offering both personal and professional advice, The Great Girlfriends Show is co-hosted by Sybil Amuti and Brandice Daniel offering inspiration and ideas on how to thrive not only on a personal level but to build thriving businesses as well. Currently 74 episodes are available to enjoy, and here are just a few of the topics you will discover: Money, Perspective, Balance, Handling Guilt Trips, Walking Away from your Day Job, and that is just the beginning.

Staying Informed

8. Pantsuit Politics

Be informed, have an opinion, but base your opinion on truly understanding both sides, all sides for that matter, of the issues in our world of politics. The Pantsuit Politics podcast is for my fellow politicos out there who want to know what is going on, want to understand the other side of where they typically find themselves and are willing to truly get involved in whatever way they can. The shows description in iTunes says it all, “A podcast where a woman from the right and a woman from the left accessorize the news with a fresh perspective.” Tune in and listen to co-hosts Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers bring a fresh perspective to politics and current events.

9. Nerdette

Hosted by Chicago’s public radio programming WBEZ, Nerdette is for the female listener who is curious about everything. Co-hosted by Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, listen to topics on science to decor (Grace Bonney was also one of their guests), politics and Gilmore Girls, food, as well as fertility and feminism just to share a taste of what you will discover.

In a League of Her Own – Life Inspiration

10. Making Oprah

Another wonderful and much anticipated podcast hosted by Chicago’s local public radio station WBEZ, a three part series titled Making Oprah. For any Oprah Show devotee who misses her daily talk show terribly, you will LOVE this podcast. Each episode consists of an hour of chronological examination of how Oprah Winfrey’s show became the mega hit that it did. With lengthy interviews of Oprah and clips that forever-fans will quickly recognize, this is the perfect podcast for that long flight or car ride you have during the holidays. The time will fly by and you too will be inspired to tap into your talents.


With more than 400,000 podcasts available to listen to, coming across a wonderful one is certainly something to share. I will continue to share what I discover in coming episodes of The Simple Sophisticate in the weekly Petit Plaisir, and if you have a podcast you would like to recommend, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comment section. Happy listening!

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13 thoughts on “Top 10 Podcasts I Enjoyed in 2016

  1. Great list! I love podcasts–they get me through every unpleasant or boring thing I have to do, from cleaning to exercising to driving. I will have to check these out–the more the merrier. I listen to This American Life, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, Planet Money, 99% Invisible, Freakonomics, TED Radio Hour, Invisibilia and Little Atoms. Love them.

  2. I’ve become a huge fan of The Splendid Table podcast since you recommended it months ago on one of your podcasts. I will definitely check out these other recommendations, as well. Thank you and have a lovely holiday and a well deserved rest. xo

  3. I love podcasts and have a nice list i enjoy. I have added several of your suggestions. A few others I like are Magic Lessons, Between the Covers (this man is a FanTastic interviewer), and Modern Love. For people with elementary-aged children, Brains On is great.

    And I can’t say enough about Dear Sugar. That is my favorite.

    I thoroughly enjoy your podcast each week, Shannon. Wishing you continued success in the new year.
    xo, katie

    1. Oh, yes Magic Lessons was fantastic. A perfect pairing to the book. Thank you for the other recommendations. I will be sure to check them out. Thank you as well for tuning in. Have a wonderful end to the year and a beautiful start to 2017. 🙂

  4. Podcasts are cool! They come with me on long trips, too. My favorite is still au courant. I miss it. I used to listen to it while having my breakfast on Saturdays first, then on Sundays. Loved it. I enjoy all your episodes every Monday. Shannon you are very talented and admire you dearly. Wish you the best in 2017.

    1. Marisa,
      Thank you very much Marisa. I too miss Au Courant. When I have more time in my schedule, my plan is to bring it back. Thank you for tuning in and have a wonderful start to the new year. 🙂

  5. Thanks Shannon! I’m trying out 4 news ones from your list. I also like The Lively Show and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

  6. Great and thoughtful proposals, subscribed to most of them, thank you very much!

    I actually love Garance Dore and have been following her for many years. Her podcast is self-explanatory and fun. A nice alternative to the YouTube interviews, total gems btw.

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