Top Documentary Podcasts

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Documentary

Hysterical – Wondery | Pineapple Street Studios

Hysterical investigates a mysterious illness that spreads among a group of high school girls in upstate New York. What is causing their sudden, often violent symptoms? Is there something in the water or inside the school? Or is it “all in their head?” The series examines the outbreak in LeRoy, NY, believed by some to be the most severe case of mass hysteria since the Salem Witch Trials. In his search for answers, Dan Taberski (9/12, Missing Richard Simmons, Running from Cops) explores other seemingly inexplicable events of the last few years – CIA officers being crippled with nausea and vertigo; cops OD'ing from exposure to fentanyl – and discovers they’re far more connected than we realize. From Wondery and Pineapple Street Studios, this 7-part series forces us to grapple with the mysteries of our own minds, and reckon with a contagion that we thought was long dead, but may be the defining disorder of our time. Listen to Hysterical on the Wondery App or wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen to Hysterical early and ad-free right now by joining Wondery+ in the Wondery App, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Start your free trial by visiting https://wondery.com/links/hysterical/ now.  Read More
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2
Documentary

Radiolab

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser. Read More
Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative j Read More
3
Documentary

American Scandal

Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

Listen to American Scandal on the Wondery App or wherever you get your podcasts. Experience all episodes ad-free and be the first to binge the newest season. Unlock exclusive early access by joining Wondery+ in the Wondery App, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Start your free trial today by visiting wondery.com/links/american-scandal/ now.

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4
Documentary

Throughline

Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to answer the question, "How did we get here?" We use sound and stories to bring history to life and put you into the middle of it. From ancient civilizations to forgotten figures, we take you directly to the moments that shaped our world. Throughline is hosted by Peabody Award-winning journalists Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei.

Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline
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Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to a Read More
5
Documentary

The Youth Development Center – NHPR

New Hampshire has sent its most troubled kids to the same juvenile detention center for more than a century. It's a place that was supposed to nurture them, that instead hurt them – in some of the worst ways imaginable. It's now at the center of one of the biggest youth detention scandals in American history. How did this happen – and how did it finally come to light? Read More
New Hampshire has sent its most troubled kids to the same juvenile detention cen Read More
6
Documentary

Freakonomics Radio – Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher

Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner uncovers the hidden side of everything. Why is it safer to fly in an airplane than drive a car? How do we decide whom to marry? Why is the media so full of bad news? Also: things you never knew you wanted to know about wolves, bananas, pollution, search engines, and the quirks of human behavior. Join the Freakonomics Radio Plus membership program for weekly member-only episodes of Freakonomics Radio. You’ll also get every show in our network without ads. To sign up, visit our show page on Apple Podcasts or go to freakonomics.com/plus. Read More
Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner uncovers the hidden side of everything. Read More
7
Documentary

Something Was Wrong – Broken Cycle Media | Wondery

Something Was Wrong is an award-winning docuseries about the discovery, trauma, and recovery from crime, shocking life events and abusive relationships. Read More
Something Was Wrongis an award-winning docuseries about the discovery, trauma, Read More
8
Documentary

Sword and Scale – Sword and Scale

Sword and Scale is a true crime podcast covering the dark underworld of crime and the criminal justice system’s response to it. The first episode launched January 1st, 2014 and feature stories of murder, abduction, rape, and even more bizarre forms of crime. It’s the purest form of true-crime where the raw uncensored audio tells the story. Everything from 911 calls to court testimony, interviews with victims and sometimes with perpetrators give listeners a 360 degree look at the seedy underbelly of human nature and so-called civilized society. Told from an everyman's point of view, Sword and Scale goes beyond the news clips and the sensationalist headlines to hold up a mirror to the audience and ask, "Is it us versus them? Or are we just like 'them' too?" Sword and scale proves that the worst monsters are real. Read More
Sword and Scale is a true crime podcast covering the dark underworld of crime an Read More
9
Documentary

Criminal – Vox Media Podcast Network

Criminal is the first of its kind. A show about people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Hosted by Phoebe Judge. Named a Best Podcast of 2023 by the New York Times. Part of the Vox Media Podcast Network. Read More
Criminal is the first of its kind. A show about people who’ve done wrong Read More
10
Documentary

Everyone Knows That: The Search For Ulterior Motives – Lost Media

In 2021, anonymous user Carl92 uploaded a 17-second sample of a song that changed lost media forever. The catchy tune sounded familiar to so many people. But for years nobody could find it. Was it an unreleased demo from a major artist? An AI generated hoax? The beginning of an alternate reality game? Everyone Knows That: The Search for Ulterior Motives is a five-part miniseries about the history of the song, the theories pursued, the hoaxes created, and the song's shocking discovery. New episodes air every Monday starting June 17. Follow Everyone Knows That: The Search for Ulterior Motives on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, and wherever you get your podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Read More
In 2021, anonymous user Carl92 uploaded a 17-second sample of a song that change Read More
11
Documentary

The Confessions of Anthony Raimondi

In 1978, Pope John Paul I was found dead in his bed just 33 days after he was elected. The official story is that he suffered a fatal heart attack. But in the years since his death, some have claimed he was murdered to cover up crimes in the Vatican. The question of the Pope’s death has never been definitively answered, but there is one man who claims to know the truth. A man from one of New York City’s crime families who has deep ties to the Italian mafia. He was there the day of the Pope’s death and witnessed his murder firsthand. Or, at least, that’s what he says. His name is Anthony Raimondi, and these are his confessions.

From USG Audio and Truth Media in association with Clockwork Films


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12
Documentary

A Matter of Degrees

Give up your climate guilt. Sharpen your curiosity. Join Dr. Leah Stokes and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson as they tell stories about the powerful forces behind climate change — and the tools we have to fix it. This show makes sense of big climate questions and critical topics. Our episodes are filled with stories of bold climate leadership, groundbreaking campaigns, and people doing their best to be part of the solution. A Matter of Degrees is produced in partnership with FRQNCY Media, The 2035 Initiative at UC Santa Barbara, and The All We Can Save Project. Read More
Give up your climate guilt. Sharpen your curiosity. Join Dr. Leah Stokes and Dr. Read More
13
Documentary

Lost Patients

Imagine a sprawling house in which every room, doorway, and hall passage was designed by a different architect. Doorways don't connect. Staircases lead to nowhere. Rooms are cut off from each other. That's how reporter Will James describes our complicated system for treating people with severe mental illness – a system that, almost by design, loses patients with psychosis to an endless loop between the streets, jail, clinics, courts and a shrinking number of hospital beds.
Lost Patients is a deeply-reported, six-part docuseries examining the difficulties of treating serious mental illness through the lens of one city's past, present and future. With real-life testimonials from patients, families, and professionals on the front lines, Lost Patients provides a real, solutions-oriented look at how we got stuck here...and what we might do to break free.
Lost Patients is a joint production of KUOW and The Seattle Times. It is distributed by the NPR Network.
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14
Documentary

The Why Files: Operation Podcast – The Why Files: Operation Podcast

The Why Files covers mysteries, myths and legends. We tell stories and seek the truth in a fun and lighthearted way. Our content is heavily researched; we don't release an episode unless we're sure we can bring something new to a topic. Read More
The Why Files covers mysteries, myths and legends. We tell stories and seek the Read More
15
Documentary

Inconceivable Truth

Investigative reporter Matt Katz has been searching for his biological father since he was a little kid. But it wasn't until his 40s that he realized he was on the wrong journey altogether. The true story is wrapped in confusion and secrecy, and in the end it upended the truth about who he is – raising questions about identity, fatherhood, medical ethics and what family really means. But will finding answers make him whole, or just make things even more complicated? Inconceivable Truth is an 8-episode series with new episodes publishing Thursday mornings. Read More
Investigative reporter Matt Katz has been searching for his biological father si Read More
16
Documentary

In The Dark – The New Yorker

In the Dark, hosted by Madeleine Baran, is an award-winning investigative-journalism podcast that started in 2016. Its first season looked at the mysterious abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota and the lack of accountability that sheriffs face when they fail to solve cases. Season 2 examined the case of Curtis Flowers, who was tried six times for the same crime. In 2020, In the Dark released a special report on the coronavirus pandemic in the Mississippi Delta. In 2023, In the Dark joined The New Yorker and Condé Nast. “The Runaway Princesses,” a four-part series that asks why the women in Dubai’s royal family keep trying to run away, came out in January. In the Dark is a two-time Peabody Award winner and, in 2019, became the first podcast to win a George Polk Award, one of the top honors in journalism. The program has also received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Read More
In the Dark, hosted by Madeleine Baran, is an award-winning investigative-journa Read More
17
Documentary

British Scandal

In a country obsessed with gossip, the great and the good fear one thing more than any other - scandal.

British scandals change the course of history. They bring down governments, overthrow the rich and cause the mighty to fall. Some are about sex, others about money. In the end, they’re all about power. 

But often at the heart of a scandal, there are ordinary human stories. Stories of those caught up in the swirl of outrage. 

Who was really to blame for what happened? Why did they do it? And when all is said and done, did anything really change?   

From the creators of Business Wars, American Scandal and Ghost Story, comes British Scandal. Each week, hosts Alice Levine and Matt Forde delve into the murkier side of the British elite, from Phone Hacking to Profumo to the short-lived premiership of Liz Truss. Because sometimes the truth doesn’t set everyone free…

Listen to British Scandal on the Wondery App or wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen early and ad-free on Wondery+. Join Wondery+ in the Wondery App, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Start your free trial by visiting wondery.com/links/british-scandal/ now.

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18
Documentary

Split Screen: Kid Nation

The controversial reality TV show known as ‘Kid Nation’, which borrowed its premise from Lord of the Flies, was cancelled shortly after its 2007 debut. Producers took 40 kids into a makeshift desert town to fend for themselves and create their own society. Was the series an opportunity to discover what kids are capable of? Or simply a ploy for ratings?


With access to former ‘Kid Nation’ contestants, their families, and the show’s creators, culture journalist Josh Gwynn uncovers how this cult TV show became a lightning rod for an ongoing debate about the ethics of reality TV.


Welcome to Split Screen, an examination of the utterly captivating, sometimes unsettling world of entertainment and pop culture. From reality TV gone awry, to the cult of celebrity, each season of Split Screen takes listeners on an evocative journey inside the world of showbiz. Ex-contestants, producers, and cultural critics uncover complicated truths behind TV’s carefully curated facades, and question what our entertainment reveals about us. Split Screen: sometimes reality is twisted. 

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19
Documentary

Scene on Radio: Capitalism – Kenan Insitute for Ethics at Duke University

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody-nominated podcast that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—reallyand how we got this way. Previous series include Seeing White (Season 2), looking at the roots and meaning of white supremacy; MEN (Season 3), on patriarchy and its history; The Land That Never Has Been Yet (Season 4), exploring democracy in the U.S. and why we don’t have more of it; The Repair (Season 5), on the cultural roots of the climate crisis; and Season 6, Echoes of a Coup, the story of the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history, in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. Produced and hosted by John Biewen and created at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Scene on Radio comes from the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Season 7, Scene on Radio: Capitalism, is produced in partnership with Imperative 21. The show is distributed by PRX. Read More
Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody-nominated podcast that dares to ask big, ha Read More
20
Documentary

Finally! A Show

Come hang out in a different woman’s life on each episode. It’s everything you love about reality TV,  just on the radio, with 100% more reality. Just women sharing their actual morning to night — days that are anything but ordinary. Curated and crafted by Jane Marie (The Dream, This American Life, Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast) and Joanna Solotaroff (TeamCoco, 2 Dope Queens, Scattered). Try on some other lives while you do whatever you want with yours.

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Documentary

Legends of the Old West – Black Barrel Media

Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, and Butch and Sundance. Lakota, Comanche and Apache. Wars, gunfights and robberies. This show covers the toughest lawmen, the wildest outlaws, and the deadliest towns — all the people and events that shaped the American West. Read More
Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, and Butch and Sundance. Lakota, Comanche and Apache. Wa Read More
22
Documentary

Twenty Thousand Hertz

A lovingly crafted podcast that reveals the stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds.
A lovingly crafted podcast that reveals the stories behind the world’s mos Read More
23
Documentary

Tides of History

Everywhere around us are echoes of the past. Those echoes define the boundaries of states and countries, how we pray and how we fight. They determine what money we spend and how we earn it at work, what language we speak and how we raise our children. From Wondery, host Patrick Wyman, PhD (“Fall Of Rome”) helps us understand our world and how it got to be the way it is.

Listen to Tides of History on the Wondery App or wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen to bonus episodes available exclusively and ad-free on Wondery+. Join Wondery+ in the Wondery App, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Start your free trial by visiting wondery.com/links/tides-of-history/ now.

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Everywhere around us are echoes of the past. Those echoes define the boundaries Read More
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Documentary

Sold a Story – APM Reports

Millions of kids can't read well. Scientists have known for decades how children learn to read but many schools are ignoring the research. They buy teacher training and books that are rooted in a disproven idea. Emily Hanford investigates four authors and a publishing company that have made millions selling this idea. Read More
Millions of kids can’t read well. Scientists have known for decades how ch Read More
25
Documentary

Buried Bones – a historical true crime podcast with Kate Winkler Dawson and Paul Holes – Exactly Right Media – the original true crime comedy network

On Buried Bones, journalist Kate Winkler Dawson and retired investigator Paul Holes dissect some of history’s most compelling true crime cases from centuries ago. Together, they explore these very old cases through a 21st century lens. With their years of expertise and knowledge of modern forensics, they reflect on how far science has come and bring new insight to old mysteries.  Together, Kate and Paul have examined many cases including the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the first time fingerprinting was used as evidence in a courtroom and a possible serial killer in 1960s Nashville. They ask, was the right person convicted or was someone wrongfully accused? See pictures, diagrams and evidence from each case on Instagram @buriedbonespod. Buried Bones is part of the Exactly Right podcast network that provides a platform for bold, creative voices to bring to life provocative, entertaining and relatable stories for audiences everywhere. The Exactly Right roster of podcasts covers a variety of topics including true crime, comedic interviews, news, science, pop culture and more. The network is home to My Favorite Murder hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, This Podcast Will Kill You, That's Messed Up: An SVU Podcast, Tenfold More Wicked and more. Read More
On Buried Bones, journalist Kate Winkler Dawson and retired investigator Paul Ho Read More