Plug in, press play, and get ready for some learnin'.
What it's about: Linguistics professor and author John McWhorter looks at language and linguistics in a way that reminds you that language is a tool we use intentionally, every day. In past episodes, former hosts Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield banter about everything related to words — from the origin of swear words to why the dialogue in Seinfeld still resonates so widely.
Start with this episode: "Get Your Creak On," episode 24, examined vocal fry just as it was becoming a lightning rod for controversy.
What it's about: It's a shorter-form podcast where musicians break down what went into making a particular song. It's edited in a way that makes it seem like they're just talking and talking, putting them (instead of the host, Hrishikesh Hirway, who's also a musician) and their thoughts and music front and center.
Start with this episode: The episode on the music from Arrival is really wonderful, as well as a recent one with DJ Shadow and the one with the Long Winters.
What it's about: A show for people interested in Disneyland and Disney World history that also gives updates about what's going to happen next in the parks.
Start with this episode: Episode 116 is about a Muppets-themed restaurant that was never built. It's such an interesting look at a part of Disney World we'll never get to know.
What it's about: It's (obviously) about food, but they have really cool guests every week covering different food-related topics, and they also do quick reviews of kitchen equipment and have food experts answer listeners' questions about cooking. It's a great show for food nerds who want to improve their cooking skills, hear about everything food-related, and learn more about the science of cooking and baking.
Start with this episode: Episode 402, "The Barefoot Contessa Speaks Out," tells the Food Network chef's fascinating back story, from working for the White House (not as a chef) to becoming a TV star.
What it's about: This short-run offshoot of Radiolab delves into lower-profile Supreme Court cases and shows how even those have a major impact on our lives. It's incredibly well-produced.
Start with this episode: Episode 1, "Cruel and Unusual," is an eye-opening look at the death penalty. You won't believe how it started and how it's evolved.
What it's about: It literally explains who the latest hottest celebrity is for people who are out of the loop. This podcast genuinely changed my life because I now feel so hip and in tune with all the celebrity news I never needed anyway. I now confidently know who Bella Thorne is.
Start with this episode: The Jackie Evancho episode may finally help you figure out who's performing at Trump's inauguration.
What it's about: It's hosted by a musicologist and a songwriter, who get together to talk about what makes popular music so...popular. It's insanely fascinating because they break music down into component parts and really get into why some songs are so addictive and how so much of music is related and created.
What it's about: Dan Carlin's an excellent storyteller and a huge history fan. He knows exactly when to talk about general historic events and when to zoom in to the gory and terrible details.
Start with this episode: Check out the "Blueprints for Armageddon" episodes for a terrifying chronicle of WWI.
—Jose Luis Hernandez
What it's about: It covers the ups and downs of starting a business. Each season has been a bit different — Season 1 focused on a single media outlet, Season 3 profiled a different startup in every episode from a cross-section of industries, and Season 4 is tracing Dov Charney's attempt to build another clothing company.
What it's about: Each week, the podcast looks at an object from the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and gracefully tells the story behind it with the help of some wonderful guests.
Start with this episode: The first episode of the series, "NASA's Human Computers," is a great place to begin, especially for folks who're excited about Hidden Figures because it tells the true story that inspired the film!
What it's about: This show talks about all things China and the hosts are full of humor and charisma. (One of them was formerly a long-haired member of a legendary pioneering rock band in China.) Their discussions on the country are so rich, genuine, and balanced that it's like a journalism school course on China.
Start with this episode: The episode about China's millennials and how they compare with millennials in the US.
What it's about: It's technically a design and architecture-themed podcast, but it actually explores the "hidden" stories of all kinds of things, like the NBC theme chimes and the origin of water fountains. The episodes are short — usually 20 minutes long or less — which means there's no fluff, but they always find fun, creative ways to produce it through music and sound effects.
Start with this episode: "Structural Integrity" is an award-winning episode about a building in midtown Manhattan that was on the verge of collapse, the surprising person who figured it out, and how they fixed it without anyone noticing. It's outstanding.
What it's about: This is a podcast that's both informative and funny, and it teaches me things like how to find interesting stories and be a good reporter — but it's so genuine and full of great stories that average listeners would enjoy it too.
These two podcasts cover topics related to race and identity, will give you plenty of laughs, and feature interviews with delightful guests you either may have heard of or will be psyched to meet.
To see all of the shows produced by BuzzFeed's PodSquad and to learn about politics, internet ephemera and more, look for BuzzFeed on iTunes podcasts or on your favorite podcast app.