Skip to main content

10 Podcasts for Political Scientists

"What politics podcasts would you recommend?" This was one of the questions asked in my MSc Facebook Messenger group this week. As I scrolled through my podcast library I realised I now have over 20 political and media podcasts that I listen to regularly. I do love the podcast format, as I can listen while walking, driving or working out in the gym. Many also have an intimacy that make you feel part of the conversation.

Here are ten political podcasts that I can recommend based on many hundreds of hours of personal listening.

Talking Politics

A weekly podcast from David Runciman, recorded in the office in the Cambridge University politics department with a regular panel of experts and invited guests including Helen Thompson and Chris Bickerton. The podcast covers many theoretical concepts but it is also very accessible to non-academics.

One of my favourite episodes is number 43: Nobody Knows Anything.

Social Media and Politics

This podcast is hosted by Michael Bossetta, Political Scientist at the University of Copenhagen. Michael primarily interviews people doing interesting research in the field of social media or politics.

One of the episodes I enjoyed was episode 53: Computational Social Science and Digital Methods in the Post-API Age with Dr. Deen Freelon.

The Axe Files

In this podcast David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, but better known as the Chief Strategist for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, conducts long form and in-depth interviews with key figures in the political world.

I really enjoyed episode 264 which was an interview with Dean Baquet and Marty Baron, the Executive Editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Media Masters

In this weekly podcast Paul Blanchard conducts extended one-to-one interviews with key people from the world of journalism and publishing, TV and radio, politics and PR. It is far less political than the other podcasts but it does explore in great detail what is happening in the world of media.

I particularly enjoyed the interview with Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times.


There are a number of different Politico podcasts.  I personally enjoy the Off Message podcast, which is primarily focused on US politics.

One of the non-US episodes was Centrism May be Dead, an interview with Tony Blair.

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

These are podcasts of lectures held at the Reuters Institute, so they don't have the more intimate feel of the podcasts above and sound quality can vary but there are some great lectures here.

A good example of the podcast is What's Happening to our Media? lecture by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen.

LSE: Public Lectures

This podcast, like the one above, is based on recordings of lectures so again it has less intimacy. These lectures are also more wide ranging and cover many topics and interests. So I tend to be more selective in the episodes that I listen to.

I enjoyed the recent lecture by Adam Tooze: Crashed: how a decade of financial crises changed the world.

New Statesman

This is a weekly podcast with Helen Lewis and Stephen Bush covering primarily UK politics. If you want an insight into UK Labour Party politics Stephen is your man.

This podcast follows the ups and downs of UK politics and Brexit in particular.

New Books in Political Science

This podcast interviews authors of new books in political science. I find these podcasts variable but there are some excellent episodes.

I particularly enjoyed Lilliana Mason's discussion of her book Uncivil Agreement, the podcast led me to buy the book and I reviewed it here.

Political Thinking

This podcast is from the BBC's Nick Robinson who interviews primarily UK political figures.

I particularly enjoyed the Angela Raynor one, which made we reappraise my thoughts on her politics and approach. I finished the podcast with a lot more respect and time for her.

If you want a daily update on American politics then NPR's daily politics podcast may be for you. In the UK you can also listen to the Spectator's Coffee House Shots each day.

Other political podcasts I listen to regularly include Times Red BoxUnherd,  Reasons to be Cheerful, and Pod Save America.

Do let me know what I have missed, you can tweet me @steverayson.

Further to publication of this post, the following political podcasts have been recommended by others in the Political Scientists sub-Reddit.

Political Philosophy Podcast
The Weeds
5 on 45
Opening Arguments
Chapo Trap House
Citations Needed
The United States of Anxiety
Free Thoughts