With today’s never-ending news cycle, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by politics and current events. Fortunately, we are living in the era of the podcast, and the programs listed below are the bare essentials you need to be on the up-and-up on all things current events.

Up First

Up First is a new podcast from National Public Radio (NPR). It is put out Monday through Friday at 6:00 a.m. EST, and packs all the day’s most important stories and ideas into a fun and concise 10-minute show. Hosts Rachel Martin, David Greene, and Steve Inskeep keep the vibe positive so that you can get your day off to a happy and knowledgeable start.

The Daily

The Daily is one of The New York Times’ few podcasts, and is exactly what the name might imply. Host Michael Barbaro tackles the most pressing news stories — and nothing else — in roughly 20 minutes a day, Monday through Friday at 6:00 a.m. EST. Barbaro’s frills-free presentation will have you feeling informed and ready to take on the world.

NPR Politics Podcast

The NPR Politics team is a group of energized reporters that deliver the news in a friendly, informal way, talking to the listener as if they were a co-worker. The podcast puts out sporadic “quick takes” throughout the week, but their weekly must-listen for keeping up with U.S. politics is their “Weekly Roundup” posted every Thursday evening. In the roundup, the team condenses the entire week’s news into one 40-50 minute episode, providing the perfect opportunity for you to hit the gym while staying up-to-date on current events.

Politico’s Nerdcast

In The Nerdcast, Politico’s top reporters take on the week’s political news by the numbers, diving in deep on what’s really going on. The team puts out one podcast per week and condenses all the essentials down to roughly 35-45 minutes.


Produced by NPR and WAMU, 1A takes on the latest in news and culture with insightful commentary by panelists and active discussion from listeners. Host Joshua Johnson curates the show to maximize dialogue and bring all voices to the table. 1A puts out multiple podcasts in a week, but their essential listening for keeping up is their weekly “Friday News Roundup”, in which Johnson and a skillfully-picked expert panel report and discuss the week’s biggest news, both foreign and domestic.

This list may seem daunting, but just pick a few podcasts, plug them in while you’re making your morning coffee or while you’re on your daily commute, and you’ll be plugged-in to current events in no time.

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