“This American Life,” “The Bill Simmons Show” and “Serial” and its kin are podcasts worthy of your time.

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‘This American Life’

About 1 million people download this public-radio podcast each week, routinely making it the No. 1 podcast in the U.S. That is a whole lot of people who love Ira Glass. Hungry for more stories? Other podcasts in this vein: “TED Radio Hour,” “The Moth,” “Snap Judgment” and “Selected Shorts.”

Sports

‘The Bill Simmons Podcast’

Move over, Ira. In the sports podcastverse, Simmons is No. 1; SoundCloud says the host has the most downloaded sports podcast “of all time.” He launched his new podcast at the beginning of October and by midmonth, his podcast had been downloaded nearly 4 million times, reports Digiday. Sports podcasts encompass more than the NFL, the NBA and the MLB. “The Meat Eater” urges “Hunt. Fish. Listen.” You can also choose from the “Orvis Fly Fishing Guide” and for the pro-wrestling aficionado, “WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair.”

Suspense

‘Serial’

Podcast aficionados — as well as folks who usually didn’t listen — went berserk over the first season of this true-life murder mystery, which launched in October 2014 and was hosted by Sarah Koenig (producer of “This American Life”). It seemed everyone’s tweets and Facebook posts had some mention of it last fall. Koenig and Co. are tight-lipped about a release date and the subject of the next round; the website A.V. Club quotes Koenig as saying, “We’re really not planning on having the same response that we had in Season 1, and frankly, we’re really okay with that.” Good luck with that.

Seattle Times staff