The 22 best tech podcast alternatives to “Reply All”
So your favorite tech podcast imploded after two beloved figures were accused of an anti-union push that contributed to a workplace culture of discrimination against colleagues of color. Then, after a lengthy hiatus, the remaining co-hosts announced they were also stepping down and that this iteration of the podcast was officially over.
At the time of publication, we have no idea what will become of Reply All after Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi leave the show in June. Back in March 2021, their Bon Appétit series delving into the company’s unfair treatment of marginalized staff members ended prematurely after some former Gimlet colleagues revealed that the call was also coming inside their own house at Reply All. ln response, co-host P. J. Vogt and producer/occasional host Sruthi Pinnamaneni stepped down from the show (full disclosure: the writer of this article briefly interacted with Reply All core staff for an interview that appeared on this episode). While we haven’t heard much from them since, in April 2022 Vogt did quietly launch his own independent podcast, Crypto Island.
But all is not lost now that Reply All as we knew it is officially gone forever.
‘Reply All’ is also far from the only great tech podcast out there.
For one, there are vital lessons to learn from the issues raised regarding the pervasive harms that diversity initiatives can inadvertently cause within white-dominated workplaces. For another, Reply All is far from the only great tech podcast out there. Perhaps the end of our long-reigning favorite can be an opportunity to broaden our horizons and check out some other fantastic shows that didn’t get much attention while Reply All soaked up the genre’s limelight.
From podcasts that center on women and other marginalized folks’ experiences of digital culture to philosophical critiques of tech idealism to informative weekly dissections of the biggest news in Silicone Valley — there are so many awesome podcasts that are worthy of being your guide into this increasingly tech-dominated existence.
And, hey, many of them have just as much cute co-host banter, too.
So let’s do our own version of a Super Tech Support, with a special round of Yes-Yes-No on tech podcasts you might not have heard of yet, but should know about now.
1. There Are No Girls on the Internet
Let’s face it: a show about the internet hosted by three dudes is bound to leave out some crucial perspectives. But in this phenomenal weekly podcast, host Bridget Todd gives the under-recognized women and people of color who define online culture a much-needed spotlight through interviews as well as her own critical analysis. Since launching in 2020, There Are No Girls on the Internet quickly became one of the most essential tech podcasts out there. Case in point: the ongoing disinformation series tackling everything from QAnon to Joe Rogan. But you’ll also find informative discussions on content moderation and fascinating angles into digital history. [Adapted from our Best Feminist Podcasts and Best Podcasts on Disinformation and Misinformation roundup]
2. Get Wired
Get Wired is a singular show in the world of tech podcasts. Hosted by Lauren Goode, each 30-minute episode goes down an internet rabbit hole you probably never thought to explore before, inspiring the same crazed need to know more that comes with falling down a K-hole. From episodes on the women composers who scored many of the seminal early video game soundtracks to the fall of sextech’s most hyped robotic vibrator, Get Wired tells the incredible tech stories that too often fall through the cracks. (Full disclosure: the writer of this article was featured in an interview on this podcast.)
Sadly, in January 2021, Goode tweeted that publisher Condé Nast had inexplicably and unceremoniously failed to renew their audio team’s contracts, and the feed has not been updated with new original content since.
3. Rabbit Hole
I know, I know. The Gray Lady hasn’t typically been seen as a publication that’s especially hip to internet culture. But with limited series Rabbit Hole, host Kevin Roose, a New York Times reporter, paints an impressively comprehensive, complex, clear, and compelling portrait of how online platforms are fueling this era of political and cultural chaos. From the alt-right’s rise from the ashes of gamergate to PewDiePie finally going on record about his endless controversies — and even interviews with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on the platform’s role in radicalizing users — Roose brings all the big guns you’d expect from the Times into his analysis on the digital age. Importantly, the podcast highlights how YouTube has been vital to the misinformation infrastructure, which a lot of post-Capitol coverage of Big Tech underestimated. [Adapted from our Best New Podcasts of 2020 roundup]
4. Land of Giants
When historians look back on this time in human history, they will point to a new era — a new species, really — of imperial regimes. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix: the tech giants that dominate our culture, economy, and even politics demand a thorough understanding and investigation. That’s exactly what Recode’s Land of the Giants delivers, explaining how the most powerful companies came to be and at what cost to the rest of us. In its most recent season, host Peter Kafka tackles the tech empire behind the devices that changed humanity’s relationship to computing forever.
Slate’s new digital culture podcast ICYMI is here to digest all the latest chaos, trends, and #drama from the web — so you don’t have to. And for that, we thank hosts Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton for their service. This bi-weekly podcast goes beyond the surface of our screens, covering not only what trouble the newest viral main character of social media got into, but also why it matters. It’s incisive, insightful, and miraculously always finds a way to cut through the static noise of our digital void to find the human side of it all. [From our Best New Podcasts of 2021 roundup]
6. QAnon Anonymous
Do you want to keep up-to-date with all the developments of QAnon, without needing to actually wade through the dark underworld of those parts of the internet? QAnon Anonymous is your answer. Giving the most in-depth, wide-sweeping view of every individual facet of this conspiratorial beast, hosts Julian Feeld, Travis View, and Jake Rockatansky also balance out the harsh coverage with a mixture of humor and empathy. [From our Best Podcasts on Disinformation and Misinformation roundup]
Kara Swisher, a treasure to tech journalism, is joined by NYU Professor Scott Galloway to paint both the more granular and bigger pictures involved with all the biggest trending news stories. While sometimes broader than just tech, most roads these days eventually lead back there, and the co-hosts do a fantastic job of outlining how in layman’s terms. They bring fair but critical perspectives to the table, as well as predictions for the industry’s biggest winners and losers every Tuesday and Friday.
8. Future of Sex
When people think of sextech, they often just imagine sex robots or high-tech Bluetooth vibrators. But the collision of sexuality and technology is so much deeper than that, and in increasingly relevant ways to us all (especially after years of physical isolation during the pandemic). Host Bryony Cole interviews the biggest leaders in this rapidly growing, multi-billion-dollar industry, discussing everything from the stigma around male sex toys to the craft of astrosexologists, covering the wide breadth of topics we need to talk about in order to understand our horny futures.
9. Daily Tech News Show
More and more, you need to know the ins and outs of tech and Silicon Valley if you have any hope of staying on top of what’s happening in the world. Unfortunately, a lot of old-guard journalism is not well-equipped to understand the minutiae of technology and the industry’s consequences. Hosts Tom Merritt and Sarah Lane, along with a pretty diverse cast of guests and co-hosts, distill all the tech news in a way that’s both digestible and comprehensive. [Adapted from our Best Daily Podcasts roundup]
10. Endless Thread
Named after the Reddit phenomenon of a feed that never ends, WBUR’s tech podcast dives into the digital deep end of the internet by focusing on its most fascinating communities, oddities, curiosities, and mysteries. From audio porn (which, full disclosure, the writer of this article was interviewed for) to cyberwitches, it explores many of the phenomenons you’ve heard about but didn’t know how to even begin to understand. Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson bring that certain NPR-ness in their tone, reporting, and excellent production to digital culture, bridging a gap between the extremely online and the Luddite.
11. How I Built This
Ever wonder how innovative brands like Spanx, Airbnb, and Edible Arrangements — built on concepts that seemed unusual at first, but we can’t imagine a world without now — got their start? NPR’s How I Built This goes behind the scenes with their founders and many more to talk about their journey from small biz to international recognition. Hosted by Guy Raz, you’ll learn how to succeed in business but even more about how to fail, making this podcast essential listening for new and established ‘treps. [From our Best Business Podcasts roundup]
12. Tech Won’t Save Us
Tech Won’t Save Us, as the title implies, is a healthy counter dose to the nauseating tech utopia idealism that typically surrounds Silicon Valley and its enthusiast press coverage. A left-leaning podcast, it digs into philosophical discussions about the underbelly of both the industry and digital culture. You’ll find conversations on Elon Musk and the problematic history he invokes while championing space colonization, or why Bill Gates’ nonprofit foundation raises huge issues around the “good billionaire” myth. While the sound quality isn’t as polished as others on this list, that doesn’t detract from it as a vital voice in the discourse with a perspective too often left out of conversations around tech news.
13. Darknet Diaries
When we hear stories about the “darknet,” it feels like it’s stuff that happens in a totally different dimension. But in reality, the darknet and adjacent worlds of cybercrime impact all our lives in very real ways on a daily basis. Host Jack Rhysider is your perfect guide into this shady yet fascinating parallel universe to the world wide web most of us live in.
14. Violating Community Guidelines with Brittany Broski and Sarah Schauer
Podcasts from influencers are like the brightest stars in the sky: They tend to burn out the fastest. But unlike other influencer duos’ experiments with podcasting, like H3H3’S Ethan Klein and Trisha Paytas’ doomed Frenemies, this one is co-hosted by online celebrities with a much more stable bond. Brittany Broski (who many remember from the viral Kombucha TikTok) and Sarah Schauer describe themselves as “internet-hardened succubabes,” and bring their front seats to the chaotic mess of the online world to their new podcast. Violating Community Guidelines covers everything from thirst traps to AI influencers with a personable casualness rather than expertise. The vibes are spot on, though be warned that this is more of deviating two-hour-long hangout sesh rather than a highly edited production.
15. Boom/Bust: HQ Trivia
Remember HQ Trivia? You know, that digital trivia game show that spread like wildfire a few years back before, seemingly overnight, imploding in on itself? The Ringer’s Boom/Bust, hosted by Alyssa Bereznak, tells the riveting tale behind exactly how this wildly popular and seemingly wholesome app turned into yet another tech darling’s spectacular fall from grace. Aside from the rigorous reporting and insightful interviews from the likes of Scott (aka Quiz Daddy) himself, Bereznak also offers her own analysis into why we loved HQ Trivia, how it filled a void in digital culture, and what its demise says about the tech industry at large.
16. Truthers: Tiffany Dover Is Dead
NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny has been on the frontlines of the viral misinformation and disinformation campaigns surrounding QAnon for years now. In this five-part series with an intentionally provocative title, Zadrozny uses those skills to tackle one specific monstrosity from the swamp of internet falsehoods, by disproving a favorite conspiracy theory of vaccine “truthers.” Tiffany Dover was just a regular nurse from Tennessee back in December 2020, when she became one of the first healthcare workers to receive the new COVID-19 vaccines on live TV. But after Dover briefly fainted (only to then explain to those viewers moments later that it was a harmless byproduct of an unrelated medical condition), she stopped being a person and instead became a chess piece in QAnoners’ unwinnable conspiratorial game.
Despite ample evidence and multiple on-camera attempts to disprove it, so-called “truthers” still insist to this day that Tiffany Dover is dead. But in Zadrozny’s quest to track Dover down and definitively prove that she is indeed alive, the reporter is faced with larger existential and ethical questions. What do we do to fight disinformation when the facts will never be enough? Though the five-parter suffers a bit from the classic final act problem many investigative reporting podcasts share, the lack of a definitive conclusion does not detract from the lessons learned from this valiant attempt to defeat one hydra of online disinformation.
17. Sway with Kara Swisher
In case it wasn’t already clear, we’re kinda Kara Swisher stans. Sway, a podcast where the New York Times writer unflinchingly interviews many of the most powerful figures in Silicon Valley (and other dominant industries), is all you need to understand why. The podcast tagline describes it as “power, unpacked,” perfectly summing up what makes her interviews such an important public service. Swisher takes everyone — from Apple’s Tim Cook to Parler chief executive John Matze (an interview that occurred on the day of the Capitol riot) — to task in a way few other journalists in the space dare.
18. Accidental Tech Podcast
The Accidental Tech Podcast certainly isn’t for the beginner or casual techie, as it is by far the most nuts and bolts podcast on our list. But that’s by design and not a drawback for the right audience. What distinguishes it from other bi-weekly tech news podcasts we’ve gone over is how it’s hosted not by journalists or analysts, but by actual tech workers. Hosts Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa give their insider perspectives as developers and programmers involved in making the things everyone’s talking about. This granular expertise enables them to call out the blindspots of prevailing tech discourse, whether from laypeople, tech journalists, or Silicon Valley execs. Sadly, like the industry itself and most other tech podcasts, it’s notably lacking diversity among its hosts, which is unfortunate since that’d allow them to call out more blindspots. It can admittedly be a bit dry at times. But it’s always done in a charming way, and with a camaraderie between the hosts that’s pretty infectious.
19. Decoder with Nilay Patel
Another big ideas tech podcast, the Verge’s Decoder, hosted by editor-in-chief Nilay Patel, gives a great birds-eye-view of the tech landscape. While episodes are often tied to a topic circulating in the news, the interviews and roundtable discussions are more evergreen than timely. This is the podcast to go to if, for example, you’re still perplexed by NFTs and want to hear experts on opposing ends of the debate duke it out through nitty-gritty details. While a bit less beginner-friendly than is typical for the Verge, there’s bound to be something personally interesting to you in the wide breadth of topics covered, which all start from a place of more universal appeal. The micro approach to such big, macro topics makes for a comprehensive listen, too.
20. The Gateway
Though this podcast was released in 2018, it was a canary in the coal mine spotlighting the ever-thinning line between influencers with online “followings” and cult leaders with dangerously devoted followers. The investigative Gizmodo miniseries reveals the sinister side of Teal Swan, a YouTube wellness guru who has admitted to algorithmically targeting people at their lowest point of suicidal ideation — only to push her personal ideology that, among other things, doesn’t discourage suicide and sometimes even encourages it. Swan’s story has since continued far beyond what this six-part series covers (with a following that’s only grown and deviated into COVID disinformation). But it remains an essential listen for understanding how her cult following began, and the grey area she represents between online spirituality and dangerous misinformation. [Adapted from our Best Podcasts to Binge roundup]
If buzzwords like “NFT” and “LIDAR technology” make your eyes glaze over, then the Vergecast is the right podcast for you. This bi-weekly show from hosts Nilay Patel and David Pierce (along with other guest contributors and star interviews) distills even the most seemingly impenetrable techy nerd BS into something everyone can not only understand but enjoy. Vergecast brings highly informed and big picture perspectives to coverage of Apple rumors, gadget releases, tech trends, and other Silicon Valley news items — all through honest, personable, and down-to-earth conversations. They’re still total dorks, don’t get me wrong. But they’re dorks you definitely want to hang out with.
22. Future of Storytelling
OK, so remember those old Warner Classic cable TV movie marathons where decorated hosts would present each film with a 10-minute preamble on its significance to culture? Well, that’s the energy that The Future of Storytelling podcast greets you with, especially in how host and organization founder Charlie Melcher introduces his guests. Each interviewee is an innovator bringing art, media, and technology together somehow. If you can make it past the cringe-y (yet still endearing) level of decorum from the intro, you’ll be privy to fascinating conversations with creators who are leading the way in interactive theater, immersive digital art, stop-motion animation, augmented reality games, and so much more.
UPDATE: May. 24, 2022, 10:44 a.m. EDT This article was originally published in April 2021 and updated in May 2022.