Best Podcasts of 2020 Part 2
Photo credit: Peter B. Collins and Jeff Schechtman

In a world of 280-character sound bites, talk radio misinformation, cable television shouting, and political violence, podcasts have become the go-to place for civilized conversation.

The explosion of podcasts no doubt reflects their unique ability to convey information in an intimate and uncluttered fashion. 

From the many podcasts WhoWhatWhy published in 2021, we have selected 10 for our annual “Best of” list, which we believe represents a kind of overview audio diary — capturing what we lived through, felt, and thought during the past 12 months. 

Last week we included the first five; here are the final five of our curated list of podcasts that we think reflect the momentous year we’ve experienced. Of course, you can always find YOUR favorites by going directly to our podcast page

Software Could End the World

It would take only one flaw. In billions of lines of code, one flaw — and the banking system, power grid, Pentagon, air traffic control system, hospitals, and the world’s logistics can all be taken down. And the effort may already be underway. A conversation with New York Times cybersecurity correspondent Nicole Perlroth.

Emancipation, Juneteenth, Texas African American History Memorial

The African American History Memorial on the Texas State Capitol grounds in downtown Austin, TX, January 1, 2021. The monument honors the contributions of African Americans in Texas in several representations. The central portion of the memorial dramatically depicts Juneteenth in Texas (June 19, 1865), when African Americans were freed from slavery. Photo credit: C Hanchey / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Juneteenth to July 4th: The Ongoing Quest for Freedom

Why is Juneteenth having its national moment now? A conversation with Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed.

When the Metaverse and Evolution Collide

Is the “metaverse” or any totally digital world good for us? Can our mental capacities evolve fast enough to exist in the digital world without anxiety and anger? A talk with sometimes controversial evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying.


Truth sign constructed at Burning Man in 2007. Photo credit: Jason / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A Constitution of Knowledge

Why can we no longer talk in good faith about a shared reality? Why do we suddenly have to define what we mean by “truth”? These are a few of the questions we discuss with journalist, author, and Brookings Institution fellow Jonathan Rauch. 

America Is No Longer a Serious Nation

We have become a nation of narcissistic adolescents. We want what we want when we want it,  and if we don’t get it, we stomp our feet at the ballot box. This according to author, journalist, and professor at the Naval War College Tom Nichols.


  • Jeff Schechtman

    Jeff Schechtman’s career spans movies, radio stations and podcasts. After spending twenty-five years in the motion picture industry as a producer and executive, he immersed himself in journalism, radio, and more recently the world of podcasts. To date he has conducted over ten-thousand interviews with authors, journalists, and thought leaders. Since March of 2015, he has conducted over 315 podcasts for

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