Jeff Schectman, Best podcasts 2020 part 1
WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman. Photo credit: Peter B. Collins and Jeff Schechtman

Podcasts, like radio before them, have become the conversations that shape our perception of the world. The intimacy of voices in your car, in your earbuds, or in the dark has transformed how we listen and learn.

The great and growing popularity of podcasts no doubt reflects their ability to convey useful information in a frank, intimate, and uncluttered fashion. 

From the 62 podcasts WhoWhatWhy published in 2020, we have selected 10 for our annual “Best of” list, which we believe represents a kind of audio time capsule — capturing what we have lived through, felt, and thought during the past 12 months. 

Here are the first five; we will add five more next Friday. Of course, you can always find YOUR favorites by going directly to our podcast page


Robert Maxwell, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Ghislaine Maxwell, Alan Dershowitz, Vladimir Putin, William Barr, Mossad, Jeffrey Epstein, SVR

Left to right top row: Robert Maxwell, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Ghislaine Maxwell. Left to right bottom row: Alan Dershowitz, Vladimir Putin, William Barr, and Prince Andrew. Inset: Mossad logo, Jeffrey Epstein, and SVR logo. Photo credit: unknown / Wikimedia, The White House / Wikimedia, Ghislaine Maxwell / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0), Sage Ross / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0), President of the Russia / Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0), US Senate / Wikimedia, Chatham House / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0), Mossad / Wikimedia, Department of Justice / Wikimedia, and Espfutbol98 / Wikimedia.

Jeffrey Epstein: Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Back in January, we thought this could be one of the top stories of the year. It’s still one we should not forget.

fires, New South Wales, Australia

Brush fires turned the sky orange at the beach in Merewether, New South Wales, Australia, on December 6, 2019.
Photo credit: Tim J Keegan / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Australia’s Climate Apocalypse: Up Close and Personal

While other subjects have drowned it out, climate change still remains our greatest threat. Back in January we talked with Judith Crispin, an eyewitness to the Australian “fire apocalypse.” It was a precursor of what we were to see in California and the West. 

Why Is Everybody So Damn Angry?

In February, we spoke with media analyst Martin Gurri in what was a kind of prophecy of everything from Trump to masks. Gurri talks about the American public’s relentless desire to destroy the established order without any clue about what comes next. 

Fruit bat

Fruit bat on branch. Photo credit: USDA (PDF)

Why Do Pandemics Often Start With Bats?

While we were all reading last year’s top ten lists, somewhere in China the coronavirus pandemic began with a virus moving from bats to pigs and, ultimately, to the first human. How it happened and why bats are the vector is important to understand.

Vladimir Putin, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump

Photo credit: <href=”″ target=”_blank”>President of Russia (CC BY 4.0), Barack Obama Archives, George W Bush Archives, and President of Russia (CC BY 4.0).

Putin, Putin, Putin

From impeachment to poisoning to the recent hacking, with the exception of Donald Trump, no public figure occupies more of the world’s psychological real estate than Vladimir Putin. A look at this year would not be complete without a look at Putin. 


  • 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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