9 Successful Solo Podcasts with Only One Person Speaking

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To host a podcast takes skill. Thinking about pacing, tone of voice, and articulation while still delivering content to listeners in an engaging way is a practice that takes time and effort to perfect.

While interview format podcasts allow for interaction akin to a conversation, solo podcasts with only one person speaking can feel unnatural and awkward when first starting out. Sitting in front of a microphone and being expected to entertain for up to an hour in some instances isn’t something that comes naturally to the vast majority of people, however, with time and practice, this can become second nature.

Podcasts with only One Person

One of the best ways to hone a skill such as this is to look to those who are competent already. Role models and inspirations can help you set goals and push yourself to continue improving no matter how unnatural it may feel.

In this article, we will be showing you some successful solo podcasts from a wide array of different genres to help inspire you when it comes to hosting your own show.

Live From the 405

Topic area: Comedy

Name of host(s): Luke Allein

Year of launch: 2018

Length of episodes: 90 – 120 Minutes

Release schedule: Weekly

Description: Our first solo podcast is none other than Live From the 405. As a way to pass the time during his commute to and from work (which in traffic could be from 5-7 hours), Allein began to host a comedy rant show from inside his car.

Each episode is largely unscripted, with just a few topics of conversation which Allein proceeds to rant about for the duration. His background in writing and producing sketch comedy shines through in the way he approaches all manner of points, from drums to Chipotle.

If you are looking to start a solo comedy podcast and are in need of inspiration, Luke Allein should come as a gold standard.

The Creative Penn Podcast for Writers

Topic area: Writing

Name of host(s): Joanna Penn

Year of launch: 2017

Length of episodes: 50 – 120 Minutes

Release schedule: Weekly

Description: As a New York Times best-selling author of over 30 books, it is no surprise Joanna Penn knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful author.

The Creative Penn Podcast is a solo show hosted by Penn herself with the aim to teach writers of all levels the intricacies of the industry. Her diverse range of subjects, coupled with a passion for creative arts has generated over 100 episodes over the past 4 years, each of which is packed full of vital information and inspiration for creatives.

With a loyal listener base and new episodes each week, Penn is a great example for all aspiring solo educational podcast hosts.

Flash Forward

Topic area: The Future

Name of host(s): Rose Eveleth

Year of launch: 2015

Length of episodes: 30 – 60 Minutes

Release schedule: Twice a month

Description: Turning the history podcast genre on its head, Eveleth has found success as a solo podcast host carving out a niche for her show about potentialities in the near to distant future and analyzing how these futures will affect the human race.

Each episode paints a picture of the future like a scene from a utopia or dystopia novel, which Eveleth then deconstructs with research and interviews with experts in particular fields, analyzing how this world may affect our day-to-day life, and how it is we may come to get there.

The show has garnered critical acclaim over its half a decade of production, proving the what-if concept and captivating solo host to be an incredibly popular combination.

The Lazy Genius Podcast

Topic area: Non-fiction

Name of host(s): Kendra

Year of launch: 2016

Length of episodes: 10 – 30 Minutes

Release schedule: Weekly

Description: From spices to list-making, The Lazy Genius Podcast’s mantra is simple – to teach listeners how to be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about those that don’t,

This reimagining of the self-help ethos translated into digestible episodes you can listen to while you go about your day-to-day business has been a huge hit. With nearly 200 episodes as of writing, the show has spawned a collective, a frequently updated blog, and most recently a book.

With a simple but wide-reaching concept, Kendra serves as a great example of the success solo podcasting can gain, and the ways in which you can branch out to capitalize on this.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Topic area: History

Name of host(s): Dan Carlin

Year of launch: 2006

Length of episodes: 3 – 6 Hours

Release schedule: Monthly

Description: History podcasts aren’t a new phenomenon. People have broached the topic of ancient to modern history in podcast form in every conceivable way. However, if you ask any history podcast buff to name the standout shows, Dan Carlin’s name is sure to come up.

When it comes to solo long-form storytelling, Carlin is the king. His widely popular Hardcore History is unlike other shows as instead of splitting his sagas up into smaller chunks, Carlin goes against the grain, producing episodes spanning multiple hours.

This method of hosting takes incredible stamina and charisma, both of which Carlin has in excess. For those budding storytellers, you cannot skip this show.

Casefile True Crime

Topic area: True Crime

Name of host(s): Anonymous

Year of launch: 2016

Length of episodes: 30 – 90 Minutes

Release schedule: Weekly

Description: With a topic as bound up in mystery as true crime is, an enigmatic anonymous host is a stroke of pure genius. Choosing to remain unknown, the host’s persona only adds to the allure and intrigue created by the atmospheric recounts heard in the Casefile podcast.

Since 2016 Casefile has been a well-oiled machine producing weekly thriller episodes complete with magnetic storytelling and unique compositions to boot. It is clear that an incredible amount of thought is put into writing, recording, and producing this show, as the final product never falls short of incredibly high quality.

You Must Remember This

Topic area: Hollywood History

Name of host(s): Karina Longworth

Year of launch: 2014

Length of episodes: 30 – 60 Minutes

Release schedule: Weekly

Description: You Must Remember This is one of the best film podcasts around. Focusing on the history of Hollywood, Karina Longworth’s solo hosted show is both heavily researched, and creatively executed.

This should be expected of course, as Longworth’s background in film journalism, as well as film editing, makes her the perfect fit to host a show that features long-forgotten facets of the movie business. This is reflected in the praise the podcast has garnered over the years from Esquire, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly to name a few.

You Must Remember This goes to show that you can find success in whatever topic you choose, no matter how niche it may be.


Topic area: Technology News

Name of host(s): Stephen Hackett & Jason Snell

Year of launch: 2018

Length of episodes: 1 – 5 Minutes

Release schedule: Daily

Description: Our next pick is in many ways a curveball. Subnet is an ultra-concise show that bundles the current tech news in quick episodes that can be consumed in the time it takes to make a coffee.

This show has alternating hosts, both Hackett and Snell, which aids in keeping each episode fresh. Daily shows can often fall victim to becoming repetitive and therefore mundane. Subnet avoids this issue by strategically alternating solo hosts each day to give the listeners familiar, yet novel news bursts about all things tech.

Myths and Legends

Topic area: Mythology

Name of host(s): Jason Weiser

Year of launch: 2015

Length of episodes: 30 – 60 Minutes

Release schedule: Weekly

Description: While non-fiction podcasts about the past have proven to be an incredibly fruitful area over the last few years, Jason Weiser proves that the past doesn’t have to be real to be entertaining. Weiser has made a name for himself as an adept and charismatic storyteller since he started recounting tales from the past in 2015.

While some myths and legends may be hard to follow due to how wildly different the world was when they were written, Weiser manages to recount these legends to listeners in a way that is both entertaining, and easy to follow.

In Conclusion

From history to the future, rants, to writing, a solo hosted podcast can be successful no matter what the topic. These are just a few solo hosts who have found success in their work, and while this list is by no means definitive, by taking a listen to our top picks you should have a better understanding of what it takes to create a solo show that stands out from the crowd.

Still after more inspiration on how to get your podcast to the top of the charts? Check out our article on ‘7 Podcasts with Good Voices for Inspiration’.