Podcasts I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to podcasts for about two years now.  I got into it because I love listening to some NPR programs, but they are always on when I’m at work or asleep on the weekends.  Eventually, I heard on NPR that they have podcasts of various shows.  I checked it out right away because in Maryland NPR is on 88.1 which is always being interfered with by SiriusXM radio receivers.  At first I only listened to a few podcasts because I didn’t own an iPod and I so I burned the podcasts to a CD-R every few days.  That got expensive, so I got an iPod shuffle.  Since podcasts don’t take up too much space, I started getting into more and more podcasts.  Some I discovered in magazines and others were recommendations from Dan.  So, I thought I would share the podcasts I listen to so that those following this blog could perhaps discover some new podcasts they didn’t know about.  Dan, for example, recently got into This American Life.  (I think after I kept telling him about it – but he may have discovered it independently)  I’m going to put links to the actual podcast URL, so just copy that into your podcather or iTunes.

Science

The Naked Scientists – This has nothing to do with nudity.  It’s a British thing, like The Naked Chef.  This great British radio show covers science topics equivalent to what you’d read in Discover Magazine in the USA.  It’s informative while being entertaining, and I learn a lot every week.  (Approx 1 hour long)

Video Games

Giant Bombcast – This is a HILARIOUS podcast that is mostly about video games.  I say it’s mostly about video games because these guys often will go off on random tangents about what energy drinks they have, what they ate, what they did between video gaming, and other topics.  However, they always get back to video games and provide a really fun podcast.  Segments include What You’ve Been Playing, News of the World, New Releases and EMAILS!  My favorite parts are “What You’ve Been Playing” and “New Releases” where they often slag off the crap that ends up in Wiiware and DSiware.  It can be a bit geeky in the same way that some of the tech podcasts I listen to are geeky, (Approx 2.5 hours long)

NPR

American Public Media:  Marketplace – This is a really good economics show.  They talk about news that happened that day as well as stories that have been pre-prepared.  This podcast has really helped me to understand the recession and why it happened as well as whether it is getting any better.  (Approx 30 min long)

Talk of the Nation – Talk of the Nation is a call-in show that discusses news and politics Mon-Thurs and science on Friday.  It also has a special focus on Politics on Wed, although politics can be discussed on Mon, Tues, and Thursday as well.  The show usually has one guest on each side of an issue or one guest if they’re talking about a book or movie.  The hosts are very civil and keep opposing guests from the stupid fighting often seen on cable news networks.  They will also apologize for rude callers.  So I love this show to get a general view of the news without the BS of cable news.  I really like this show a lot.  The science section is of the same quality of The Naked Scientists, but they usually cover a bunch of stories and have a lot more call in with less time so they can’t be as thorough.  (Approx 30 min long)

Fresh Air – Fresh Air is one of NPR’s most famous shows.  It is similar in topic scope as Talk of the Nation, but without any listener call-in.  Also, it tends to have a heavier focus on cultural topics (books, movies, etc).  Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air for decades and is a master at interviewing her guests.  Every once in a while there is a guest host or the interview is conducted by a specialist in that industry.  (Approx 1 hour)

Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me – This is a hilarious news quiz show that features guest panelists that rotate from a roster of regulars.  Former NPR news super-star Carl Kassel is the judge of the show.  It alternates between quizzing the guest panelists and call-in guests.  It’s been on for a little over 10 years and in the last few years has been taped in front of an audience (most of the time in Chicago).  My favorite part is when they ask their questions in the form of a limerick.  The only bad part is when they go on the road for their shows, sometimes the audio isn’t as good.  (Approx 30 min long)

On The Media – Although not always perfect and although it leans a little more left than moderate, On the Media is a good podcast about media issues.  Examples include: truth in advertising, misleading news stories on the cable networks, debunking PR-speak from the White House, and other media literacy items.  I tend to enjoy it nearly all the time and it’s a good balance to news on both sides of the spectrum, calling out CNN as often as Fox News. (Approx 1 hour long)

Media Matters – This podcast is nearly as far to the left as Fox News is to the right.  I listen to it because, other than Keith Olberman on MSNBC, there aren’t really that many places that look at the far left of issues.  I find myself often disagreeing with the people interviewed, but I find it interesting to see their point of view.  On the plus side, they tend not to trade in fear mongering like those on the right often do (I’m looking at you Glen Beck).  (Approx 1 hour long)

This American Life – This is an AWESOME podcast and is often my favorite one to listen to each week.  Ira Glass introduces a series of stories that all revolve around a particular theme.  The production rocks and the stories are nearly always very interesting.  It’s hard to properly describe it – you just need to listen to a few episodes and you’ll probably be hooked.  (Approx 1 hour long)

Computers and Technology

The Commandline Podcast – This is a pretty technical podcast.  If you aren’t a computer geek, you probably won’t enjoy it.  But if you ARE a computer geek, this show, by Thomas “Cmdline” Gideon, is a really well produced show.  Cmdline goes back and forth between a news-related podcast and a meditative-based podcast.  The meditative ones contain wisdom from Cmdline’s many years in the tech world. (Approx 30 min long)

FLOSS Weekly – This is a weekly podcast (duh!) about free, libre, and open source software.  It’s another geeky podcast and if you aren’t into the open source movement, you’ll probably find it boring.  If you DO like open source news, they tend to get interviews with really neat project maintainers and the hosts are all Titans in the open source world:  Jono Bacon, Randal Schwartz, and Leo Laporte. (Approx 60 min long) edit:  corrected to 60 min from 30 min

Linux Outlaws – A pretty good Linux podcast.  Dan (British) and Fab (German) talk about the latest news and releases in the Linux world.  As with most of the other podcasts in this category, I don’t recommend it if you’re not really into Linux.  They are approachable, but if you don’t like Linux, there isn’t much here.  They tend to run really long and it can be annoying sometimes.  Unlike Giant Bombcast, they only have two hosts so tangents don’t lead to as many funny moments.  (Approx 2.5 hours)

Shot of Jaq – Shot of Jaq is a podcast by LugRadio veterans Stuart “Aq” Langridge and Jono Bacon.  Whereas LugRadio was often 2 hours long and focused on Linux, Shot of Jaq is 10 minutes long and focused on technology in general with a slant towards FLOSS.  It’s the shortest podcast I listen to and they usually talk about interesting topics.  It takes the form of a conversation between the hosts almost as a classical Lincoln-Douglas debate as they are often on opposite sides of an issue.  (Approx 10 minutes long)

Spectrum Podcasts – This is the official podcast of IEEE Spectrum.  It’s OK.  But it’s not too long and they have decent interviews.  (Approx 15 minutes long)

This Week in Photography – A Photography podcast featuring a revolving cast of four professional photographers.  It seems to follow the same format of Giant Bombcast, except about Photography.  It starts out with general conversation followed by news.  Then there’s an interview with an industry giant, followed by picks of the week where they talk about hardware and software people should try out.  Then they read emails and end the show.  It’s pretty good if you’re into photography. (Approx 45 min long)

Tux Radar – Yet another Linux podcast.  It’s the official podcast of Linux Format Magazine.  They talk about Linux and joke around.  It’s pretty good; I’d probably give it a 7.5/10. (Approx 45 min long)

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me

4 thoughts on “Podcasts I’m Listening To”

  1. Thanks for mentioning FLOSS Weekly!

    Just a small correction – we’re more often around the 60 minute mark, not 30. We usually have about 5 minutes of introduction, 40 to 60 minutes in the interview portion, and 5 to 15 minutes of outro (upcoming guests, personal plugs, etc).

    1. It’s pretty awesome to have comments from tech world rock stars. Thanks for commenting.

      I guess you guys just do such a great job interviewing that the time flies by and I thought it was 30 min long. (My shuffle doesn’t have a screen and gPodder doesn’t list the episode lengths) I’ve corrected the time to 60 min.

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