Podcasts I’m Listening to 2011

It’s been a little over a year, so I wanted to make a new, updated list of the podcasts I’m currently listening to.  For shows I covered before, I’m just going to copy the description over, verbatim.

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”.  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)

Public Radio

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

Computers and Technology

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. It was moved to a new recording time and so it lost Jono Bacon and Leo Laporte as hosts.  Randal Schwartz hosts with a revolving set of co-hosts.  I tend to pick and choose episodes based on whether the guest is interesting.  (Approx 60 min long)
Tux Radar – A 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)
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)
This Week in Fedora – A short podcast in which each episode is an interview with someone working on the Fedora distribution of Linux. (Approx 30 min long)
The Frostcast – A short podcast in which each episode is an interview with someone from the Linux community.  I tend to pick and choose the episodes I listen to based on whether the project interests me (Approx 30 min long)

Photography

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. The only annoying thing is that most of the hosts are from California so the show often devolves into an annoying Apple Fanboy Circle Jerk.  Get around those parts and the show is great.   (Approx 45 min long)
Film Photography Podcast – This is a great podcast featuring 3 guys who are really into film photography.  Their collective knowledge is almost encyclopedic.  Each show focuses on a particular camera or technique, but also includes listener feedback and news.  They also give away cameras and film that are donated to the show.  All you have to do to be eligible for a giveaway is to send them an email.  For a three-man podcast they do an incredible job of staying on topic.  The only thing that’s really annoying is their constant use of dumb sound clips and sound effects.  Whether or not this bothers you enough to keep you from listening depends upon your temperament. (Approx 1.5 hours long)

Comedy

WTF with Marc Maron – This is a pretty solid podcast which mostly consists of Marc Maron interviewing comedians.  As with any interview-based show, the episodes are hit or miss, although more often than not they are really good.  Occasionally he does a live show in which he’s still interviewing people, but with 4-6 per episode it’s much less in-depth.  And, since it has an audience, the guest is performing more than being open.  The only irritating thing is that Marc starts off each episode with a rant/listener email reading.  Most of the time this is neither interesting nor funny.  Clearly the reason people are tuning is is to hear the interviews or they’d take up a minority of the show instead of the bulk of the show.  So I wish he’d do his rant at the end of the episode so that those of us who just want to hear a great interview with a comedian we like can easily skip the monologue.  (Approx 1.5 hours long)

To add these to your own podcatcher, visit this page to pick them individually.  Or visit this link to automatically add all of them into your podcatcher.

Author: Eric Mesa

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