Once again I used a script to pull out the official descriptions of the podcasts as well as the URL where I access the feed. After the official description you’ll see my commentary about the podcast.
5-4 Pod – Official Description:5-4 is a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks. It’s a progressive and occasionally profane take on the ideological battles at the heart of the Court’s most important landmark cases; an irreverent tour of all the ways in which the law is shaped by politics. Presented by Slow Burn co-creator Leon Neyfakh, 5-4 is a production of Prologue Projects. Eric’s Commentary: If you really want to see how crazy it is that 9 men and women who server for life have such control over American life, you can be silly like me and listen to this show. I often find the topics and conclusions depressing (whether it’s the current Supreme Court or one from the past) The hosts are entertaining, though. They’re all practicing or former lawyers.
On the Media – Official Description: The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear. Eric’s Commentary: It’s not always about politics, but that’s often a key reasons for a lot of the media matters they discuss – especially over the past 2 decades.
Political Gabfest – Official Description: Voted “Favorite Political Podcast” by Apple Podcasts listeners. Stephen Colbert says "Everybody should listen to the Slate Political Gabfest." The Gabfest, featuring Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.
Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu – Official Description: W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu are comedians who take politics seriously and longtime friends, trying to help keep each other sane. Join them as they pull the alarm on the dumpster fire that is American politics, and talk to the creators, thinkers, and leaders doing the work to defend and reinvent our democracy. Eric’s Commentary: They haven’t had an episode in a long time. But at some point they resurrected the feed without warning so I keep it around.
What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law – Official Description: Professor Elizabeth Joh teaches Intro to Constitutional Law and most of the time this is a pretty straight forward job. But when Trump came into office, everything changed. During the four years of the Trump presidency, Professor Joh would check Twitter five minutes before each class to find out what the 45th President had said and how it jibes with 200 years of the judicial branch interpreting and ruling on the Constitution. Acclaimed podcaster Roman Mars (99% Invisible) was so anxious about all the norms and laws being tested in the Trump era that he asked his neighbor, Elizabeth, to explain what was going on in the world from a Constitutional law perspective. Even after Trump left office, there is still so much for Roman to learn. What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law is a weekly, fun, casual Con Law 101 class that uses the tumultuous activities of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches to teach us all about the US Constitution.
More Perfect – Official Description: More Perfect is a series about the Supreme Court. More Perfect explores how cases inside the rarefied world of the Supreme Court affect our lives far away from the bench.
Throughline – Official Description: The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.
The World Around Us
99% Invisible – Official Description: Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we’ve just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at https://99percentinvisible.org. Eric’s Commentary: This podcast almost always surprises me with how much thought has gone into the smallest design aspects in our lives.
The Allusionist – Official Description: Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman. TheAllusionist.org Eric’s Commentary: If you’re a language nerd, you’ll love this podcast. Helen Zaltzman talks about the origins of words or how they evolve. Recently it has branched out to other languages. There was a really neat episode about a nordic country and how they went about coming up with words for genitalia that were neither clinical nor “dirty”.
Articles of Interest – Official Description: Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear. Produced and Hosted by Avery Trufelman. Eric’s Commentary: This spun out of a mini-series in 99% invisible. It’s kind of the same thing, but about clothes. Their most recent season was about American Ivy (which evolved into preppy).
Freakonomics Radio – Official Description: Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers.
Radiolab – Official Description: Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.
Radiolab for Kids Presents: Terrestrials – Official Description: A show where we uncover the strangeness right here on Earth
Alt.Latino – Official Description: The global Latinx community is evolving and growing fast. Alt.Latino is here to celebrate it and all of its nuances through music. Each episode, NPR Music’s Felix Contreras and Anamaria Sayre sit down with a different living legend or rising star to discuss Latinx culture, heritage, and the shared borders of our experiences. Let the chisme begin! Eric’s Commentary: This podcast has evolved a bit in the past year. In the past I’d used it to find new music because each episode would feature a few songs around some theme or that had recently come out. It has morphed into primarily an interview show. This doesn’t mean it hasn’t introduced me to music. It was responsible for getting me on the Rosalia train last year.
Ardan Labs Podcast – Official Description: This podcast features intimate conversations with engineers who are in the forefront of building or teaching technology. Join us as we learn how our guests got started in tech, the type and level of education they’ve obtained, their work history, and personal stories about their journey. We publish the show on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and the Web biweekly on Wednesdays at 12pm US Eastern Time. Subscribe and STAY TUNED! Eric’s Commentary: I just started listening to this podcast a few weeks ago and I’ve already heard some pretty fascinating interviews with programmers. Eventually it ends up talking about Go (Golang) programming, but the host takes the interviewee through their entire computing history. It’s kind of like Talk Python to Me meets WTF! With Marc Maron.
Cup o’ Go – Official Description: Stay up to date with the Go community in just 15 minutes per week Eric’s Commentary: It’s an interesting description because (at least in the few episodes I’ve heard of this young podcast), there’s a 15 minute news section followed by an interview of 30 or more minutes.
Go Time: Golang, Software Engineering – Official Description: Your source for diverse discussions from around the Go community. This show records LIVE every Tuesday at 3pm US Eastern. Join the Golang community and chat with us during the show in the #gotimefm channel of Gophers slack. Panelists include Mat Ryer, Jon Calhoun, Natalie Pistunovich, Johnny Boursiquot, Angelica Hill, Kris Brandow, and Ian Lopshire. We discuss cloud infrastructure, distributed systems, microservices, Kubernetes, Docker… oh and also Go! Eric’s Commentary: This show is somewhat unique in that, as you can see in the description, they have a huge panel from which to choose. So you never know which hosts are going to be in any episode. Leads to a dynamic listening experience.
Python Bytes – Official Description: Python Bytes is a weekly podcast hosted by Michael Kennedy and Brian Okken. The show is a short discussion on the headlines and noteworthy news in the Python, developer, and data science space.
Talk Python To Me – Official Description: Talk Python to Me is a weekly podcast hosted by developer and entrepreneur Michael Kennedy. We dive deep into the popular packages and software developers, data scientists, and incredible hobbyists doing amazing things with Python. If you’re new to Python, you’ll quickly learn the ins and outs of the community by hearing from the leaders. And if you’ve been Pythoning for years, you’ll learn about your favorite packages and the hot new ones coming out of open source.
Television and Movies
Boars, Gore, and Swords – Official Description: Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott break down every episode of Watchmen, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Counterpart, Lovecraft Country, WandaVision, and now Loki. For questions, rants, and praise, follow us on twitter at @boarsgoreswords. Eric’s Commentary:This started off (as you can probably tell from the title) as a Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire podcast. It’s branched out to cover movies and TV shows that tend to be geeky/nerdy in nature. Most recently, they’ve been covering The Last of Us.
Doesn’t Sound like Anything to Me: A Westworld Recap – Official Description: Writer Ivan Hernandez and comedian Red Scott break down everything Westworld, including every episode of the HBO series and also the original movies. Eric’s Commentary: It’s the same guys as Bore, Gore, and Swords. With the premature cancelling of Westworld, this is probably defunct, but I’ll keep the feed another year in case Red and Ivan do something with it.
Failure to Adapt – Official Description: Is the book always better? Are they better off as Movies?? Finally, an answer. Author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Comic Red Scott talk media that moves from one form to another. Whether it’s Stephen King books becoming Steven Spielberg movies, Fairy Tales loosely inspiring animated Disney musicals, or People transmuting into Wolves, this is the podcast with the conviction and insight to determine a story’s correct form. Eric’s Commentary: This is the same Red Scott as the previous two pocasts, but this time paired with Maggie Takuda-Hall. It results in a different dynamic with a slightly more thoughtful (but no less funny) Red Scott.
How Did This Get Made? – Official Description: Have you ever seen a movie so bad that it’s amazing? Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas want to hear about it! We’ll watch it with our funniest friends, and report back to you with the results. Eric’s Commentary: This show can be funny, but I’m just as likely to skip an episode as listen to one. There are a lot of crazy movies out there, more than I need to know about. If I had one complaint, it’s that over the years it’s shifted a bit away from the title (for an example, listen to the Super Mario Bros episode – the one with Bob Hoskins, not the one that comes out in 2023) and it’s just riffing on how bad the movies are.
Twinsies – Official Description: Every two weeks, comedians TJ Chambers and Andy Wood get together to take a look at what happens when Hollywood has the same idea twice.
Unclear and Present Danger – Official Description: New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie and freelance writer John Ganz delve into the world of 90s post-Cold War thrillers with Unclear and Present Danger, a podcast that explores America in an age of transition to lone superpower, at once triumphant and unsure of its role in the world.
Unspooled – Official Description: Listen up, film fans! Actor and comedian Paul Scheer and film critic Amy Nicholson want your advice as they make the ultimate list of the greatest movies of all time. In Season 1, they watched every one of the AFI’s Top 100 films…and decided they could kick off half. Now, they’re filling in the gaps by investigating wildly diverse areas of film through miniseries on topics like horror movies, documentaries and romantic comedies, with help from listeners’ picks. Along the way, they’ll dissect iconic scenes, spotlight their favorite characters, and talk to some of the actors and directors who worked on these classics. And when Unspooled has built their own list of the best movies on earth, they’ll blast them into space to be immortalized for eternity. Seriously.
Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen – Official Description: Rob Paulsen, one of the most accomplished and well-known voice actors of our time, sits down with various other voice actors to discuss their experiences! And yes, of course, there’ll be plenty of voice acting games from script-reading to re-enacting famous film scenes with cartoon character voices.
ZOOM – Official Description: ZOOM is a new podcast from Focus Features for movie lovers who want to know everything. Fueled by the inquisitive mind of film critic and host Amy Nicholson (“Unspooled,” “Halloween Unmasked”), each episode uses a modern-day movie as a launch pad to discover mind-bending facts about science, technology, and history. What kind of planet might E.T. come from? Do superstar horses “act”? Which Edwardian rules of etiquette could trip up Downton Abbey’s Lord Grantham? Featuring interviews with an eclectic mix of experts and filmmakers, ZOOM explores Hollywood’s uncharted questions.
Business and Finance
Business Wars – Official Description: Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights — or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. Eric’s Commentary: many of these series are very interesting, especially when you see how history has set up the business world we have today. I tend to skip the businesses I don’t care about.
The Indicator from Planet Money – Official Description: A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money,The Indicator helps you make sense of what’s happening today. It’s a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons.
Marketplace – Official Description: Every weekday, host Kai Ryssdal helps you make sense of the day’s business and economic news — no econ degree or finance background required. “Marketplace” takes you beyond the numbers, bringing you context. Our team of reporters all over the world speak with CEOs, policymakers and regular people just trying to get by.
Planet Money – Official Description: Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don’t just understand the economy – understand the world.
Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford – Official Description: We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and they are all true. Tim Harford (Financial Times, BBC, author of “The Data Detective”) brings you stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, and hilarious fiascos. They’ll delight you, scare you, but also make you wiser. New episodes every other Friday. Eric’s Commentary: This is somewhat similar in content to You are Not So Smart in the sense that the stories tend to be about how our intuition often leads us astray.
You Are Not So Smart – Official Description: You Are Not So Smart is a show about psychology that celebrates science and self delusion. In each episode, we explore what we’ve learned so far about reasoning, biases, judgments, and decision-making.
Codebreaker, by Marketplace and Tech Insider – Official Description: None Eric’s Commentary: A tech podcast. Season 1 asked the question “Is it Evil?” of various technologies. still on my feed, but hasn’t release a new episode since Dec 2016.
Command Line Heroes – Official Description: Stories about the people transforming technology from the command line up. Eric’s Commentary: A podcast produced by Red Hat that tackles different tech topics, organized around a seasonal topic. Season 2 was about programming languages and introduced me to the Python podcasts that I listen to. Season 3 was about the history of computer hardware. Season 4 was about malware. It’s been on hiatus since May 2022.
Compiler – Official Description: When it comes to technology, you may have questions. So do we. Every other week, we demystify the tech industry, one answer at a time. Join us as we bring together a chorus of perspectives from within Red Hat to break down the big, emerging ideas that matter both today and beyond. Compiler is hosted by Angela Andrews and Brent Simoneaux. Learn more about our show at redhat.com/en/compiler-podcast. Eric’s Commentary: Seems to be Red Hat’s main podcast since Commandline Heroes is on hiatus. It seems to be focuses towards leaders in the tech field.
Open Source Security Podcast – Official Description: A security podcast geared towards those looking to better understand security topics of the day. Hosted by Kurt Seifried and Josh Bressers covering a wide range of topics including IoT, application security, operational security, cloud, devops, and security news of the day. There is a special open source twist to the discussion often giving a unique perspective on any given topic.
Non-Financial, Non-Political News and Current Events
Common Sense with Dan Carlin – Official Description: Loud, fast-talking and deceptively funny, this politically-independent “forward-thinking pragmatist” looks at the events shaping our world through a uniquely American lens. It’s smarter than you think, and faster than you expect. Eric’s Commentary: I like this show because Dan Carlin takes the same analytical mind he uses for Hardcore Histroy and applies it to current events. There hasn’t been a new episode in a while because Dan Carlin believes if the left and right are so far apart from each other, there isn’t a point in a common sense show.
The Daily Show: Ears Edition – Official Description: Listen to highlights and extended interviews in the “Ears Edition” of The Daily Show. From Comedy Central’s Podcast Network Eric’s Commentary: It’s a way to hear the whole episode of the Daily Show if you’re too busy to watch it. They also have segments where they go deeper into some of the show topics.
Fresh Air – Official Description: Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.
Misc Pop Culture
Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend – Official Description: After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that. Deeper, unboundedly playful, and free from FCC regulations, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most and perhaps find some real friendship along the way. Eric’s Commentary: Tends to be a funnier version of WTF or similar to Smartless. That is, unless it’s one of Conan’s buddies, then it devolves into madness.
Decoder Ring – Official Description: Decoder Ring is the show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters. Eric’s Commentary: Somewhat like 99% Invisible except about pop culture.
Intentionally Blank – Official Description: Join bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells as they search for the perfect podcast name and talk about the weird things they love—such as food heists, the perfect popcorn salt, and whether any art can truly be perfect. Listen for commentary on movies, TV shows, books, video games, and wherever else their conversation leads them. Eric’s Commentary: Funny in a dad jokes sort of way.
It’s Been a Minute – Official Description: Has it been a minute since you heard a thought-provoking conversation about culture? Brittany Luse wants to help. Each week, she takes the things everyone’s talking about and, in conversation with her favorite creators, tastemakers, and experts, gives you new ways to think about them. Beyond the obvious takes. Because culture doesn’t happen by accident.
SmartLess – Official Description: SmartLess with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett is a podcast that connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity. A nice surprise: in each episode of SmartLess, one of the hosts reveals his mystery guest to the other two. What ensues is a genuinely improvised and authentic conversation filled with laughter and newfound knowledge to feed the SmartLess mind.
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast – Official Description: Marc Maron welcomes comedians, actors, directors, writers, authors, musicians and folks from all walks of life to his home for amazingly revealing conversations. Marc’s probing, comprehensive interview style allows guests to express themselves in ways listeners have never heard.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – Official Description: In Hardcore History journalist and broadcaster Dan Carlin takes his; ”Martian”, unorthodox way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This isn’t academic history (and Carlin isn’t a historian) but the podcast’s unique blend of high drama, masterful narration and Twilight Zone-style twists has entertained millions of listeners. Eric’s Commentary: It’s months and months between episodes, but it SO good that it’s worth waiting for.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: Addendum – Official Description: Interviews, musings and extra material from the makers of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. If it did not fit in the HH feed it’s probably here. Eric’s Commentary: Sometimes Dan Carlin tries to use this to bridge the gap between Hardcore History episodes, but it doesn’t come out all that often either.
The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds – Official Description: Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds picks a subject from history and examine it. Eric’s Commentary: Dave is telling the story and Gareth doesn’t know the topic. They riff on the insanity of history. Let me tell you, this show has shown me that humanity has always been bonkers!
Tides of History – Official Description: Everywhere around us are echoes of the past. Those echoes define the boundaries of states and countries, how we pray and how we fight. They determine what money we spend and how we earn it at work, what language we speak and how we raise our children. From Wondery, host Patrick Wyman, PhD (“Fall Of Rome”) helps us understand our world and how it got to be the way it is.
Short Fiction Podcasts
Escape Pod – Official Description: The Original Science Fiction Podcast. Eric’s Commentary: This podcast features great selections of short stories. I added it to my podcatcher to get a dose of fiction among the more non-fiction podcasts I usually listen to. Also, there’s something great about short-form fiction where you have to build the world AND tell the story in a very concise way.
The Experiment – Official Description: Each week, we tell the story of what happens when individual people confront deeply held American ideals in their own lives. We’re interested in the cultural and political contradictions that reveal who we are. Eric’s Commentary: This podcast can be pretty eye-opening about topics I haven’t experienced personally.
FiveThirtyEight Politics – Official Description: Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight team cover the latest in politics, tracking the issues and “game-changers” every week.Eric’s Commentary: What I like most about this political show is that it tends to be pretty no-nonsense. The hosts try to back up their points and it usually helps frame current political events for me.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Culture
Imaginary Worlds – Official Description: Imaginary Worlds sounds like what would happen if NPR went to ComicCon and decided that’s all they ever wanted to cover. Host Eric Molinsky spent over a decade working as a public radio reporter and producer, and he uses those skills to create thoughtful, sound-rich episodes about science fiction, fantasy, and other genres of speculative fiction. Every other week, he talks with comic book artists, game designers, novelists, screenwriters, filmmakers, and fans about how they craft their worlds, why we suspend our disbelief, and what happens if the spell is broken. Imaginary worlds may be set on distant planets or parallel dimensions, but they are crafted here on Earth, and they’re always about us and our lived experiences. Eric’s Commentary: Somewhat like Decoder Ring or 99% Invisible, but about genre fiction. Recent interesting episodes included looking at the SFF scene in Ukraine, and looking at found footage SFF.
Our Opinions Are Correct – Official Description: Explore the meaning of science fiction, and how it’s relevant to real-life science and society. Your hosts are Annalee Newitz, a science journalist who writes science fiction, and Charlie Jane Anders, a science fiction writer who is obsessed with science. Every two weeks, we take deep dives into science fiction books, movies, television, and comics that will expand your mind — and maybe change your life
The Sword and Laser – Official Description: Read along with the Sword and Laser book club! From classic science fiction to the latest gritty fantasy, we cover it. Subscribe for book discussions, author interviews, hot releases, and news from the genre fiction world!
The Infinite Monkey Cage – Official Description: Brian Cox and Robin Ince host a witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. Eric’s Commentary: It’s a panelist show that covers a different science topic each episode.
Probably Science – Official Description: Professional comedians with so-so STEM pedigrees take you through this week in science. Incompetently. Featuring hosts Matt Kirshen, Andy Wood (and sometimes Jesse Case or Brooks Wheelan) along with a rotating cast of special guests from the worlds of comedy and science.
StarTalk Radio – Official Description: Science, pop culture, and comedy collide on StarTalk Radio! Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and Director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, and his comic co-hosts, guest celebrities, and scientific experts explore astronomy, physics, and everything else there is to know about life in the universe. New episodes premiere Tuesdays. Keep Looking Up!
Proof – Official Description: A disappearing food franchise. The story behind how a Vietnamese spring roll ended up on the menu of Senegalese restaurants. We take America’s Test Kitchen’s inquisitive and relentless approach to telling unexpected, funny, and thought-provoking narratives about food and drink. This is not a recipe show. And this is not a show about celebrity chefs or what they like to eat. Proof plunges into history, culture, science, and the psyche to uncover the hidden backstories that feed your food-obsessed brain. Hosted by Kevin Pang. A production of America’s Test Kitchen.
Song Exploder – Official Description: Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode features an artist discussing a song of theirs, breaking down the sounds and ideas that went into the writing and recording. Hosted and produced by Hrishikesh Hirway.
Writing Excuses – Official Description: Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.Eric’s Commentary: A bunch of accomplished SFF writers talk about various writing topics. Even though I don’t intend to be a writer, I love the peek behind the curtain.