I've been asked for some podcast recommendations recently, based on tales of my Big Fat New England Commute and the temporary loss of my iTunes access (now restored) about which I was all pouty in my real life.
More of you wanted to know when I was going to upgrade my blog, already. So let's address both things with this list of podcasts I recommend for your drive and/or when I am doing something else with my life. Because this just took me 2 hours.
Naturally, I have categorized them in a pleasing pile of buckets.
Cocktail Party Fodder
This American Life: (60 m)The best radio on radio. If you are still not listening to NPR because you can't figure out the attraction, stop listening to Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk and listen to this instead. Often an inspiration for what you read here. (recent reference. earlier reference.)
RadioLab: (30-60 m) A couple of guys try to explain scientific concepts in layman’s terms. But not concepts like gravity or atoms, more like “why does a song get stuck in my head,” or what purpose sleep serves. A little over-produced for my tastes, but always something to pay attention to.
The Huntington Theatre Company: (varies) pre and post production interviews with cast and company of the current schedule at Boston’s largest theatre company. General spoiler alert statement.
Fresh Air: (60 m) yes, Terry-Terry-Terry Gross. I do often disparage Terry. because she…because…she…tends to…to repeat herself. (I’ve ruined her for you now, haven’t it?) But she gets the good get. And she is very good to fall asleep to. Everyone knows it.
Oh, sorry. That’s Linda Hunt. I guess it doesn’t matter.
Get Yer God On
Speaking of Faith : (60 m) Krista Tippet has a little of the Terry Gross school plus Delilah, minus Karen Armstrong. But fortunately, Armstrong shows up as a frequent guest. Everyone gets equal time here. In fact, SOF’s “Revealing Ramadan” series is certainly the only daily dose of Ramadan American radio had to offer. Spin on that, Glenn Beck.
Marsh Chapel: (60 m) Also from BU, the Sunday service of worship (interdenominational Christian from a Methodist theology). This is the entire service, not just the sermon, so if music ministry is your thing, you will get more from this podcast than some others.
American Studies: I dabble with these, not really a regular listener
The Splendid Table : (60 m) I am not much of a foodie, and some parts of this format bore me. No fault of Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s that I am missing that section of the brain that makes a sensual connection between lists of ingredients and what that might taste like. She might as well be saying “eye of newt, bucket of balls, and a sprig of mimzy brillig.” But she’s adorable, and I enjoy listening to New Yorkers pontificate on where to get a decent meatloaf in Westchester county.
Back Story : (60 m) This is a fun idea. UVa puts 3 American history professors together (18th, 190th, and 20th C) and has them discuss hot topics like taxation and Thanksgiving in the context of their own time periods. It’s like if Sturbridge Village and Williamsburg came over for dinner and weren’t annoying.
Stuff You Missed in History Class: (varies) The “How Stuff Works” people take a stab at history. “How Vaudeville Worked.” “How the Magna Carta Worked.” You get it. Hosts Katie and Sarah come across a little soft, but they are, like, a different generation of radio…?
Newsy McNews Chat
Beat the Press: (30 m) If you like your newswomen a little more Old School, subscribe to Emily Rooney’s “Beat the Press” weekly recap of the week’s big stories. Boston’s local news pundits give news coverage the sports radio treatment.
Planet Money: (30 m) Thank you, Planet Money, for explaining the economic meltdown. My issues of The Economist keep piling up, but you, I have time for. I’ll admit I sometimes have to listen more than once to get the full message. This may be more than you want of your drivetime shows.
The Tavis Smiley Show : (60 m) Slow down the headlines and really talk about them, NPR-style. Smiley also produces special themed shows and series that give us the personal impact of housing, Katrina, Iraq, the collapse of GM, etc by giving us one person’s story. It might be yours.
Too Much About Books To me, book review shows are a kind of pleasurable torture. Lists and lists of things I will never get to, but enjoy hearing about. Warning: sometimes they are all talking about the same book in the same week. That’s a drag.
New York Times Book Review (30 m)
Black Authors Network (1-2 hours. better for your long trips)
New York Review of Books (varies)
NPR Books (30 m)
A Crushing Amount of Movie Talk
Everything on this list is considered “explicit” by iTunes. People who love to talk about movies love to swear as well. A Lot.
I Love Movies – (40 m) The panel show that includes the Leonard Maltin Game and a whole lotta F-bombs.
Comedy Film Nerds: (60 m) Many of the same guests, much of the same feel. Production values are much weaker, and they haven’t yet found their rhythm, but they will.
Movies You Should See (60 m) I stumbled onto this through iTunes. British people chatting (hard Ts, that) about Cine. And a lot of references you won’t always get.