Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Pod-roll

I've been woefully lagging behind on posting here the last couple weeks. Maybe it's the just a typical post-holiday hangover? Maybe it's how consumed I am with the presidential race? Maybe it's simply the fact that I'm broke right now and feeling pretty anti-social as a result.

Regardless, as I am in still in the spirit of giving, I thought that I would pass along my recommendations for the best regular or semi-regular podcasts. This is in part inspired by my good friend Todd's recommendation of the fantastic "Sound of Young America" podcast, the final nail in the coffin in terms of me not listening to any actual music on my podcast this month. It's also inspired by the fact that there really don't seem to be a lot of good places to find podcast recommendations. The itunes store itself is actually a pretty good place to go, but most everywhere on the Internet itself you'll just find ad pages posing as recommendation sites.

Anywhere, below, roughly grouped by category, are my favorite podcasts. It's worth noting that there's only one video podcast on here, as I find them to be battery killers and not especially handy on the subway. Without any more ado, here's the list...

Matters Political:

It's All Politics- I've been talking about this one for a long time now and have finally started to win some converts. Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have phenomenal chemistry as co-hosts, and the podcast not only features an excellent discussion of the week in politics, it also makes me laugh out loud at least one every edition.

Slate Political Gabfest - A smart and casual weekly podcast that similarly focuses on the week in politics. The Slate writers (John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon, David Plotz) have a lot of evident passion and intelligence regarding the political world and it makes for a very entertaining, illuminating podcast.

New Yorker: Comment - New Yorker front of the magazine stuff; especially fun whenever it features an article by the phenomenal Hendrik Hertzberg.

Matters Athletic:

Basketball Jones - J.E. Skeets and Tas are a couple of cheerful Canadians that heroically put forth a daily 20-minute basketball podcast. Very funny, oddly addictive, and a great way to catch up on the night in basketball.

The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons - A weekly podcast from ESPN columnist, Bill Simmons. Simmons, one of my all-time favorite sportswriters, has a very funny, loose podcast that is perfect for a post-work subway ride.

Daily Dish - Weekly podcast from Chad Ford, one of my favorite NBA writers. A great source if you want to impress your friends with your knowledge of obscure but up-and-coming Eastern European basketball players.

Matters Miscellaneous:

NPR: Fresh Air - Terry Gross is such an amazing host, so warm and enthusiastic, that she makes all of the Fresh Air podcasts interesting. I must admit, though, a habit of avoiding avoiding any of the Fresh Air podcasts that focus on Iraq too heavily.

NPR: All Songs Considered- Although my friend Brandon and I love to joke about host Bob Boilen's overenthusiasm and tendency to mispronounce band names, this is still very much a worthwhile podcast and has definitely exposed me to some artists I would probably never have given a chance to otherwise.

Sound of Young America - Many thanks to Todd for the recommendation here. For those people interested in comedy and it's mechanics, this podcast is absolutely essential. Jesse Thorn, "America's Radio Sweetheart," is an excellent and very funny host, and he does a great job interviewing John Hodgman, Bob Odenkirk, Michael Cera, and many, many others. I haven't played an album on my ipod it at least a week because of this podcast.

The Classic Tales Podcast - Classic short stories read aloud. In particular, check out "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," by Mark Twain.

Matters of Old/Intermittently Updated Podcasts:

"The New Yorker Festival" Video Podcast - In-depth video interviews with Steve Martin, Judd Apatow, and others.

KCRW Politics of Culture - This doesn't seem to get updated very often, but when it does it features a lot of great general-interest topics. The podcasts on the book "Starbucked" and on the KCRW music library were both very interesting.


Todd said...

I'm going to throw this idea out there only once, so please give it careful consideration - Better Chatter: The Podcast.

I'm actually listening to The Sound of Young America interview with Dan Deacon right now (earlier today I caught the Upright Citizens Brigade episode, which starts out poorly but gets much better). I'm glad to hear my tip paid off. I've got a lot of new podcasts to subscribe to this weekend now - I heart Hendrik Hertzberg!

Ami said...

I want desperately to listen to podcasts! But the problem is, I don't really understand how to get them into my iPod. A little help, anyone tech-savvy?

Josh said...

I assume you have itunes on your computer? I always go directly through their "store" and just hit the "subscribe" button on the podcast that I want. Most websites, included all of the links that I listed, have a link that will take you right to itunes where you can subscribe to the podcast.

Once you download or subscribe to a podcast, your itunes will create a separate folder for your podcasts. At that point, all you have to do is click on the "podcast" tab on your ipod the next time it is plugged in to your computer and hit "sync" and you'll be all set.

I hope that helps!

MDD said...

If one (like me) finds weird music (from the score for There Will Be Blood to Portuguese fado) appealing, one can do no better than the New Sounds show archives on NPR. Great host, pieces explained before they're played, good thematic episodes, 10 years of archives.