blk: (Default)
[personal profile] blk
I've recently decided that I like listening to stuff when I'm walking/biking/driving. And since a) I don't pay to subscribe to any music streaming services (nor is my private collection very impressive), and b) the speakers in my car are so crappy that playing almost any kind of music on it is an insult to the music, I've been listening to podcasts.

I had gone without listening to things for so long that I had a couple years of backlog of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me to catch up on, which kept me golden for a while, but then I ran out, and started seeking more. I feel like I've struck out way more than I've hit gold, so this post is mostly here to ask for suggestions.

What I like: humor, storytelling, brevity, segments I can start and finish in a typical day's commute (~20-25 minutes one way), nothing too deep as my attention isn't 100% on it at any point and my listening is the first things to go if my brain is preoccupied.

What I don't like: People having a lengthy, unedited conversation. Too much pop culture references that doesn't include me. The wrong kind of humor.

What I've tried:

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
My favorite podcast that I've listened to for many many years and compare all others to. I like the personalities, I like the humor, I like that it is strictly edited and consistently timed, I like that no single segment in it is very long (even Not My Job is rarely more than 10-15 minutes).

The Moth
My next favorite. The stories are captivating and interesting and emotional and not too long. Just right for a small listening break in my day. The character list is ever changing, but they are basically all people who are picked for being good at storytelling, which is important. If I needed to I could probably just go back into the archives and listen to all of them.

This American Life
Pretty good show by those hipster know-it-alls who talk about how fascinating ordinary people are. I like when humans are shown in detail and made to be complex and sympathetic and Ira Glass does a good job at that. I remember listening to it years ago in the car when I'd flip to NPR and it would be on by chance, and generally enjoyed it then, so I looked it up now. Not much has changed, but it's all new.

Hello Internet
This one breaks all my rules for what I think I should like and yet I kinda do. My older son introduced me to it as something he enjoyed, and we got through a couple episodes on a college commute trip. It is, basically, just two dudes chatting, which I would expect to be bored by, and yet somehow I'm not. I suspect it has to do with the fact that hosts CGP Gray and Brady Haran are both successful YouTubers, and know the art of editing. But I also appreciate that the two of them, even though they seem to have very different personalities with occasionally wildly opposing opinions, obviously get along very well, and their comfort with each other somehow comes across in their shows.

The Ezra Klein Show
I started this because I've read a lot of Ezra Klein interviews and articles that I've liked. I admire his brain and his interviews tend to be with people who are passionate and articulate in ways I want to hear more of. But the interviews are on the long side, and I always find my brain wandering a little. I would probably appreciate these interviews a lot more by spending 10 minutes reading them than an hour listening to them.

Welcome to Night Vale
The premise sounded really good to me, a lot of my friends are in love with it, and I enjoyed it some. I listened to the first 10 episodes to really try to get into it, and while it has some nifty bits, it's just not as appealing to me as I'd hoped. It's non-contiguous enough that while I realize I don't -have- to listen to them all in order, it throws in a few ongoing storylines here and there so that skipping around doesn't seem to make sense. On the upside, each episode is fairly short, so I may go back and try more eventually.

No Dumb Questions
Downloaded because I like Destin Sandlin's work on Smarter Every Day. Unfortunately the one ep I listened to was basically a really long conversation between three people, probably only about 25% of which I found particularly interesting. On the upside, I discovered Emily Graslie and The Brain Scoop, which is vaguely interesting, but I don't think the rest is worthwhile to do it again.

Dear Hank and John
I like the Vlog brothers's personalities and most of their videos that I've seen. And I liked Paper Towns. Unfortunately, like John's books, this show is really aimed towards a much younger audience than me, and although I gave it a few episodes, I found their focus on answering internet questions to be pretty irrelevant to me.

The Daily Show Podcast Without John Stewart
I love the Daily Show, I like the correspondents, I like the editing. This was fun. But there were only 20 episodes, and then it stopped.

Stuff You Should Know
I downloaded this one because it was rated highly and is hosted by writers at HowStuffWorks, which sounded interesting. But it's basically another hour of two people having a conversation and usually not about things that I cared about (or agreed with).

2 Dope Queens
I like both Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson and yet their conversations and joking around just didn't amuse me.

My Brother, My Brother, and Me
Answering inane questions from random listeners or Yahoo (bzzt). An hour of conversation between people I don't know and don't particularly find funny (bzzt). Not going back here.

So, dear Readers. Given these descriptions (or not), what podcasts do you like and you would recommend to me? Heck, I'm even interested in some that feature music, as my headphones are pretty decent.

Date: 28 Jun 2017 02:46 (UTC)
jarrettc: meerkat (Default)
From: [personal profile] jarrettc
I haven't listened to many podcasts myself, but I have a friend who always plays them, and I have caught enough of "Stuff you missed in History Class" that it is the only one to come to mind that you haven't already mentioned. If you haven't already tried it, it has a similar appeal to "This American Life" (interesting storytelling, but not always humor). They seem to be about 30-40 minutes each with a advertisement in the middle that might also work as a place to split the podcast between shorter commutes.

My only exposure to "Wait Wait..." is through NPR and I know there are a few more such shows they do. Perhaps "Says You!" fits your criteria.

Date: 28 Jun 2017 03:01 (UTC)
bblum: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bblum
I also came here to recommend Stuff You Missed. >_>

Date: 28 Jun 2017 14:32 (UTC)
metahacker: And then a miracle occurs... (You need to be more explicit in step 2, here!)  (miracle)
From: [personal profile] metahacker
My wife likes Stuff You Missed too. I like The Moth but, wow, can be a bit emotion-inducing.

Radio Lab?
99% Invisible
The Allusionist
Selected Shorts, sometimes
This American Life but it's longer.
StoryCorps is hit or miss, and short, but the most Moth-like.
Friends recommend You're The Expert, but I haven't listened yet.

Date: 28 Jun 2017 14:58 (UTC)
metahacker: And then a miracle occurs... (You need to be more explicit in step 2, here!)  (miracle)
From: [personal profile] metahacker
I may have gotten these recommendations from the same folks you did. ;)

(Well, except for the ones that started on NPR over the air.)

Date: 28 Jun 2017 16:03 (UTC)
fraterrisus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fraterrisus
I've enjoyed The News Quiz, which is BBC Radio 4's version of Wait Wait. It's part of the "Friday Night Comedy from Radio 4" podcast, which also has two other comedy shows that I don't like as much.

Also, try "No Such Thing as a Fish", which is a podcast from the "elves" that do research for QI.

Date: 30 Jun 2017 13:44 (UTC)
donutjay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] donutjay
Surprised nobody has recommended "You Must Remember This", a really well produced history of Hollywood podcast. There are groups of themed episodes, but you can really jump around. And there's a long backlog of previous episodes to dig through.

I enjoy "Overdue", which probably falls below your bar. It's just two guys talking, mostly unedited. But I find it better done than most in that genre. Two friends, each week one reads a book that neither has read before, and then tells the other about it, while they discuss it and make jokes. And some episodes break the format, where they'll read a Choose Your Own Adventure together or something. Another huge backlog, they have a list on their website of some good ones to start with. And they've really grown in quality since they started.

To plug NPR, if you like Wait Wait, you'll probably enjoy "Ask Me Another". It's not topical. It's trivia and word games in a game show setting, with Jonathon Coulton as one of the hosts.

This one's kinda running out of steam lately, but it had a good run. A pub trivia team does a podcast called "Good Job, Brain!", where they pick a theme for each episode, and everyone picks a topic to either do a quiz or fun/random trivia about it. It's definitely one you can listen to for a few minutes at a time.

I like Reply All a lot, but people have already covered it.

That's probably enough for now.

Date: 30 Jun 2017 14:54 (UTC)
donutjay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] donutjay
Please do.

There's literally too many podcasts out there to listen to. I'm interested in what you find.

You could always check out which is a podcast about podcasts for other recommendations.

Do you like John Hodgeman? I've heard really good things about the "Judge John Hodgeman" podcast. He basically plays Judge Wapner to people's mundane conflicts, but in a funny/insightful way.

Date: 30 Jun 2017 16:36 (UTC)
donutjay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] donutjay
This is about 9 months out of date, but I found this NPR project a different and interesting way of recommending podcasts.

It recommends episodes, instead of feeds. And you can organize them by different tags and categories. You can lose a lot of time here.


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