Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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28 Responses

  1. I’ve never gotten into podcasts, and for all I know, have never listened to any. So I’d be interested to hear others’ views of where I could start.Report

  2. Elizabeth Picciuto says:

    Very much looking forward to this, since my commute is an hour drive.

    I listen to mostly to Fresh Air and Marc Maron’s WTF interviews. Also Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.Report

    • Elizabeth Picciuto in reply to Elizabeth Picciuto says:

      Also, I’ve listened to How To Do Everything a few times, which is a total disappointment. Hidden Brain is a little better, but nothing to write home about. Hoping someone can get me out of an NPR loop, although I do love intensive interviews, which is why I like both Terry Gross and Marc Maron.Report

    • If you’re interested in things in bite-size chunks, you could download and listen to Bloggingheads shows. Some of them are really good, and you can pick and choose between them.Report

  3. Miss Mary says:

    I like listening to WTF with Mark Maron, any of the NPR podcasts, and Smodcast with Kevin Smith. Toasted Cake is on my list to check out. Speaking of toast, I saw a list on The Toast that great podcasts by women I’ve been meaning to check out.Report

  4. Sam Wilkinson says:

    In Our Time by Melvyn Bragg is 45 minutes of three academics and the host discussing a wide range of topics. It is excellent. Also, British people! I think that fits in the most with what you’re proposing to do here.

    If you need NBA heavy podcasts, I can also be of assistance, but I’m guessing you don’t need NBA heavy podcasts.Report

  5. Don Zeko says:

    The vibe I’m getting here is a bit more serious than most of my podcasting fare, but I’m going to forge ahead anyway. First off, I think you’re required to listen to Serial to be on the internet.

    I greatly, greatly enjoy the comedy advice podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me, hosted by real-life brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. They’ve also started a number of spin-off podcasts, my favorites being The Adventure Zone, in which they play D&D with their Dad, and Sawbones, in which Justin and his wife talk about medical history.Report

  6. greginak says:

    IOT, mentioned above, is very good. It’s best for literature and history since that is what the host knows best. His science stuff is weaker but they always have expert guests for in depth discussion.

    You Must Remember This is great. It’s a 30-45 min histories of hollywood figures, usually actors/actresses but sometimes studio figures. Well told bios/stories and history although it really only works if you like older films. It’s almost all pre 70’s people with only a few more recent although the stories come up to the present.

    The Memory Palace is short, 7-10, evocative stories about lesser known people or events. It doesn’t aim at being history but more at telling interesting stories.

    Intelligence Squared podcasts are longish debates between sets of experts on a variety of topics. Some history and some current stuff.

    Backstory is 3 histories looking at american history. They are each specialist in one century so they trace some issue as it has changed throughout our history.Report

  7. Elizabeth Picciuto says:

    If any of you are interested in learning more about philosophy, Philosophy Bites interviews good people and has good topics. However, I have a personal dislike for the interviewer, so I never listen to them.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Elizabeth Picciuto says:

      Funny, I think those guys are hilarious. Not their super-lame opening joke, but the extreme dryness of their interviewing style. The way they cut straight to the interviewer’s main point for them, allowing a remarkably in-depth (to a layman’s ears) discussion to happen in what is indeed a “Bite”-sized format is just about unique in podcasting that I know of. And I am a pretty big podcast connoisseur (though it always seems like there is this tide of really popular podcasts happening that I am oblivious to despite constantly expanding my exposure).

      So… what bugs you about them? They’re kind of glib; maybe they oversimplify topics?Report

  8. Glyph says:

    When do you guys listen to podcasts? Commute time?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

      Commute, the gym, running, and when doing chores. Oh, and in the shower.Report

    • Maribou in reply to Glyph says:

      @glyph when I’m not in the mood to listen to music instead ;). and when i’m not reading anything that requires attention.

      Unless I’m listening to a music podcast, in which case all bets are off.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Maribou says:

        I can’t really read (or work) and listen to a conversation/monologue at the same time. I would need uninterrupted focus to pay to the podcast, and if I’ve got that kind of time, I’d rather read or listen to music, than listen to people talk.

        It’s possible I may not like people very much…Report

        • Maribou in reply to Glyph says:

          @glyph TBF if I had kids I would probably never listen to them either. I don’t read anything more complicated that the instructions of dumb video games while listening to them. And I never listen in the car.

          Where they come in handiest is that I do several different hobbies (eg cross-stitch) that usually require about 1/3 my mental attention, but 90 percent or more of my visual attention. So there’s no point in watching most TV shows while working on most of my projects, but podcasts always work well. I’ve been working on several fairly complicated things, so a podcast takes less attention than an audiobook would, and is easier to put down in 30 minutes OR binge for hours, for me.

          I also just don’t have the 3-4 hour stretches of time for my hobbies that I used to (mostly because I’ve gotten full-on addicted to reading again, and partly because we’ve been socially very busy ever since I got out of grad school, rather than because I’m doing anything practical with the time), so a 15 or 30 minute podcast is easier to squeeze in than an hour of audiobooking (listening to an audiobook for less than an hour is dissatisfying for me, whether because of habit or because it takes effort to immerse myself, I dunno.)

          There may be something to your theory though. Because I’ve found that my favorite podcasts feel like ” funny and interesting company that don’t mind if I just sit here like a lump”, which when I am out of energy for whatever physical or stressful reasons, is exactly the kind of company I want. Did I not want company, I would probably like them less.Report

  9. Glyph says:

    I’ve listened to a handful of “You Talkin’ U2 To Me?”and Radiolabs. Haven’t really caught onto the podcast craze. AVC does a review/recap/roundup of interesting ones periodically:


  10. Kazzy says:

    Stuff You Should Know and all its affiliates (which have more specialized areas of focus).

    Intelligence Squared.

    Everything else I’d recommend would be sports and/or topical.

    But I’m curious… what do you mean the “best” way to listen? Don’t you just put the headphones in and push play?Report

  11. Mike Dwyer says:

    Huge podcast junkie here (I spend close to 2 hours in the car per day)

    Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

    I also like Bald Move’s lineup of podcasts. They do reviews of TV shows and movies.

    Pop Culture Happy Hour

    Steven Rinella’s MeatEater podcast

    The SporkfulReport

  12. aaron david says:

    I am not a podcast person, like at all, but on the rare occasion that I do listen to one, it would be the website If Charlie Parker Was A Gunslinger, There Would Be A Whole Lotta Dead Copycatss, radio fee gunslinger.Report

  13. Maribou says:

    It turns out that I really like podcasts, although it took me several years to come to this conclusion.

    Favorite Podcast Of Them All: Mahvesh Murad’s _Midnight in Karachi_ – she used to have a regular (English-language) radio show in Karachi, the station got more commercial, she got picked up by Tor.com. Less varied than the old show (which I still intend to listen every single episode of on SoundCloud eventually), but a broad mix of sf, fantasy, horror writers who write in English, and always people she’s read personally and really loves their most recent work – she’s a wonderful interviewer, with enough personality of her own to feel like you want to listen to HER regardless of the interview (and the interview is usually fairly good!!) – and it still manages somehow to feel like a radio show. The kind of CBC show I enjoyed growing up, only Pakistani in flavor instead of VancouverMontrealTorontonian, ie the kind that simultaneously feels radio-ey and someone’s living-room-ey.

    Favorite non-Mahvesh-Murad SFF podcast: Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe’s _Coode Street Podcast_ – Gary K Wolfe got on my nerves at first b/c he is occasionally just SO academic and SO pompous-older-male-fan-sounding, but he’s actually a much more interesting person than that makes him seem (to the point where I’m embarrassed to even mention the initial nerve-getting, but I figure if anyone has the same reaction I’m doing them a solid by pointing out that it goes away). He has really supergrown on me (which is good because Strahan is one of my 5 favorite anthologists and has the admirable quality for a reviewer of instantly contagious enthusiasm) – and they have a really diverse, interesting set of interviewees. Also an ongoing thing (at least last year) where they made a point of asking various women at different levels of experience in the field (all of whom also happen to be writers I like – Suzy McKee Charnas was the most exciting for me) whether they’ve felt like they were treated differently (and how) by virtue of being women, why they think that is, etc – without ONLY being interested in that, and with lots of useful listening. Which was cool. They were also the people Tom Holt chose to interview him when he “came out” as KJ Parker, and they interview some of my very favoritest guy writers too (Gene Wolf, Chip Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, just off the top of my head, in the last year, and I’m sure I’m forgetting others). Plus they have other people whose job is to read stuff on all the time (like Elizabeth whosis who runs Locus now) and sometimes the two of them just sit around and ramble about what they’re reading or their Fannish Opinions for like AN HOUR, and it’s actually interesting. It is kinda long, but it doesn’t FEEL long, and it’s also pretty easy to pause in the middle, for those of us who listen to podcasts on a desktop or laptop while doing something else… They do both kind of have a tendency to talk over people when they get excited, but they KNOW they have it and will rein it in, which makes everything okay. 😀

    Favorite music podcast: The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast
    ( http://celticmusicpodcast.com/ ). I have been listening to this for years, for at least an hour or more each week, and I still am not nearly caught up on the archives. All of the songs really ARE Celtic music, and listenable, and enough of them are also other things that I never feel it’s gotten same-y. YMMV, but if it’s a genre you enjoy as “radio music” without having an extensive collection of your own, I’d recommend it. Also it may end up growing your collection as you hit pause and go “OMG MUST BUY THAT”, at least it did mine.

    There’s a bunch more I’d recommend, but will come back later (tomorrow? Saturday?) when I’m on the laptop that I use for most of my podcast listening.Report

  14. James K says:

    I enjoy Slate’s Lexicon Valley podcast.

    I also like a couple of LoadingReadyRun’s podcasts – Qwerpline is hilarious (its a 15 minute, half-improvised comedy programme about a community radio station). The other one of theirs I enjoy is Fight the Future, its a review of young adult dystopia fiction, but its a review of the setting rather than the plot or characters.Report

  15. Roland Dodds says:

    Great list of podcasts, I will have to give some of these a try. I commute to work, so podcasts have become a big part of my life the last two years.

    I really like Race Wars (https://soundcloud.com/racewars). It sounds more extreme than it is. Lots of comics talking about culture, politics, etc. They have a guy who does impersonations of Donald Trump that almost forces me to crash my car.Report

  16. Zac says:

    Oh man, I listen to a ton of podcasts. Here’s the list of the main ones I listen to:

    Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
    Common Sense with Dan Carlin
    The Cracked Podcast
    Unpopular Opinion
    Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
    The Slate Political Gabfest
    Slate’s Whistlestop
    The Diane Rehm Show
    This American Life
    Snap Judgment
    The Moth Podcast
    My History Can Beat Up Your Politics
    Yo, Is This Racist?
    Waking Up with Sam Harris
    The Joe Rogan Experience
    WTF with Marc Maron
    The NerdistReport

  17. Dan Scotto says:

    I’ll fourth/fifth/sixth Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, which is reliably very funny and has some very good guests, as well as Mike Duncan’s Revolutions. Duncan has an older one with a ton of episodes called The History of Rome as well, which I listen to when I have nothing else available.

    I go in waves with podcasts, personally; sometimes I’ll listen to them constantly, other times I’ll move away from them and stick to music or NPR. Commuting is a great time for them, but the roads in Oregon are really, really loud, and sometimes it’s hard to make out all of the words b/c of the road noise.Report

  18. Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    My choices are all rather mainstreamy, but all very good

    Radiolab is about the intersection between science and humanity. It is smart, innovative, playful, and utterly my favorite podcast. Note that they only create five fully-produced episodes per year, and they are absolute jewels of production. They also have more casual weekly(-ish) podcast episodes, which are not bad, but not up to the standard set by the produced episodes.

    On the Media was conceived as a critique/review of the media, but long ago exploded those boundaries. It is very smart, and has a very open liberal slant, so if that would piss you off, it’s better to go elsewhere. This, like Radiolab, is produced by WNYC, the New York City NPR outlet.

    This American Life is almost certainly familiar to everyone, but if you’ve never heard it, your life is about to get better. It is so good, that it gives me hope for humanity. Host Ira Glass, and an irregular set of correspondents , look–with a very human eye–at the lives of others. It’s the best narrative radio out there, exquisitely written and produced with an open heart and a lot of empathy.Report