Can't anyone here last for more than a few minutes?
July 28, 2010 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I've seen a couple Askmes for good, short podcasts. I want long ones.

I define "long" as, say, usually 40 minutes or longer. And I'd be interested in any subject where the host(s) are humorous, and/or have a talent for make a difficult subject accessible and interesting to the layman.

I say "any subject" but I'm particularly interested in sports (but not Bill Simmons, who I think is overrated) and history. I mentioned humor, but I'm not looking for comedy podcasts because I belong to a couple comedy forums and I'm pretty sure I know all the ones that are likely to be recommended. Thanks hivesters!
posted by mreleganza to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 77 users marked this as a favorite
 
This American Life is going to come up several times, but it does fit most, if not all, of your requests.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:20 PM on July 28, 2010


Also, everyone's (rightly) going to mention the BBC's In Our Time.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:24 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not particularly humorous, I guess. But it makes history accessible to the layperson in 45-minute discussions like nobody else anywhere.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:25 PM on July 28, 2010


Aside from This American Life, Radiolab is the other one that will probably be mentioned before I hit post.

Aside from those two, have you looked into any of the lecture series on iTunes U? There's plenty of interesting stuff there - I know UC Berkeley puts up a lot of full courses, with audio of each class session for an entire semester.
posted by theodolite at 2:30 PM on July 28, 2010


Tank Riot.
posted by Dreamcast at 2:30 PM on July 28, 2010


Check out Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film reviews from BBC Radio 5. I think they're on vacation the next two weeks, so grab the one that is up there now as a good example of their usual. I think it's about an hour and a half.
posted by IanMorr at 2:32 PM on July 28, 2010


My partner loves Hardcore History, which clocks in at around 70-80 minutes, depending on the episode. I find his shouty sort of know-it-all style a bit grating, but then again I am an aural snob; the content is still pretty cool.
posted by Madamina at 2:35 PM on July 28, 2010


Oh, and Sound Opinions is great if you're interested in popular music.
posted by theodolite at 2:35 PM on July 28, 2010


Just in case - You Look Nice Today is the apex of comedy podcasts. You've probably heard of it, but if you haven't, do yourself a favor and listen to the entire archive. It's hilarious.

A Life Well Wasted is the This American Life of video games - I would say it's not even a podcast about video games, it's a podcast about the people who love video games, and it's fascinating and beautiful. The guy who makes it, Robert Ashley, is also something of a mad genius - he does all the interviews, editing, and music himself. There's only a few episodes out - I would advise starting with Help (which is probably the best episode) and Big Ideas and work your way backwards - the first episode, The Death of EGM, is good, but much less essential than the rest of the podcast. The B-Sides are worthwhile, though (just make sure to listen to them AFTER the episode they go with).
posted by JimBennett at 2:37 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


They hardly ever deal with sports, but I still high recommend Radio Lab. They have full episodes (~60 mins) and also a few shorts to test out before committing.

They are highly intelligent, and they include humor and thought.
posted by copperbleu at 2:43 PM on July 28, 2010


On the Media - weekly meta news show. Interesting and sometimes funny. I think it was the first public radio show to do a podcast.

Savage Love podcast - Sex advice, and funny.
posted by domnit at 2:49 PM on July 28, 2010


Comedy just in case: The Bugle (John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman) and Friday Night Comedy (sometimes timely stand-up, sometimes a game show reminiscent of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me) for some awesome British laughs. In fact, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me if you're not already listening to it. Car Talk is far more amusing and informative than it has any right to be, and nthing This American Life.

Not comedy: Definitely The Diane Rehm Show for really amazingly in-depth interviews and subject exploration.
posted by General Malaise at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2010


The Best Show on WFMU.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:55 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Selected Shorts. Short stories read by actors before a live audience. Honestly, probably 1/3 don't really appeal to me. Another third are so-so. Maybe half of the rest are really good, but the small number left over are truly transcendent experiences, not to be missed. You can find downloadable old episodes online by googling.
posted by marsha56 at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I give you the awesomeness that is The Tobolowsky Files (about 40 minutes each ep).
posted by dobbs at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


May I recommend Coverville which is an awesome and very long-running podcast about cover songs, and The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, a great anti-bad-science show.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 2:59 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


My History Can Beat Up Your Politics is a pretty interesting look at US political history, and clocks in usually at around 45mins - 1hr. I wouldn't say it's funny, but it's thoughtful commentary that puts the current crazy political climate into historical perspective. And since I'm Canadian, I can also say that it makes the frankly bewildering US political scene pretty accessible to the lay(Canadian)person.
posted by just_ducky at 3:02 PM on July 28, 2010


BackStory with the American History Guys fits your criteria perfectly. The presenters are absolutely qualified, they love talking about history, and they are often very funny. Each podcast takes a subject from the news and looks at the history behind it.
posted by TrarNoir at 3:17 PM on July 28, 2010


Slate has a sports podcast called Hang Up and Listen (usually runs 40ish minutes) that is interesting enough that I, a fairly nerdy music teacher with zero interest in sports, will listen to it if it turns up as the site's daily podcast.
posted by charmedimsure at 3:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just in case - You Look Nice Today is the apex of comedy podcasts. You've probably heard of it, but if you haven't, do yourself a favor and listen to the entire archive. It's hilarious.


Oh, HELL yes! I went through a phase where I had to have "The Tux Age" on my iPhone at all times.

See also: Comedy & Everything Else.
posted by tantrumthecat at 3:22 PM on July 28, 2010


Hit up the CBC for some good hour-long podcasts. You might particularly like Ideas, which is on literature, history, philosophy, sociology, and a whole lot more. (Recent episodes have been on rationalism, the life of W. B. Yeats, the ethics and impacts of meat-eating, and the life of Charles Darwin.) I also like Quirks & Quarks, a general science show (unfortunately on hiatus for the summer.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:25 PM on July 28, 2010


Ms ovvl loves Rooster Teeth's Drunk Tank. Hilarious pop culture/gaming forum with interesting personalities.
posted by ovvl at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2010


It's been mentioned before, but The History of Rome is pretty darned good.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:11 PM on July 28, 2010


The Story
posted by massysett at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2010


At the risk of ignoring a portion of your question (sorry) I have to say Jordan Jesse Go! is pretty much the apex of long podcasts. They're usually about 90 minutes long and the archive is wonderful.

Otherwise, nthing This American Life, RadioLab, Savage Lovecast and Hardcore History.
posted by Flotsam Rosewater at 4:24 PM on July 28, 2010


Nthing the Tobolowsky Files
posted by statsgirl at 4:35 PM on July 28, 2010


CBC + humour + interesting topics = Definitely Not The Opera with Sook-Yin Lee (podcast link and a bunch of streamed shows to sample are right on the page).

The Age of Persuasion doesn't have a podcast for various legal reasons (see here for details). It's only half an hour, and it's not a podcast, but it's a really interesting look at advertising, marketing and various types of persuasion, including political persuasion. You can catch it live on Saturdays in 5 different time zones, or you can try streaming from the site. Try this episode on Mad Men and how accurately -- or less than accurately -- it portrays advertising agencies in the 60s.
posted by maudlin at 4:57 PM on July 28, 2010


Also: Math for Primates.
posted by maudlin at 5:02 PM on July 28, 2010


Don't be alarmed that A Life Well Wasted says it's about videogames. It's not really--it's about people, and reporting, and how weird life is.

Boy is it long.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:04 PM on July 28, 2010


In addition to Hardcore History listed above, Dan Carlin also does a podcast called Common Sense. Its more political oriented, and sometimes I disagree with what he says, but it's always interesting.

I can understand why he might seem grating, but I like the fast-paced nature.
posted by cavs33 at 5:19 PM on July 28, 2010


Keith & The Girl is the funniest podcast and they produce five shows a week that are all an hour-plus, minimum.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:51 PM on July 28, 2010


Astonomy Cast is pretty great at making a difficult subject accessible to this lay person and it's generally really interesting.

I'll also second In Our Time.
posted by merocet at 5:55 PM on July 28, 2010


If you enjoy science:
Science Weekly from The Guardian
Quirks and Quarks from CBC (Canadian Radio)

"Stuff You Should Know" also has some decent content.
posted by sophist at 6:10 PM on July 28, 2010


I recently started listening to Snap Judgment and have really enjoyed it. Haven't seen it mentioned here yet, and I think it would fit your criteria.
posted by andrewcilento at 6:22 PM on July 28, 2010


Not quite a podcast but can be enjoyed in podcast form is bloggingheads.tv. Generally they are discussions about an hour in length, often about politics, but span a fairly wide range of topics. I really like the shows that get to dig in a little bit in some interesting subjects such as morality, incarceration in America, or Ardipithecus.
posted by prex at 6:25 PM on July 28, 2010


Weekly tech talk - Engadget.

In the vein of a couple of guys talking humorously about pop culture and life: Mefi's own Jordan, Jesse, Go! and Stop Podcasting Yourself and Never Not Funny (a 20 minute version is free, 60+ minute version is available for a fee).

Weekly Highbrowish Film Discussion: Filmspotting

Weekly News Discussion: Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup (1 hour domestic, 1 hour international per week)
posted by mmascolino at 7:19 PM on July 28, 2010


Sports-related: Spider and the Henchman. Former NBA player John Salley and uh, screenwriter/sports nerd Kevin Hench. Hench is a buddy of Simmons, so maybe he's not your cup of tea. But John Salley is refreshingly open and honest about what goes on with professional athletes behind the scenes.
posted by mullacc at 7:50 PM on July 28, 2010


I'm a big fan of Too Beautiful To Live, hosted by Luke Bubank (formerly of NPR's late, lamented Bryant Park Project). Usually runs about an hour and a half every day M-F, and you can watch it live on uStream from fabulous Burbank Studios (AKA Luke's living room) noon West Coast Time. It's a humorous, easy-going general news & entertainment type of thing, but the real secret sauce is Luke's relationship with his co-hosts/ex-producer & engineer Jen Andrews and Sean Detore (and their relationship with the listeners).

N-thing Jordan Jesse, Go! and Stop Podcasting Yourself as well, along with The Sound of Young America. If you're a TSOYA donor, you get the full feed for that week's show, which runs an hour, instead of the week later shorter 20 minute segments available for free. It's worth the $5 bucks a month. The host, Metafilter's own Jesse Thorn, is a vertible Johnny Appleseed of podcasting as a viable alternative medium to corporate talk radio, and if they give out awards for podcasts, he should get some sort of Lifetime Achievement or Pioneer award for all the people he's helped get set up as successful podcasters.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:54 PM on July 28, 2010


A Life Well Wasted, Radio Lab, And This American Life (the holy trinity of podcasts and radio in general i think)

-a storytelling podcast that hasn't been mentioned yet: the Risk! podcast.
-FreeDarko Presents: The Disciples of Clyde NBA Podcast for witty basketball talk.
-Creative Screenwriting Podcast: Roughly hour long Q&A sessions with Screenwriters about their process and thinking for their film (fascinating even for a non filmmaker IMO).
-Slashfilm/Filmspotting for more movie/media talk and humor.
-NPR's Fresh Air (Current Events)
-The Nerdist (humor and interviews)
-If you happen to like A Life Well Wasted and are interested in game ones, the Irrational Games Podcast is a similar format.

I actually do listen to all of these and more, which is the reason why when people mention pretty much any top 40 radio hit, I am usually at a loss.
posted by theDrizzle at 10:32 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is very interesting (and fairly accessible?), and releases an 80-minute episode each week.
posted by t-rex at 1:55 AM on July 29, 2010


"Hang Up And Listen" is great, smart stuff, as is "Bob Edwards Weekend" (about an hour of his Sirius/XM interview show, plus a This I Believe segment that I usually skip). "Tool Talk" is a lot of fun whenever they actually release an episode (toolmonger.com): very fun and free-wheeling talk about tools, making things, Texas, and now being a dad.

I pick and choose episodes from many of the podcasts mentioned above, especially "Fresh Air" and the "Pritzker Military Library Podcast."

"Kevin Pollak's Chat Show" can be funny, but sometimes it's just too long and full of Hollywood insider cant.

My alma mater offers a lot of varied stuff on the "Boston College Front Row" site, and I often select one of those. (Same with their "The Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College" lineup, of which the Agape Latte programs are often the most interesting.) Other colleges offer podcasts of on-campus speakers and may be worth browsing.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:28 AM on July 29, 2010


Well, since no one has mentioned it, I'll recommend The Adam Carolla Show. If you like talk radio of any kind, this is it.

Seconding Spider and the Henchman.

Studio 360 is hosted by Kurt Andersen and they present stories about artists or art in society. Plus, you can download individual segments if the whole podcast doesn't appeal to you.
posted by reenum at 1:29 PM on July 29, 2010


PoliSciFi Radio is politics and science fiction and runs 2 hours.
posted by evening at 5:11 PM on July 29, 2010


Seconding theDrizzle's suggestion of Disciples of Clyde.

I'd also throw out On the DL by Dan Levy as a general sports cast.
posted by paroxysm at 5:59 PM on July 29, 2010


You all are in for a treat: with my long drives to work, I've spent the last two years sifting through a myriad of podcasts to find these gems with their ample archives:
-WTF with Marc Maron - alternative comedian who interviews comedians. He recently talked to Carlos Menstealia and Dane Cook about their reputations for stealing jokes (the truth is complicated...) Fitzdog Radio - try to keep up with this guy - fast-thinking Greg Fitzsimmons (comedian) interviews celebrities -The Tobolowsky Files - sweetly erudite "Ned" from Groundhog Day has a lot to say -This I Believe - past presidents to current philosophers state their, you know... -Creative Screenwriting - for film geeks who want to the inside scoop from the actual filmmakers -The DickVans - a gaggle of lesbians (dykes, get it?) who are as funny as any roomful of male comedians - and it's a intriguing room I've never had access to before -KCRW's The Treatment - hipster interviews filmmakers on a psychological level -The Moth Broadcast - true stories told before a live audience with no notes (you really never know what you're going to get) -Ted Talks - the most entertaining brainiest experts have 18 minutes to encapsulate the cutting edge of their field -Adam Corolla's archives (his solo period, minus the morning zoo characters) -Martini Shot - TV writer gives a 3 minute snapshot of (very inside) Hollywood -This American Life - you'll laugh, you'll cry... -Chicago Improv/Zenprov - enlightened improv and life lessons (there's deep wisdom once you get past their chipper-ness). I'm about to try -Tara Brach for spirituality/meditation, as well as -Sounds True & -Dogma Free America. Enjoy.
posted by Manylives at 6:58 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


a couple of my favorite non-news, non-music podcasts, all of which are much more interesting than this makes them sound:

* Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, "what's happening in pop culture and the arts."
* Spark, "an ongoing conversation about technology and culture"
* Speaking of Faith, "the intellectual and spiritual content of religion that should nourish our common life, but that is often obscured precisely when religion enters the news"



(jesus, firefox, what year is it and you think "podcasts" is a spelling error?)
posted by FlyingMonkey at 5:37 AM on August 1, 2010


The Dirtbag Diaries is a great podcast in the format of This American Life. The topic is mainly climbing adventures and lifestyle.
posted by Manjusri at 2:01 PM on August 2, 2010


If you love retro 1970s and 1980s fun like I do, check out The Retroist podcast archive.
posted by GaelFC at 10:33 PM on August 12, 2010


I have to second the nomination of WTF with Marc Maron - it's a generally funny, insightful, awkward, gracious, intense, introspective, and no-holds-barred show. He skews somewhat to comedy geeks, so if you pay attention to who's who in that world, or have any interest at all in comedians, you will be rewarded by even a single listen to this podcast. He's up to about 101 episodes and counting. I highly recommend the interview with Robin Williams.
posted by kewpiedoll99 at 11:36 AM on August 24, 2010


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