Intelligent podcasts for my cubicle dwelling mom?
September 30, 2008 1:44 AM   Subscribe

Help me keep my mom from going insane at her work! She has a boring sit-at-the-computer all day job, with crazy coworkers. Her work banned downloading and streaming media, so I helped her pick a simple 2 gig mp3 player. She listens to BBC streams, and I helped her find rss feeds for the relevant podcasts. Now she's all set up with Google Reader and a few feeds, and wants more. Trouble is I don't know what to recommend...

Besides BBC content, I've found some feeds off of itunes that she liked, namely things from National Geographic, old time radio shows (from 20s,30s, etc), PBS and NPR links with history, travel, and current affair content. She likes the audiobooks from Project Gutenberg, especially mysteries and dramas.

I would set her up with itunes, but her home computer is 10+ years old, she doesn't have an ipod, and is a bit suspicious of it anyways.

Until she can find a more stimulating work environment, I'd like to give her something to listen to that blocks out her coworkers talking about TV shows...any recommendations? (Free is always good!)
posted by shinyshiny to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I like The Bugle. A sort of British audio "the Daily Show" (with the British guy from the Daily Show, too). Weekly.
posted by alexei at 2:09 AM on September 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

For more old time radio shows than you can shake a stick at, why not subscribe to RUSC?

It is a paid site, only $18 a quarter, I believe, which goes to paying for server costs, which you can cancel at any time.

There are literally thousands and thousands of shows ready for her to download.
Great selection, dead simple interface, many hours of happy listening.

Hope this helps!

- Bill
posted by willmize at 2:21 AM on September 30, 2008

ABC Radio National
posted by flabdablet at 2:24 AM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Specifically: Late Night Live, the Health Report, All In The Mind and the Science Show will give you an idea of the quality of programming available from the ABC.
posted by flabdablet at 2:29 AM on September 30, 2008

We're fortunate in Australia that we have the ABC (Australia's Public Broadcaster). Here are great podcasts from Radio National. There will definitely be something for your mum to enjoy. RN is a brilliant radio stattion, and Australian society is richer for it.
posted by mattoxic at 2:58 AM on September 30, 2008

When I was allowed to listen to podcasts at my desk, I would listed to This American Life which lets you download the hour long program as a mp3. Ira Glass can always make an annoying day better.
posted by mcroft at 3:46 AM on September 30, 2008

Bloggingheads. For each episode ("diavlog") you can either watch the video directly on the site, download the video, or download an mp3. Each conversation is about an hour long -- usually about politics, but often about other interesting topics, e.g. science or philosophy.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:43 AM on September 30, 2008

nthing This American Life - That show kept me sane when I did low level finance work.
posted by ian1977 at 4:57 AM on September 30, 2008

Don't forget the CBC's podcasts as well, particularly the "Ideas" podcast and "Quirks and Quarks".
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:10 AM on September 30, 2008

Agree with This American Life. Also, Fresh Air from NPR is really, really great if you're not familiar. It's an interview show hosted by Terri Gross, an incredibly empathetic, intelligent interviewer. She gets all sorts of people on the show: artists, historians, scientists, and she gets people to talk in a way I've never heard an interviewer do...Not sure about the downloading though, I download it as a podcast from iTunes.
posted by lunasol at 6:06 AM on September 30, 2008

Out of the BBC content, have you set her up on the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film reviews podcast? And the Friday Night Comedy Podcast? Easily the two most addictive podcasts I subscribe to.
posted by skylar at 7:18 AM on September 30, 2008

Which BBC streams does she listen to? I always recommend In Our Time.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:38 AM on September 30, 2008

WNYC's Radiolab is fantastic and informative.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:46 AM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Check out The Moth story feed. It is a series of amazing stories told by normal people to a live audience. I have been listening to it for a few weeks now and have been blown away by the variety of it. Got my mom hooked too, so yours might enjoy. Here is a link to the RSS.
posted by sophist at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2008

Fresh Air is awesome on podcast.
posted by sully75 at 8:52 AM on September 30, 2008

Does she like food and cooking stuff? Splendid Table with Lynne Rosetta Casper is a lot of fun.
posted by ian1977 at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2008

My podcast selection includes the BBC's In Our Time, WNYC's Selected Shorts and a couple of the LibriVox podcasts. That should be enough intellectual discourse to get her through a day or two, but you might want to throw in a subscription to Audible, with a few unabridged audiobooks..
posted by baggers at 9:51 AM on September 30, 2008

The Leonard Lopate show is always interesting.
posted by philad at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, thanks everyone for all the great suggestions!! I'm going to send her the links to these, this should keep her brain from rotting at her job. I didn't favorite any since I liked the content of all the links. (These will also help me, since I'm now stuck driving a car with no stereo for 10+ hours, my ipod and these podcasts will be lifesavers.)
posted by shinyshiny at 2:05 PM on September 30, 2008

If you don't like This American Life, something is wrong with you. Rick Steves does a good travel podcast if your mom is into that sort of thing.
posted by cnc at 10:53 PM on September 30, 2008

I like the Guardian daily podcast for my commute. Also, BBC Radio comedy! Widely available to those, certainly not me, with bendable ethics regarding the acquisition of digitized audio files.
posted by rhinny at 11:09 PM on October 2, 2008

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