Small-portion podcasts?
March 5, 2009 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I miss Slate Explainer! Looking for short but interesting podcasts to round out the podcast CDs I compile for my commute. Suggestions in the 2--10 minute range please?

Most of the podcasts I listen to -- Kermode, TAL, RadiolLab etc -- run 30 minutes or more. And somehow 10 minutes unused on an 80 minute CD seems awfully wasteful to me. Slate Explainer's daily 3-minutes-or-so podcast was awfully useful for filling those gaps, but it went on "hiatus" in January, probably never to return.

My tastes tend towards science/technology. I'm already subscribed to SciAm's 60 Second Science and 60 Second Psych and to NPR's Krulwich on Science. But I'm willing to give anything MeFi recommends a chance.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Stuff You Should Know. Rough around the edges but pretty fun. Sometimes longer than 10 minutes but oftentimes in that range.

Are you burning them to cds? Why don't you get a really cheap mp3 player?
posted by sully75 at 12:29 PM on March 5, 2009

The Moth? Some of their performances will be familiar to you from This American Life, but there are many more.
posted by onshi at 12:32 PM on March 5, 2009

If you can tolerate the ~15 min. range, try NPR's Planet Money. 2nding The Moth, too.
posted by jon1270 at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2009

Best answer: NOVA scienceNOW
posted by knave at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2009

Grammar Girl,Modern Manners Guy as well as Podictionary all meet your time requirements. OutloudOpinion also has quite a few short podcasts.
posted by geekyguy at 12:37 PM on March 5, 2009

Best answer: CBC's Quirks and Quarks has both an individual-segments feed and a full-show feed. Individual segments usually run between 5-20 minutes. The Economist's podcasts are usually quite interesting, and usually run 10-15 minutes.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:37 PM on March 5, 2009

Studio 360 breaks up their weekly podcast into 5-10 minute segments that can be downloaded individually. I usually check the website and download the portions I find interesting.
posted by reenum at 12:48 PM on March 5, 2009

The Ethicist (NYT)
Tekzilla Daily (video, and hit-or-miss on what's relevant to you, but worth having for when it is)
NPR Story of the Day
NPR Hourly News Summary
posted by mkultra at 12:49 PM on March 5, 2009

NPR has several Marketplace podcasts that are cool. They have a short morning report one that I like. Only problem is I've often heard the stories the day before.

Robert Reisch has a great one that's short commentary as well.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2009

CBC's The Hour breaks its daily show into ~8 minute segments. (I think they're typically broken on where the commercials go, but I have found the odd silent 90sec spot of podcast where the commercial would have been...) Anyway, I love George Stroumboulopoulos. If I could only have one podcast, I'm pretty sure this would be it.
posted by cgg at 2:11 PM on March 5, 2009

It is not serious and sometimes it misses the mark but The Onion Radio News can be damn funny and usually about ~50 seconds. They are very nice in playlists to separate longer form content.
posted by mmascolino at 2:43 PM on March 5, 2009

I'm not going to link them (I produce them), but I'm very proud of both The Kasper Hauser Comedy Podcast (3-5 minute sketches) and The Coyle & Sharpe Podcast (3-10 minute radio put-ons from the 60s), and both have won "Best of iTunes."
posted by YoungAmerican at 4:27 PM on March 5, 2009

Best answer: Check out Skeptoid by Brian Dunning. It's a great short, concise, and clear podcast about science and skepticism.
posted by tybstar at 5:14 PM on March 5, 2009

Best answer: BBC Instant Guide -- it pretty much is the Explainer, with a politics/current events focus, and about 8 min long.
posted by Methylviolet at 6:33 PM on March 5, 2009

I'm going off-track here, and I apologize if there are obvious explanations for these, but are these one-time CD-Rs that you're making? You could try CD-RWs instead, so you won't feel like you have to have 80s minutes to get your money's worth.

Or you could just get a cheap mp3 player, which would save a lot of time spent on burning the CDs. And if you find any good short podcasts here, you can still get those too.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:07 PM on March 5, 2009

Hardcore History is a fun and not too dense review of world history. He's had some interesting topics like America's Worst President, Alexander the Great vs. Hitler and some other non-traditional analysis of historical events.
posted by electroboy at 7:58 AM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks to all, many good suggestions; I'll come back and mark some best answers once I've got some listening in.

On the CD thing, yeah, it's weird, but it works for me. I commute by car 1 hour each way and don't want to be faffing around with an iPod and an FM transmitter and the car stereo while I'm driving; I enjoy the process of compiling the day's CDs in the morning and I enjoy having pre-compiled stuff on the drive that I can just play and go. Hadn't considered CD-RW, though...

Already subscribed to The Moth from previous recommend-me-a-podcast AskMes -- often good stuff -- and to Planet Money via the TAL Giant Pool of Money episode.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:35 AM on March 6, 2009

Keep in mind that not all car radios that play CD-Rs can play CD-RWs.
posted by mmascolino at 11:54 AM on March 6, 2009

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