Broaden my podcast horizons in twenty minutes or less.
October 2, 2009 4:45 PM   Subscribe

Another recommend-me-new-podcasts question but with a small twist: I'm specifically looking for podcasts which are 20 minutes duration or less. Subject matter is wide open, it's just difficult to search by length.

Shorter podcasts I already love include: Afternoon Tea with Richard Wiseman, Skeptoid, SGU 5x5, Vital Signs, and SciAm's 60-Second Science. As you can see I'm heavy on the skeptics and science but I'd like to widen my horizons. So please don't feel limited to this area, diversity is good. The only things I won't listen to is politics and religion, everything (and anything!) else is fair game.

Links are good, names I can google to find links myself are also good. Podcasts longer than twenty minutes, while being good in their own way, aren't what I'm looking for right now (the odd minute or two over here and there is fine). I promise to download and listen to at least one episode of everything mentioned as long as it's short enough.

Oh. And I listen while I walk to work so I'm talking about audio podcasts here rather than video ones. Cheers!
posted by shelleycat to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Since I recommend it every opportunity I get..

Never Not Funny, the free version is 20 minutes long.
posted by mediocre at 5:04 PM on October 2, 2009

This American Life is an hour long, but usually divided into 3 stand-alone segments of varying length. Subject matter is everything under the sun, but often humorous. Free, too.
posted by tula at 5:25 PM on October 2, 2009

BBC's Global News Podcast
posted by nanhey at 5:31 PM on October 2, 2009

The NPR On Science podcast varies in length, but looking at the ones I have currently, only one out of eight is over 20 minutes. The NPR Planet Money (generally really good, but seems like it might be a little out of your interest zone) podcast averages between 17-22 minutes.
posted by General Malaise at 5:36 PM on October 2, 2009

The Moth Podcast is under 20 minutes, great stories about people's experiences in life. Usually funny, sad, interesting, and all sorts of other adjectives. Highly recommend it.
posted by dealing away at 9:42 PM on October 2, 2009

(generally really good, but seems like it might be a little out of your interest zone)

For this I really have no interest zone, I'm bored and I need new stimuli. So it's all good!

These are all great suggestions so far and I'm adding them now (and ready for more). Thanks!
posted by shelleycat at 9:43 PM on October 2, 2009

I like Writing Excuses. Their slogan is "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart." Fun listening even if you don't write anything.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:24 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

The AV Club's Hatecast - pop culture conversation through a lens of snark, but not in a Perez Hilton hateful kind of way. (Orbiting 15 minutes)

The Ethicist, from the New York Times column of the same name - ethical questions, two a week plus errata, under five minutes.
posted by carbide at 12:10 AM on October 3, 2009

Widely Ranging Interests hovers right around 20 minutes. As does the New York Times' Science Times. I enjoy both of them.

Have you tried Radio New Zealand's Our Changing World science show, or Spectrum? Don't listen myself, but one often overlooks the local.
posted by mumkin at 1:19 AM on October 3, 2009

Stuff You Should Know covers topics from history, science, economics, culture, the occult, etc., in a funny charming way. Usually falls around 19-23 minutes, with some in the 27-35 minute range.
posted by lostburner at 9:13 AM on October 3, 2009

I'm listening to a podcast on the history of Roman marriage (16:42) via The History of Rome.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:37 PM on October 3, 2009

None of these are things I knew about or would have chosen for myself and all of them look interesting, which is awesome. I'm actually looking forward to going to work tomorrow - a very rare occurrence right now. Heh, of course I may just end up wandering around my neighbourhood listening to podcasts instead of making it to my desk. Thanks so much for all the great recommendations.
posted by shelleycat at 7:47 PM on October 3, 2009

Seconding The Moth, History of Rome and Stuff You Should Know.

Also good from the How Stuff Works people is Stuff You Missed in History Class. I'd say about 1 out of 5 episodes is over 20 minutes, but always less than 30.

Staying on the historical theme, the Useless Information podcast is up to episode 26 and ranges from 4:36 to 19:43 in runtime. He always has (in addition to the historical episode) a trivia question and "retro sponsor"

I also absolutely love the memory palace - Nate DiMeo is a public radio producer (and it shows). He describes these 2 1/2 to 6 minute stories as "water cooler history." Great writing and selection of stories.

On the general interest side, if you read (or like) either the New Yorker or Economist, they both have weekly podcasts focusing on a particular story/feature in the upcoming issue. Typically around 8 to 12 minutes, but really varies, although never over 20.

On the science side, if you like 60 Second Science, you might also like 1 minute science show The Discovery Files from the National Science Foundation. Not to be confused with Discovery, the (1/2 hour, unfortunately) BBC science podcast, or the Discovery Channel. The NSF guy has a kind of "hello everyone in radioland" voice, but is quite good.

Also science-oriented is Dr. Karl's Great Moments in Science. They run 5-7 minutes - great writing and embedded transcription.
posted by clerestory at 3:23 PM on October 4, 2009

I've been listening to podcasts like crazy for the last couple of weeks. So many of these are excellent, I can't really choose best answers. The only ones I didn't like were Hatecast and Never Not Funny (which was just ... not funny), although I did try listening to at least a couple of shows from each to make sure. The Global World News is a well put together show with good interviews and a range of topics but reminded me that I'm just not into the news, so that one has been dropped also. The rest are keepers.

I knew from the descriptions that I was going to like The History of Rome, Writing Excuses and The Moth, which I do. But I was also surprised at how much I like Planet Money and The Ethicist. I wasn't drawn to the topics at all but the actual shows captured my attention and I'm looking forward to more. My horizons are definitely expanded there! I also appreciate the Radio NZ reccomendations. We get emails whenever one of my collegues is on Our Changing World but I didn't know I could get it as a podcast (so bonus points for making me look good at work!), and Radio NZ makes quality shows. I thought I had a good coverage of the science podcasts out there but haven't heard of any of the ones suggested here plus I haven't had any doubling up of stories so far, so my science geek horizons also widened. I'm enjoying all the rest too.

Summary: the short shows and variety of topics is really working for me right now so thanks!
posted by shelleycat at 6:17 PM on October 16, 2009

Planet Money has turned into my favourite although I still listen to, and enjoy, all the rest (seriously, all!). I totally would not have picked this before hand and would never have listened to it on my own.
posted by shelleycat at 12:35 AM on December 4, 2009

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