This unAmerican Life, eh?
October 1, 2011 8:37 AM   Subscribe

I love Planet Money and This American Life. I am looking for similar podcasts which are either Canadian or just less America-only/mostly. I do not like The Vinyl Cafe, I do like Wiretap. English or French only, please.
posted by jeather to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
posted by angab at 8:44 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Well, the Canadian version of This American Life is Not Necessarily the Opera (ie, DNTO, which has been around before This American Life). DNTO is a little lighter than This American Life.

I'm sure you already know about it, but the Sunday Edition with Michael Enright always has interesting stuff on it. I also like Tapestry and Writers and Company, both of which I listen to while preparing Sunday dinner.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:47 AM on October 1, 2011

Seconding DNTO. Each episode has a theme that various contributors share a personal story around, and there's usually a few quick, related 'man on the street' interviews as well.
posted by vespertine at 8:57 AM on October 1, 2011

It's Definitely Not The Opera (DNTO). I like Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR. What about Age of Persuasion or White Coat Black Art on CBC? I also like As It Happens on CBC.
posted by sadtomato at 9:00 AM on October 1, 2011

Coincidentally, I just finished a search on a similar topic. (A good search is for "podcasts" and "in our time"--I find this tends to bring up pretty intelligent lists).

I'd recommend "New Yorker Out Loud"--often, it's a good slice of life type interview with an author of a recent piece in the magazine. (Aren't there a ton of good CBC podcasts?--when I drive the long drive to Mt. St. Anne I'm always impressed by quality of shows.)
posted by Jon44 at 9:00 AM on October 1, 2011

jon44 seemed to allude to it, but BBC Radio 4's In Our Time is awesome. There are a cpl hundred episodes, each a 30-40 minute roundtable discussion with a host and 2 or 3 academics with knowledge in a specialized areas. Topics are specific to an episode and go from things like imaginary numbers or the vacuum of space, through to anarchism, angels, or logical positivism. My intellect has certain expanded significantly since I started listening to it.
posted by wackybrit at 9:04 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: DNTO is okay -- I don't turn off the cbc when it's on -- but I don't ever search it out, or turn the radio back on at home when I leave the car if I'm in the middle of it. I think it's too pop culturey for what I want. But I'll give it another shot. I don't like Radiolab. I don't know why. I want to like it.

In Our Time sounds good. Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me fails on the not-American requirement.
posted by jeather at 9:07 AM on October 1, 2011

Surprised no one has mentioned CBC's Ideas yet. I listened to it for years before being spoiled by Radiolab. It's more adademic and far less entertaining, but awesome nevertheless.
posted by kitcat at 9:21 AM on October 1, 2011

that's 'academic' - unlike me :(
posted by kitcat at 9:22 AM on October 1, 2011

I personally like wait wait but, yeah, all the politics are strictly american. There is, however, The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 which is a (pretty much) strictly British version of the same thing.

I also enjoy Spark from the CBC, loved A History of the World in 100 Objects from the BBC, and routinely listen to All in the Mind, The Science Show & Occam's Razor from the ABC.

On the more storytellingishness side of things I rather like The News From Lake Wobegon (essentially like ripping just the stories from The Vinyl Cafe only these come from A Prairie Home Companion) and The Moth
posted by mce at 9:26 AM on October 1, 2011

I really like Woman's Hour from the BBC - it covers a good mix of topics.
posted by hazyjane at 9:43 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe a bit whackier than you'd want, and not being made at the present, Macam Tribus from the French CBC.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:56 PM on October 1, 2011

"jon44 seemed to allude to it, but BBC Radio 4's In Our Time is awesome"

I do listen to this regularly, but I've been getting a bit disenchanted lately, as Melvin seems less and less focussed on ideas and more on nuts and bolts of practical history (e.g., recent show on Shintoism left me feeling like I didn't really know what Shintoism was or what a Shinto follower believed.)

Another suggestion for just overall smarts is "KCRW's Bookworm"--although it's a discussion with an author of a recent book, the interviewer is so smart that each show becomes a general discussion of an aspect of culture / personal experience.

(For what it's worth, I've never gotten in to "This American Life"--feels too overdetermined, and one of their most popular shows--"House on Loon Lake"--is one of few I listened to and found it kind of offensive and a little bogus.)
posted by Jon44 at 2:33 PM on October 1, 2011

BBC R4's Documentaries is excellent.
Here's the feed URL:
posted by hylaride at 2:34 PM on October 1, 2011

You might like Thinking Allowed, another BBC Radio 4 podcast.
posted by naturalog at 9:19 PM on October 1, 2011

seconding "thinking allowed"
posted by southof40 at 11:47 PM on October 1, 2011

There's Night Air, from Australia's ABC Radio. It's a weekly 30 minute podcast derived from an 85 minute weekly show.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:17 AM on October 2, 2011

Seconding/thirding In Our Time, Thinking Allowed, and the Radio 4 Documentary. I also really enjoy Discovery from the BBC, which is a feature (not news) based science show, so it may scratch the feature itch raised by TAL/Planet Money and not scratched by Radiolab.

If you're interested in history, I also like the BBC History magazine podcast, which has interviews that correspond with feature articles in the magazine.
posted by clerestory at 6:24 PM on October 2, 2011

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