Podcasts Short Enough To Finish In One Trip
March 9, 2012 7:12 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite podcasts ≤20-25 minutes in length?

I have a roughly 20-25 minute drive to work. I'd love to make that time more useful a listen to some podcasts.

I love This American Life, but I want something where I can hear the whole thing in one trip.

Other things I like include Stuff You Missed In History Class, Freakenomics, Stuff You Should Know, The Story, Science Friday, and honestly most things on NPR.

I'm not too worried about subject matter. It can be educational, funny, news, whatever. The main thing is I want to be able to finish whatever I start.

I did see that there was another question about this, but it's from 2009.
posted by theichibun to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 71 users marked this as a favorite
I like the Spilled Milk podcast about food/cooking, it's about 15-20 minutes for each weekly episode.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 7:20 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are at all interested in history the "History of Rome" podcast is great. Episodes are about the length you are looking for and usually really entertaining. You do have a tad of catching up to do since they are up to episode 170 or so.
posted by Captain_Science at 7:21 AM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

The Moth Podcast!
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:21 AM on March 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

How to Do Everything
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:22 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Planet Money is a fantastic NPR finance podcast.

The BBC's History of the World in 100 Objects podcasts are interesting, though many run a bit shorter than your request.

Seconding The Moth.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:22 AM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding Planet Money on NPR.
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The shorter RadioLab podcasts fit that time constraint pretty well. TED talks would work too, though them sometimes make more use of video and wouldn't be suitable for listening while driving.
posted by jquinby at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of listening to podcasts at 2x so I can fit in longer podcasts on my commute. If you have an iPod/iPhone, the built-in podcast support allows you to do that (I use Downcast, and it gives you even more speeds and - I think - sounds better). It doesn't take long to get used to how it sounds, and you'll never go back once you do.
posted by hankscorpio83 at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

99% invisible is even shorter than 20/25 minutes. It has a bit of a radiolab vibe - fittingly I first heard it on the Radiolab short that featured 3 episodes of 99% invisible.
posted by Hello, Revelers! I am Captain Lavender! at 7:34 AM on March 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Seconding The Moth.
posted by cider at 7:37 AM on March 9, 2012

My first suggestions were all taken by others (so seconding The Moth, shorter RadioLab bits, and Planet Money), but I also want to suggest longer shows that can be listened to a bit at a time. I find the The Savage Love-cast and Cartalk work pretty well to listen to in chunks.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:38 AM on March 9, 2012

Risk! is usually 3-4 hilarious stories in an hour podcast.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:45 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Under the Influence with Terry O'Reilly is a good take on marketing and advertising though at 27 minutes it might be on the long side http://www.cbc.ca/undertheinfluence/

Also repeating the recommendations for shorter RadioLab bits and The Moth.
posted by samhyland at 8:11 AM on March 9, 2012

Radiolab Shorts are typically in that timeframe.
For sports, I listen to Pardon The Interruption almost daily. I think it's an acquired taste.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:20 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Philosophy bites - 10 to 15 min interviews with philosophers on specific topics
posted by meijusa at 8:30 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ten Minute Podcast is funny. They are really 10 minutes so you would have to listen to a couple at a time but I really like their humor.
posted by govtdrone at 9:11 AM on March 9, 2012

My answer from this thread:


Each episode is usually about 10 to 15 minutes so you could string a couple of them together for the commute.
posted by moxiequz at 9:33 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

KCRW's The Treatment
posted by puritycontrol at 10:01 AM on March 9, 2012

I found The Story Collider preferable to The Moth, though maybe I just tried The Moth during a particularly depressing set of stories. It looks like most come in at around 15 minutes, though the latest one was almost a half hour.
posted by natabat at 10:07 AM on March 9, 2012

Planet Money is my favorite podcast ever. Usually 15-20 minutes.
posted by sio42 at 10:22 AM on March 9, 2012

I also asked a similar question. I still listen to, and love, Planet Money and The Moth. My husband loves Writing Excuses and History of Rome (which are good).

I also listen to Judge John Hodgman which I highly recommend. It's sometimes a bit over twenty five minutes in total but the main case is less, and the extra can be skipped or listened to the next day.
posted by shelleycat at 11:07 AM on March 9, 2012

nthing Moth, Hodgman, Radiolab and How to Do Everything. At 25-30 minutes each, you should be able to listen to Answer Me This if you drive just a little bit slower.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:17 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Though they very in length, from 20-35 minutes, the Nature Podcast is always excellent.
posted by lordcorvid at 12:20 PM on March 9, 2012

The KunstlerCast is a weekly audio program (and now a book) about “the tragic comedy of suburban sprawl".

WARNING: curmudgeon alert. (Though in a funny way.)
posted by quadog at 7:36 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Labyrinth Library - short weekly book reviews, usually about 10-15 minutes long.
posted by MShades at 9:14 PM on March 9, 2012

Planetary Radio is a radio show produced by The Planetary Society (TPS). It's dealing with science, specifically space exploration of the unmanned kind, meaning mostly deep space probes like Cassini and the Mars rovers. Heard of Bill Nye? He is the executive director of TPS now, and makes a brief (and energetic) appearance in this show every week. Also look for the short updates by Emily Lakdawalla, who writes the excellent TPS blog.

The show is 28.5 minutes long, but the last 5 minutes or so is taken up with a final segment that you could easily listen to separately, or just skip, but it's worth it. So in 20-25 minutes you'll get through the meat of the show.

We're in a golden age of planetary exploration right now, and you really should at least sample this. If you do, I guarantee you'll end up marking the evening of August 5th on your calendar ...
posted by intermod at 10:04 PM on March 9, 2012

qxntpqbbbqxl: "Risk! is usually 3-4 hilarious stories in an hour podcast"
I've listened to s few shows since I saw this link, great stories, people talking about risks they've taken, situations they've been in; so far funny, poignant, interesting to be sure. Great stuff.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:09 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely recommend that you try out 2x listening. While it doesn't work well for all podcasts it does work for the podcasts that are originally broadcasts news programs. This is because they have excellent audio quality and everyone speaks slowly and clearly. That kind of show is a dream to listen to on 2x. Shows with very fast talkers or rely on the music/sound effects can sound a bit weird.

Speaking of professional news broadcasts, NPR does offer a Story of the Day feed. If you look closely through their podcast directory you'll find feeds on topics as well as the ability to create a custom feed on keywords.

Planet Money is entertaining and educational and most episodes are less than 20 minutes.

The Onion Radio News is funny sub-1 minute news reports.

Slate's Spoiler Specials are ~20 minute discussions about current movies done in a way that assumes that you have already seen the movies.
posted by mmascolino at 11:36 AM on March 14, 2012

Thanks for all of those. I'm not going to mark best answers because that would be everything.
posted by theichibun at 9:03 AM on March 15, 2012

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