20-25 minute podcasts
March 29, 2013 4:33 PM   Subscribe

I have a new commute that is a 25 minute walk from door to door. I'd like to find some podcasts to fill this time.

I have a new commute that is a 25 minute walk from door to door. I'd like to find some podcasts to fill this time. I'm not really a podcast person, so I don't really know what's out there. The only ones I have ever really listened to more than once are This American Life and Dan Savage, but both of those are too long.

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, but I like the story-telling aspect of TAM. Regarding Dan Savage, I honestly get bored with him after about 10 minutes (I'm a fan, but oftentimes it's the same ol' shit--GGG, DTMFA, open up the relationship, blahblahblah).

Here are a few things I like to read/learn about, so maybe these can be helpful in influencing your suggestions: history, literature, fashion/style, music, obscure places/events such as those written about at Atlas Obscura, sex/sexuality/relationships/dating, current events/politics, urban legends/occult-y stuff, social justice, women's rights/issues, interior decorating, travel.

Here are things that generally don't interest me: cars, tech stuff, computers, physics (though I do enjoy learning about new scientific innovations, but for the layman), cooking, gardening, building stuff, crafting, military/war history, sports, money management/investing, celebrity gossip.

I'm trying to get interested in exercise, working out, healthy eating and generally healthy living, so you're welcome to suggest things in that vein as well.

So, hit me with those under-25-minute suggestions. Thanks a bunch!
posted by greta simone to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I did see this question, but that was a year ago, and perhaps it might not be so relevant? I'm unaware of how quick the turnover is in podcast world.
posted by greta simone at 4:36 PM on March 29, 2013

Planet Money is the right length. It's about money (duh), but not money management/investing. I like it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:39 PM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]

It's shorter than what you're looking for, but 99 Percent Invisible is so, so good.

I like Freakonomics Radio and Planet Money, but they might not be up your alley.

BackStory is usually 40-50 minutes, but it's pretty well segmented, so you could easily listen to half of it on the way in and half on the way home and not lose much.
posted by Etrigan at 4:40 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Moth?
posted by jabes at 4:47 PM on March 29, 2013 [7 favorites]

Fiction? Starship Sofa tends to be too long (though I do listen to it in pieces), but The Drabblecast ("Strange Stories, By Strange Authors, for Strange Listeners", and he's not kidding) seems to me to be about that length, Escape Pod is also currently on my bashpodder list, as is Nobilis Erotica.

(And if you start listening to some of those they'll generally send you towards others of a similar bent.)
posted by straw at 4:49 PM on March 29, 2013

Good Job Brain! is my favorite, great trivia and quizzes
posted by ergo at 4:49 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Story Collider is a lot like The Moth, but all stories about science.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:53 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Risk! is a great podcast that sometimes have 25 minute episodes.

If you're not familiar with it, it's a podcast where people (everyday people, comics, celebrities) tell personal stories they'd never share with anyone. Most of them are very uplifting and some can be very very funny. Though I must warn some of them can be very intense.

Even though most episodes clock in at an hour, the stories themselves are no more than 30 mins. I enjoy it immensely!
posted by morning_television at 4:55 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Huge fan of Thrilling Adventure Hour. Each podcast is just about 18-25 minutes.

Each episode can stand on their own, but the Sparks Nevada episodes are best enjoyed in order.
posted by politikitty at 4:59 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Planet Money (which is actually about economics), 99% Invisible (about architecture and design and the things that make up our everyday world that we don't notice [also I think Roman Mars sounds a bit like mathowie, so there's that]), and especially BackStory (American history explored through a specific topic, such as cleanliness or alcohol). BackStory is really well done and engaging and I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are interested in American history at all.

It's All Politics is the right length. It is an NPR product about the "horserace" aspect of politics, which is not really my favorite approach to current events. But Ken Rudin and Ron Elving have a charming, jokey rapport and they don't take themselves or the topic too seriously.

Science Friday (also from NPR) delivers content in individual segments to my podcast player, so I can easily pick and choose the pieces I am interested in. Each segment is 8-15 minutes. This is a call-in show, so YMMV on this one depending on your tolerance for that.

The other thread you linked to mentioned Philosophy Bites, which is the right length. These are very interesting and accessible to an educated layperson, but they do demand more of me mentally than the others.

In general, a podcast that was good a year ago will probably still be around, but new good stuff comes up all the time, too.
posted by jeoc at 5:08 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

A history of the world in 100 objects is a BBC podcast. Each podcast is 14 or 15 minutes long, so two would fit into your commute if you walk a little bit more slowly. ;-)

You wrote that you liked the storytelling aspect of TAL, so maybe give the StoryCorps podcast a try? The episodes are quite short, so you could fit several into one of your walks.
posted by amf at 5:18 PM on March 29, 2013

You might like NPR's Radiolab.
posted by luciddream928 at 5:19 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you like the storytelling aspect of This American Life, I'd second the suggestion of The Moth. The episodes are about 15-20 minutes of real-life storytelling. Several Moth stories have ended up being used as segments on This American Life.
posted by smoq at 5:40 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is a little immature, but I'm obsessed with Doodie Calls with Doug Mand, where various comedians and writers tell stories of times they've shit in their pants. It's incredibly funny and stunningly filthy.
posted by Charity Garfein at 5:49 PM on March 29, 2013

Wiretap: hard-to-describe storytelling (poignant, absurd...), but you may recognize Jonathan Goldstein from TAL. 25 minutes.

But do you need the podcast to start and end during your 25 minute walk? Or would you be OK with longer podcasts that you could listen to on the way there, and the way back? If so, here are a few that are around 45 minutes:

The Bugle: funny news podcast by John Oliver and Andy Saltzman

Slate Culture Gabfest: discussing current films, books, and longform journalism

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: interviews with musicians and filmmakers

Low Times: good 20-25 minute interviews (2 per episode) with various indie musicians; often good enough interviews that I've enjoyed them without knowing the band in question.

Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention the best show, which is the Best Show on WFMU. Not as intellectually edifying as your podcast tastes, and also 3 hours long, but I listen to it in chunks on the way to and from teaching university-level philosophy for a living, and it's the smartest thing I do all day!
posted by Beardman at 6:07 PM on March 29, 2013

Judge John Hodgman: Like people's court, but with John Hodgman as the judge.

Seconding WireTap
posted by sarah_pdx at 6:12 PM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

I like Stuff You Should Know! The hosts are really funny in a subtle off the cuff way (according to me), and more so if you've been listening and are familiar with their quirks. 20-30 minutes about just about all subjects imaginable.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 7:01 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Under the Influence from CBC is terrific. It's an irreverent and funny look at advertising.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:41 PM on March 29, 2013

The HowStuffWorks group has a number of podcasts you could try out and find the series you like: Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff You Should Know, Stuff to Blow Your Mind, etc.

+ nthing Radiolab, WireTap, the Moth, and 99% Invisible. From WFMU's archives, Benjamen Walker's older show 'Theory of Everything' told some great stories.

If you are interested in some highbrow speakers, the Commonwealth Club of California has good guest speakers. Although the format is an hour long, it is usually a 30 minute speech/lecture and 30 minutes of Q&A; so you could listen to one half on the way to work and finish up on the way home.

Oh, and for dramatically read storytelling (actors reading short stories live), there's Selected Shorts.
posted by bartleby at 8:27 PM on March 29, 2013

If you can do fiction, I can't say enough good things about Night Vale. It's a delightfully surreal, fantastic podcast in the style of a local radio show for a bizarre fictional town called Desert Bluffs. Their Twitter feed is more out there and aggressive than the podcast itself--the podcast is pleasing at least in part because it's presented in such a mild-mannered 1950s kind of way.
posted by MeghanC at 9:48 PM on March 29, 2013

I'm surprised The Memory Palace hasn't been mentioned yet. Nate DiMeo finds a great story from the past (usually American history), and retells it in a compelling way. It's one of my favorite podcasts because it's so short and it always gets an emotional reaction out of me. If you like TAL, you'll definitely like The Memory Palace.

Oh, and the episodes are always short. Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 15, never more than 20.
posted by mokin at 12:53 AM on March 30, 2013

+1 for SYSK & their sister podcasts. Some are longer (dependent on topic -- some stuff just can't be covered in 20 minutes) but I personally don't usually listen to SYSK's listener mail segment at the end of the show, which cuts off a good 3-4 minutes off total runtime. They have a HUGE (100s of episodes) backlog and update 2x a week, so you'd be all set for quite some time with just this one, or could skip over ones you don't think would be as interesting without worrying about running out... though I have to say some of the ones I didn't think I'd enjoy based on title have actually been pretty cool, or at the very least I come out with a neat factoid at the end of it.
posted by jorlyfish at 9:35 AM on March 30, 2013

nthing SYSK and the Bugle. Both about 20 minutes, both super-engaging and witty (The Bugle is frequently hilarious--if you like the Daily Show, it's much the same brand of humor).
posted by elizeh at 1:16 PM on March 30, 2013

How To Do Everything (howtodoeverything.org) is a great general interest podcast. It is from the producers of Wait...Wait...Don't Tell Me.
posted by jahmaicherry at 2:28 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wait, wait is great. Also, Alec Baldwin's Here's the Thing is really good!
posted by JaneL at 7:56 PM on March 30, 2013

This has already been said, but I have to say it again, louder:
Also, if you're not already using Downcast to manage your podcasts, I highly recommend it.
posted by D.Billy at 9:03 PM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ted talks are usually 20 min long, they cover almost any subject and are available for free
posted by proximacentauri at 10:20 PM on March 30, 2013

I've just found Answer Me This via other podcast threads on AskMe, and thought of this thread, as it's half an hour long.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:38 PM on August 8, 2013

« Older How should we deal with the neighbor's cat?   |   Should I attend App Academy? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.