Please help me with specific podcast episode recommendations!
April 25, 2013 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Spontaneous weekend road trip tomorrow, 9 hour drive in each direction (that's the distance to the closest city from our remote location). If I had more time I would comb through various podcasts to pick out ones I think I'd like, but this time I could use your help.

Podcasts I've enjoyed in the past are mainly This American Life episodes (mostly because I haven't yet explored other options). My favorite segment of all time is Squirrel Cop from the "First Day" episode, and I've really enjoyed the "Starting from Scratch" and "When Patents Attack" episodes as well. I like longer personal interest stories as well as topics that are generally complex but conveyed in an entertaining manner (like the patents stories). I adore David Sedaris but I think I've heard most of his NPR stuff (a lot of David Rakoff's work too). I've gone through most of the TAL favorites, and would like to find the equivalent in other podcasts.

I have listened to a couple of The Moth podcasts and would love some recommendations of specific ones, as well as any other podcasts that you can think of that might apply to my interests.

Free is great, iTunes is okay too, but Amazon is out because despite my VPN and US account, they're very aggressive about keeping Canadians out of their MP3 store.
posted by mireille to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd grab a few from Here's The Thing, one in particular I liked was Brian Williams.
posted by Blake at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2013

Best answer: Planet Money (I find them to be surprisingly entertaining):
-#447: The Con Man who Took Down His Own Country (Then Ran for Office)
-#433: Holding a Rain Forest Hostage
-#416: Why the Price of Coke Didn't Change for 70 Years (previously)

Stuff You Missed in History Class:
-The Story of "Happy Birthday to You"
-Why was Juana called "la Loca"? (Parts 1 and 2)

I also really like Risk!, but I'm way behind on it. I enjoyed the episode Blindsided quite a bit, though.
posted by pitrified at 9:36 AM on April 25, 2013

Best answer: I asked a similar question and received some great responses a while back.
posted by morganannie at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2013

Seconding pitrified's suggestion of Risk!. That might really fit the bill of what you're looking for.

I'm also partial to Jordan, Jesse Go! and Stop Podcasting Yourself, though those fall more into the conversational category (though hilarious) and less informative.

The Memory Palace might be up your alley as it has a very NPR kind of vibe to it, but it's also very entertaining.

I also just recently discovered Answer Me This, which is short, quite witty and makes the time fly by. I downloaded six episodes yesterday and blew through them while I was at work enjoyed it immensely.

Have a safe trip!
posted by BrianJ at 9:53 AM on April 25, 2013

Best answer: It seems like something you may already be familiar with, but in case you're not, Radio Lab is a great podcast for complex topics covered in an interesting way. I particularly enjoyed the episodes Stochasticity (aka, randomness), Parasites, and Color. Although, I can't really remember any Radio Lab episodes I didn't like. Just grab any with intriguing titles!
posted by duien at 9:54 AM on April 25, 2013

Anything from Hardcore History, and they tend to be 2+ hours each so they really help eat up the time. The recent 5 part series he did on Ghengis Kahn was brilliant, and amazingly entertaining. The series of podcasts about WWII on the Eastern front were also freaking great.
posted by COD at 9:55 AM on April 25, 2013

I'm the senior producer of a public radio theatre series. I've been promising various people copies of some of our shows on AskMe over the years, and I haven't always been good about circling back, so here are some freebies for the entire group. Nine hours is plenty of time to immerse yourself in some awesome drama!

Doctor Cerberus by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Starring Simon Helberg. With Pamela J. Gray, Steven Culp, Jarrett Sleeper, and Jamison Jones. A teenage misfit is coming of age in the comforting glow of late-night horror movies. But when reality begins to intrude on his fantasy world, he realizes that hiding in the closet is no longer an option. [HR1] [HR2]

This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton and Missy Yager. In 1982 on Manhattan's Upper West Side, three pot-smoking teenagers are resoundingly rejecting the 1960s ideals of their affluent parents. This is Our Youth follows forty-eight turbulent hours in the lives of three lost souls during the Reagan Era. [HR1] [HR2]

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Starring James Marsters, Matthew Wolf, and Charles Busch. With Emily Bergl, Jill Gascoine, Sarah Zimmerman, Neil Dickson, and Christopher Neame. Wilde's topsy-turvy farce is rife with mistaken identities, misguided lovers, and a misplaced handbag. But Earnest also takes a serious swipe at hypocrisy and the constraints of morality: subjects that never go out of style. [HR1] [HR2]

Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall. Starring Teagle F. Bougere, Daniel Davis, and Matt Letscher. A young man named Christopher is about to be discharged from psychiatric supervision in a London hospital. But his clinicians disagree about the seriousness of his condition, and his release becomes complicated by issues of race, class, and the definition of sanity. [HR1] [HR2]

Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore. Starring Julian Sands, Martin Jarvis, Rosalind Ayres, and Roxanne Hart. With Megan Austin Oberle, Sione Owen, and David Selby. Actual events during the Cold War inspired this thriller that takes place in a suburb of London during the autumn and winter of 1960-1961. Loyalty, duty and friendship collide when the Jacksons slowly discover that the Krogers, their neighbors and cherished friends, are not who they appear to be. [HR1] [HR2]

(Nb.: I'll probably have to lock these down again at some point, so grab 'em while you can.)
posted by mykescipark at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I really enjoyed working my way through all the back "Savage Love" podcasts awhile back. They are very explicit and the language is pretty salty, but they are quite entertaining and Dan often gives great advice. I found them quite entertaining.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:49 AM on April 25, 2013

Best answer: If you like This American Life:

* I'm seconding Planet Money. They started as a spin-off from TAL reporting (I think the episode was called "The Giant Pool of Money" about the mortgage backed securities). They have been consistently good.

* Also seconding RadioLab. It's a bit over-produced for my taste, but consistently informative and pretty fun.

* Are you interested in tech stuff? Lots of tech podcasts there, including (if you're into Macs and iOS) The Talk Show and the Accidental Tech Podcast (itself a spin-off from outros of tech geeks talking about cars and driving in a surprisingly mellow if self-involved podcast called Neutral).

* The Nature podcast distills the top news in science into a 25 minute episode each week. Great stuff.

* The New Yorker puts out their Comment columns and The Political Scene as podcasts.

* Car Talk and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me are good for yuks and variety.

* For history, you can get the (archived) History of Rome and its sorta-follow up, History of Byzantium.

* In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg was one of my BBC favorites until I gave it up due to lack of time.

* Decode DC is an interesting politics show reported in an insufferably moderate tone.

Sorry, no links, but each of these is a free podcast and available in the iTunes store.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:55 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't say you'll love this entire series (I've only listened to this one episode), but if you like David Sedaris, you should download this episode of Ramblings with Clare Baldwin. I found it on iTunes.
posted by pyjammy at 11:11 AM on April 25, 2013

A couple of podcast episodes I've enjoyed lately:

* The Moth story by George Lombardi (most recent podcast)
* The Nerdist interview with Tom Hanks
* Mormon Stories interview with historian Richard Bushman (I'm an atheist and found this absolutely fascinating)
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:48 AM on April 25, 2013

... as well as topics that are generally complex but conveyed in an entertaining manner

I came in here to suggest The History of Rome as well. There's something like 60–80 hours of Roman history goodness in there, enough for many many roadtrips.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:01 PM on April 25, 2013

Response by poster: Okay, these should all be "best answers", but since I have to mark some I'm picking out the ones that I downloaded for this particular trip-- the rest have all been bookmarked for future trips. Thanks so much!

Blake, the Brian Williams recommendation is perfect because he and I are engaged in a fairly intense one-sided emotional relationship. My husband knows and is developing a man-crush on him as well. We'll kick off trip listening to that one.
posted by mireille at 2:31 PM on April 25, 2013

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