Voices to hook to
May 1, 2013 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Another question about recommended podcasts, hooray!

I don't normally listen to podcasts. But lately while crocheting I have been my most productive and zen-like when listening to none other that the Metafilter Podcast!

I like that I can kind of tune it out a little bit but the voices are friendly and familiar and talking about something I either already caught in passing on the site or know I can go look at later in more detail so I'm not really missing too much if I'm focusing on my work. I like that it's long, and I don't have to worry about finding something else halfway through. I like that it's not really narrative so much as conversational. I like that they sometimes go on unexpected and fairly personal tangents; that it's less a directed and orderly thing and more a general meeting and friendly discussion.

I enjoy music but my tastes are so eclectic that I truly enjoy something from everything, and I'm fickle in that I never quite know what I want to listen to except something that I haven't been listening to recently, so focused music podcasts are kind of annoying for me since I spend longer deciding what thing to listen to than actually listening to it.

A storytelling hour sort of thing might be nice except that I wouldn't be able to occasionally get lost in crafting and come back to the story without worrying I'd missed a lot; this is why I also don't listen to audiobooks for this.

So unfortunately the Mefi Podcast is only once a month (massive improvement from previous, however) and it seems like most of the podcast AskMes have specific criteria I'm not looking for. Maybe something like a variety with interviews? Sometimes I listen to "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" which is nice, but is often more general knowledge stuff than I care about. I guess I'm pretty niche-y, I love geeky things (whenever Cortex starts on about rougelikes my ears perk up) and also scientific history, nutritional anthropology, folklore, animation and special effects, star trek, fiber arts, cooking, modern social structure, smashing the patriarchy, kitties... just tons of different things. So interviews might be really cool, but interviews of who? Humor might be good, but can I zone out and come back to it and still find it funny? Who has long, eclectic podcasts with people who will become familiar voices to me?
posted by Mizu to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I like America's Test Kitchen's podcast a lot. It's got some variety -- Q&A, blind taste tests (funny in audio format), some food history. I've been spending too much time driving lately and it's been an enjoyable listen.
posted by houseofdanie at 6:48 PM on May 1, 2013

BBC Radio 4's "In Our Time" and "Thinking Allowed"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:49 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Maximum Fun comedy podcasts might be fun. My Brother, My Brother and Me and Judge John Hodgman are pleasant advice shows, as I recall.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:50 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


How Stuff Works and Stuff You Missed in History

The Moth - not long, but awesome

Risk (a little edgy and by edgy I mean totally inappropriate at times, but when it's good it's hilariously awesome)

This American Life

Fresh Air. Smart people talking about smart things, and Terry Gross's voice is sooo soothing.

Stitcher is pretty good for discovering new podcasts, although it keeps thinking I am going to enjoy Car Talk no matter how often I give it a thumbs down.
posted by bunderful at 6:55 PM on May 1, 2013

Bullseye and Jordan Jesse Go are my go-to favorites. Given your interests, The Nerdist might also be good for you. I listen all of these as I'm winding down for bed, and the voices definitely have that conversational quality that the Metafilter podcast does, and it's not usually full-on stories that you feel you have to hear every word of.
posted by donnagirl at 7:14 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

The freewheeling and otherwise indescribable Professor Blastoff, featuring Tig Notaro, Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger.

BackStory, an addictive hour on American history with three very different voices. A few of their recent shows.

Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein (also a frequent guest on This American Life) and several other voices. Both funny and thoughtful, don't overlook it because it's only 30 minutes long. The Independent likes it, too.

The Infinite Monkey Cage, aka A Bunch of People Repeatedly Taking the Piss Out of a Charming Brian Cox While Nattering On About Science. The Independent likes it, too.

Definitely Not The Opera has somewhat worn out its welcome with me, but it may still hold charms for a newbie.
posted by maudlin at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Q's one hour podcast is a series of short interviews and performances that might just do it for you. This week's schedule.
posted by maudlin at 7:19 PM on May 1, 2013

A little more specifically on the Max Fun ones, I listen to both Judge John Hodgman and My Brother, My Brother and Me, and as far as tuning in and out, MBMBaM is a better bet. They often go on tangents, but you can come back in and out without missing much, especially as they move on to new questions fairly quickly (and I find them pretty funny and enjoy the rapport they have with each other). As JJH tends to be one case followed by a shorter docket clearing, you might need to pay more attention. I do enjoy both, though.

And seconding Risk, also now part of MaxFun (I don't have any affiliation with them, I just enjoy those three podcasts).
posted by pitrified at 7:50 PM on May 1, 2013

Roderick on the Line.

I also love Jordan Jesse Go and Stop Podcasting Yourself, although I'm not entirely sure they're what you're looking for.

You might also like Quirks and Quarks - it's a science interview show from CBC.
posted by O9scar at 8:00 PM on May 1, 2013

What you have just described perfectly encapsulates my experience with Tank Riot.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:15 PM on May 1, 2013

Too Beautiful to Live

Here's the Thing (with Alec Baldwin)
posted by Asparagus at 8:40 PM on May 1, 2013

Snap Judgment
posted by fuse theorem at 8:44 PM on May 1, 2013

NPR's website lets you set up playlists of stories you want to hear, which I like a lot for this--I find the standard NPR cadence soothing.

Also, I'd recommend audiobooks of stuff you've already read for this--interesting enough to zone out, but no worries if you miss something. I have similar listening habits to you while gaming and making art and that works well for me.
posted by NoraReed at 8:56 PM on May 1, 2013

Don't give up on music podcasts -- there are lots of 'unfocused' ones out there that fit your eclecticism and urge for novelty perfectly. Case in point: NPR's All Songs Considered. The only qualifying factors for the music they play, generally, is that it be new and not something easily found in the mainstream. Genres and styles range wildly all over the (literal and figurative) map.

It's also a very conversational show, which sounds like it's a plus given your preferences. There's quite a lot of banter as well as discussion among the handful of NPR Music folks who put the show together; it sounds like they're having a great time in the studio, and their love for the music really comes through.

It's become my go-to podcast for running, and it's perfect -- something that can fade into the background when you want it to, but which is perpetually exposing you to a wide variety of new and interesting things... and which will occasionally catch your attention with a "hey, what's THAT?"

The only downside for me is that the end of each episode finds me thinking "Man, Bob Boilen has the coolest job in the universe."
posted by sesquipedalia at 12:40 AM on May 2, 2013

I'll add to the NPR pile-up and recommend A Way with Words If you are geeky about etymology, you might like it. The two hosts are very conversational, folks call in with stories about something they heard their grandmother say and then you get to hear about the history and root origins of the words.

There is a new show called Ask Me Another. It's more of a game show format with various types of quizzes, so it's similar to the Wait Wait Don't Tell Me vibe. The segments are short, so I usually download a bunch of them and put them in the same playlist/folder so they play one after the other.
posted by CathyG at 7:00 AM on May 2, 2013

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