Podcast recommendations, please!
January 30, 2015 6:19 PM   Subscribe

I've started listening to podcasts on my daily one-hour-each-way commute. I'm enjoying StoryCorps, This American Life, and Pop Culture Happy Hour so far. What other podcasts might I enjoy? Bonus points for content relating to books/authors(But NOT podcasts of authors reading their work--I can listen to audiobooks for that!)--but I'm open to other topics. I'm not really into advice-type programs or comedy--funny is fine, but not comedy as the main draw. Thanks in advance--I know you'll steer me towards some great stuff!
posted by bookmammal to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have just recently been enjoying Gastropod, which is mostly about food but I'm not sure there's been an episode yet that hasn't talked about a book (about food) or interviewed an author (who has written about food).
posted by Mizu at 6:36 PM on January 30, 2015


Hi highly recommend the podcast by RadioTopia !
posted by Mac-Expert at 6:37 PM on January 30, 2015


Two of my favourites are Planet Money (which was spun off from This American Life if I remember correctly) and The Moth. Oh, also the new podcast Invisibilia is promising.
posted by barnoley at 6:52 PM on January 30, 2015


They aren't current and technically not podcasts, but there are hundreds of Jean Shepherd's radio shows from the 1960s and 1970s on archive.org. Most are a little less than 45 minutes long.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:06 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Came here to recommend Planet Money, but I was beaten to it. And although you mentioned not wanting comedy specifically, I can't recommend enough NPR's Ask Me Another. It's a really smart, funny, and occasionally musical game show done for the radio.

Also on my list of must-listens is Sawbones (misguided medicine through the ages), The Bugle (John Oliver!) and 99% Invisible.

Sorry no links as I'm on my phone. But I'm sure if you can find most of these over on FanFare as well!
posted by cgg at 7:08 PM on January 30, 2015


Look up 'selected shorts' and 'fresh air'. And a second for marketplace...
posted by fluffycreature at 7:09 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


New York Times Book Review Podcast

Not a podcast but highly recommend Forum on KQED hosted by Michael Krasny. Michael Krasny is a good (great, superb) interviewer and has on many notable and local authors. Search the audio archive for "author" "books" "novelist", etc. Archives are downloadable MP3. Examples:

Interviews with authors such as George Saunders, Jane Smiley, David Mitchell,John Irving, Rushdie, Lorrie Moore, Nick Hornby, and so many more.

I also love the Holiday Book shows where the show recommends books and listeners call and write in with their favorite books of the year.

Also the Summer Reading shows.

Editor Wendy Lesser on the Pleasure of Books on Forum.

Forum is a great show in general with a broad range of topics.
posted by Fairchild at 7:13 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm friends with one of the principles (and he's a MeFite), but I've been enjoying Reply All.
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always recommend this because it's so, so SO good and still under the radar: TTBOOK, To The Best of Our Knowledge. The podcast is centered around author interviews but blends fiction, nonfiction, poetry and essays into 1-hour episodes that explore a topic in specific, very thoughtfully.
posted by Miko at 7:39 PM on January 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really enjoy The Nerdist podcast - interviews with everybody from comedians to actors / musicians. In the last month he has interviewed Bill Gates and Paul McCartney. The Gates interview features the PR dweeb from the Gates Foundation admonishing them to stay on topic, when it was really clear that Gates and Chris were having much more fun talking about old video games.
posted by COD at 7:45 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think you would like Unfictional from KCRW.
posted by Kwine at 7:48 PM on January 30, 2015


Literary Disco
The Incomparable (if you like geeky stuff)
posted by backwards guitar at 7:48 PM on January 30, 2015


I love Slate Culture Gabfest! It's like PCHH but more pretentious. In a great way.
posted by leedly at 8:04 PM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Serial - by the producers of TAL
Strangers - falls under storytelling, probably
Dear Sugar - advice
Criminal - true crime, very well told
The Truth - amazing. video for the ears.
Welcome to Nightvale - this is odd, you just have to listen to it.
Pop Rocket - pop culture stuff.
Love + Radio - still getting a feel for this, but if you like TAL give it a try
Reading Aloud - people talking about books
The Moth - storytelling
Risk - risque storytelling
Snap Judgement - storytelling with a beat

Also, try the Pod on Pod podcast when you are stuck for new ideas on what to listen to.
posted by bunderful at 8:08 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brad Listi interviews a writer once or twice a week and he calls it Other People.

It's pretty great.
posted by samizdat at 8:42 PM on January 30, 2015




This question from a few months back on "What's the best episode of your favorite podcast?" is a treasure trove of options for podcasts to subscribe to.
posted by mathowie at 9:24 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Little Atoms. Know this: it's one of those podcasts whose episode descriptions often make you think "meh, I'll skip that one." But then somehow you eventually get around to playing it and it's the best damn thing you've heard in a good long while. Never fails to intrigue.
posted by mumkin at 1:39 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seconding Little Atoms. It's billed as "A radio show about ideas and culture" but these days it's mainly interviews/discussions with the authors of non fiction/literary fiction books.

The real joy is that the host is clearly a pretty smart guy, who picks good books, reads them thoroughly before the interviews and asks excellent questions.

I've bought quite a few books/discovered quite a few authors off the back of it.

I also enjoy Brain Train (not updated for some time but there's a fair backlog). The premise is that they get in an expert to answer questions about the area of their expertise, then next show, that person asks the questions of an expert in a field they are interested in but unfamiliar with.
posted by Dext at 7:28 AM on January 31, 2015


My favorites (other than This American Life):
- Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me - news quiz
- Ask Me Another - quiz
- Nerdist - interviews
- Risk - storytelling
- Criminal - short storytelling. Nice when you don't have a long time to listen
- Marc Maron WTF - interviews
posted by Wet Hen at 7:46 AM on January 31, 2015


You Must Remember This is my favorite podcast of all time. Also seconding anything in the Radiotopia network and Unfictional. Also the Memory Palace super short but really beautiful.
posted by KernalM at 7:49 AM on January 31, 2015


I would highly recommend Futility Closet Podcast . It's a collection of curious & humorous facts, quotations, lateral thinking puzzles etc. Bonus- it's hosted by mefi's own.
posted by Lucubrator at 10:58 AM on January 31, 2015


Writers and Company from CBC radio is all author interviews.

Also from CBC - Ideas - a nightly program on the radio, many of which become available as podcasts.

If you're interested in psychology, there are two podcasts called "All in the Mind," one from Australia and one from the UK. I prefer the ABC one, which focuses on one topic for the whole episode, over the BBC one, which has several short segments per episode.

For sociology/criminology, I really enjoy the BBC's Thinking Allowed the host is a former academic who interviews academic authors/researchers -- it's smart but entertaining.

I'm not a history buff at all, but I find Dan Carlin's Hardcore History both interesting and entertaining.
posted by Frenchy67 at 11:19 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lots of good recommendations up there. One that hasn't been given yet is among my favorites: In Our Time from the BBC.
posted by General Malaise at 11:44 AM on January 31, 2015


Backstory is similar in structure to This American Life (different stories/pieces around a central theme), but is focused on American history. The three history professors who do this podcast are charming and engaging.

Seconding The Incomparable. They do podcasts on books every few months, including an annual podcast talking about Hugo Award nominees. These are great if you are interested in sci fi/fantasy.

This isn't related to anything else you said you liked, but it is also something that is pretty much unlike any of my preferences, and I LUV it, so I'll toss it out here: The Flophouse. Three guys (head writer at The Daily Show, another Daily Show writer, and their buddy that runs a bar) watch a bad movie and then talk about it. I never got into Mystery Science Theater, and this isn't usually the sort of thing that I like, but it is seriously funny.
posted by jeoc at 11:56 AM on January 31, 2015


New Tech City is super great. It's about the use of technology in our lives and it manages to be interesting while not being worshipful of technology (like Wired or Bloomberg). For example, they just recently had one about a young woman whose eating disorder was exacerbated by online communities. It eventually ends at sites like Pinterest and discusses anorexic/bulimic slang online (ie thinspo, etc).

Also recommend Life of the Law. Personal stories about people going through the legal system from visitations to poor representations.

The Maximum Fun Network is great. The Adventure Zone is three goofy brothers playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with their dad. One of their sidequests is for their elf mage character to understand the principles required for him to construct a taco in their medieval, fantasy world. The first episode is a lot of exposition which they acknowledge but the later episodes are quick. Also in this vein, seconding Sawbones. It's by one of the brothers and his wife who's a doctor at a teaching hospital. They cover old timey medicine and people's various, convoluted attempts to cure each other of both real and imagined illnesses.

Also recommend The New Books Network if you like academics being interviewed by academics regarding their newly published books. Ranges from super boring, insular, and biased (particularly Politics and especially if they're interviewing some analyst turned researcher) but it can also be fascinating like the discussion on how the resilience of terror networks depends on their organizational and bureaucratic structures. Not always good but when it is, it shines.
posted by saucy_knave at 1:03 PM on January 31, 2015


Seconding The Nerdist podcast.

Also, 99% Invisible--a podcast about the design of everyday life. It's one of most delightful podcasts out there and was more or less the founding podcast for Radiotopia.
posted by buttercup at 5:09 PM on January 31, 2015


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