Podcasts for commuting to
May 2, 2017 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Another call for podcast recommendations! I ride the bus to work each day and the trip's a little over a half hour long—maybe 45 minutes counting the walk between the bus stop and the office. I'm looking for podcasts that, ideally, will run about one episode per leg of the commute, on topics like health/nutrition, digital strategy, and trivia. Educational, thoughtful, and intelligent are all good qualities; so are friendly and upbeat.

I ride the bus to work each day and the trip's a little over a half hour long—maybe 45 minutes counting the walk between the bus stop and the office. I'm looking for podcasts that, ideally, will run about one episode per leg of the commute, and maybe help me learn something along the way.

Topics I'm interested in:

1) health/diet/food/fitness. I'm currently trying to get to a healthy weight, and I'm interested in podcasts that talk about this topic intelligently. Definitely not looking for "GET SHREDDED" type stuff, but inspiring talk from people who have similar goals, or who have achieved a healthy weight, are welcome. I recently saw the Food Psych podcast mentioned on MeFi and that's interesting to me, for instance, because it's thoughtful and smart, even if I am trying to lose weight at the end of the day. I also like the kind of stuff Yoni Freedhoff and Marion Nestle write about in this area. I'd be interested in podcasts that talk about weight loss from a male perspective, but they don't have to be.

2) UX strategy/content strategy/digital strategy etc. This is stuff I do at work and I'm really interested in staying on top of my field. I like hearing from real world practitioners talk about what they do.

3) General Knowledge/Trivia/Grab Bag. I LOVE There's No Such Thing as a Fish, for instance, and love playing trivia games. I've also enjoyed Switched on Pop

For my commute, I'm not so interested in podcasts dealing with news, politics, economics, current affairs, law, et cetera.
posted by synecdoche to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
For #3, I am all about "Lore." A very well researched, mildly spooky in tone one-person podcast focused on historical accounts of the paranormal, monsters, and other unsettling folklore. It's developed quite a following and is about to have a TV version on Amazon Prime, produced by one of the X Files producers. It is my favorite thing to listen to on the commute to work. Soothing in a weird way.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:23 PM on May 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

Not always exactly healthy diet but for interesting and above all friendly, upbeat, and much more than food, try The Sporkful. It's a pick me up kind of podcast.
posted by Gotanda at 8:25 PM on May 2, 2017

If you're into food, you have to listen to Gastropod. It's not so much healthy eating or diet focused, instead their tag line is "Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history." So it could also fall under your general knowledge category. They're even about the right length as well.
posted by cgg at 8:30 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ask Me Another is an NPR quiz show with 50 minute episodes. Word games and stuff, not like Wait Wait. For me it requires about the right amount of concentration for a commute, enough to occupy your mind but you don't need to completely tune out your surroundings. And there are a ton available so if you like it it'll keep you going for a while.
posted by mark k at 8:38 PM on May 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

You might enjoy Good Job Brain, a charming podcast that's mostly about pub style trivia. It's kind of on hiatus at the moment, but there are years of past episodes.
posted by zamboni at 8:40 PM on May 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

Answer Me This!
posted by unliteral at 10:31 PM on May 2, 2017 [5 favorites]

Seconding Answer Me This! It's my favourite podcast. It's got smart, funny hosts with excellent chemistry and cool trivia mixed with advice. I always say it's like Ask Metafilter but with chatfilter allowed.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:09 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fitness: I have started listening to Fitless and am really enjoying it. Each episode (almost), the host has a guest, and they take a class/do a workout together, and then they record an episode about it. It's low-key inspiring for me, not big hypey motivational fitspo or nonsense about summer bodies - just an interesting way to hear about different workouts and different people's approach to their fitness, and that keeps me thinking about my own approach and how I think about it. The episode lengths vary but it's generally about 30-45.
posted by carbide at 12:49 AM on May 3, 2017

These are mostly radio programs available as podcasts:

For food, my go-tos are:

KCRW Good Food
BBC Food Programme

Both have a diversity of subject matter that keeps them interesting. And long archives. And can be played back at 1-1/4x speed without any issues - especially the Food Programme - it must be a real drag at 1x.

For quizzes, the BBC Radio 4 Quiz feed includes Brain of Britain, Counterpoint and the Round Britain Quiz, all of which are challenging. About one new program per week.

Of less direct but possible interest, Monocle podcasts are usually interesting - The Menu, Section D, Culture, The Briefing. And other BBC podcasts that might be of interest: Click (chatty new tech), FutureProofing (how big ideas might play out).
posted by sagwalla at 1:42 AM on May 3, 2017

The BBC world service Documentary podcast features "the best of BBC World Service documentaries and other factual programmes" and is absolutely spectacular. The quality is uniformly high.

Just one example: The President and the Press examines the relationship of the president to the press corp over history, featuring interviews with veteran reporters... including a reporter who was present when JFK was shot.

99% Invisible is another great one for varied things that are generally interesting.
posted by simonw at 3:55 AM on May 3, 2017

Laurie Taylor's Thinking Allowed and Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time always discuss interesting topics with knowledgeable people. I'm also enjoying Science Vs. so far. FWIW, I'm a huge No Such Thing and QI fan and find NPR's "Ask Me Another" pretty unlistenable - ymmv of course.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:27 AM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

A shorter quiz show is PodQuiz.
posted by mmascolino at 4:29 AM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll second the recommendation of In Our Time. If your definition of "trivia" includes "entertaining history", then you should check out Mike Duncan's history podcasts: Revolutions and The History of Rome. My wife also enjoys The Dollop, which is definitely more "trivial", but the episodes tend to be over an hour.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:04 AM on May 3, 2017

Stephen J. Dubner of Freakonomics has another podcast called Tell Me Something I Don't Know that's not exactly a quiz show but is in that vein. Here's the description from the site:

Three celebrity panelists listen as contestants come on stage before a live audience and try to wow them with a fascinating fact, a historical wrinkle, a new line of research — anything, really, as long as it’s interesting, useful and true (or at least true-ish). There’s a real-time human fact-checker on hand to filter out the bull. The panel — an eclectic mix of comedians, brainiacs, and other high achievers — poke and prod the contestants, and ultimately choose a winner.
posted by Awfki at 6:02 AM on May 3, 2017

Yeah, In Our Time is the best podcast/radio show ever, and episodes are generally right around 45 minutes.

Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History can be interesting. Mostly for the trivia/interesting random stuff angle, but there's an episode about the food in college cafeterias that might appeal to the food side.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:03 AM on May 3, 2017

Futility Closet is a short story about an interesting historical thing, and then one or two lateral thinking puzzles (which you get to play along with the hosts). They run about 30 minutes.
posted by Etrigan at 6:13 AM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here are the 2 UX/UI podcasts I listen to
User Defenders
UI Breakfast
posted by pyro979 at 6:45 AM on May 3, 2017

General knowledge: Stuff You Should Know
posted by cooker girl at 9:39 AM on May 3, 2017

Try A Way with Words and let me know what you think. It's a national radio show I co-host. We goof around about language, there's a quiz/puzzle segment, and we take lots of calls from people all over with their questions on language. Much of it is dialect, old sayings, little good-natured language disputes, curious words, strange etymologies, and language from the odd corners of the language. Each episode is about 54 minutes, with skippable credits and end music.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:21 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

PS: The A Way with Words quiz guy now also sometimes appears on NPR's Ask Me Another as their quiz guy. We trained him up! :)
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been enjoying the Rex Factor.
It's a podcast which seeks to review every king and queen of England, and then of Scotland.
Short, nice, funny, and informative.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:59 AM on May 4, 2017

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