What should I listen to?
July 26, 2006 10:48 AM   Subscribe

I spend most of my work day listening to interview and essay type radio shows on the internet. My favorite, of course, is This American Life. I also love Fresh Air . I've checked out Radio 4 a little, and sometimes I listen to Democracy Now and even more rarely Air America. Keeping in mind what I already like, what else would you recommend I listen to?

(It's probably obvious that I have lefty politics and I love moving or creative storytelling. I hate call in shows)

Also, any specific show recommendations on the BBC or Air America are welcome.
posted by serazin to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
I would recommend KCRW's Bookworm with Michael Silverblatt. It's like Fresh Air, but specific to books.
posted by mattbucher at 10:53 AM on July 26, 2006 [3 favorites]

Weekend America
posted by turaho at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2006

Have you gone through and listened to the archives of TAL? There is a huge amount of stories to listen to on their site.

Otherwise, the Third Coast Audio Festival is a great resource for more great audio reportage with a bucketload of great links to keep you occupied for weeks.
posted by JJ86 at 10:59 AM on July 26, 2006

Check out CBC Podcasts. Specifically, Ideas (essays) and As It Happens (interviews).
posted by GuyZero at 11:03 AM on July 26, 2006

Only a Game is about sports, but it is a superb show. IMO, you don't need to be a sports fan to appreciate it, but I'm a sports fan so take that with a grain of salt.

My favorite NPR show is Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, which is an irreverant news quiz show sort of in the style of the Brits (the kind where who wins does not matter one lick).
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:03 AM on July 26, 2006

The BBC has a radio network for drama, comedy and the like: BBC 7. You might want to try that out. They run a lot of radio drama and classic comedy, and they offer a "listen again" feature if you want to catch stuff after it was broadcast.
posted by baggers at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2006

although it is not on anymore, i would download the archives of the next big thing. it is similar to TAL but i actually liked it better when it was on. very fun and funny.
posted by annoyance at 11:10 AM on July 26, 2006

You might want to check out CBC radio, specifically Radio One.
Try shows like Outfront, Definitely Not the Opera or Wiretap.
Radio 3 is more music-based and tries to be a bit more "edgy." It has an awesome Podcast of new music.
posted by chococat at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2006

posted by nathan_teske at 11:15 AM on July 26, 2006

oops missed GuyZero's comment in preview.
posted by chococat at 11:15 AM on July 26, 2006

I love TAL, and I also love To The Best of Our Knowledge. Its creatively themed stories, similiar to TAL, but with a bit more of literary bent. I think they also do more interviews and story telling, versus found-sound, radio plays, and other less traditional stuff TAL does.

A great episode to start with is Reconstructing the Narrative, particularily the segments on _Cork Boat_ and the interview with David Freudberg. The piece with Freudberg had me pulling over, as I was near tears for the whole thing...very powerful stuff.

Also, the rarely-funny Praire Home Companion should be removed from NPR and all of its funding redirected to TAL. Or news. Or anything else.
posted by rsanheim at 11:16 AM on July 26, 2006

In the This American Life vein, I'd reccomend Joe Frank's podcast. He's a public radio God, the man who taught Ira Glass everything he knows. And Ira'd be the first to tell you that.

Also, check out the unofficial podcast of the CBC's Wiretap. It's produced by former TAL producer Jonathan Goldstein, and it's excellent.

In the Fresh Air vein, I'd reccomend The Treatment from KCRW. It's a film-centric version of Fresh Air, with wonderful guests and insightful conversations. Elvis Mitchell, the host, is never afraid to dive right into a real conversation, rather than just letting the guest spout PR baloney.

Also, I feel obliged to mention my own program, The Sound of Young America, which is a bit like a hipper, more fun Fresh Air. A lot of indie rockers, comedians, writers. Salon.com recently wrote of it, "If you've never heard of The Sound of Young America, then The Sound of Young America is the greatest radio show you've never heard of." ;)
posted by YoungAmerican at 11:21 AM on July 26, 2006 [2 favorites]

I have more: The Connection was very good while it was on the air.

On Point is a similiar show that is on nationally now, with archives online. Check the interview with Peter Drucker for a taste. On Point tends to do a mix of current affairs and interviews with notable people - the interviews might be more interesting to you considering you like TAL and the like.

Both shows had calls, but the guests and their stories were always the focal points. Tom Ashbrook (of On Point) is very good at keeping calls short and sweet and giving the guest he floor.
posted by rsanheim at 11:22 AM on July 26, 2006

C-SPAN podcasts.
posted by bitpart at 11:30 AM on July 26, 2006

Ext. 720 with Milt Rosenberg has some great stuff, political but thoughtful, sometimes veering into history, etc. If you are interested in history or philosophy, try Talking History or Philosophy Talk.

*bookmarks this thread*
posted by LarryC at 11:31 AM on July 26, 2006

I'll 2nd the Sound of Young America...espacially the coverage of comedians.
posted by mmascolino at 11:35 AM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

YoungAmerican: OMG! A WireTap podcast!

Listen to Wiretap. That is the best (half-?) hour of radio, EVAR.
posted by GuyZero at 11:36 AM on July 26, 2006

Response by poster: Wow! You all are coming through beyond what I ever could have imagined!

I'm saying goodbye to my endless (and fruitless) searches of the Fresh Air archives for something interesting or of the TAL site for an episode I haven't listened to 4 times already!

Thank you and keep 'em coming!
posted by serazin at 11:42 AM on July 26, 2006

I've been listening to the weekly podcasts of Diggnation where they discuss tops stories on Digg.com. It's hosted by Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht.
posted by freakystyley at 11:45 AM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

Carleton College in Northfield, MN produces The Periscope, which is TAL-like. I really dig it.

It's student-run, so they're on summer hiatus.
posted by unixrat at 11:48 AM on July 26, 2006

Seconding Theory of Everything, for darkly funny creative storytelling. Especially the older "Your Radio Nightlight" ones.
posted by knave at 11:57 AM on July 26, 2006

I like Worldview, though it's more international affairs than politics. On Thursdays, I think, they interview people who have done really interesting aid work. My favorite story was of a man who helped the people in a Mexican city (cannot remember which one right now -- maybe Tijuana?) who lived in the city's landfill. It was just fascinating and sad and hopeful.
posted by sugarfish at 12:06 PM on July 26, 2006

Thirding The Sound of Young America. An excellent show about things that are awesome.

I also enjoy the Canadian show, As It Happens for all of its Canadianness
posted by dontoine at 12:08 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you like heated but civil and intelligent political discussion, try KCRW's Left Right and Center. Most shows, Robert Scheer represents the left, Tony Blankley on the right, Matt Miller in the center, and Arianna Huffington as a (mostly left these days) wildcard. No matter your political leanings, I think you'll find all of the players both articulate and witty.
posted by iconjack at 12:17 PM on July 26, 2006

Outlook, on the BBC World Service, is a wonderful essay-type radio show. Actually, damn near ANYTHING on the BBC World Service is worth the time to listen to it.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:34 PM on July 26, 2006

Probably too weird and call-inny for your tastes, but I always enjoy and strongly recommend the Mischke podcast, which is just his daily show minus the ads, except the ones he does that are brilliant. All advertisers should follow his lead.

I only wish I had a sliver of his creativity. And he does it day-in/day-out.
posted by DonnieSticks at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2006

You mentioned Radio 4, but I'd specifically suggest their program Start the Week.
posted by j-dawg at 12:44 PM on July 26, 2006

Thirding Theory of Everything. It's worth mentioning that Benjamen (not Benjamin, btw) used to be a producer for The Connection, which rsanheim gave a nod to.

If you're fans of Chris Lydon-era Connection episodes, (pre April 2001) then also keep in mind that Chris has a new show on WGBH called Radio Open Source. Lydon is, imho, a shamelessly bourgeois bloviator but he certainly has a particular charm, and his new show has that magnetism turned to 11.

Me? I'm still pining for Dick Gordon (everything on On Point after July 2001). Tom Ashbrook is an ok host for On Point, but he gets an angle for each of his shows, and he's got a stubborn, annoying habit of pressing that angle despite his guests informing him that his aim is off.

but, yeah, the Boston radio market is kind of a target rich environment for chi-chi lefty talk shows. The gossip surrounding the Chris Lydon putsch on The Connection was trashy yet awesome. Dick Gordon's firing was just mysteriously tragic.
posted by bl1nk at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2006

erk ... correction. Dick Gordon was host for The Connection from July 2001 on and not On Point as I originally wrote. On Point has always been hosted by Tom Ashbrook and was started as a hard news talk show after September 11. It only started to pick up more cultural programming after Dick Gordon and The Connection were quietly shuffled off rotation.

The Connection Interregnum, where WBUR had a rotating cast of NPR radio personalities (including Nina Totenberg and the BBC's Judy Swallow) do week-long tryouts as hosts after Chrs Lydon was fired is somewhat interesting. Despite her hard-hitting interview style, Judy Swallow is a surprisingly tame chat host.
posted by bl1nk at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2006

I'll second "Le Show".

I recommend "Charlie Rose", the nightly interview show on PBS television. Charlie interviews leaders in all fields including politics (including many heads of state), the arts, science, etc. I Tivo it, then capture the audio into my Mac.
posted by neuron at 1:00 PM on July 26, 2006

Here's an episode of The Sound of Young America where Jonathan Goldstein talks about Wiretap (and his novel, Lenny Bruce is dead).
posted by YoungAmerican at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2006

On the Media is my favorite podcast. It is wonderful.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:31 PM on July 26, 2006

Seconding CBC Radio 1. I also like This Week in Science, which is only about science, but very entertaining. This weeks theme is about how to defend ourselves against robots! (I still need to listen - I'm not yet prepared!)
posted by easternblot at 6:02 PM on July 26, 2006

You might like Studio 360, which is a weekly "arts & culture" series that interviews artists, authors, writers, directors, and more. There's a podcast for it, as well as streams for each segment. There's usually a loose theme for the week's show, like "Violence" interviewed on Chuck Palahniuk, and had a segment interviewing foley artists on violent sound effects.

(Caveat: I used to do a bit of work for this show. But it's still good.)
posted by hooray at 7:09 PM on July 26, 2006

Before there was Wait Wait Don't Tell Me,, there was My Word, a few episodes of which can be downloaded here.
posted by theora55 at 8:27 PM on July 26, 2006

I like Public Radio Fan to find shows with podcasts, or just shows in general. It's a favorite of mine before a road trip. Leonard Lopate and Brian Lehrer from WNYC. Lopate tends to be more artsy and not as local, while Lehrer is more political and can be very local at times.

Oh, yeah, and I'll second Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me! Much fun.
posted by booksherpa at 11:43 PM on July 26, 2006

LA Theatre Works produces whole plays for the radio!

The BBC's "My Word" is an absolute gem, but I've only ever heard one radio station play it within living memory: Tuesdays at 6:30pm Pacific, you can listen online at KCBX.

Nthing Wait, Wait. My mother calls me, even though I'm in Indonesia, and shares all the jokes. A huge part of our lives.

(YoungAmerican: nice to see a fellow [ex-]Slug all into his radioness. Love the show.)
posted by mdonley at 6:34 AM on July 27, 2006

I'll second the Public Radio Fan suggestion, great website. Cool to see there are Sound of Young America listeners here!
posted by YoungAmerican at 5:30 PM on September 3, 2006

Seconding Studio 360.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:28 AM on November 23, 2006

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