I love This American Life, but it's too long!
January 22, 2008 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I need some short podcasts to listen to at work and the gym

I searched the old posts on AskMeFi, but none of them really applied.

I'm looking for podcasts that are up to 20 minutes long. I love This American Life and Fair Game, but find they're too long sometimes. I want shorter podcasts so I'm not always starting in the middle of a show.

posted by reenum to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I suggest Skeptoid, which features critical analyses of pop culture phenomena at about 10 minutes apiece.

The Archaeological News is about as long.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Slate Daily Podcast is for you! Also maybe MSNBC Podcasts, Seed Magazine.. oh man there's a whole bunch of non-podcast publications that have adjunct podcasts that are usually shorter than 20 mins.
posted by Firas at 7:44 PM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: NPR Story of the Day and the Slate Daily podcasts usually clock in at around 5 minutes each.
posted by cwhitfcd at 7:44 PM on January 22, 2008

On the Media have a weekly podcast consisting of several stories about 5-10 minutes each.
posted by jaimev at 7:45 PM on January 22, 2008

Media Storm might work. It's multimedia, with photo slideshows along with the audio, but you might enjoy them even if you can't watch the slideshow.

I'll risk breaking your rule by recommending Cartalk. Even though the show itself is about an hour, it's easily digestible in small chunks since each call is a self-contained bit of fun. (The same for Wait Wait Don't Tell Me... each game with a caller is pretty much self-contained.) I am often in the same situation, where my commute or a work project takes 20 minutes or so, and these two shows work well for me.
posted by The Deej at 7:51 PM on January 22, 2008

If you like business oriented podcasts try the Harvard Business Review's Ideacast. Not always about stuffed shirt stuff. Some good topical stuff and great management ideas.
posted by Gungho at 7:56 PM on January 22, 2008

Have you been introduced to The Sound of Young America? It's great. Also good from the same people is Jordan, Jesse, Go!
posted by parmanparman at 8:05 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

WWDTM is cut into three separate segments, each under 20 minutes. (12, 18.5, 19.5)
posted by melodykramer at 8:21 PM on January 22, 2008

My current favourite podcast is The Bugle. It's slightly longer than you'd like (roughly half an hour), but you can start in the middle or stop before it's finished without missing anything. It's a hilarious look at the week's world news.
posted by robcorr at 8:54 PM on January 22, 2008

seconding "the sound of young america" and "jordan, jesse, go!" tsoya = great interviews with (usually) comedians and musicians; jjgo = awesome people talking about awesome shit.

kcrw's "the treatment" with elvis mitchell is great and often under 20 mins. elvis interviews people involved in music or the movie biz.

npr's pop culture podcast usually fits your time limit, but can be hit and miss. ditto for npr's movies podcast.

i enjoy slate's "explainer" podcast. they answer topical questions of general interest, and are very rarely over 20 mins. also hit and miss.

good luck!
posted by ncc1701d at 9:52 PM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: I listen to a lot of podcasts in this time range, for just about the same reasons as you do. Most of them are from NPR, CBC (Canadian radio) or BBC 4 (British talk radio), and most are news/interviews, unless stated otherwise.

Usually under 20 min

- definitely seconding NPR story of the Day
- NPR World Story of the Day
- NPR "Economy" - a selection of news stories about all sorts of aspects of podcasts
- NPR "It's all Politics" - two guys talking about politics - I like this, and I'm not even that into politics

- CBC Editor's Choice (occasionally has longer shows, but usually 4-20 min long)
- CBC "As it Happens" - daily items (one interview selected from the longer show), international events


There are also a lot of podcasts in the 20-30 minute range, some of which have 2-3 stories within them.

One of my favorites is the Technology podcast from PRI (Public Radio International)'s The World, which usually presents a series of short, usually unconnected technology and society items in a format that ranges from 20 - 40 minutes, depending on how much they have each week.

- BBC's "From Our Own Correspondant" - usually 2-3 stories in a 30 minute format.
- BBC Radio 4 - Friday Night Comedy
- BBC Radio 4 Choice (just like NPR story of the day, but usually 25-30 minutes)

- NPR "Foreign Dispatch" (actually ranges 18-25 min)

- CBC "The Best of the Current" - a round table discussion, suposedly Canadian but actually quite international
- CBC Search Engine - a radio show and podcast about the internet and society - this one is pretty new
posted by jb at 10:15 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Outfront is a CBC Radio (Canada) show that is about 15 minutes per podcast. Each show is a professionally produced personal documentary. The latest doc ("Pictures Lost and Found") is about a woman who finds a large number of photos dumped in the garbage behind a photolab. She rescues them and begins calling the people whose numbers are on the photo envelopes to try to reunite them with their pictures.

Lingua Franca is an (Australian) ABC Radio National show that is about 15 minutes per podcast. Each week addresses a different topic relating to language and culture. Past shows have been about swearing, nicknames, slang, English as a second language, a very funny one about travel phrasebooks, taboo words, and religious language.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:58 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

A lot of good suggestions so far. Someone upthread mentioned Car Talk--if you want something shorter, there is also a "Car Talk Call of the Week" podcast that usually clocks in at around 5 minutes.

The BBC also does a Documentary Archive that is about 20 minutes, and covers a wide range of topics.

NPR's Most E-Mailed Stories is about the same length, and is kind of a "best-of" listener request compilation.

The New Yorker's Fiction podcast is in the 15-30 minute range, if you're interesting in fiction shorts.

The Onion Radio News is absurdly short, and entertaining.

Try some of the old Ricky Gervais shows--all about a half hour.

LSAT's Logic in Everyday Life has its moments.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 4:56 AM on January 23, 2008

alt.NPR: B-Side Radio is sort of like a half length TAL. Unfortunately, I think it's only updated once a month.
posted by drezdn at 6:56 AM on January 23, 2008

Music podcasts are often listenable in short chunks. My favorite is Coverville. The guy who does that also has a shorter one called Lyrics Undercover, in which he spends 5-10 mins talking about a single song.

I also like News from Lake Wobegon, which is usually about 15-20 mins long.
posted by booth at 7:19 AM on January 23, 2008

Scientific American has great podcasts that are surprisingly funny. About 25 minutes each.
posted by tiburon at 8:55 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like Tech5. It's a tech news podcast, usually 6-7 minutes long.
posted by aerotive at 9:01 AM on January 23, 2008

Damn, all my faves are already on here -- at the gym I listen to Slate, Car Talk, Bill Maher's show, Shields and Brooks of Lehrer News Hour. I'm going to try some of these, though.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:19 AM on January 23, 2008

Sheesh. So much good stuff here, people. This may lead to addictive behavior.
posted by The Deej at 7:25 PM on January 23, 2008

Response by poster: While we're here, can anyone recommend some particularly interesting pop culture podcasts? I prefer a news story format like TAL, rather than a traditional radio DJ format show. I want the info to be focused, and not have to sit through extended meanderings from the radio host.

Thanks for all the great suggestions so far, guys!
posted by reenum at 7:45 PM on January 23, 2008

« Older I'm pretty on the inside, now let me advertise.   |   Herbal Tea PLZ Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.