Thursday, April 16, 2015

My Top Five Podcasts (Which Could Change)

Let's start with a few simple statements of fact/personal opinion:
  1. Podcasts are wonderful because I can listen to them in the car on my commute.
  2. I have no interest in watching a podcast. Internet video as a review/podcast medium is pretty much lost on me.
  3. I've actually gotten bored with most board gaming podcasts. 
That said, here's the top five podcasts on my iPhone (in order of how excited I am to listen to them):
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour - I have not been shy over the years about expressing my love for the writing, humor & commentary of Linda Holmes, who is now runs the NPR pop culture blog, Monkey See. I first discovered her stuff on the (sadly) now-defunct Television Without Pity website where she recapped both Survivor and The Amazing Race. I'm not sure why it took me so long to add this roundtable discussion of music, film, books & television to my list, but I'm hooked by the witty conversation, the exuberant geekiness, and the "kicky theme music".
  • The Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill - The titular Jim Hill is great - and his co-host (Unofficial Guide's Len Testa) makes a perfect foil as they delve into Disney theme park plans, history and general craziness. For my money, the best of the Disney podcasts out there.
  • Serial - I've written about Serial before... and goodness knows, the Internet has weighed in over & over about this podcast. During the first season, I downloaded the podcasts the MINUTE they were available and listened as soon as I could... it's a fascinating & evocative way to report on a huge story. Season 2 is coming...
  • BoardgamesToGo - Mark Johnson was one of the earliest podcasters... and certainly one of the earliest board gaming podcasters. His wry yet warm & endearing approach to talking about our shared hobby is a delight to listen to. (Note: I've been a guest a number of times on the podcast and consider Mark a good friend*, so I may be a little prejudiced here.) Mark is currently taking a sabbatical from podcasting - but you've got a great back catalog to listen to while he's having a well-deserved "vacation". 
  • Stuff You Missed In History Class - It's quirky, it's short (30 minutes), and the two hosts feel your geeky history nerd friends who can't wait to share their most recent research with you. 
For the record, I also listen to (though much more sporadically):
  • Boardgame Babylon (why no new episodes, Eriku?! why!?)
  • Garrett's Games & Geekiness (another podcast I've been a guest on)
  • Ludology
  • On the Media
  • Theology of Games
  • This American Life
I'm curious if my loyal readers have any suggestions for podcasts for me to add. What say you?

* Mark Johnson & I are often confused for one another - similar names, similar facial hair, same hobby. Here's how you can tell us apart:
  • if you see us together, he's the tall one
  • if you see one of us playing a fantasy-themed game, it's me
  • if you see one of us working on actual science-y stuff, it's Mark Johnson


Mark Johnson said...

Thanks, Mark. And thanks for the tips about telling us apart. :)

I'm also a huge fan of podcasts. I've got a lengthy commute, and I listen to them when exercising or doing stuff around the house, too.

Non gaming 'casts I love: Slate Culture Gabfest, Revolutions, Filmspotting, In Our Time, Slate Political Gabfest, Hardcore History

Wargaming: GunsDiceButter, I've Been Diced

Boardgaming: Ludology, Cardboard!, The Long View

I get bored with some of the more amateur gaming 'casts, too, sometimes. I just listen to parts & delete partway through. Works for me.

P.S. I'm not QUITE on the sabbatical yet. Down to the last 3 episodes, though. You're on one of those. :)

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Interesting suggestions, MaJo... I'll have to try them!

Christian Sinclai said...

Great list. I also like:
Start Up
reply All
99% Invisible
Song Exploder

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the list, Mark! Big fan of podcasts as well. I'll start with a shameless plug for my own:

Title 18: Word Crimes

I host, and public radio veteran Scott Detrow reads crime fiction story. (Be prepared for adult themes and adult language.)

Others I love:

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
99% Invisible
Song Exploder
Planet Money
A Way With Words
Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!

Between you and Mr. Johnson, you've covered the gaming podcasts I listen to. Cardboard! with Rich Somer is very promising.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to include a link to my podcast:

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Of course you are welcome, Erik - even if you did beat me out at 1st & Goal. (Grrr...)

I'm a big Wait, Wait fan - but I usually listen to it "live" on my local NPR station.

Clay B. said...

I am partial to:

99% Invisible (short, intelligent, and interesting)
Futility Closet (like the web site, random facts and stories, but always fascinating)
Drive to Work (Magic: the Gathering) (Even if you are not a hardcore Magic fan, Mark Rosewater has a lot of insight into game design and development)
The Memory Palace (very short bits but usually quite interesting)
Econtalk (economics issues in an intelligent but approachable style)

I don't listen to these as much but some good history discussion here:
Stuff You Missed in History Class
Hardcore History (long and in-depth)