My Favorite Podcasts

From: , , , By Bevans on Friday, November 02, 2007

I've been meaning to write a hard-hitting post about politics or religion or something for a while now. But that day has not yet come. Instead, I'm going to share some of my favorite podcasts that I listen to each week.

For those of you who don't know, Podcasts are audio files (usually in MP3 format) that people produce on a regular or semi-regular basis. Their primary purpose is to be loaded onto a portable music player, or just listened to on your computer. And contrary to popular belief, no Apple products are required. I listen on an iRiver H120 while driving to and from class each day. The drive is usually about 40 minutes long, so I've got plenty of time to listen.

A great resource for finding new podcasts on pretty much any topic you can think of is the Podcast Directory on Digg.

So anyway, here they are.

The Ricky Gervais Show

Unfortunately, this one has ended, but you can still find the whole collection on the net (try BitTorrent), or my hard drive. And it's probably the funniest thing I've ever heard. The format is simple: 3 British guys talking to each other. The first (of course) is Ricky Gervais, a comedian/actor/writer who's probably most famous in the US for co-creating the tv show The Office. The second is Stephen Merchant, the other co-creator of The Office. The third is Karl Pilkington, their unemployed friend.

Most of the hilarity comes from just letting Karl speak his mind, with the other two reacting. Most of the stuff he says is ridiculous, inaccurate, or just plain crazy, yet also oddly poignant. When talking about the creation of the universe, he ponders, "Was the Big Bang really that loud, or did it just seem loud because there was nothing there to drown it out?"

They did a 12-episode "season" for free, then did 2 seasons of 6 episodes as part of a subscription experiment (don't worry, most podcasts are free) and then 3 holiday specials last year. Most are about half an hour long.

SModcast (feed)

This one gets its name from the last initials of the show's two hosts: filmmaker/writer/actor Kevin Smith, and producer Scott Mosier. Scott is often busy though, so Kevin's friends or wife sometimes fill in.

This one is probably only interesting if you're a Kevin Smith fan. In fact, it's probably only interesting if you've watched both "Evening With Kevin Smith" DVDs and came away wanting more. Smith and Mosier talk about whatever comes into their heads, from personal experiences to stuff they saw on YouTube.

It's usually about an hour long, and they do one every week or so.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (feed)

This one is hosted by several members of the New England Skeptics Society, and they discuss the latest in science, pseudo-science, and scams, with particular focus on debunking and exposing subjects like the paranormal, conspiracy theories, the medical field, and so on.

They also have some great guests on the show each week, like Jimmy Carter, Bill Nye, Adam Savage (Mythbusters), Matt Stone (South Park), and Teller (he was actually talking too). There are also plenty of relative unknowns that are also very interesting; last week, the guest was an epidemiologist who was talking about the flu vaccine (short version: get it), the bird flu, upcoming pandemics, and how the human race will eventually be wiped out by viruses. Fun!

This one is a weekly feature, and it's usually over an hour long.

Webcomics Weekly (feed)

This is a pretty interesting look into the webcomic world, from 4 prominent webcartoonists. They cover everything from artistry to business to marketing to technology, and so on. It's aimed at other webcartoonists, but I find it pretty interesting anyway. It's also a weekly feature that's about an hour long.


Ok, I know what you're thinking. NPR is a radio station. But they also have almost ALL of their programs from around the country available in podcast form.

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me is a very funny quiz show where the questions come from the week's news and events. Car Talk features two hilarious New England brothers attempting to diagnose car problems from callers. Science Friday...well, I think the name pretty much explains it.

There are thousands of different feeds to choose from, and some are even compilations of all stories relating to a particular subject (like movies).

Assorted WoW Podcasts

Yes, I'm a Warcraft nerd. I listen to 3 WoW podcasts: The Instance, Legendary Thread, and the WoW Insider Show. They all talk about the same news stories about the same game, but I enjoy listening to their differing opinions and reactions.

Think of it like being a baseball fan and watching ESPN, Fox Sports, and...some other sports news channel.

So there we go. I'm always looking for new ones, and if I do find some, I'll be sure to post them here. And if you have one that you think I'd like, feel free to send me a link. Even though I've been listening for a while now, I still feel like I've barely scratched the surface.


Kyle Eliason on December 27, 2007 at 4:36 AM:

My favorites are:

Econ Talk:

Baseball Prospectus Radio:

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