I commute for 2-3 hours every day, round-trip. This is the downside of living in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area. I used to listen to the radio, but I had to stop; sports radio is too inane, and political talk radio is designed to make the listener frightened and/or angry, which is not useful when you’re trying to stifle road rage. (Incidentally, the manipulative nature of conservative talk radio is a big reason why i don’t watch Fox News either. It’s not worth the anger.)
Of course, on the FM dial, the DJ’s are obnoxious and the music isn’t really great. So what’s a commuter to do?
“Podcasts, Benjamin. Podcasts.”
What do I listen to on a regular basis? I’m so glad you asked. Here are a few recommendations from The4thDave to you:
- Anything by Steve Glosson. This guy is my favorite podcaster ever. Pretty much everything he does, I enjoy. He currently does a daily show on Mixlr called “The Big Honkin Show,” in which he goes through bizarre news and light-hearted topics of conversation, interspersed with hilarious fake commercials and great 80’s music. And no lie, the dude has the most infectious laugh I’ve ever heard. One great thing about listening live to BHS on Mixlr (when you’re not driving, of course) is that you can take part in the chat (as part of the “Mixlr Zoo Crew”) and interact with other listeners and Steve. Great times.
- Steve also has a couple other podcasts in the “Geek Out Loud” podcasting network: the flagship “Geek Out Loud,” where he is joined by Derek Russell (these two have been podcasting together for years, in different formats); “Know What I’m Sayin’ ” with Karl LaClaire; “Mark Out Loud,” a wrestling podcast; and some new projects coming down the pike.
- If you like books (and you should), you need to check out the Book Riot podcast. Jeff O’Neal and Rebecca Schinsky talk about what’s new in the publishing world, books that are coming out or have been released, and other awesome bookish news. Another podcast from the BookRiot family is the newly-started “Dear Book Nerd,” which is kind of a Dear Abby for bibliophiles. Lots of fun listening here.
- A few NPR podcasts I’ve really been enjoying lately are Ask Me Another (a fun live quiz show that features great trivia challenges and the musical stylings of the brilliant Jonathan Coulton) and Radiolab (an audio odyssey of the weird and fascinating).
- Wanna look at the world from a slightly different perspective? Try Freakanomics Radio. These economists have a unique take on things. I don’t always agree, but I do enjoy their discussions.
- If you’re into comics and you don’t mind salty language, you should try my friend Trentus Magnus’s awesome show, “Trentus Magnus Punches Reality.” The man knows comics, he always has something interesting to add to the conversation, and his sometimes gruff and grouchy approach is a hoot. But I say again: this is only for those who don’t mind foul language. Consider this your headphones-warning.
- If you’ve seen any BlimeyCow videos, you know these guys are funny. Turns out, their podcast is just as fun to listen to. Also, if you like board games, or want to find out about games you have never heard of or have never played before, they also do a boardgames podcast call “The Fellowship Gamer.” These are shorter podcasts, too. While most of the ones I’ve listed run about 30-60 minutes, The Blimey Cow Podcast runs 15-20 at most, and The Fellowship Gamer is usually under 10 minutes, so they’re great for quick trips.
So there you go. I listen to all these shows pretty much as soon as they are released.
I’ll have more to share next week, but you should check these guys out. If you like what you hear, let them know I said hi.