Friday Five: 5 Podcasts I’m Enjoying in 2020

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Hey y’all! Wanted to drop another short post here with some recommendations for podcasts I enjoyed through the month of December and am eager to keep enjoying into the new year! Here we go!

American Elections: Wicked Game — This podcast by Lindsey Graham (the creator behind the podcast Terms, not the congressman) begins with the question: Was there actually a “good ol’ days” before partisan rancor dominated American presidential politics? (In a word: no.) Each week, AE:WG explores the history of presidential elections, covering each election in order from 1789 to 2016 (leading right up to the week before the 2020 contest in November). I’m 4 or 5 episodes in, and I’m loving this. It’s well-produced, well-researched, and engaging. While I have to assume that there will be some perspective-shading when we get to the more modern elections (because there always is, no matter who’s writing it), I hope it’s this enjoyable all the way through. You can bet I’ll be eagerly listening to find out.

The Redeeming Productivity Show — Reagan Rose hosts this look at how our theology must necessarily guide our desire for productivity. In one of his earliest episodes, Rose details how even the most popular productivity and efficiency gurus today all have an ideological and even theological underpinning, and he encourages his listeners to consider that everything–even productivity–is shot through with theology. This podcast is quickly becoming a favorite. If you’re interested in the productivity/efficiency/creativity space like I am, put this one in your podcast feed.

The Twilight Zone Podcast — I’ve been a fan of The Twilight Zone since I was a kid, but it’s only been in the last year that I’ve gotten to enjoy Tom Elliott’s episode-by-episode recap and analysis. If you grew up watching TZ and want to revisit some favorites, I’d encourage you to check out Tom’s podcast and download those episodes. Not only is his soothing British accent a auditory pleasure, but he provides some thoughtful analysis and helpful behind-the-scenes research to enhance your appreciation of Rod Serling’s masterpiece. Tom’s just finished his analysis of Season 3, and is gearing up for the somewhat-controversial fourth season of TZ. I’m excited to hear what’s in store.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones Sermon Podcast — I was first exposed to Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones about 10 years ago, but it’s really been in the last year that I’ve come to appreciate The Doctor’s preaching. It’s sometimes described as “logic on fire,” and rightly so. While his delivery may seem stiff at times, especially at the beginnings of his sermons, his passion for the truth explodes in his preaching. What I most appreciate is that no matter when he preached the sermon (anytime from the 1950’s to the 70’s or later), he doesn’t use too many contemporary analogies or illustrations, and his messages thus become more timeless and applicable. I’m so thankful that the MLJ Trust has preserved this treasure-trove of audio teaching for later generations. It’s well worth your time to check it out.

Fiction Podcasts — Okay, this last one is a cheat, but I’ve just recently started listening to fiction podcasts again. This is essentially the resurrection of the old-time radio serials of the 1930s and ’40s, but in 21st-century form. There are some really fascinating audio dramas being produced and released for free (with commercials) in recent years. I’ve downloaded 3 or 4 podcasts to check out but not yet listened to enough to recommend any of them fully (like Welcome to Nightvale, Blood Ties, and Dust, a sci-fi anthology show). The podcast I mentioned earlier (Terms by Lindsay Graham on the Wondery Network) is an excellent bit of political intrigue that sadly has only seen one season produced–and was left on a cliffhanger! All that to say, if you haven’t yet checked out serialized story podcasts yet, you should look around for some. While there are sometimes content concerns for sensitive listeners, there’s a whole world of options out there for you to enjoy.


Your turn!

What podcasts are you enjoying most, as you head into 2020? Recommend your favorites in the comments!

#30ThankYous Day 8: Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels

Ted and Zach,

Allow me to gush for just a second, baby. (May I gush?)

There’s not a podcast notification on my phone that makes me giddier than the Gut Check Podcast. Maybe it’s the avant-garde release schedule that makes it such an unexpected treat, but getting that little bubble on my Castbox app letting me know there’s untapped Gut Check ahead just makes my day.

The way I’ve described your podcasts to people (possibly on this blog but more likely in casual conversation) is that it’s like getting to listen in as two guys you think are really cool just sit around and shoot the breeze, and you are let behind the curtain and get to hear all the in-jokes and repeated references. Gut Check listeners become part of your crew, just hanging around the periphery of the scene. Basically, we’re all the Charles and Sue to your Trent and Mike (but without the penchant toward random firearm-waving or Wayne-Gretzky-super-fandom).

Not only am I a fan of the pod, but I’ve also really enjoyed your books.  Ted’s collabs with KDY are top-notch, and Zach’s novels (Playing Saint, All Souls Day, and The Last Con) were all fantastic reads that helped restore my faith in Christian fiction actually being, you know, good. Heck, I even bought The Gut Check Guide to Publishing (which is currently sitting on my To-Be-Read shelf).

Thanks to Gut Check, I was introduced to the writing of the magnificent and terrifying Cliff Graham, I have a more profound appreciation for the finer points of Die Hard, and I now understand the true hero of The Karate Kid is the kid who actually trained in karate.

You two are moguls, mavens, entrepreneurs, and supreme rulers over the greatest media, coffee, and/or fashion empire in any boxing-glove-shaped state or Bible-belt buckle. Thanks for all your work, and here’s to another 100 episodes over the next 5-7 years approximately.

I remain, your humble devotee and loyal footsoldier in the Gut Check Army,

T. 4. D.



#FridayFive: Five Podcasts I Really Like That You Probably Don’t Listen To (Yet)

Happy Friday, gang!

So, I’m a bit of a podcast junkie and have a tendency to download way more than I could possibly listen to (especially since my daily commute dropped from 3+ hours to 50 minutes round-trip in recent years). But whenever I’m doing housework, or even some of the less-cerebral tasks at my day job (don’t tell the boss, okay?), I’m listening to podcasts.

So, today I’d like to tell you about 5 podcasts I really enjoy that you may not have heard of–in other words, no Radiolab or This American Life on this list.

And, to save myself from repeating it, you should be able to find all of these on iTunes, Stitcher, Castbox, etc. Go check ’em out.


The “Goliverse” Podcasts: Okay, this first one is a bit of a cheat, because it’s not just one podcast. One of my favorite podcasters is Steve Glosson, who has created a network of podcasts over the last decade. While some of the Goliverse shows have come and gone over the years, Geek Out Loud and Big Honkin Show (my favorites, honestly) have stuck around consistently. Despite losing his entire backlog of episodes due to server crashes (twice), Steve has persevered, and his programs provide a safe place to geek out, an audio cup o’ coffee, and a whole lot of joy and laughter. He’s in the process of re-uploading past BHS episodes, and it’s been a blast to re-experience that show.  He also broadcasts live on Mixlr.

Gut Check Podcast: You know that old college buddy of yours who loved the same 3-4 movies that you do, still quotes them constantly, and grew up to be a pretty chill, cool guy with just the right amount of self-awareness, self-deprecation, and bravado? The guy who you see once in a really long while, but every time you hang out, you come away thinking, “Man, I really like that guy, we should hang out more”? That guy is this podcast. Every episode with authors / podcasters / coffee-moguls Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels sounds like one of those “once in a long while” hangouts. There’s a little bit of awkwardness from time to time, but mostly you feel like you’re being let into the cool-kids circle and get to share the inside jokes. I dig this one.

The Way I Heard It: Okay, fine, this one is pretty well-known, with perhaps a million subscribers, but I never hear anyone talking about it in my corner of the internet, so I wanted to show some love. Basically, TWIHI is a show by Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) who uses that iconic voicebox of his to tell 5-10 minute stories from pop culture history that keep the famous figure behind the story a mystery until the reveal at the end of the episode. This show is often called a spiritual successor to Paul Harvey’s classic The Rest of the Story. I love it. You should love it too.

When We Understand the Text (WWUTT): Pastor Gabe Hughes gives listeners a 25-ish minute Bible study 5 days a week, and it’s always edifying. He works verse-by-verse through a New Testament book on Mon-Wed, gives a chapter-by-chapter overview of an Old Testament book on Thursdays, and then records a “mailbag” segment on Fridays (often with his wife). Hughes is a faithful Biblical expositor with a steadfast devotion to understanding the Scriptures rightly and an approachable teaching style. You should also check out WWUTT videos on Youtube, where you’ll find 90-second videos answering common Biblical questions.

Reading Writers: This podcast about reading and readers is one that I lost track of for a while and recently came back to. I appreciate the easy-going approach and the fact that their focus isn’t on just new books coming out or any of the “industry” updates, but on what reading means to us and how it affects people differently, particularly from a Christian perspective. Sometimes, the hosts interview people in the Christian publishing world (where they both work) and other times, it’s just the two of them talking through a topic. Aaron Armstrong also blogs at Blogging Theologically (a site that feels like a more bookish–and that’s a complement).


There you go–five suggestions to add to your podcast list. Hope you’ve found one of your new favorites in the list above!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you here next week!

YOUR TURN: Any less-well-known podcast recommendations you want to share? Post them in the comments below!

“Turn That Thing Up” Part 2 : Eclectic Boogaloo

Ready for another installment of great podcasts you should check out? Awesome!

(Thinking these are filler posts for when I’m behind schedule? Bosh.)

Here we go:

  1. The Art of Manliness Podcast: If you’re a guy and you’ve never checked out Brett McKay’s website, “The Art of Manliness,” you need to do so immediately.  If you’re a lady, and you’re worried that I’m recommending some sort of base, titillating, lad-mag type website, you should check it out, too, and prepare to be pleasantly surprised. The vibe behind AoM is more of a traditional, classic manliness with a modern twist. Virtues of responsibility, loyalty, hard work, and classic masculinity are lifted up throughout the content of the site. The podcast features McKay interviewing folks from various fields of interest that relate to AoM. Recent episodes include discussions of what it means to be “gifted,” the history of John Sullivan and boxing, discussions about fitness and health, and many other useful topics. Have I sold it enough? I really like AoM. You should too.
  2. The Dave Ramsey Show: Ramsey provides what every one of us needs–common sense advice about money, insurance, retirement, and debt. If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, just check him out. He’s sometimes often a bit snarky, and his advice will often go against the prevailing wisdom–but the “prevailing wisdom” is spread around by broke people with huge debt loads.  I wanna get debt-free, so Dave’s my guy.
  3. Quick and Dirty Tips: Despite the scandalous-sounding name, this network of podcasts provides a lot of useful information in bite-sized portions. I listen to the Get Fit Guy, the Nutrition Diva, and the Get-It-Done Guy, and have gained some useful stuff from each.
  4. This is Your Life: This podcast by NYT best-selling author Michael Hyatt is focused on leadership, personal growth, and building a “platform” for your writing/marketing. Sometimes his content is a little more inside-baseball than I need, but a lot of his general commentary on leadership and personal development has been good for me. If you’ve ever thought about growing in these areas, and especially if you want to grow your “brand” online, this is the guy to listen to.

That’s all I have time for now. Happy listening!

“Turn that thing up louder so i can hear it in my headphone.” (Part 1)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.