Friday, February 4, 2011

Podcasts for academic-types

Podcasts--what would I do without them?  I just found out that I can download audio of the latest The Economist (you need a subscription to the magazine).  Apparently I picked a bad time to download.  But as I wait for it to finish, I thought I'd write a post on podcast.

My podcast favorites:
NPR: Most Emailed Stories:  Good to fall asleep to.  I fastforward through interviews with musicians; I like music, but my tastes are too specific and few of them have lives I care to learn about.  Otherwise, the podcast listening public has pretty good taste in what they choose to email to their friends and colleagues, so this is typically a pretty good selection of the day's NPR stories.

Marketplace (by American Public Media): Great if you like an economic focus.  Not so great if you are trying to relax--not with this economy, anyway.

NPR: Planet Money:  Newish web-based show with an economic focus--economics for the (well-informed) layperson.  Some excellent stories; the one about solving Brazil's inflation was fascinating (and was told so well that my 10yr old was captivated).  Some of these stories make it onto regular NPR radio also, others only show up on Planet Money podcasts.

This American Life: Awesome, but of course you knew that.  Got to keep up on the downloads--only free if you download a show in the first week it is available.

The Moth: Oh my goodness, this is some good story-telling. Stories told without notes in front of a live audience.  All are about 15 minutes.  Sometimes famous people tell a story; Al Sharpeton had doozy recently.  I can't listen to The Moth when I'm trying to go to sleep--they keep me up, riveted.

Slate Magazine Daily Podcasts: The Political Gabfest, The Culture Gabfest, and Double-X--all are terrific.  Each involves 3-4 highly intelligent, well-informed, and thoughtful journalists (drawing from a Slate cast of usual suspects).  The conversations are so engaging.  And these colleagues all seem to get along really, really well.  How do they do that?

What am I missing?


  1. I love podcasts too (and listen to many of the same ones)!

    I usually download The New Yorker: Comment and the New Yorker: Out Loud. I only listen to the ones I am interested in, but when I am into the topic it is usually a well-written or discussed take on the issue (Ex: When I was running today I heard the one on Amy Chua that had their correspondent talking about how parents in China reacted to the excerpt).

    I also really like NPR: Story of the Day (probably similar to most emailed stories) and the NPR: Books Podcast.

  2. OK--I am definitely looking into the New Yorker podcasts. Thanks for the tip!