Sunday, July 29, 2012

What have I been listening to lately?

I think I’m getting old.

Everything I hear on the radio sounds the same to me, so much over-hyped, over-processed pap. I occasionally hear good things on satellite radio when I visit friends, and I do get some good suggestions from a few friends, but really I prefer to listen to what I already have most days.

Or podcasts!

Yes, I’m a podcast listener. I love iTunes for this, it’s so easy to subscribe to these free gems. My current favorites include:

  • The Smartest Man In The World — Greg Proops started recording his Proopcast a couple of years ago, and I never miss a single one. A somewhat free-form monologue recorded in front of a live audience either at home in Los Angeles or on the road, he reflects upon the things that have caught his eye over the past week, random memories of past escapades, questions from the audience (whether in house or written in) — and (almost) always managing to mention Satchel Paige. I’ve been lucky enough to have a written-in question answered AND one answered live (yes, I’ve been personally admonished by the ProopKitten himself). Originally they were sort of monthly, but are now in the weekly vein. He also has a Proopcast app that allows you to go back and choose from your favorites and sometimes has custom content not available through the iTunes store. Long, between 50-120 minutes, more longer ones recently.
  • The Nerdist — Chris Hardwick is a lad after my own heart. I first saw him on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (I adore him), animatedly extolling the virtues of Doctor Who: was there any doubt I’d be hooked? Nerdist episodes come quickly, usually with a guest (Adam Savage! Jeri Ryan! Tim Meadows! Bill Nye The Science Guy!) But sometimes 'hostful’ episodes with just Chris and his cohorts Jonah Ray and Matt Mira. A little more prolific than I can keep up with, seems like there’s a new 60+ minute episode every two or three days, but I pick and choose from his older and newer ones.
  • Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show — I’ve only started listening to these in the past six months or so, but so glad I did. Kevin, head writer Jaime Fox and his faithful sidekick Samm Levine welcome a new guest every Sunday on his site, which you can watch and interact with live or download later as video or audio. These are quite long, often over two hours, and always entertaining and interesting. His guests are often so comfortable with him they don’t notice how much time has passed. Fave guests so far: Matthew Perry, Nia Vardalos, Hank Azaria, Craig Ferguson, Neil Patrick Harris, Eugene Levy, Virginia Madsen and Richard Kind. Among the other regular ‘segments’ on the show is The Larry King Game, which has had some stunning entries over the years - my current fave is Virginia Madsen’s.
  • This American Life — An NPR magazine-format show, roughly an hour long, presented by Ira Glass. Most episodes present several ‘articles’ revolving around a specific topic (occasionally the entire hour is given over to one story, notably ‘What Happened at Dos Erres’ and the controversial ‘Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory’) ranging from super heroes to gambling to religion to love. Sometimes amusing, sometimes heart-wrenching, but always worth listening to.
  • Why You’re Wrong — Hosted by Jesse Dybka and Tim Wilson from a basement in Ottawa (I think?), each week is a roughly 20-minute discussion of the things we think we already know. Fuel economy? Snow tires? Moon landings? It’s all here. Not necessarily for everyone — these two are obviously just a couple of guys talking and enjoying themselves, so it’s not going to be like a radio show. Personally, I like that they sound like folks I already know, and they’re always entertaining and informative, if more than a bit opinionated.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour — Another NPR entry, this one’s a 40-minute round-table discussion of current happenings in the world of movies, TV, music — pop culture. Hosts include Linda Holmes, Barrie Hardymon, Stephen Thompson, Trey Graham, Glen Weldon, Jess Gitner and Mike Katzif, and you can tell they’re having fun.
These are all available for free via iTunes. Do you listen to podcasts? Anything you’d like to recommend?

No comments:

Post a Comment