These are 30 podcasts I listen to very regularly. I have listened to many of these since they began (often retroactively) and very much enjoy them. There are a lot of tech shows in here with a mix of science, food, history and popular culture mixed in for good measure.
Because most people have attention spans only slightly longer than your average gnat, I’ve decided to break this up into three separate blog posts, each highlighting 10 different shows.
Storytelling is the focus of Roman Mars’ podcast 99% Invisible. This show tells the stories behind the design of things you may have never noticed before, or things about which you didn’t give a second thought.
Mixing interesting and compelling stories with brilliantly produced audio this is one of the shows I look forward to every single week. 99% Invisible is a member of the newly founded Radiotopia network. If you like stories or have any interest in design I recommend you check this one out.
99% Invisible has also put on a couple of very successful Kickstarter campaigns the past couple of seasons in an effort to generate some funding to further support and expand the show. I have donated both times and will undoubtedly back it again when they come around again for next year.
Accidental Tech Podcast
When three developers try to make a car show but end up talking more about technology than cars, you get an accidental tech podcast. Hosted by Marco Arment, John Siracusa and Casey Liss the trio provide an Apple and Developer centered discussion each week about various goings on in the tech world.
The show quality is quite good (if a bit long-winded at times.) Episodes run about 90 mins to 2 hours.
All three hosts are developers so there are often developer or programmer topics (or at least topics discussed from that slant.) They are also all Apple fans, so the majority of the hardware and software discussed is Apple/Mac/iOS related.
The Alton Browncast
TV Personality Alton Brown has a podcast. Being a big fan of the Good Eats series I had to check this out. Each week features an interview with someone in the food or food-entertainment world and it gives an interesting behind-the-scenes look at this world that I typically have no insight into.
It’s also nice to get some items in my feed that don’t have anything to do with tech or computing. I don’t have a lot of them, but this is definitely a good choice.
Usually pretty well produced, the episodes run about an hour and is a member of the Nerdist podcast network.
Astronomy Cast is a fantastic podcast that takes a look at one specific space-related topic each episode and tries to delve into just enough detail to make you think. Hosted by Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay Astronomy Cast is an excellent primer for those who are interested in learning more about space, the cosmos and the underlying science and physics that makes it all work.
I first stumbled across this show from some links to IYA activities back in 2009 and it has been a mainstay ever since. The episodes are kept pretty short (under 30 minutes) and pack a lot of information into a nice bite-sized science snack.
Astronomy Cast is also closely affiliated with CosmoQuest the group behind the very successful 365 Days of Astronomy podcast and other citizen science initiatives.
Back to Work
Nominally a show about productivity and communication, Back to Work is hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin and is a member of the 5by5 network. Each episode is as much a chance for Dan and Merlin to have a chat as it is about productivity. Recent episodes have included the blight of buzzwords, bad customer service, nostalgia and sleep.
There are a lot of running bits and gags that date back to the early days of the show. Often referenced is the venerable “episode 7” (which is quite good).
The show is produced similarly to many of the 5by5 shows with very good audio quality and a very conversational feel. Like other 5by5 shows the episode titles rarely describe the episode, which can be annoying, but leaves you listening for where the joke occurs during the show.
The BBC World Service produces a number of fantastic shows. One that I like, which is tech focused, is Click. Hosted by Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson Click tries to offer a fairly global perspective on new technology often taking advantage of BBC field offices to provide insights from Asian or African correspondents.
Similar in many ways to Spark (which we’ll see in a few days) Click focuses on more than the hardware and software, but how the technology actually interacts with and impacts the society and culture of the people who use it.
As you can expect the audio quality and production values are excellent given it’s radio heritage. Episodes typically run about 30 minutes.
The Domestic CEO
The Domestic CEO’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Manage Your Home. It’s a mouthful. Like many shows on the Quick and Dirty Tips network it takes almost as long to say the title as listen to the episode. Each week this show covers tips for managing the day-to-day things in your home.
There is a lot of good information not only for people who are just starting out in their own place for the first time, but even for those of us who have been managing our own places for years. There’s always something new.
I have put a large number of these tips to use in my own place and have learned ways to better clean and organize my home as well as save some money along the way. Episodes generally run 5-10 minutes.
Host Randal Schwartz is at the helm this podcast on the TWiT network delving into the world of Free Libre and Open Source Software. Each episode provides a deep dive into an open source project or technology hosted by Schwartz and a number of rotating co-hosts.
Episodes of FLOSS weekly generally run about one hour.
From Python Import Podcast
If you want to learn about the ins and outs of the Python community this is one way to get your fix. Though it’s rather sporadic in its releases and the audio quality is only average, the information into the background and back-rooms of the Python community has been excellent.
The current lineup of hosts includes: David Noyes, Mike Pirnat, Ben Smith and David Stanek. Shows vary as much in length as in release schedule, recent episodes (3 in the past 12 months) have been 1-2 hours.
This has nothing to do with geology, though that’s what I was looking for when I subscribed back in 2007. Host George Hrab talks about skepticism and rationality interspersed with personal stories and a series of recurring bits or segments. In some ways it’s like an audio blog, but it’s a lot of fun particularly if you enjoy the subject matter. There are occasional appearances by guests (Geo’s Mom reads Jay-Z lyrics) but for the most part all of the voices and segments are put together by Hrab.
This show actually led me to explore the skepticism movement in more detail and let me to several of the other shows on this list which you’ll see in a few days.
With his background in music and experience with audio the show sounds great and is very well produced. Episodes of the Geologic Podcast typically run about an hour.
Image Credit: abletoven on Flickr.