Podcasts in 2015
It is hard to believe it has been over 10 years since I first started listening to podcasts.
Podcasts had a huge impact in my life. A show call geekdrome got me interested in comics for the first time since I was a small boy getting Judge Dredd from my local newsagent and then iFanboy got me completely hooked on them.
Without both those shows I would never have come up with the idea for Graphicly. Never gotten into Techstars, never had all those great experiences. One of the highlights and scariest moments of Graphicly was when we acquired iFanboy. It was amazing as a huge fan, Conor, Ron and Josh know the comic book world and the fanbase better than anyone else and supporting the show felt like we were giving back for the idea in the first. But I was terrified being part of Graphicly would break the show or something somehow would go wrong I would be partly to blame for the end of something that brought so much joy.
Thankfully that didn’t happen and iFanboy is still going. While I didn’t get much time with them, I spent most of my time in UK development office before parting from Graphicly, hanging out with those guys at a San Diego comic-con after party in the Hilton hotel is another treasured memory.
All that said, podcasts were for commuting, helping me wind down before bed and listening to while walking the dog. It wasn’t until this year, 2015, that I transitions from exclusively listening to music while I worked to mainly listening to podcasts. Podcasts like Serial have made them even more mainstream especially in the US but I thought would be a fun to post a list of podcasts I regularly check out.
99% Invisible is a podcast about “design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world”. Years after watching the documentary Objectified I still find myself fascinated about the stories behind the design of everyday things. Why did the designer of the fork I used for lunch choose that length for the prongs on the end. I get stuck on how the designers mind worked, even the cheapest fork in the world had someone making decisions. Was the choice made based on ergonomics, or to help the weight distribution, or was it an aesthetic choice? Maybe all three. Anyway, 99% invisible scratches my itch for thoughts like this. Covering everything from the use of music in horror films, to the Portland Airports Carpet design, and even something as seemly small as the click a keyboard key makes when pressed.
Accidental Tech Podcast
Marco Arment has created two digital projects I used everyday Instapaper and Overcast (My podcast player of choice more at the bottom), before these he led development at Tumblr from it’s start until 2010. With two of his friends Casey Liss, and John Siracusa, he tried to create car podcast and ended up creating this one instead, I was hooked on first listen. What you get is, three really smart people talking not just about the latest tech news, but giving great insight into the design and development process of their work. It is often really funny too.
In Our Time
With way over 500 episodes this podcast from the BBC about history and ideas is must listen. Often considered one of BBC radios best shows, each week host Melvyn Bragg is joined by “top of their field” experts and academics for an 45 minute discussions.
Invisibilia “is about the invisible forces that control human behavior ” and had been the No. 1 podcast on iTunes for most of its existence. the first episode has a story about a man gripped by violent thoughts, it was terrifying and gripping.
Soccer / Football:
Football Weekly is a twice weekly show from the Guardian, hosted by James Richardson, with journalists Barry Glendenning, Rafa Honigstein, James Horncastle, Sid Lowe and the others joining. It took a me an episode or two to warm to James Richardson for some reason, now he is my favorite person in football media. The show is funny and smart, covering not just the EPL.
The Sunday Supplement, is the audio of Sky Sports Sunday morning review of football stories in the mornings paper by some of the top sports journalists in the UK. It’s quality can vary depending on the guests but you always get informed conversation.
The Football Ramble
To be honest while I do still listen every week, towards the end of last season and the beginning of this one, this podcast has started slipping a little too much into the realm of “ladish football banter”. It getting a little aggressive, with a lot explicit language, from all but the main host Marcus. However, it still has a charm and it’s funny moments. It has been around since 2007, much more informal than Football Weekly or Sunday Supplement, during it’s best moments, it is like being around friends who know their stuff when talking football.
Film / TV :
I found it hard to find a fun and interesting movie/tv based podcast since both Geekdrome and the Totally Rad Show ended but found one with Screenrant underground, the official podcast of ScreenRant.com. While it can sadly have a lot of explicit language, especially when Screenrant co-founder Anthony Ocasio is on, it has a great format that offers engaging commentary on film and tv news. Screenrant is at it best when the hosts are coming up with possible stories for TV or future movies. The reviews are the highlight, split into non-spoiler and spoiler sections, meaning you can get a sense of the movie beforehand and listen back to get a deeper review after seeing it.
Update Aug 13th: In this weeks episode it was announced that Screenrant after 4 years is taking a break before relaunching in a revised format, Anthony Ocasio left the podcast a couple of weeks prior too.
Pop Culture Happy Hour
From NPR this Pop Culture Happy Hour is a “pop-culture roundtable podcast”, which is a lot more formal than Screenrant with very likeable hosts. The topics are often broaden beyond just the latest news into in-depth looks at different.
Very similar to Screenrant in format but the hosts offer a good contrast. I only checked this out after learning ex-Totally Rad Show host Jeff Cantana is on it and found it a good listen. Probably the least I listen too in this entire list but worth checking out if you are a film fan and don’t like Screenrant.
Comedy / Other:
A Saturday morning BBC comedy radio show about sport. Really funny, one podcast I find far to engaging to do anything meaningful while listening. Makes my time running fly by.
All Songs Considered
Another one from NPR – I can’t count the number of great songs I have “discovered” via this podcast. I can’t recommend this enough. The podcast features full length songs often in advance of they official release. The hosts are smart and engaging. The mid and end of year best of episodes are highlights.
Adam and Joe
Another BBC radio show which is sadly not on air anymore, this podcast is my favorite of all time. British comedians Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish(Attack the Block director and Ant-man writer) are seemingly just trying to make each other laugh. Best friends from childhood, they have amazing chemistry. I have heard every episode 3 times and still go back.
Marco Arment Picture – luciuskwok
Casey Liss Picture – Casey Liss
Invisibilia Picture – Invisibilia Tumblr