Podcasts worth my time

I’ve been listening to podcasts regularly since I first got my hands on an iPhone about four years ago, and it’s remarkably hard to find consistently good and consistently interesting shows. Finding good podcasts is hard. It takes a lot of time to determine whether any given one is worth your time. And so, to save you the trouble of searching through iTunes for hours on end, here are the podcasts I listen to with at least some regularity.


Science

  • Radiolab

    Highly (sometimes overly) produced, always interesting mashups of cultural and science discussion.

  • The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe

    Skeptical, science-y discussion from New England. A great way to keep up with what’s happening in the science world in general.

Tech-related

Dan Benjamin’s 5by5 network has a host of other shows that are probably worth listening too as well, I just haven’t had a chance to try them all yet.

Misc

  • This American Life

    If you’ve never come across This American Life before then you’re obviously very new to the world of podcasting. This American Life is the podcast. It’s been running for nearly 17 years and gets over 400,000 listeners for each weekly episode. With good reason too, their hour long shows are always fantastically produced and never fail to be interesting.

  • Tank Riot

    Three dudes from Wisconsin talking shit2. Their sometimes 2-hour long episodes cover topics from conspiracy theories to zombie films.

  • Planet Money

    Short, weekly shows on financial things. Economics can be fun and interesting. Who knew?

  • Back to Work

    Yet another 5by5 show, this one features Merlin Mann being crazy (and inspiring).

  • The Ihnatko Almanac

    Andy Ihnatko (noted tech writer) chatting about a wide range on stuff. Including but not limited to: science fictions novels, comic book fonts, and the MIT Flea Market.

  • The Incomparable

    The topic of discussion on The Incomparable ranges wildly: books, film, music, television, you name it. I don’t listen every show, but I do check in to see what they’re talking about each week in case there’s one that interests me.

Australian

The ABC do an unbelievable job of making their content available online, and this includes most of their first-party content from television and radio as podcasts. I tend to catch up on their TV shows using the excellent iview for iPad (streamed via AirPlay), so the only ABC podcast I regularly listen to is:

  • By Design

    Radio National’s Alan Saunders on the design of anything and everything.

Sadly By Design is the only Australian podcast I’ve found interesting enough to keep coming back. I’d love to find more.

Comedy

  • Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me

    I’ve just discovered Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. It’s a light, fun quiz show from National Public Radio that usually covers the week’s events in an amusing way.

  • Maniacal Rage

    The now seemingly defunct Maniacal Rage podcast is one of my favourites. Featuring Garrett Murray and Shawn Morrison being insane, it’s well worth going back through the archives to see what you missed out on.

  • You Look Nice Today

    Alas, now also dead it seems. You Look Nice Today is one of the few podcasts that have made me laugh out loud. Go back and listen to every episode.

  • The Ricky Gervais Podcast

    Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant, and Karl Pilkington being funny. It’s not published regularly any more, but every now and again a new one pops up.

Instacast

If you like to listen to podcasts on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, then no doubt you hate hate hate managing them through iTunes. Instacast is everything you could hope for and more in a podcasting app. Download it now and thank me later.

If you’re on an Android phone (or Instacast isn’t your thing) then Shifty Jelly’s Pocket Casts might be a goer.


So that’s my list. Podcasts are very much a question of personal taste – The Girl™ can’t listen to (almost) any of the above without complaining about the American voices – and thus your mileage may vary.

If you have suggestions for other shows worth checking out let me know via email or Twitter. Even with my relatively long list it’s hard to fill up a full week’s worth of listening content. I need more!


  1. Occassionally heavily intoxicated.

  2. Always heavily intoxicated.