With everyone posting their resolutions for 2012 I thought I might do some counter programming and write about something else. Like to hear it? Here it goes!
I listen to a lot of podcasts. I spend quite a bit of time on the road and radio in Birmingham just plain sucks. Podcasts offer a great alternative to terrestrial radio and you never have to worry about “catching” a show. There is plenty of content out there to fit every interest but here are my top picks going into 2012.
I have written about this podcast before so I will mention it first. I really enjoy WTF because it provides a behind the scenes look at the business of stand-up comedy. Marc is at his best when talking about his experiences as a comic and those of his guests. This podcast has taught me a lot about how hard the life of a road comic really is and makes me reconsider ever thinking about entering that profession. Those guys really bust their asses out there trying to make everyone laugh. It’s a tough job and I certainly appreciate the talent it takes to be a great comic a lot more after listening to this show.
The podcast can get a little NSFW so this isn’t one for the kiddies but if you are a comedy junkie I would really recommend giving this one a shot. Seek out some of the old episodes as well. The most recent ones are available for free and all the episodes are available for a small fee. Recent guests include Kevin Pollack, Chris Rock, and Penn Jillete. New episodes come out twice a week and I rarely miss an episode.
For something different than comedy try the Sword and Laser podcast. Hosted by tech news veteran Tom Merritt and the object of male geek desire everywhere, Veronica Belmont, the Sword and Laser podcast covers the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy literature. Mostly the podcast is a companion for the online book group that can be found at goodreads.com but they also spend time talking about upcoming releases and announcements in the publishing world. There will also be the occasional discussion of Sci-Fi/Fantasy happenings outside of the printed word but this is mostly for the readers out there. Except, of course, when Game of Thrones in running. During a season there is always more Westeros that anyone not interested in those books might want.
I have enjoyed it because it has helped motivate me to read more and has given me a few great recommendations. There is a large and growing community surrounding this group so the more involved you are the more you will get out of it.
iFanboy is about comics. That’s all there is to know and all you really need to know. I have listened to a few comic book podcasts over the years but this is the one I enjoy the most. The guys who host the show have a genuine love of comics but don’t go overboard on geeking out over things like continuity, costumes, or any of the other stuff that scares off the muggles when it comes to comics. They review the big comics of the week and also really make a point to talk about some of the smaller books that are really good. The iFanboys also release separate episodes dealing with specific topics like creators, films, collected editions, and other facets of the comic business.
One important note, if you are at all concerned about spoilers then be careful with this podcast as they will talk about what happens in each week’s books. They usually warn before giving out any major plot points but it is something to be aware of. I usually don’t worry about it too much but I know how some people can be.
If you are looking to get into comics or just interested in hearing more about what’s out there then this is a great podcast for you.
Hosted by Chris Hardwick, the Nerdist podcast is one I had some trouble warming up to. Singled Out marked the time for me when MTV completely lost its relevance. Once they started catering to the frat boy/sorority girl crowd I was out. Maybe MTV always did that but that one show certainly made it clear for me. It is for that reason I have generally avoided anything with Chris Hardwick since about 1995. After hearing enough talk about this podcast I finally broke down and gave it a try. I was mostly surprised. Chris’s time on MTV was a bit of a fluke and he is really a geek at heart. Nerdist has a fairly wide spectrum of topics but it generally orbits around geekery of all kinds. Science, video games, comedy, film, books, it is all open season on Nerdist. Hardwick grew up during the 80’s so he is a bit of a kindred spirit for us 30 something geeks.
I give this one a cautious recommendation as I haven’t listened to enough episodes to get completely behind it yet.
I want to take a moment and recognize the TWIT network. After the destruction of Tech TV, Leo Laporte made a huge gamble and started is own netcasting company the podcast This Week in Tech. From those humble beginnings, Laporte has built what may be the most successful internet based media company running today. This Week in Tech is still running strong but the real meat of the network is in the other stable of shows. The TWiT network has everything you need from Windows Weekly, to This Week in Google and everything in between. They even have shows specifically geared toward iPad and Android users. I have been listening to TWiT shows since the beginning and have really gotten a lot out of them. I am a little disappointed at how certainly personalities are over used and the love for Apple seems to permeate everything on the network but overall TWiT produces some really good content that is worth listening to. I typically listen to This Week in Tech, MacBreak Weekly and Windows Weekly but I have yet to find anything that is just garbage. Although, iPad Today concerns me greatly. Still, for iPad users it is probably a good listen.
If you catch me listening to a podcast then there is a good chance it is something produced by TWiT. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I think all of their shows have video versions. It’s hard for me to watch video but I have streamed the shows to my TV at home and that has been very nice.
My final recommendation for 2012 is The Totally Rad Show. This show is produced by Revision3 and is exactly what the name suggests…Totally Rad. TRS is a daily show hosted by 3 guys who are proud to call themselves geeks. They talk about the latest movies, TV shows, video games, comics, and just about whatever else that is totally rad. This used to be an hour long weekly show which I liked more but the shorter daily episodes are good too and you are guaranteed new content each week day. Also, keep an eye on Dan Trachtenberg. He will be directing some interesting films I suspect in the future. I don’t always agree with his views on movies but you have to admit that his Portal short film was awesome.
I have some honorable mentions for 2012 but I will cover those in a later post. These five should get you started on some great content and get you out of those terrestrial radio blues.
Happy New Year