Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Podcast love: "This American Life"



Having never really listened to public radio growing up, and after going through a 9-12 month stint, several years ago, of embracing political views somewhere right of Sean Hannity, I was pretty well convinced that NPR was a radio station that would have been officially endorsed by Stalin himself. While I had occasionally happened across an odd episode of "The Thistle and Shamrock" (which is awesome, by the way), the only other radio show I had heard of on NPR was "This American Life," though I had never listened to it, and didn't really have any interest in finding out what it was all about.

Well, this summer, while still unemployed and looking for a summer internship, I was taking full advantage of Netflix's streaming video content and came across the 1st season of "This American Life" that aired on Showtime. Curious, and bored, I took a chance and really enjoyed it. It was quirky, interesting, insightful, and entertaining. After this, I was hooked.

Since mid-June I have been downloading and listening to the weekly podcast. Since I spent a lot of time in the car this summer, it provided a nice bit of variety from music. Anyways, I really look forward to Monday each week when the new podcast goes up, and it is one of the highlights of my week to listen to it. I enjoy the variety of topics, stories, and types narratives that they manage to incorporate every week, and the filler music is usually superb. I have also discovered that "This American Life" is not a tool of the Left, and although it does occasionally have a leftist slant, it's not really something that bothers me anymore. And, I must say, that their episode a couple of weeks ago entitled "Another Frightening Show About the Economy" did a superb job of explaining some of the less well known problems associated with the financial meltdown.

So, I have two real points to this post:

1.- If you haven't listened to "This American Life," sign up for the podcast on Itunes and give it a try. Burn it on a CD and pop it in next time you're going to be spending an hour in the car.

2.- I am looking for other good podcasts and would love some suggestions. I've tried "Prairie Home Companion" and it didn't really do it for me, and I will occasionally listen to episodes of "Steve Brown, Etc.", but I'm still looking for something else. I think some of the other NPR podcasts would be alright, but so many of them are daily news and I don't really listen to podcasts every day, so by the time I get around to listening to them, they're out of date. Anyways, let me know your suggestions.

4 comments:

The Duck said...

Cartalk, you can't beat it.

Some really good hunting podcasts as well.

trip said...

Any hunting podcasts in particular?

Patrick Sewell said...

I listen to Marketplace, a finance show from NPR. "The Moth" is a storytelling podcast. The stories are often funny, but occasionally just depressing.

trip said...

Thanks for the suggestion on The Moth. I know I've heard some of their bits on This American Life, and they are generally pretty good. I'll be sure to check it out.