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.


The Duck said...

Cartalk, you can't beat it.

Some really good hunting podcasts as well.

trip said...

Any hunting podcasts in particular?

Patrick 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.