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Some Essential Podcasts (2013 Edition)


A distracted Adam Carolla, and a never-distracted Chris Isaak.

There has never been a greater time to be a fan of radio. The advent of podcasting a decade ago has resulted in an entire new generation of creative people developing and inventing some of the most fascinating radio programming that has ever existed. Podcasts have given radio documentary makers, journalists, comedians, designers, builders, artists, intellectuals, sports fans and essentially anyone with anything interesting to say, the ability to create a radio show and share it with an audience of anything from just a handful of devoted listeners, to a legion of millions that hang off every word.

Here's a selection of some of my personal favourite podcasts currently on the net, that will keep you enthralled for hours with literally thousands of episodes for you to digest. Of course, feel free to drop your own suggestions in the comments as well.

The Adam Carolla Show
AdamCarolla.com

The number one podcast on the net. Super funny, super offensive. Ultimately fucking brilliant. It will probably sound a little commercial when you hear it first. But all of a sudden Carolla will go off on a ridiculous 15 minute rant and you'll lose your shit. Sidekicks Newsgirl, Alison Rosen, and Sound Effects Guy, Bald Bryan, add great LOLs to the mix too.

Listen to: Any episode featuring DAG (David Allen Grier), Greg Fitzimmons or Dhana Gould.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
MaximumFun.org

A pop culture and creativity focused radio show that interviews artists, musicians, comedians, actors, directors, designers, writers and pretty much anyone of note involved in the creative world. Has a nuanced, hip hop feel to its production (mostly due to host Jesse Thorne's love of rap) that threads each of the show's segments together like a tight mixtape.

Listen to: His recent interview with Liam Lynch.

WNYC's Radiolab
RadioLab.org

Explains incredibly difficult scientific concepts in fascinating and imaginative ways that make it easy to understand and incredibly entertaining. Made by radio producer Jad Abumrad and respected journo Robert Krulwich, it's equally sonically gorgeous as it is interesting. This podcast will literally change the way you take in the world around you.

Listen to: Memory and Forgetting, Morality, Mortality... pretty much any episode.

99% Invisible
99PercentInvisible.org

A tiny podcast that examines the elements of design in the every day world that you may never notice. Just received the most money ever donated to a journalistic project on Kickstarter. Host Roman Mars' voice maybe the most calming presence in the known universe.

Listen to: Feltron Annual Report, Movie Title Sequences

WTF with Marc Maron
WTFPod.com

Alternative comedy legend, Marc Maron, has in-depth discussions and interviews with some of the greatest comics in the world, as well as musicians and actors and others. With an investigative style that's entirely his own, he asks questions that others may be too intimidated or too embarrassed to ask. His opening monologues are usually lightning strikes of insight and genius themselves.

Listen to: Louis CK (both episodes), Carlos Mencia (both episodes), Henry Rollins.

Doug Loves Movies
DougLovesMovies.com

Hilarious comedy show where stoner/comedian Doug Benson interviews a panel of comedians and actors about the latest movies they've scene. They then play the game The Leonard Malten game, where each contestant has to guess movies based on a reading of the actors on the bill from the bottom up. Sounds confusing, but give it a listen and you'll get the idea. Recorded in front of a live studio audience that adds to the atmosphere of "funny."

Listen to: The John Lithgow episode, anything featuring TJ Miller and Pete Holmes

Comedy Bang Bang
ComedyBangBang.com

Scott Aukerman interviews comedians and a "special guest" who is usually another comedian playing a character, trying to fuck up the whole interview. Has just been turned into a TV show in its own right.

Listen to: Anything with Paul F. Tompkins.

This American Life
ThisAmericanLife.org

Ira Glass is God. Public radio God, anyway. Tells phenomenal stories of triumph, injustice, love, hate, crime, beauty and just about every other theme imaginable. Usually regarded as the greatest radio show on the planet and with good reason.

Listen to: Very Tough Love.

NPR's Planet Money
NPR.org

An off-shoot of This American Life that looks at the finance industry, but like Radiolab explains things in terms and ideas that are really accessible.

Listen to: Toxie.

All Song's Considered
NPR.org

Imagine a radio show where your dad was given some of the best records you've ever heard and asked to review them. Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton's nerdy, middle-aged, white guy banter can be frustrating to say the least, but they often expose you to some of the greatest music you've ever heard before you've heard it anywhere else. Probably the best place to discover your next favourite band.

Listen to: The latest episode for new tunes.

Filed Under
Articles
Adam Carolla
Jesse Thorn
WNYC
99% Invisible
NPR
Marc Maron
Doug Benson
Scott Aukerman
This American Life
Ira Glass

 

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