As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a longtime fan of radio–which is probably part of the appeal of podcasts for me. While podcasts are similar to radio, how there are a few key differences. First, podcasts do not have to fit into traditional network formats (this can include things like FCC regulations or time restrictions), they do not have to appeal to a broad audience (hence the availability of niche podcasts that cover any topic you can think of), and finally, anyone can create and produce a podcast, which allows access to voices that might never hit the airwaves of network radio.
Podcasts are also convenient–you can listen to them on demand via your computer or other device, or they can be downloaded so you can listen to them at a later time. If you are using iTunes, you can also subscribe to most podcasts so each new episode of your favorite will automatically appear in your iTunes Library upon release.
Here are three of Bookminded’s favorite podcasts–check them out!
Literary Disco–For serious readers, this podcast made by three friends, Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, and Rider Strong is one to put on your list. At present, there are 58 episodes, each running about an hour in length. The format is this: a book club of three where you (the listener) are essentially a fly on the wall. They will introduce the work or works (sometimes they’ll cover short stories) for the episode and then they discuss it. And since all three creators are also serious writers, they will sometimes have writers on–not to interview, per se–but to select a book for the group to discuss. It is funny and interesting and a reminder of why you love your book nerd friends!
Episode Recommendation: #55 The Stranger. This episode features high school English teacher (and established book reviewer) Heather Partington leading a discussion about Albert Camus’ The Stranger. She talks about everything from Cat Mysteries, the state of reading in our public schools, how she gets students excited about reading and writing, and then leads a discussion of the book. It is witty and entertaining.
Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin–Say what you want about Alec Baldwin, the guy is a natural born entertainer. But what you may not know is that he is also a Class A interviewer. The format of Baldwin’s podcast, which is broadcast on NYC’s WHYY, is that of a traditional interview show, however, the public figures that he gets to open up are so relaxed and engaging that you feel as if you are listening in on a conversation between friends. Baldwin’s vast knowledge of the theatric and literary worlds is astounding. He is quicker than quick with a reference or a comeback and a humorous aside. I love this one! There are more than 50 episodes and include interviews with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Lena Dunham, Elaine Stritch (who played Baldwin’s mother on 30 Rock)–plus many more. Check it out!
Episode Recommendation: #4 Chris Rock. In this episode, Baldwin and Rock discuss standup comedy, New York theater, and women.
99% Invisible–Roman Mars, the creator behind this podcast is super cool. It is hard to describe this one as it is about a little of everything–but Mars calls it “a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world,” which is an apt description. There are more than 100 episodes and I am slowly working my way through them with enthusiasm.
Episode Recommendation: #117 Clean Trains. This 21 minute episode talks about NYC subways and the graffiti phenomenon (and the subsequent movement to eradicate it). Really interesting stuff!