Monday, August 30, 2010

Podcast Recommendation of the Week - Number 4

Podcasts are great for listening to a show I missed during the day, or a show that's not available on the radio. But to keep up with current events I daily listen to radio live-streaming on the internet. That is quite possibly my favorite perk of this amazing technology age. All day long at my studio I tune in to different NPR stations through my computer, stations too far away to pick up through my humble radio antenna.

While I get ready in the morning I do listen to one of three local NPR stations I can tune in on the tape-to-tape AM/FM boom box I bought back in college. I am lucky to be within range of New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), Boston College Public Radio (WBUR) and the Grandmama of them all, WGBH. (Which I know stands for Great Blue Hill because my dad always pointed out the actual hill as we drove past it when I was a kid).

At my studio the radio reception is terrible so I turn on my PC and boot up Windows Media Center where I have my favorite stations bookmarked.

In the mornings I love Morning Edition, news and culture for several hours.

From 10 AM to 12 noon I love listening to WAMU's The Diane Rehm Show. Diane talks with pundits about politics, experts about issues, and authors about books. It's also a call-in show so she takes questions from the audience. She is very smart and engaged. Don't let her voice throw you. She has a tremulous tone due to a paralyzed vocal chord, but she will certainly grow on you if you give her a chance. I especially recommend her lively Friday News Roundup.

If Diane isn't covering a topic I'm interested in, I'll turn to energetic and engaged Tom Ashbrook with WBUR's On Point, a similar format show. both Tom and Diane are great at coaxing callers to get to the point.

At noon I like Here and Now an hour long program also from WBUR. This show covers national stories a bit more in-depth with longer interviews and also goes a bit off the beaten path sometimes to find interesting musicians and such.

At 1 o'clock, I hate to miss Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Fresh Air is an hour long interview program that covers news and culture in a thoughtful entertaining way. The topics can be silly or serious. Always excellent. This is the kind of show that gets me interested in a person or topic even if I'm absolutely sure I don't care.

2 pm is Talk of the Nation. It's actually on from 2-4 but my local stations have dropped the second hour so I turned to the NPR Broadcast Schedule linked from the show page to locate WNJN in New Jersey which plays both hours. Isn't that cool?

At 4 it's time for the venerable evening news program All Things Considered. Just hearing the iconic theme song is enough to make me feel all is right with the world even if the news they are about to tell me proves my feelings wrong.

By the time Marketplace comes on at 6 or 6:30 I am usually back home cooking dinner. I love listening to the day's economics news in this half-hour, easy-to-comprehend format.

So now you know the extent of my NPR addiction. But I am not ashamed! NPR keeps me entertained, informed and sane. Invite me to your cocktail party, I know at least a little bit about everything going on in the world. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Podcast Recommendation of the Week - Number 3

I started a new series recommending the podcasts I enjoy listening to while crafting. You can find the growing links list on the right hand sidebar.

*Please note you don't need an iPod to listen to these programs, they are available on the websites I link to and can be listened to through any MP3 player or right on your computer.*

I grew up listening to Car Talk on NPR, it was part of my childhood weekend. Mom prepared lunch, dad tinkered in the basement, and I sat at the kitchen table drawing while we all listened to the goofy Magliozzi brothers laugh at their own terrible jokes and try to answer real questions about car repair.

I lived in Tennessee in my twenties. I was surprised to find a co-worker who thought Tom and Ray were stupid and childish who just laughed at their own stupid jokes. I thought, "Yeah, so what?" That's part of the charm of these intelligent Cambridge guys; their self deprecation, infectious laughter and recurring inside jokes you don't really need to get.

Plus they really do answer questions about cars and car repairs! And relationships strained by disagreement over car issues.

If you already listen, I'm preaching to the choir, but if you haven't tried it yet, I hope you enjoy getting to know this silly, relaxed show. (If, however, you agree with my TN coworker then please, let us never speak of this again.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Podcast Recommendation of the Week - Number 2

Last week I started a new series recommending the podcasts I enjoy listening to while crafting.

*Please note you don't need an iPod to listen to these programs, they are available on the websites I link to and can be listened to through any MP3 player or right on your computer.*

I'm going in the order in which they appear on my iTunes and 2 short podcasts from The New Yorker are next. Sometimes I don't want or need an hour's worth of distraction so I like having some shorter listening options.

The New Yorker offers a great collection of free podcasts.

I listen to two, the first one is The Political Scene which is usually short, about 15 minutes, and features "A weekly discussion about developments in Washington, hosted by The New Yorker’s executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden, and featuring the magazine’s Washington correspondent, Ryan Lizza, and other contributors."

I'm interested in politics so I like it because of the subject matter, also I'm a progressive liberal and I'm pretty sure these folks are too. It's casual and cogent, the speakers are knowledgeable but not inscrutable.

The second New Yorker podcast I listen to is Out Loud which is a weekly conversation with a writer about a feature in the magazine that week, the topics vary widely but are almost always interesting. I don't have time to read The New Yorker so I listen to this short (about 15 minutes) podcast and if the story they discuss intrigues me I'll go search it out online or in print to learn more about the subject. It always amazes me how in-depth the New Yorker writers get on their subjects. Really refreshing in this day of headlines and soundbites.

See you next week!