I spend around ten hours a week commuting to and from work. I used to listen to talk radio in the truck, but I think that led to elevated blood pressure and the overuse of football stats in everyday conversation. To better pass the time, I started listening to a few different podcasts. These give me enough free options to find something that suits my mood and helps me learn something new. Here are my recommendations:
- B.S. Report with Bill Simmons. In addition to being The Sports Guy on ESPN, Simmons is also editor-in-chief on Grantland, a website that covers sports, pop culture, music, and even pro-wrestling on occasion. These podcasts cover the same gamut of topics. Rating: PG-13.
- PTI. Pardon the Interruption is a 30-minute spors show that airs weekdays on ESPN. This is the audio from the show. I don’t have cable, so I listen to yesterday’s show during my morning commute. Rating: PG
- Freakonomics Radio. The guys who wrote the Freakonomics books also have a podcast. Like the book, it covers a little bit of everything in a bizarre way. The premise is: What do the numbers say about Issue X? What do we do about it? Rating: PG
- Friday Night Comedy. If SNL’s Weekend Update came from England and was half-an-hour long, it would be Friday Night Comedy. This podcast from BBC Radio has a panel of comics talking about current events (both European and global). Charming. Rating: PG.
- The Game Informer Show. Game Informer magazine, which (predictably) covers video games, has a weekly podcast with game reviews and industry news. I tend to share their tastes ratings-wise so this is a helpful resource to find lesser known games. Rating: PG/PG-13.
- The Indoor Kids. This is from Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Network of podcasts and shows. Basically, a comedian and a psychologist (who are married) talk about specific video games or game-related topics. Some of the more interesting ones involved asking what, exactly, a game is. Swearing and blue humor abounds. Rating: R.
- Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. Another podcast from a comedian, although not necessarily a funny podcast. KP and Samm Levine (of Freaks and Geeks fame) spend an hour or two talking with some kind of artist about their craft and life. This is my favorite podcast right now because you get a couple of hours of some of your favorite artists/celebrities in a laid-back and largely non-snarky format. Some of my favorites were Zach Levi, Chris Hardwick, Chris Pratt, and recently Damon Lindeloff. Heads up on swearing. Rating: R.
- Unbelievable? A British podcast that tackles relevant and controversial topics of faith in a safe and respectful way. You can be disagree without being mean! Yay! Rating: PG.
I also listen to these while working out, although listening to Nathan Fillion talk about Halloween costumes for fifteen minutes probably won’t help your run time. If you’re like me and you like to zone out during workouts, podcasts might be a good move.
Finally, a lot of these have existed for dozens or even hundreds of episodes. If you want a jumping on point, let me know and I’ll give you specific suggestions.