Perhaps you’re off work this week. Perhaps you have a long drive home ahead of you. Perhaps you need something fun to listen to while you’re driving, or hanging out at a relative’s home, or bored while milling about your house with no more functions to attend.
Some of the WFPL News team members have suggestions for good podcasts and such for your listening pleasure.
Gabe Bullard: I have a long drive and some potential commuting ahead this holiday season. For the drive, I need a big list of things to listen to that won’t require a lot of fiddling around with a device while I’m driving. For shorter trips, I need something I can dip in and out of without missing anything.
One thing I’ll be listening to is the backlog of Welcome to Night Vale episodes. Have you ever wished A Prairie Home Companion had a bit more conspiracy theories and that the cast of characters included a glowing cloud that rains animals upon the town? Then check this out. The episodes are short, so it’s perfect if you want to binge on something other than cookies and egg nog this week.
For more entertainment, I suggest Judge John Hodgman. Have you ever tried to recount a funny story or joke only to have it not make any sense to your audience? Attempting to explain anything about this show is pretty much just as futile. I’ve turned on a lot of listeners to this one simply by playing an episode or two. Give it a listen, but if you’re totally new to it, I’d advise against listening to the holiday special first. Start with a standard case episode to get oriented to the inside jokes and overall sentiment.
And if the season has you feeling grouchy, and if you feel out of place for being so grouchy, comfort yourself with Let’s Make Mistakes. The show’s co-host, Mike Montiero, can be a bit gruff, but the indignation is righteous, original and addictive. But be aware, there are a few bad words sometimes.
(Note on podcasts: For the newcomers, here’s how to subscribe to podcasts. It’s quite easy. On your computer: Open iTunes and go to the podcast section of the store. On your phone: If you have an iPhone, go to the app store and get a podcast app. Apple’s official app is fine, but Instacast and Castro are both more powerful alternatives. You can plug in custom RSS feeds or search for shows and subscribe. If you’re on Android, we suggest this roundup of available apps. You’ll be addicted in no time.)
Devin Katayama: Every year the Chicago-based arts project Third Coast Audio International Audio Festival puts out a “best of” broadcast. The stories include the best pieces of radio journalism. It’s amazing the pictures and scenes that can be painted with sound. Listen to some of the best stories of 2013.
As a bonus, take a listen to one of my favorite shows, Love and Radio. “Jack and Ellen” earned Best Documentary: Honorable Mention award in the 2013 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. Think of Snap Judgment meets This American Life, then add points for production and creativity.
Joseph Lord: I like reading about history, but finding time for a 600-page examination into the life of Oliver Cromwell is impossible this busy time of year. For the past few months, the Revolutions podcast has been a companion while I cooked or cleaned up at home. As the name implies, this podcast explores the events of various political revolutions in world history. It’s hosted by Mike Duncan, who made his name with the equally recommendable History of Rome podcast, which covers, uh, the history of ancient Rome. Like, all of it.
Either of these podcasts may strike you as dry, but Duncan is expert at keeping the flow of the podcast moving while being sure to get to every significant development and interesting aside. Duncan also peppers the narrative with witty commentary about the cast of characters. You’ll be entertained and loaded up with conversation-starters for 2014.
(Image via Shutterstock)