Being able to debate, riff and speak with no filter is a major key to any interesting discussion. I have always had a love for talk radio, but hate the fact that it is so highly censored and filled with advertisements. I guess I can slightly understand the reasons they provide for censorship, but in the past couple of years I have absolutely fallen in love with the podcast and don’t really need to worry about traditional radio anymore. Technology has made it extremely easy to stream/download podcasts. Most new vehicles come with a sync option so you can play digital audio through bluetooth on a smartphone. With these options and many more available I really feel like technology has rendered traditional radio useless. Also, most of these podcasts are free so I am quickly finding them to be one of my top sources of entertainment.
The “podcast” name has always been a little deceiving to me since mp3 players and audio broadcasts were available before Apple came out with the Ipod. However, most would argue that they revolutionized the way digital audio/video was presented to consumers, so I have no problem that culture has adopted that term for what is basically an internet broadcast. I’ve also been converted to an Apple user, so you can consider my opinion to be biased (I am fine with that). I used to hate Macs because I couldn’t afford them, and was also a PC nerd, so I understand all the arguments.
I’m not sure how much money there is to be made in the podcast world, but I think the motivation to monetize podcasts goes slightly against the culture that makes them so great. If a podcast has huge corporate sponsors and is a massive corporate production it would make me a little weary that the talent on the podcast is watching what they say and speaking with a filter. I would never not listen to the podcast just because it has sponsors, but again, if I felt like it affected the production in any way then I just wouldn’t listen. I have bought products from companies as way to offer my support to certain podcasts as wells as purchased apps and other things I probably didn’t need. Because they provided me with a great source of entertainment for next to nothing I felt happy to help provide support.
I think more businesses that essentially sell art should operate this way. I know it goes against the traditional way of making profit and selling a product, but it blows my mind how popular some of these free podcasts are, and the underground culture that is created has to be able to initiate consumers who are happy and willing to buy products from sponsors since they foster a relationship with these shows/personalities. Another contribution to this is the fact that many people listen to these shows during routines and it helps them get through whatever is going on in their lives. Also, with the internet there are countless ways to try to create profit or stabilize costs’ for production (at least in theory i guess).
Podcasts come in all shapes and forms. Audio, video, live, pre-recorded, studio audience, and recorded on a plane are just a few of the examples that show how versatile a podcast can be. There really are no rules for the most part and pretty much anybody with a computer can create one. Comedy, news, politics, education, lifestyles…If there is a topic of interest there is probably a podcast to go with it. I mostly just download my podcasts from Itunes since I have an Iphone and it is very simple, but there are many options for playback. One of my favorite apps is the stitcher radio app, which basically just collects podcasts on the web through RSS feeds and delivers them in a great playable format on their app. No downloads, no hassle. I’m sure there are many other options out there but I’ll let some expert sort them out on their blog.
I have to say my favorite podcasts are mostly done by comedians. The format just really seems to translate well for them, and the fact that they are able to speak their mind makes for some very compelling content. Marc Maron’s, “WTF” and Joe Rogan’s, “The Joe Rogan Experience” are two great broadcasts that really got me hooked and forced me to branch out to new shows. On Maron’s show he interviews comedians one on one in his garage and with his past as an on-edge comedian some of the discussions get pretty tense. Rogan’s podcast is unique in that he gets a guest to come on and they pretty much just have random conversation for a couple hours. It’s also broadcasted live on ustream.tv which provides another interesting element. I am going to list some of my favorite shows below. I also wanted to mention that I recently received a trial subscription for Sirius Radio and the experience has been very positive thus far. I plan on doing a post on that later.
WTF With Marc Maron
The Joe Rogan Experience
Ari Shafir’s Skeptic Tank
Jim & Eddie Talk Shit
The Champs Podcast
The Lavender Hour
The Adam Corolla Podcast
Mohr Stories with Jay Mohr
Last Week On Earth Wtih Ben Gleeb
Girl On Guy With Aisha Tyler
I enjoy most of the content NPR puts out, but don’t really have a go-to show. I especially enjoy RadioLab and Star Talk Radio since I’m a bit of a science/tech nerd. Engadget, Cnet, also have shows that I enjoy. I like to branch out quite a bit though. For political podcasts’ I don’t really have anything that I listen to on a schedule but I caught CitizenRadio a few times and liked it. If anyone is actually reading this and know of other great podcasts worth a listen add them in the comments.