Hooked on Podcasts

I take the dogs on hour-long walks three times a day. We generally take the same route and it gets a bit boring. I used to listen to music or the local NPR station on my 1st generation MP3 player–and no, it is not an iPod because I wanted a radio in it. It was a bit small (4 gig) and I couldn’t store all of my 250 ripped and burned CDs. The 2nd generation MP3 player came out and I got the 120 gig model. When I set it up and installed the sync app on my laptop, low and behold, it now had a menu entry for podcasts. It has an online market equivalent of iTunes which provides access in one place to several hundred podcasts. I immediately installed podcasts from NPR for shows that are not broadcast on KRWG. I had been listening to some of these shows on a home XM radio. I later included shows such as Car Talk and Wait, Wait which I occasionally miss on the radio.

Two years later, I now subscribe to 45 podcasts and have dropped the subscription to XM radio. Many come from NPR, APM, and PRI–all suppliers of content to NPR. I also listen to podcasts from Stuff You Should Know, the New York Times, the New Yorker magazine, BBC, Slate, and the Economist. My tastes run to News, Politics, Science, and Economics. I listen to podcasts about 3 hours a day. In addition to listening via the ear buds, I also drop the player into its dock which is hooked up the AV receiver.

All my subscribed podcasts are free, but I occasionally contribute to the publishers of some of them. I am especially fond of three: Best of the Left, On the Media, and the Slate Political Gabfest.

Best of the Left is a compilation of content from other progressive podcasts, the Daily Show, the Colbert Show, MSNBC and segments from various NPR shows. It is very well done and sound is really good. I lower the volume several notches when listing to this one.

On the Media is a weekly show on NPR  produced at WNYC and critiques the press. Hosts Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone are supported by a number of contributing reporters.

The Slate Political Gabfest is a free and wheeling discussion on U.S politics between David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and John Dickerson. It comes via the Slate Daily Podcast.

I recommend that you take a look at their respective websites and give them a try.

When I first started subscribing I used my app’s marketplace to get them. But it doesn’t provide access to all of them and is really slow,  so I started going to various aggregator sites (e.g., Podcast Alley) to find them. Usually these sites provide a link to iTunes, Google, my player’s app, and open source apps. iTunes is just awful so I try to avoid it and manually subscribe within my player’s app if there isn’t any direct link. Thankfully, more sites now provide a url to the podcast which I copy and paste into my app’s UI. I use a little netbook to store podcast content. The hard drive in the MP3 player is twice as large as the hard drive in the netbook, so I can’t store all my music and podcasts together. The music stays on hard-drive of yet another laptop (I have three) and I manually copy newly acquired music to the player. BTW, my main source for new music is Amazon.

I used to read lots of books on the no. 14 bus while commuting to work in Chicago. That’s kinda hard to do standing up–sure wish I had my podcasts then.


About ViAnn

Progressive retired geek who loves to play golf
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