The Podcast Report

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Today is supposedly International Podcast Day. Well, let’s celebrate this phony-baloney holiday by taking a look at some of the podcasts that I’ve been listening to lately. I feel like this list will change as time goes by so I wanted to document it here for future reference. These are in no particular order so here goes.

The Fifth Column – This is probably the most recent show that I have started listening to. In it Kmele Foster, Michael Moynihan and Matt Welch review the week’s news from a mostly libertarian perspective. I’ve tried a few libertarian podcasts in the past and most, like the Tom Woods Show, were just simply lame. The Fifth Column manages to be extremely informative, entertaining, and, dare I say, hip.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast – The strength of each episode depends on the guest and their willingness to talk dirt on old-time Hollywood actors or to play along with Gilbert’s over-the-top niche impressions. The show can sometimes descend into the hosts just saying “I remember that movie” and not much else but overall it’s entertaining week after week.

The Red Eye Podcast – There have been three incarnations of this podcast. All three have been loosely based around the cast of Fox News’ Red Eye chatting about the goings-on around the show. The first version was Greg Gutfeld, Bill Shulz and Andy Levy and it was usually specific to that night’s show and the topics they were going to cover. Then after a hiatus, it reemerged with Bill Shulz, Tommy O’Connor and Lauren Sivan. I loved that version (I think at this point they called the show, Not Live). Not Live was much more focused on pop culture and celebrity happenings and it was awesome. That show vanished, then all of the sudden, it returned this year with Andy Levy, Tom Shillue, Ben Kissel and Tim Dimond (the current Red Eye writing team). They avoid politics  and it’s much more like a short, funny, free form conversation about random topics. This might be my favorite podcast these days.

No Agenda – I started listening to this after I heard John C. Dvorak was banned from TWIT (a podcast I gave up on years ago when it became evident that it would only be about phones and apps). The show consists of Dvorak and Adam Curry (of Headbangers’ Ball fame… oh, and he invented podcasting) “deconstructing” the news. They play clips from various news outlets and then talk about how the stories are either slanted, planted or just plain stupid. There can be some great insight here, but I feel the two are just a little too cynical for my tastes. In the words of Sigmund Freud, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” In their universe, every story is a front for some external power when, in reality, the sloppy reportage is more a result of the fact that everyone is horrible at their job (and lazy). I tune out when they start drifting into Alex Jones territory, but still, they have a 70-80% success rate… if that’s even a thing.

The Bryan Callen Show – Hosted by comedian Bryan Callen along with Hunter Maats, this is almost more of a self-help podcast. There is lots of talk of the neuroscience, behavior, personal improvement and a dash of politics. Maats does most of the brainy commentary (and punctuates every proclamation with an annoying, “Right?”) while Callen provides humor and an everyman’s perspective.

EconTalk – Russ Robert’s long-running economics podcast is a treasure trove of insight and knowledge. Every once and a while the conversation is over my head but I have learned quite a bit about markets, statistics, and intellectual bias from the always skeptical Roberts and his guests.

The Open Apple Podcast – A monthly podcast about the Apple ][ computer that’s both heavy on nostalgia and current projects that push the limits of that ancient computing platform.

Lastly, here are a couple podcasts that I will still occasionally listen to but are gradually fading out of rotation for whatever reasons: Penn’s Sunday School, still don’t mind it but I guess some of the recent weight-loss talk has not been entertaining for me. Race Wars, Kurt and Sherrod are great, but it can be a bit much when there are half a dozen people in the room all talking at once. Getting On With James Urbaniak, entertaining short stories read by the voice of Dr. Venture… the episodes have stopped so this one may be over.