Sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours a day is something that I just can’t do anymore. My eyes hurt, my back hurts, and I feel like I’m wasting tremendous amounts of time jumping through multiple browser windows, each with numerous tabs, just to read large blocks text that may or may not be interesting.
The solution? Podcasts. Short audio programs that I can enjoy while doing chores, taking a walk, or just relaxing on the couch, have become my primary source of not just entertainment, but information as well. This number might shock some of you, but I listen to 33 podcasts.
Where do I find the time? Well, I don’t watch TV, I like to cook, and I don’t have a dishwasher, so I have to cleanup after myself the old fashioned way. That and podcast software typically allows you to listen to audio at faster speeds. Most of my podcast listening is done at 150% the regular playback rate. So say something would normally take 60 minutes to consume, I can do it in 45 minutes.
With that out of the way, let’s jump to the list, which I’m going to split by genre.
- BBC Global News: I confess, I’m a current events junkie. This 30 minute podcast gets updated every 12 hours with reports of whatever may be happening in the Middle East, China, Europe, and damn near everywhere else. It’s a crying shame that most people only care about news from whatever field they happen to be in, because there’s so much you can learn and appreciate from other cultures if you just let yourself be open to new ideas.
- BBC Hard Talk: You haven’t listened to someone getting interviewed until you’ve listened to a Hard Talk interview. This 23 minute podcast gets updated three times a week. You’ll hear some of the most important people in power get grilled by reporters who are backed by one of the best research teams on the face of the planet.
- BBC More or Less: The media loves numbers, but are they interpreting them correctly? This 10 minute podcast that gets updated every week takes a piece of reporting and examines whether or not the journalist who wrote said piece came to the right conclusions using the data that they’ve collected.
- On the Media: Journalists care about journalism, it’s a fact. This 50 minute weekly podcast examines how stories are covered, how storytelling can be improved, and it discusses what’s happening to the news industry in general. It’s a bit “insider baseball”, but people who call themselves news fans can learn a lot from this show.
- The Media Twits: This is kind of like On The Media, except it’s not as professionally produced, and it’s a bit more “geeky”. I don’t mind though, since it’s just half an hour long and airs once a week.
- EconTalk: What caused the global recession? How are we going to get out of it? What’s wrong with healthcare? Can something an economist said several decades ago teach us something about how the world works today? This hour long weekly podcast has significantly strengthened my knowledge of the fundamentals of economics. As one of my old math teachers used to say, if you want to understand why things are the way they are, just follow the money.
- Planet Money: This 20 minute podcast gets updated twice a week. It’s one of the handful of podcasts I listen to at normal speed. The hosts do a fantastic job either explaining current economic events or telling a story to help you better understand how the economy works. Highly recommended.
- Nature: For those of you unfamiliar with Nature, it’s pretty much the most prestigious science journal currently being published. This 20 to 30 minute podcast airs once a week, and it discusses the newest papers that have been submitted, along with breaking down the science news that you might have heard about while browsing the internet at work.
- Science Talk: Scientific American updates this podcast on a very erratic schedule. You might go three weeks without a new episode, you might get three news episodes in the span of just one week. The content however is solid. It’s essentially a one on one discussion with a scientist who has done something worthy enough to get media attention.
- Science Weekly: Alok Jha is amazing. He hosts this 50 minute show once a week. The format goes something like this: 10 to 20 minutes of science news, 20 minutes of interviewing someone, 10 minutes of answering listener questions. If I had to listen to just once science podcast, it would be this one.
- Science Friday: If you’re scared of science, if you think it might be too difficult for you to enjoy, this is your podcast. It’s 90 minutes long, it airs once a week, and it’s been running since 1991, so you know they’re doing something right! I can’t stress this enough, this podcast is accessible to anyone, regardless of their background.
- The Naked Scientists: This is easily the most information dense podcast I currently subscribe to. It’s 59 minutes long, airs once a week, and I honestly can’t multitask while enjoying it. The format is very much like Science Weekly, but with a level of discourse that’s off the charts.
- The Science Show: Did you know that ABC also stands for the Australian Broadcast Network? When I first started listening to The Naked Scientists, I liked it so much that I emailed one of the hosts and asked him what other podcasts I should listen to. He pointed me to this one. Admittedly it’s not as “fun” as The Naked Scientists, but that same level of discourse is in this 53 minute weekly show. It should also be noted that this program has been running since 1975!
- All About Symbian: Now I know what you’re thinking, why the hell am I listening to a Symbian podcast? Short answer is it’s not a Symbian podcast as much as it’s a Nokia podcast that calls itself a Symbian podcast. To tell you the truth, I listen to this show because I genuinely like hearing the hosts ramble on and on. Since Symbian is pretty much dead, this program only airs every other week; it’s 45 minutes long on average.
- All About Windows Phone: This is the same podcast as All About Symbian, by that I mean it has the same hosts, except in this one they (obviously) talk about Windows Phone. It gets updated once a week, it’s normally 30 minutes long, and it keeps me abreast of what’s going on with what’s potentially going to be an important mobile operating system.
- Tech Talk UK: Some people have way too much free time and money, so they buy gadgets, play with them for a few days, and then sell them when they get “bored”. This 30 minute podcast, which airs every other week, is essentially the thoughts and opinions of two guys who love mobile technology more than life itself it seems.
- Engadget Mobile: I can not say enough good things about the hosts of this show. This weekly podcast, which regularly hits two hours in length, is one of my favorites. It’s got a bit of an American slant, but there’s something to be said about the importance and validity of the opinions of people who have literally reviewed almost every mobile phone to ever be announced.
- Pocketnow Weekly: For reasons I don’t quite understand, Pocketnow isn’t well recognized. Their work is outstanding, especially their videos, and they often break news before the big boys, so why don’t they get a lot of love? Again, I don’t know. This weekly podcast, normally around 90 minutes in length, is also one of my favorite mobile podcasts.
- Hypercritical: They say that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. John Siracusa is a guy who can make the smartest person in any room feel like a complete dumbass. Sadly, John has announced that he’ll be ending this podcast after it reaches episode 100. That means there are just a handful of shows left.
- MacBreak Weekly: I often ask myself why I still listen to this podcast. I’m not an Apple fanboi, but I do appreciate what Apple does with personal computers. The main reason I listen to this show is to hear what’s new in a space that’s frankly over covered. Instead of keeping Apple sites in my RSS reader, I just listen to this two hour show once a week. Oh and I listen to it at 200% speed, so it’s more like one hour.
- iFive for the iPhone: I’m not one of those people who spends their free time looking for stuff to put on their smartphone, which is why this 10 minute weekly video podcast is perfect. As the name suggests, the host runs through five things she feels iPhone fans should know about. Most of the time she talks about apps, but sometimes tips and tricks get coverage.
- Mobile Tech Roundup: These two guys are great. One works for ZD|Net, the other works for GigaOM, and they’ve been doing this show as a hobby for over half a decade. They like mobile technology, but they’re not the type of geeks who foam at the mouth over the latest gear. Their cool and casual talking style is something that I find incredibly soothing. This 50 minute weekly podcast is another one of my favorite shows.
- The AnandTech Podcast: This podcast is just 10 episodes in, but it’s quickly become a must listen. The guys who write for AnandTech are, in my opinion, the authority on pretty much anything that runs on electricity. This is an engineer’s podcast, an übergeek’s podcast, a gadget connoisseur’s podcast. It airs weekly, and it’s normally an hour and a half, though more recently it’s been coming in at two hours.
- The Ars Technicast: Wired, a technology magazine that many of us grew up with, purchased Ars.Techinca back in 2008. Why? Because Ars.Technica is one of the best websites on the internet. The guys who run the Ars Technicast are still trying to figure out what their weekly 45 minute podcast is all about, but don’t let that put you off. They’re doing a damn good job. They talk about not just technology, but culture as well. Count me as a fan.
- The Critical Path: Horace Dediu is an incredibly smart individual. His weekly hour long podcast is a must listen. He doesn’t talk about technology as much as you’d think, he’s more interested in business models and “disruption theory”. Half of his shows are your typical current events type, but the other half are interviews he does with people in various industries.
- The Phones Show: Steve Litchfield is hands down one of the coolest people on the internet. He’s a bit of a Nokia fanboi, but he’s very open minded about other companies and platforms. This is his weekly 10 minute video podcast where he spends the first three minutes or so discussing the news, and then the rest of the show is dedicated to either reviewing a new smartphone or telling you how to do awesome things with the smartphone you already have in your pocket.
- The Phones Show Chat: This is the audio companion to the video podcast above. It’s an hour long and it follows the same format, though it obviously goes into more depth.
- The Verge Mobile Show: There’s a reason The Verge has become the world’s most popular technology site in the span of just one year. They’re good, really good. This is their weekly hour to hour and a half long podcast that specifically focuses on smartphones. Luckily, Vlad Savov is often on the program, so there’s some European perspective in this show. Most other tech shows tend to not care about what’s going on outside the United States.
- The Vergecast: This it The Verge’s main podcast, the one where their Editor in Chief and several other Senior Editors discuss the weeks news. It too is about an hour and a half long and airs once a week.
- This Week in Tech: Probably the oldest podcast still on the internet, TWiT is often what I listen to over lunch on Monday. My two favorite guests are John C. Dvorak and Jolie O’Dell, but they’re not always on the show.
- Windows Weekly: Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley are the only two Microsoft experts worth listening to. Sorry to everyone else, but you know just as well as I do that these two people have been covering Microsoft longer than some bloggers have even been alive. This is their 90 minute weekly show.
- This American Life: Sometimes you just want to listen to someone tell you a story. This one hour weekly podcast gives you just that. Topics range from evil landlords to the pain of middle school.
- Savage Lovecast: People call Dan every week with questions about their love lives and their sex lives. Dan answers them. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get mad, and you’ll definitely be entertained for 47 minutes every week.
I hope you guys enjoy this list, and please, feel free to tell me what podcasts I should be listening to by leaving a comment below!