For my middle and high school years in Utah, I drove with my dad to school at an ungodly hour (5am). He was a teacher and our schools were on the other side of the valley. I remember dreading the drive, not because of any beef with my father, but because I was forced to listen to Sports radio. I was a baseball player, so I was not averse to the content, but I just couldn’t fathom why someone would listen to words when there was music to be played.
Now here I sit, 15-20 years later and find myself listening to the newest incarnation of spoken work content – the podcast – during my days. I still listen to music when I am racing, but other than that, it’s essentially all podcasts. Crazy how that works right?! I thought I would highlight a little of what I have on my Podcast app:
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (daily): This is nominally a sports show based out of Miami. It’s a 4-hour show that is broadcast on national airwaves and even simulcast on TV (ESPNU). While there is a fair amount of sports discussions, it isn’t analysis as much as it is exploring the other side of sports – stories, race and culture, just to name a few – with a tone towards the silliness of taking sports too serious. The co-host is a “spoof” of a serious sports DJ, they have a “poll that makes fun of sports polls” (with questions like Do you judge handkerchief users as disgusting snot people), and each week they have a segment where a Miami Zookeeper comes on and answers rapid fire questions about the animal kingdom.
If it sounds stupid, it really is. But I love it. They let everyone behind the scenes and revel in their awkward interviews, stupid games, and mistakes they make. There are a lot of inside jokes, but if you give it time, it will continue to make more and more sense. I laugh on a daily basis with this show.
The Tony Kornheiser Show (daily): People that know this name are probably familiar with the ESPN show, Pardon the Interruption – one of the biggest successes in sports media history. While Tony still does the TV show, he recently parted with ESPN Radio to launch his own podcast. This, like the above podcast, is nominally a sports show. It touches on sports, but there is a lot of randomness and old-timey music involved. He’s definitely a crotchety old man living within DC and his obsessions border on clinical (license plate numbers is his latest focus). This has lost some of the steam with me in the past year or so, but it’s still a solid and funny listen. His rotating cast of co-hosts keep things fresh and an easy 60-75 minute run time keeps things moving along.
How Did This Get Made? (weekly): I think I stumbled on this podcast randomly a few years back and fell in love. Each week, a new movie is selected for watching. These aren’t your good movies or even decent movies. They also aren’t just spoof movies that are bad. This is a selection of movies that are stupid and/or terrible and leave you wondering (unsurprisingly) “how did this get made”. While the main cast of 3 (Paul Scheer, June Dianne Raphael, and Jason Manzukis) are hilarious, they have also brought on a variety of co-hosts, conduct live shows, and interview cast and directors involved with these movies as well.
What I really like about it is that, though they rip the movies, it isn’t done in a mean-spirited way. They try to break things down (that have no business of being broken down) and genuinely try to figure out why this movie turned out the way it did. I have found some absolutely incredible flicks thanks to this podcast – and some that I am dumber for having watched.
Labeled (bi-monthly): Before college, my musical taste of choice was terrible late 90’s pop (think Britney Spears and NSYNC) and mainstream country. in 2005, my college roommate at the time and I were IM’ing (LOL) back and forth from our rooms and he sent me an “e-card” of a band called Anberlin. I reluctantly gave it a shot, and was blown away. I had never heard anything sound like that before in my life and was instantly hooked. Anberlin remains one of my favorite bands, and it ended up that I consumed much of what their record label – Tooth & Nail Records – put out.
Most of the bands that I listened to back in 2005 have parted ways or moved on, but the Tooth & Nail Records artists from that era still hold a special place in my heart and the style of music (emo/screamo/alternative/punk) still bring me back to those days. Labeled is a podcast that goes behind of the scenes and talks to people involved with the bands and executives at the label. This is probably a niche podcast, but if you happen to fall into this same music nostalgia, give it a shot.
Steal the Stars (weekly): Steal the Stars is a fictional audio drama that, in a non-spoiler nutshell, is around a secret military compound and alien lifeforms. It’s got a sci-fi feel to it, but it’s extremely accessible and I find it fun to immerse myself into an audio play. It’s also not a time suck, as each episode is only around 30 minutes or so. I’m not going to go into more detail, but I recommend giving yourself a few episodes to connect to the characters and story.
The Great Books (weekly): I wish I was more of a reader than I am. I am now over 1000 posts on Run Oregon, so my spare time is often spent tackling the day-to-day minutiae of managing a blog. However, when I do find time to read (looking at you Hawaiian vacations), I always lament that I don’t set aside more time to do so. This podcast helps bridge the gap a little, by breaking down some great novels into digestible snippets and speaking in “current language” to understand themes. This podcast only started up in early September, but has worked through titles like Macbeth, Pride & Prejudice, and Song of Myself.
Fictional (bi-monthly): Following this same line of thinking, Fictional is a new podcast that breaks down classic literature with a casual and modern tone. While I am pretty sure I was supposed to have read Dante’s Inferno at some point in college, I feel it would have made much more sense with this podcast to keep things understandable.
Anxiously awaiting new seasons:
Revisionist History: Malcolm Gladwell explores the past – always something overlooked or misunderstood, such as a person, idea or event – and reinterprets it’s meaning or revelation. Gladwell is a smart, smart man, and his stories are told extremely well.
Homecoming: Another fictional audio drama about soldiers, PTSD, and a hidden government conspiracy during their recovery.
Strange Indeed: I (like most Netflix subscribers) fell in love with Stranger Things last year. I don’t watch much TV to be honest, but this is one series that I was riveted with. When the new season starts up later this month, I can’t wait to digest each episode with the guys in this podcast.
Westworld by Shat on TV: Speaking of podcasts that dissect TV, my other show I became obsessed with was Westworld. It was my go-to show to watch on the treadmill during cruddy weather days. The new season isn’t slated until late-2018, but I extremely enjoyed breaking down the show with the podcast (put on by Dick Ebert and Roger Roeper) really does a good job breaking things down and covering all sides of debates.