Why You Should Listen to Podcasts: A Strange Pitch

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Pal?

Pal: yes?

I have been trying to pitch something to you for a long time now. I think the last time I did, I said that I wouldn’t try anymore more. Well, I am going to give it one more go. A last ditch effort to get you to listen to podcasts. You ready?

Hmmnnnnn

(Deep breath) … You really gotta listen to podcasts man. You just gotta. Aww come on. Listen to ’em. Please. Just one time. I know that you are just going to love them. They are so great. I don’t understand why you refuse to listen to the things that I love. Well forget you man! It’s not like I have some personal vested interest in your enjoyment in podcasts. It is not like it is maybe some potential well of conversation topics that would be interesting for the both of us.

(Panting) Are you going to listen now?

nope

Okay. That’s cool man. It’s no skin off my nose.

isn’t it?

I did go a little overboard there. I know you have tried Podcasts, but it hasn’t grabbed ya. Maybe you should just stop reading the rest of this post then. Nothing to see here. Just go away and forget I ever mentioned it. The words below are directed at our many fan. Don’t read this pal. It is not for you. Go on! Git!

I’ll wait. . .
Da da da do do. . .

Fine. I’ll see you later. Good luck fan.
Clip clop clip clop trip bump smash “ooof” creeeek SLAM!

All right fan, you there?

Fan: yes

Here we go.

I am so excited. I am a real person and I love learning from you

podcast iconI got into podcasts in the early stages. There weren’t a tonne back then and most of them sucked. Since then, I have listened to them grow. Splashier production values, more interesting content, bigger names, and larger audiences. Now everybody’s uncle’s uncle has a podcast. Some of the more popular podcasters are forming their own podcast networks and getting T.V. versions of their podcasts made (WTF with Marc Maron, The Nerdist, and Comedy Bang Bang).

That is very interesting and in no way super boring. I truly feel that you sure are a visionary to get into them so early. How do you have such amazing foresight?

I don’t know fan, but it has been fun to listen to the progression of podcasting as this new form of media increasing in relevancy. It feels like the early days of radio or TV. People trying to figure it all out. Podcasting is definitely hitting its stride as a legitimate medium now and I think that is filling a niche that other mediums can’t. I have some reasons…

I can’t wait to read them you eloquent bastard. I am all eyeballs.

Part of the new comedy renaissance
The current batch of comedy giants like Amy Peohler, Zack Galifinakis and Sarah Silverman are all over podcasting. Those three are too busy to do there own podcast, but many of their comedy friends aren’t and they are usually just as hilarious.  Because they are long time pals, big names like Zack and Sara (whoa, a Ben Folds song), and Amy, are often on as guests. The shows I listen to are mostly comedian friends goofing around with each other. I often feel like I am eavesdropping on them in a restaurant or at a dinner party.

Long form is good form
The format of most podcasting is long form. They noodle all over the place and they end up being more personal and conversational than most talk shows or radio shows which are all about one liners, quick stories and getting their plugs in. As a result, there is more time to develop relationships with the people on podcasts.

Niche content
Podcasts tend to reflect a niche interest. Whatever your interest is, there is a good chance there is a podcast about it. For me it is either alternative comedy, skepticism, indie music, or cosmology. All of these are accessible to me through various podcasts. I can listen to absurdist humour, critical thinking, live concerts, and discussions on quasars all at the tip of my fingers and whenever the heck I want to.

I’m sold. These are clear and well crafted points. Not at all sleep inducing. I don’t know who wouldn’t be drawn into your reasoning.

What would a Pals post be without a list, eh? Here are a few of my favourite podcasts.

cbbComedy Bang Bang
This is comedy people goofing around with each other. Steeped in improvisation and absurdist banter, they riff on each other’s ridiculous premises which takes them to very strange, sometimes dark, but ultimately funny places. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I am surprised at how often it does. I guess these guys are professionals or something. The show’s host Scott Aukerman (co-creator of Between Two Ferns) and a guest host usually interview another guest playing some ridiculous character for the entire episode. Then they just improvise with this character and develop a story as they go. Absurdism at its best.

sguThe Skeptics Guide to the Universe
The podcast helped me formulate my thinking around what truth is (lower case truth) and how to navigate (or at least acknowledge) my own biases to determine how I might be distorting facts. It is skepticism 101 rolled up in neat conversations by very smart people. They introduced me to critical thinking, logical fallacies, crazy pseudo-science, and what good science means. And they aren’t stiffs. They are “nerd funny” and not one to shy away from a good fart joke. Each episode is packed with so much info it is often hard to process it all. When I started into skepticism I didn’t understand a lot of what they were discussing. I treated it like an I was immersed in a foreign country eventually I just started picking up the language. I am by no means fluent. I’ll need I hang around in Skeptic Town a lot longer for sure.

live concertsLive Music from All Songs Considered
This is a podcast of complete uninterrupted live shows. So awesome! Not all the bands I like but it is great to get live shows from ones that I do. They do tour concerts and festivals like SXSW and the Newport Folk Festival. They also do a thing called the Tiny Desk Concert where the band performs at the NPR offices, playing 4 or 5 songs behind the show host’s desk. unlike other more disposable podcasts, I download these episodes and keep them as if they were concert albums. So good.

radiolabRadiolab
Simply put, it is the best. Slickly edited In a way I have never heard before. They really use the medium of audio to paint beautiful pictures inside the canals of your ear holes. The premise of the show is to pick a theme (time, space, free will) and explore the science of it through various stories. They breath so much life into science that is hard not to get swept away by it. It is a celebration of exploring the unknown. The hosts are very loveable and play well off of each other. For me, Radiolab stands alone as a giant among the podcasting people.

pbProfessor Blastoff
This is the podcast that makes me laugh the most. Tig Notaro, Kyle Dunnigan, and David Huntsburger are the hosts and stand-up comics. They usually interview an expert on a given topic and just goof around. The fun they have on their show is infectious. From “Swamp Rock” to “Name That Punky”, Tiny Calves, Beach Poop and The Wig are total giggle-fest. I don’t know if you are aware of the year that Tig has had. Mom death, life threatening illness, break-up, and breast cancer. This tracked all through the show. So sad, but they remained so funny. Truly inspiring. She is fine right now tho’. I recommend listening from the start.

WOW! That is so great. I am definitely going to check those out. We have similar interests. So I really value your opinion when it comes to content. I am so excited to broaden my horizons. Your words matter to me. I truly mean this. I am not some fabricated person created to heap artificial praise on you to prove some weird one sided self indulgent point. That said, you are like the sun and I am just a gas filled planet that orbits you. I am so glad to have you in my life.

I have done all I can do then. This is the last time I will bring it up to anyone. There are so many podcasts. I am sure that you can find one that is interesting to you. Give it a try. Or don’t. What the F&$@ do I care.

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2 responses to “Why You Should Listen to Podcasts: A Strange Pitch

  1. Wow! Podcasts sound so cool. No one has ever told me how great they are. I am definitely going to check one or two of these out. Thank you so much for your informative and inspiring post.

  2. yay podcasts! I’m a “blastornaught” as well.

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