Taken from a post I made earlier in 2016 that I keep having to search for. I made it into a Facebook Note, but that just made it harder to find, especially in the FB app. So now it’s a web page.
A list of podcasts as suggested by assorted friends and Friends™. Re-sorted to note my comments on the ones I’ve experienced so far. As people post the occasional request for podcast recommendations, I add their comment threads to a comment here and add their recommendations (slowly) to the list.
I’m rating these on a simple scale:
😀 quite good – always worth a listen
😑 so-so – can be good or bad, not really grabbing me
🤯 painful – usually because of unpleasant voices – avoid in anything but small doses
🧐 narcissistic – ego-driven, no real content – avoid
😴 boring – put me to sleep – avoid.
🤖 fiction – not really what I’m looking for in a podcast
- 😀 The History of Rome
- Excellent! Really ignited my interest in the Roman Empire. Totally worth it.
- 😀 The History of Byzantium
- A worthy follow-up by a different author. Not as good, at least to start with, and I was a bit Romed-out so I haven’t gone back to it, but I will.
- 🤖 Welcome To Night Vale
- Creepily entertaining. I can only take it in small doses, due to it being rather samey.
- 😑 The Knowne World Bardcast
- Some slightly so-so singing, but for getting an insight into what the central-SCA bards are singing, it’s good stuff.
- 😀 No Such Thing As A Fish
- By the QI Elves, but don’t worry – Stephen Fry doesn’t show up, so your iPod won’t die of smug.
- 🤯 Dan Carlin’s Hard Core History
- Really intense and in-depth, but I had to give up after two four-hour episodes because I can’t stand the guy’s voice.
- 😀 Verity!
- Six smart women talking about Doctor Who, the tagline says. So much squeeeeee!!! They’re enthusiastic, energetic and, yes, smart. Liz from Scotland can be a bit painful in the early episodes (talking over the others and belittling them thoughtlessly), but she gets better.
- 😀 The Allusionist
- Pleasant snippets on the subject of language, by an eclectic linguophile.
- 😀 Revisionist History
- Malcolm Gladwell can froth at the mouth a bit, and his politics are sometimes suspect, but he generally has good, unusual ideas and a strong talent for story-telling.
- 🤖 Thrilling Adventure Hour
- A spoof of old-timey radio serials, done as high camp comedy. Seems to be steeped in running gags that are lost on me, but the first fifty-odd episodes aren’t online to let me figure them out. Oh well.
- 😑 Freakonomics
- Has the slightly chatty “one anecdote represents the whole world” attitude that a lot of US news magazines are addicted to, but seems to be slickly made and content-rich. Basically just the application of science to reality, told as chatty stories with a lot of editing.
- 😑 Stuff You Should Know
- Eclectic! The website is a bit buggy, but the podcast runs eventually. Rather chatty and unfocused, it seems, based on one listen. And oh dear, this guy just said that water is more dense as ice than as a liquid, which is just plain wrong (ice floats!), and I can’t keep listening after that…
- 😴 Thinking Sideways
- Strange unsolved mysteries, most of which can probably be explained with secret Illuminati Confirmed knowledge like “the sea is very deep” or “police detectives aren’t very good at their jobs”. Chatty and unscripted, and ten minutes in to an unexplained murder they’re still bullshitting aimlessly about what “his windows were nailed shut” means; the episode looks to be an hour and a half of that. Might give that a miss, I think.
- 😑 Generation Why
- Lots of murders? Yet more chatting, but with more detail to it than others.
- 😑 Sawbones
- A husband and wife talk medicine. She’s a GP and he’s… I don’t know, married to a doctor? Anyhow, they seem to be pretty clued-up and good at explaining stuff in midst of conversation.
- Good Job Brain
- Has stopped now. As is apparently required for all dead podcasts, the final blog post basically says “we’re not dead, we’re just going to come out with episodes a bit less regularly”. That was May 2017, and there’s nothing since. Ah well! Seems to be yet another chatty panel full of trivia, so kind of No Such Thing As A Fish with American accents.
- 😀 The Infinite Monkey Cage
- Contains Brian Cox, so it’s good; is a panel show with a little too much pop culture humour, so you know it’s annoying; on balance it’s OK. Science and jokes, basically.
- In Our Time
- Very dry, very BBC Radio 4. History lessons with very little personality.
- 😑 Econtalk
- Seems to be mostly interviews with authors about recent books of relevance to economists? Not really a thrill a minute.
- 🧐 Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Reviews and interviews of geek-adjacent subjects. It’s from Wired, so you know what level of risk-taking to expect (i.e. none at all). The ringleader of the episode I listened to (David Barr Kirtley) is unbearably annoying and should not be working in podcasts. I hope he shuts up and lets his guests speak soon, or I’m giving up… naah, too shouty, too unscripted. I’m getting really sick of panels of shouting narcissists (always American) who think their ignorance is entertaining.
- 😀 Revolutions
- This is by the guy who did The History Of Rome, so it will be good and deep and not shouty.
- 🤖 Trader Tales
- Actually a collection of fiction and non-fiction audiobooks on a variety of topics and genres, many free, others quite inexpensive. Has an irritatingly quirky and feature-poor search and sort functionality. No idea of the general quality of the books, but it has something of the feel of the Gutenberg Project, i.e. potentially a dumping ground for random crap.
- 😑 LibriVox
- Free public domain audio books. Literally the Gutenberg Project for audiobooks, except there’s very little there.
- 😀 Conversations with Richard Fidler
- Maybe I’m getting old and cardiganned, but I love Richard’s interviews. So much stuff on here!
- 😑 Nerdzilla
- Joyfully nerdy. The review of Deadpool 2 with special guest Bill Halliwell was just gorgeous. However, also falls into the trap of being too much about the podcasters and not enough about their topics.
- 😀 Wilosophy
- Wil Anderson interviews a bunch of people. A bit rambly, but he shows signs of knowing his subjects so it works OK.
- 😀 The History Chicks
- Chatty tales about the women of history. The American accents could get annoying, but the presenters have personality.
- 😑 Lore
- Let’s see if I can mimic the format of the introductory blurbs to each episode: Folklore is terribly interesting and relevant to our lives, and it’s essential to our well-being to have someone mine it all in tedious detail and present it as a podcast. But there will always be folklore that we don’t understand, because blah blah blah zzzzzz…
- 🧐 Hello Internet
- So full of in-jokes and self references now that it’s utterly unlistenable. Who are these men? What are they talking about? Will they ever shut up?
- Skeptics Guide to the Universe
- The Moth
- The Hypothetical Hour
- This American Life
- Red Panda
- Hack on JJJ
- The History of English
- Radio NZ’s “At the Movies”
- Radio NZ’s “This Way Up”
- 99% Invisible
- Galactic Suburbia
- Chat 10 Looks 3
- Midnight in Karachi
- Fangirl Happy Hour
- Critical Role: nerdy voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons.
- The Guilty Feminist
- BBC Friday Night Comedy esp News Quiz and Dead Ringers.
- The Allusionist – short episodes about language by the charming and funny Helen Zaltzman.
- The Bugle – political satire and loads of hilarious bullshit by Helen’s brother Andy and excellent special guests.
- BBC Radio 5 live Kermode & Mayo’s film review.
- West Wing Weekly
- Risky Business (InfoSec)
- Bombshell is good for foreign policy and national security stuff from a US perspective.
- Is It On is good for Australian politics.
- Ladies We Need To Talk. About Secret Women Stuff.
- The Pineapple Project. It’s all about getting women financially fit.
- Here’s The Thing (Alex Baldwin)
- Sam Harris Waking Up
- Reply All
- The Dollop
- Beef and Dairy Network
- The Tobolowsky Files
- Susan Calman’s Mrs Brightside
- Earshot (ABC) is also great.
- Half hour of documentaries. Lots are multicultural and often have cultural offerings such as the music of the culture discussed.
- Terrible, Thanks for Asking.
Marc Fennell (That Movie Guy)’s Film Podcast
Science with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Tea & Jeopardy