Podcasts are consuming my life!

Zero items = I don't know what to listen to!

Zero items = I don’t know what to listen to!

I almost NEVER listen to music anymore.  My 64 gig iphone has about 28 gigs of music on it, and my collection is substantially larger than that.  However, for the last 5 or 6 years, my addiction to podcasts has grown so much, that I can rarely keep up with all my weekly (and some daily) shows, let alone find time to listen to anything else besides them.

The thing I find strangest about my lack of listening to music anymore is that music has played an integral part of my life, and helped shape who I am today.  From 3rd grade through sophomore year in college, I was always in at least one choir (and usually more).  I played violin 4th through 8th grade.  When my brother started introducing me to bands like Phish and The Grateful Dead, I started going to concerts as much as possible (between my junior year in high school and senior year in college, I saw my favorite regional band alone over 40 times), and trading live bootlegs as a hobby.  When I started getting into bluegrass music, I even bought a mandolin and took two years of lessons between 2011 and 2013.  Yet with all this passion for music, when it comes down to it, these days I’d rather be listening to my favorite talk-radio style podcast than my favorite band.

This crazy addiction started in 2006, when I purchased my first ipod (a refurbished 64-gig Ipod color, which I immediately installed rockbox on since Apple was way behind the times in the field of gapless playback for live concerts and albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon).  Being an avid reader of many of IGN’s pages, I started noticing them advertising “podcasts,” not really knowing what they were.  Sometime in the summer of 2007, I started listening to Game Scoop, a weekly wrap-up on the world of video games, hosted by IGN editors Daemon Hatfield, Greg Miller, and a rotating cast of others.  I’d been reading articles from these guys for years, and hearing them talk about games was even more fun than reading their articles, because most of them were really funny guys.  This opened the floodgate to listen to podcasts the other departments of IGN were putting out, such as the movies podcast, Keepin it Reel, the tv podcast Channel Surfing, and the Nintendo team’s Nintendo Voice Chat podcast.

Possibly one of the greatest things ever to come from Game Scoop would be it’s spin-off podcast, Knockin Boots/Super Knockin Boots.  Originally a segment of Game Scoop, listeners would write in asking for love/dating advice, and they would give it out.  This would take up 10-15 minutes of an hour podcast.  Eventually, the popularity of the segment grew so large that it spun off into it’s own separate podcast on IGN for a while.  These IGN editors would come in on weekends with a ton of booze, and just get progressively hammered as they answered people’s dating questions.  The more they drank, the funnier they got (and they were pretty funny to begin with).  The Knockin Boots podcast disappeared for a while, not releasing any new content.  About a year ago, it re-immerged as Super Knockin Boots. No longer affiliated with IGN, these podcasts actually cost money, which was new.  However, clocking in at 2 hours or more every time, and at this point becoming popular live events hosted at bars, they are so hysterical that I gladly will shell out $0.99 for a new episode every couple of months.

Sometime in 2009, after hearing numerous people talk about the radio show as well as the Showtime series, I started subscribing to the podcast edition of NPR’s This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass. Covering a single topic each week, varying from things such as overnight camp, trying to replicate the top secret recipe for coca cola, numerous political topics, talking to people who purchase foreclosed storage lockers, and having the entire staff take tests to see who is most likely to be a psychopath, the show is almost always entertaining.

Probably my favorite genre of podcast would be story-telling podcasts.  The two I listen to are The Moth and RISK!, which are similar, yet very different.  The Moth is an organization that promotes live story-telling, both by professionals, and also amatuers through competitions called StorySlams.  The stories told can be funny, sentimental, and always fascinating.  RISK! is hosted by Kevin Allison, best known for his work with the skit comedy group The State.  The concept of RISK! has Kevin hosting live shows like The Moth, where he and his comedian friends tell true, embarrassing stories they never thought they’re share with anyone, let alone in a public venue.  This show can be more racy, with stories ranging from sex to suicide, but also the funny things that happened in people’s past.  I’ve been listening since episode 1 went online in October 2009, and each episode always takes you on a roller coaster ride from laughing, to tearing up, to making you truly think.

A friend of mine suggested a podcast from CNET called The 404.  With the tagline “High tech, low brow,” I was immediately on board.  This is a daily show hosted by CNET New York editors Jeff Bakalar and Justin Yu, where they talk about geeky technology stories in a funny way.  Justin loves getting under Jeff’s skin (which isn’t tough to do), and their dynamic with each other, as well as a rotating cast of regular guests never fails to crack me up.

In May of 2010, I was reading online about a comedian named Marc Maron, who did a two-part podcast where he straight on confronts fellow comedian Carlos Mencia for stealing material and bullying other comedians.  I had known that Joe Rogan had attacked Mencia in the past for doing the same thing, but this was a sit-down interview where Maron let Mencia tell his side of the story.  It’s been 4 years since I listened to that, and I don’t remember specifics, but Mencia had a tough time defending himself.  Ever since then, I’ve religiously listened to WTF with Marc Maron, which comes out twice a week, with most episodes these days going between 1:15 to 1:30.

There are also a couple of music-related podcasts I listen to, though unfortunately neither come out on much of a regular schedule.  First is Radio Trivia: Podcast edition, put out by the Nintendo World Report website.  This podcast focuses on music from Nintendo games from any era.  They make it into a type of game where they play 2 songs from a game, give you a hint question (which is generally useless in helping you figure out what game it is), then play a 3rd song before revealing the game and discussing it.  I never really appreciated video game music before starting to listen to this podcast, but some of it, even going back to the original NES era, is actually stunningly good.

The second music podcast I listen to is called The Watkins Family Hour.  Brother/sister duo Sean and Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek fame) have been hosting a monthly live show with the same name at a venue called Largo in Los Angeles, CA for over 10 years whenever they’re not touring with any of their various projects.  The podcast is generally a recording of one of their live shows, where they play with a regular house bands, as well as other musicians who happen to be in town (previous guests include Fiona Apple, the band Dawes, Jon Paul Jones, Kate Micucci, John C. Reilly and many more). Though the podcast has been around since December of 2011, they have only put out 11 total episodes in the past 2.5 years.

There’s a few more podcasts I listen to, but I’ve been rambling long enough, and I think you get the picture.  I listen to A LOT of podcasts!  Being a talk radio format, I generally like to focus on the conversation taking place.  This makes it difficult to listen while I’m at work unfortunately.  As such, the only times I can really listen are when I’m driving, exercising, waking up or getting ready for bed.  I often fall behind (especially with the amount tv I watch), but somehow manage to catch up eventually.  As of writing this, I’m 3 weeks behind on This American Life, and a new weekly episode will be released shortly.  Not being able to keep up with podcasts, my music listening has definitely dwindled over the years.  It makes me sad, but at the same time, podcasts have opened up my world to talk radio, and all the joy it can bring.

3 Responses to “Podcasts are consuming my life!”
  1. Scott says:
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