As we wind down 2017, I thought I’d discuss my favorite podcasts. I did this a year ago, but the list has changed a bit, in part because two podcasts I recommended last year have gone on hiatus or closed down, and because I’ve found my preferences have shifted a bit more to listening to podcasts for relaxation and entertainment.
How I chose this list: the podcasts that make this list are, when I thought about it, the ones that when a new episode appears I make sure I listen to it right away. Some podcasts I subscribe to because I enjoy listening to them when I want to fill time; these are the ones that make me look forward to hearing them.
- Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio (2016): This continues to be a favorite of mine, in large part because Kimball is a fascinating interviewer and each week he talks to someone about a food related book but those discussions go much deeper than ingredients and techniques. Milk Street has become something very different than his time at America’s Test Kitchen and I’m enjoying it immensely (and to be honest, I think ATK misses him although what they’re doing now is still quite good)
- Free Agents: Jason Snell and David Sparks sit down every two weeks and talk about the reality of working for yourself. This podcast is in part an inspiration that got me started on my current Youtube project.
- The Incomparable (2016): Jason Snell’s weekly discussion of media with a geeky/sf-fannish slant. Always a fun listen and its introduced me to a good number of titles I never would have considered diving into without them.
- Incomparable Game Show (2016): Just a lot of fun weirdness. A great way to unplug, relax and giggle.
- Nerd Therapy: A D&D Podcast by a group of fans who loved Total Party Kill and went off and started their own. It’s great fun, and so far, they’ve succeeded in killing a dragon but not taking themselves out, which given how they play the game, is a bit of a surprise. Bonus points to the DM who doesn’t get flustered even when the party (or some of it) chooses to bring down a burning house on top of themselves because, well, why not?
- The Talk Show with John Gruber: Every week or two, Gruber sits down for an extended conversation with someone about the (mostly) tech topics of the day. He’s a great conversationalist and interviewer, but beyond that, he has an ability to look past the obvious talking points and get to the more nuanced aspects of the issues he chats about.
- Total Party Kill: a group of friends play dungeons and dragons for your amusement. And try not to die in the process, with mixed results. Again, it’s a great thing to have when you want to just kick back and have a good time.
- Vector: Rene Ritchie of iMore is an insane person who seems to survive on coffee, and to prove it he’s started a daily podcast on tech issues. These podcasts run from 15 minute monologues on topics to hour and longer interview/discussions or panels, plus the occasional movie review panel. It’s become my favorite for knowing what’s going on with the Mac and IOS and the tech ecosystems I live in.
- Writing Excuses: Even though I’ve put off my novel (again), I’m really enjoying listening to this team talk about the nuts and bolts of writing fiction. Features Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowall, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells and others in a weekly 15-20 minute chat about the mechanics underneath writing successful fiction.
Special Note: Incomparable Radio Theater was quiet most of 2017 so I’m not including it here, but they did a couple of special episodes and two new episodes in late December that were amazingly good, so I’m hopeful we can get even more of it in 2018. It’s hard to list it because of its lack of frequency, but I did want to call it out because when they can get an episode out, it’s absolutely marvelous. (update: I’ve been told that this podcast is going bi-weekly in 2018, which makes me really, really happy)