My 9 Favorite Podcasts of 2019 (Twelve Days of Favorites, Day 4)
If you don’t currently listen to podcasts, you probably should try them. Think of them as talk radio shows, but from the days when two (or more) people actually talked to each other on various subjects rather than bleat, posture and bellow their way through cliche topics.
If you are on IOS, Apple has a decent podcast app available on every device, but I prefer Marco Arment’s Overcast. It manages your subscriptions better and I think the sound quality is noticeably improved.
Here are my list of my favorite podcasts of the year, not really but sort of in order of how I like them.
- Upgrade: My favorite — by far — tech podcast that focuses on the Apple Ecosystem. It is a primary source for me for staying up to date and informed about what’s going on with Apple. Hosted by Jason Snell of sixcolors.com and Myke Hurley, a co-founder of the relay.fm podcast network, it consistently covers the core issues and news surrounding Apple in an interesting way, so when it downloads every week I try to listen as soon as I can.
- The Incomparable: The Incomparable is the flagship podcast of Jason Snell’s Incomparable Podcast Network. Every week, this pop culture podcast covers some topic in culture, with an emphasis in Science Fiction and Fantasy books and movies, but the topics can vary widely from anime to beer to Star Wars. Oh, so much Star Wars… (in a good way)
- Total Party Kill: Total Party Kill is a podcast from the Incomparable where groups of friends get together and play Dungeons and Dragons for your amusement. You may think listening to other people playing D&D when you aren’t part of the game might be boring, but boy, would you be wrong.
- Nerd Therapy: Nerd Therapy is a European-based podcast that, like Total Party Kill, gets a group of players together to try to not kill off their characters in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. While similar to TPK, this group has its own unique personality, which involves a bit more crazy experiments in game play and adult language and innuendo, appropriately bleeped in wondefully hilarious ways.
- Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio: Chris Kimball is the founder of Milk Street in boston, a cooking school and kitchen that hosts the PBS show. This podcast is a weekly show where Kimball (and for some segments co-host Sara Moulton) interview guests, offer recipes and answer questions about cooking. Kimball is, in my mind, one of the best interviewers out there, not just among the cooking shows, but on any topic, and his interviews with (mostly) cookbook authors plugging their books are almost always interesting as Kimball seems to be able to find an interesting hook with each author. A nice, comfortable, weekly show for those interested in listening to good talk about cooking.
- A Beautiful Anarchy: I find it hard to recommend photography podcasts because it seems most of them are either simplistic discussions of simplistic topics for beginners, or endless rounds of interviews with other photographers (many of whom have their own podcasts), and I just don’t find most of the interviews that interesting. David duChemin’s podcast is different, diving more into the philosophy of being a photographer rather than the mechanics of taking images. If you’re tired of hearing people explain to you about how to focus your camera or what the rule of thirds means and how it’ll revolutionize your life, then you probably should give A Beautiful Anarchy a try.
- Revolutions: Revolutions is a weekly historical podcast that goes into depth into different revolutions in the past. As I write this, host Mike Duncan (also author of The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic) is digging into the Russian Revolution. The previous series covered the Mexican revolution in great detail. These are short (20-30) minute weekly episodes that go into a lot of detail and cover many aspects of these significant historical events that you never will have seen in your school textbooks.
- Fall of Civilization: This is a relatively new podcast, but I’m hooked. The Fall of Civilizations is an infrequent podcast (every 2-3 months on average) that takes a deep look into the reasons behind why major civilizations of the past failed and disappeared. In the last few episodes, the Sumerians, Songhai, Cambodia and the Vikings, and easy long (3-4 hours of recorded material) is a fascinating exploration into what we know and what we need to guess about why a dominant civilization of its time faded and fell.
- Liftoff: Liftoff is a bi-weekly podcast that covers the news and history of man’s exploration of space. Hosted by Jason Snell and Stephen Hackett, you get 45-60 minutes every two weeks, with most episodes covering news and updates about the various projects and experiments going on outside our atmosphere. This year they are also doing a series of special episodes celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program by covering each Apollo launch in depth on its anniversary. I will admit this was a podcast that when it launched I figured I’d listen to for a few episodes and move on. I’m still listening, and eagerly await every episode.
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