Monday, May 16, 2016

What are Your Favorite Podcasts?

I do a fair bit of driving, and for the last couple of years have been relying on history podcasts to make the miles pass by. I have learned a lot about history and about storytelling. I also discovered that I am fairly picky--many popular history podcasts leave me cold. I like tight storytelling, concise conversations, and decent production values. I do not like listening to a couple of long-winded PhDs having a conversation over a poor telephone connection about who is more clever than the other. I particularly love the local, the off-beat, the unexpected.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites, and ask my readers
to share their own.
  1. The Memory Palace by Nate DiMeo is a series of tiny little jewels of storytelling. These short, quirky and intimate tales are  spellbinding. I love how DiMeo often takes the story in unexpected directions. DiMeo has a playlist of his favorites for new listeners, but I think you should start with Charlie, God of Rain.

  2. 99% Invisible by Roman Mars bills itself as a program "the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world." Which is just some fancy words for history. Mars delves into all kinds of subjects, from the era when automobiles took over the streets (The Modern Moloch) to William Howard Taft's answer to the Teddy Bear (The Billy Possum).

  3. Backstory with the American History Guys is  a more conventional approach but extremely well done. Each episode, hosts Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh explore a single topic across American history. Examples include American Spirit: A History of the Supernatural and Untrammeled: Americans and the Wilderness. The hour-long shows combine discussions from the hosts with interview with other historians, historic audio, field reports and questions from listeners. The website is rich with additional content.
  4. History Extra podcasts from the BBC feature European and world history. These are fairly staid, with most hour-long episodes consisting of two interviews with the authors of recent books. But the interviews are really well done, and God knows I could stand to learn some non-American history.
I have a few others that I listen to, but I am more interested in discovering some new podcasts. Dear Reader, what do you listen to?


Lisa said...

Yay for podcasts!

My favorites: "The Allusionist," and I would listen to anything with Helen Zaltzman. Also, "Criminal," with Phoebe Judge. I just started listening to Fugitive Waves. I haven't listened to enough of them to know if I love it yet.

Larry Cebula said...

Thanks, Lisa!