My favorite podcasts of 2012, Part 2

Earlier this month I wrote about four of my favorite podcasts. I promised to follow it up with more of my favorite podcasts. It has taken me this long to live up to that promise. I think there will be at least two more posts about my favorite podcasts.

The New Disruptors. This is a new podcast by our friend Glenn Fleishman. Glenn has been a guest on Gweek a bunch of times, and he has interesting things to say about anything you throw at him. I love talking to Glenn. In his new podcast, Glenn talks to people who are at the forefront of new business models in media, manufacturing, and marketing. So far he has spoken to filmmakers, video game developers, robot entrepreneurs, coffee sellers, magazine publishers and editors, podcast producers, and designers. Glenn's breadth of knowledge and insight adds a great deal to the quality and value of The New Disruptors. I wouldn't dare miss an episode.

99% Invisible. On a recent episode ofthe podcast and radio show about design, host Roman Mars asked listeners to guess the length of those white stripes that are painted on freeways to mark lanes. I guessed 3 feet. (The average guess is 2 feet.) The actual length is 15 feet. I'm still catching up with past episodes of, and I have enjoyed every one of them. Mars explores the often "invisible" but powerful effects that design and architecture have on individuals and society. The latest episode examines the myth of the Red the Car in Los Angeles. Most people, including myself, believed that the auto industry dismantled the Red Car public transportation system in Los Angeles as a way to force people to buy cars, but the truth of the matter is quite different: "the Red Car wasn't the victim of a conspiracy. The Red Car WAS the conspiracy.

The Memory Palace. In each brief episode Nate DiMeo tells the story of a surprising historical event. His show reminds me of the late Paul Harvey's The Rest Of the Story, a daily radio program I loved growing up. Even though Paul Harvey's staccato, overly-excited delivery is completely different than DiMeo's quietly urgent style, both narrators command your attention. And in both cases, it pays to listen.

Too Much Information. Much like Paul Krassner's The Realist newsletter, Benjamen Walker's radio show (on WFMU) and podcast runs segments that might be true and might be satire. Sometimes it takes a while to determine what's real (is the state of Georgia contemplating a scheme to charge freeway drivers a toll that corresponds with the amount of lane congestion?) and what isn't (did Walker try to develop an American Idol-style TV show that pits disgraced plagiarist journalists against each other?), but that's part of the fun.

Stay tuned for My Favorite Podcasts of 2012, Part 3! Also, feel free to write about your favorite podcasts in the comments section.


  1. “(is the state of Georgia contemplating a scheme to charge freeway drivers a toll that corresponds with the amount of lane congestion?”

    Yes. But not contemplating. It already exists.

    On I-85 headed north out of town. The funny thing is there is still a toll for that lane even at 3 AM when there’s no congestion at all. You can pay 3 cents for the zen experience.

  2. RadioLab is not about radio or labs. It is about science and everyday life. NPR’s Robert Krulwich cohosts with Jad Abumrad, who does sound work to enhance the stories.

  3. Roderick on the Line is my essential podcast for 2012. The Bugle is the only news podcast you need to listen to (althought The World Next Week does a good straight take on world news). Hang Up and Listen is the thinking man’s sports podcast. And while I’m not convinced of Lexicon Valley’s long term viability, the first season was really strong.

  4. I admit I haven’t listened to a lot of podcasts,  But that’s because of a question I  have always asked myself:  “do you have time to listen to this whole thing?”  Usually the answer is no, because I don’t want to listen to them at work (moves my focus from what I’m doing) or much of the evening (moves focus from wife/family).   So, I’d like to hear – when do people have time to listen to these?
    Reading is different – I can speed up my reading if I’m in a hurry, or just skim quickly.  Podcasts and their video equivalent are done in “real time” as far as I know (if there are tools to speed up spoke podcasts, I’d be interested)

    1. I have the same issue regarding distracting sounds (radio/ podcasts, etc) while I am working. I still listen to a fair number of podcasts though. I use public transport and walk quite a lot (not necessarily leisure walk, but to run errands and do my shopping), both are great opportunities to catch up on podcasts. Also, while cleaning the house. Additionally, I work out at the gym three times a week for one hour. I am lucky that my gym has those cardio machines that you can plug your iphone or ipod and play directly from it. If I didn’t upload any series or movie (the machines have big touch screens that play video), I catch up on a podcast or two.

  5. This American Life, RadioLab, 99% Invisible, The Moth, Judge John Hodgman, All Songs Considered, CBC Radio’s Ideas. 

  6. I think My Brother, My Brother, and me is hilarious. Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is great. Snap Judgment is life-changing. Decode DC is a scrappy new show about politics that I’ve enjoyed so far. Backstory is great for American history.

    …and there’s the one that I produce called “Everything Sounds.” We explore the role of sound in art, science, culture, history, and everyday life.

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