What Podcasts I'm Listening To Right Now


My commute is pretty long (about an hour and fifteen minutes each way), so I have the opportunity to listen to a lot of podcasts or audiobooks on the trip. I talk about them with folks pretty often, and some have asked me for a list of what I’m listening to, so here it is.

Before the list, briefly how I consume podcasts: I have an Android phone and I use an app called BeyondPod. I have a smart playlist that pulls episodes from the various feeds I have in a specific order. I’ll go through that order in the list. I also by default listen to all shows at 1.3x normal playback speed. For some shows I configure a custom playback speed (1x for music shows, or 2x for some of the longer, more talking-head-style shows). I’ve found that this helps me consume more content and stay more interested, your mileage may vary :)

OK, the list!

The List

  1. NPR: Hourly News Summary
    • I have BeyondPod set up to grab one of these a day. It’s 5 minutes long and a great start to the day.
  2. WAMU Local news (latest all)
    • With Podcasts it’s really easy to get disconnected from local news. I’m lucky WAMU syndicates their local news in this way.
  3. The Economist: All Audio (latest 2 episodes)
    • This can be hit an miss but it’s a good alternate perspective on news and events. I probably skip about half the content they publish but there are some real winners in here sometimes.
  4. NPR Politics
    • This is a talking-heads shows of all the NPR Politics correspondents talking about politics. These days it’s all election stuff, and honestly I eat it up. It runs a little left but they’re pretty fair in their GOP commentary. In my personal world bubble this is pretty even-keel stuff.
  5. APM: Performance Today - Piano Puzzler
    • This one is fun, every week this composer, Bruce Adolphe, rewrites a well-known tune in the style of a classical composer. Listeners call in and try to guess the tune and the composer whose style it’s written in. Fun way to learn more about classical music!
  6. The Protagonist
    • Pranav Vora, the founder of Hugh & Crye has been interviewing DC-area (and beyond) founders about how they started their company and their challenges. Each episode has been really well done. They’re few and far between but high quality, definitely check out their back catalog if you’re interested. It doesn’t hurt there’s an [Optoro][opotoro] interview too ;)
  7. Intelligence Squared U.S.
    • Oxford-style debates on American shores. A really great way to explore issues in depth and hear both sides well presented. Also interesting to see how well their rhetoric and debate tactics can sway an audience.
  8. Question of the Day
    • Stephen Dubner (of Freakonomics, etc) and James Altucher (investor, writer) have great chemistry and talk about stuff mostly they find on Quora. Short (under 20 minutes usually) and fun, with great banter.
  9. Freakonomics Radio
    • Speaking of Stephen Dubner, here’s his flagship media outlet. Freakonomics Radio expands on the books and looks at the world through an Economist’s perspective. Topics are broad and the research is very deep. Very highly recommended!
  10. Song Exploder
    • Hrishikesh Hirway interviews artists on how they created some of their songs. They cut down to the stems and talk about the music process in depth, including what instruments were chosen, how production went in the studio, and inspiration for lyrics and melodies, etc.
  11. Planet Money
    • NPR’s original Economics podcast keeps on going. They continue to create novel content around the world of business, finance, and economics. Great stuff, and on the short side (<20 min usually)
  12. TED Radio Hour
    • This show stitches together TED talks on a single topic each time. Good insights.
  13. Ruby Rogues
    • The biggest podcast in the Ruby community. Definitely talking-head style (I listen on 2x playback speed or faster), but good. Keeps me abreast of what’s happening in the Ruby world.
  14. Everything else:
    • Stuff down here I don’t always get to listen to but when I do I very much enjoy it!
    1. 99% Invisible
    2. The Longest Shortest Time
      • A show for parents about parenting. Helps me understand how to be a better Dad :)
    3. Harmonia Early Music
      • Nice (usually short) survey of new releases in early music (not actually an oxymoron!).
    4. Ask Me Another
      • Fun podcast to listen to on the weekends, it’s a quiz show with Jonathan Coulton.
    5. The Dinner Party Download
      • Another fun show to get me in the mood for the weekend, it’s NPR’s arts and leisure section.
    6. This American Life
      • A classic. Always deeply touching. If you haven’t ever listened you’re missing out.
    7. Snap Judgment
      • In the lines of This American Life but a little more off the beaten path.
    8. Radiolab
      • Another in the line of This American Life, but with very interesting audio design and quirkier hosts.

What podcasts do you listen to? Let me know in the comments!

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