A Podcast (the name combines the ubiquitous iPod media players and the word “broadcast”) is a digital media file. You can download them free off iTunes or any other of dozens of websites, then listen to them on your computer, burn them onto a CD or, like most people, upload them on your iPod or other portable media device and listen on the go. Some feature top talent, high quality and terrific content. Some are simply awful. They cover almost every topic imaginable.
I’m not sure how many Podcasts are out there. Thousands. Tens of thousands. I’ve listened to probably a hundred different programs, browsed through descriptions of several hundred more, and subscribed off and on to probably 40 or 50. I’m sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, of good ones I haven’t heard yet.
At any rate, here are my favorites, in no particular order (tell me your favorite by clicking on the “comment” link below):
A Prairie Home Companion/News From Lake Wobegon. “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie…” Garrison Keillor’s (pictured) radio variety show has been delighting audiences for three decades, and his monlogue about the goings-on in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, is always about 12-15 minutes of pure bliss. I’ve listened to some of my favorites dozens of times.
BreakPoint with Chuck Colson. The former Watergate conspirator and founder of Prison Fellowship weighs in with a fresh (but timeless) Christian perspective on politics, economics, the arts, education, ethics and society in general. A valuable commentary on subjects everyone else is talking about.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The original radio classic, featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, began broadcasting on NBC radio in 1939. This podcast airs the programs in their original form, including the cheesy sponsor-driven introductions. Great late-night listening.
Focus on the Family. Dr. James Dobson’s advice for families and fantastic guests highlights this program, which touches on marriage and families, social and policy issues and emotional and spiritual growth.
NPR: Fresh Air. “From WHYY in Philadelphia, it’s Fresh Air, with Terry Gross…” A daily hour-long interview show hosted by Terry Gross, who, despite her left-leaning politics, does a wonderful job talking to artists, writers, musicians, politicians and other news-makers. I don’t listen to every one, and not every topic will interest you, but many are simply marvelous.
NPR: Story of the Day. Picked by editors at National Public Radio. You’ll also like NPR’s Driveway Moments.
This American Life. A true original, created and hosted by Ira Glass and broadcast from WBEZ in Chicago, “This American Life” is like nothing else on radio. Short pieces touching on a single subject, usually touching on topics from everyday life.