Remember, I wrote this back in 2011.
Here’s what I listen to. Note that I am not averse to fast-forwarding over parts that don’t interest me, such as when they discuss a movie that I simply don’t care about.
- Pop culture: I don’t really follow pop culture, but these podcasts are just plain fun to listen to.
- Pop Culture Happy Hour. Imagine a group of four really close friends, all intelligent, witty, and who love to tease each other. That’s what this is. Favorite part: The Regrettable Television Pop Quiz, an occasional segment in which participants are challenged to identify excerpts from television programs you are embarrassed to admit that you watch.
- Extra Hot Great. Similarly enjoyable round-table discussion of This Week in Pop Culture. Most of the attention goes to The Canon, a segment in which episodes of television are nominated for inclusion in the pantheon of great television. But my favorite part is Game Time. (Alas, by the time this article reached the head of the queue, Extra Hot Great is no longer in production.)
- Slate’s Culture Gabfest. The most highbrow of the three, and the most likely to suffer the fast-forward button. Sorry, guys.
- Sports: I am more of a meta-sports person rather than a sports person. I’m interested in things like rule changes and the business of sports, not so much the “Who’s going to win this year?”
- Hang Up and Listen. I find Mike Pesca’s voice a bit too brash for NPR news reporting, but when opining about sports, it’s the perfect pitch. Stefan Fatsis‘s sporteaucrat impression is always welcomed. It’s hosted by Josh Levin, who opens each week’s show with “This is Josh Levin, and this is Slate’s Hang Up and Listen.” That opening bothers me because of the shifting antecedent of the word this. (“This voice is Josh Levin, and this show is Slate’s Hang Up and Listen.”) I would prefer that he open with “I’m Josh Levin, and this is Slate’s Hang Up and Listen.”
- Only a Game. The week in sports. I usually fast-forward over the “Who’s going to win this year?”, but I never miss Charlie Pierce.
- Economics: The dismal science.
- Slate’s Political Gabfest. The first podcast I ever subscribed to. I tend to fast-forward this one a lot of late, though.
- Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, the NPR News Quiz. I was one of the very first listener-contestants on this show, back when it was really awful. (They actually called me to ask me if I wanted to be on.) Fortunately, the show is no longer awful.