Discovering Podcasts

logopodcastI am not a fan of what’s on the radio.

I can only listed to so much NPR.

I’m on a long drive and even “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” the seminal 80s pump up jam by Twisted Sister is lulling me to sleep.

What am I to do?

Enter Podcasts.

Podcasts are something that I had heard of for years, but never had bothered to check out. After all, isn’t it just some jokers in their basement with a microphone? Anyone with any talent would be on the radio.

But that, past Matthew, could not be more incorrect.

My first exposure to a Podcast was Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. He is such an amazing broadcaster and raconteur that even Tim Ferris gushed when he interviewed him for his Podcast.

It’s okay to be star struck, Tim, I would be too.

So my journey into the exciting world of Podcast listening began earlier this year. I had been back from my round the world trip for 2.5 weeks and was visiting my friends and family back West. It was time to head back to Virginia, but due to budgetary constraints, I couldn’t make quite the epic road trip I had envisioned (save for a lovely few days with my cousin Alex and his family in St. Louis) and had to do a lot of driving without stopping other than for the occasional nap at rest stops.

So I downloaded the “Wrath of the Khans” quadrillogy of the Hardcore History podcast and was blown away by the sheer detail of story telling and the obvious preparation that was required to produce just one of these episodes. I was entertained for roughly 12 hours straight by this one guy’s story of the Khan conquerors (Khanquerors?).

I was hooked.

Then I found out that many of my favorite pro wrestling personalities have their own podcasts including the entertaining “Talk is Jericho” with the Fozzy lead-singing rockstar, and legendary professional ‘rassler, “The Ayatollah of Rock and Roll-A”, Chris Jericho.

Now I look forward to his new show every Wednesday and Friday.

All I have to do is load up my phone and hit play.

I didn’t think much of old Matthew and his mistaken view about the amateurish nature of podcasts until I heard Tim Ferris interview Dan Carlin. Carlin noted that he is a former television broadcaster and radio show host, but that he prefers Podcasts. There are no censors (not that he is risque’, by any means), no one telling him what he can and can’t say, and he can focus on talking about this very narrow topic that he enjoys for 3.5 hours and there are more people listening than on mainstream radio. He calls it “narrow casting” rather than “broadcasting.”

And its more proof that as people, we aren’t beholden to whatever Clear Channel wants to cram down our throats.

I don’t know if I can stand Kesha every 4 songs, or Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Rachel Maddow spewing hogwash and party propaganda.

To listen, you can go directly to the Podcasts website and listen/download, or use a service such as iTunes, Stitcher, or iPP Player (that’s what I use on my Android phone, but I have no idea what it is).

You’ll notice a pattern of history and pro-wrestling here…

The ones I listen to religiously are:

“Hardcore History” – Dan Carlin’s incredible, in-depth show about history. I cannot stress enough how fantastic this show is.

“Common Sense” – Dan Carlin’s quasi-conservative populist political show.

“Talk is Jericho” Chris Jericho (WWE Pro-Wrestling Legend, and Lead Singer of Fozzy, a fairly popular metal band) talks about pro-wrestling, music, movies, pop-culture, and interviews people from these various fields. From Jake “The Snake” Roberts, to UFO experts, to his dad. Good stuff.

 “History Replays Today: The Richmond History Podcast” – Jeff Majer does a bi-weekly show where he interviews someone about the history of Richmond or issues surrounding Richmond. As a Richmond Tour Guide, I have used this as a source for information.

Occasional/Alternating Weekly Listens

The above Podcasts I listen to every new episode, no matter what. The following are ones that I check out when the topic/interviewer interests me, or I run out of other Podcasts.

“Back Story” – The American History Guys take current events and talk about the the history behind them. For example, they did an entire show on the history of Political Factions in the United States and how we ended up with our (terrible) two-party system.

“The Art of Manliness Podcast” – Bret McKay and his wife are the founders of the men’s interest and self-improvement blog “Art of Manliness” and generally covers some pretty interesting topics, although the interviewees are sometimes not the most interesting people to listen to.

“The Ross Report” – Jim Ross, the legendary Pro-Wrestling announcer gives his opinions on the industry and the product, and interviews someone from the industry.

“My History Can Beat Up Your Politics” – Bruce Carlson does kind of the same thing as Back Story, but he seems a little more cynical, which I like.

“The Tim Ferriss Show” I am a big fan of his life and body hacking books (4-HB helped me lose 50 pounds) and he has some pretty interesting topics that he covers (such as the benefits of being a Jack-of-All Trades, or Generalist) and generally gives a new perspective on things that you think you know.

“The Steve Austin Show” is WWE Legend Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Podcast which is mostly him shooting the breeze about random topics like beer, food, and anecdotes from his life followed by an interview which is usually with a Pro-Wrestling related personality, but sometimes varies. Sometimes he just answers fan questions for an hour and a half, which is also good.