As a podcast host, I think it’s important to constantly pay attention to the exciting things that other talented people are doing in this space. I listen to dozens of podcasts, so many that it’s impossible to get to an episode of every single podcast I subscribe to on a weekly basis. Usually I save up a bunch of episodes, then take them all in with one fell swoop (i.e. when I’m waiting for a plane, or taking a very long drive).
There are a few podcast out there, however, that I must have a weekly dose of, lest I become moody and unpleasant. These are the conversations I feel I must be privy to, whose hosts I want to get to know more each week. These are the podcasts that I can’t wait to download, load onto my iPhone, and listen to on my way to/from work. These are the podcasts with whom I am most grateful to regularly share my time with.
I wouldn’t necessarily say these are my “favorite” or “the best” on my playlist. For example, you won’t find This American Life, Filmspotting, The Bugle, Weekend Confirmed, Giant Bombcast, or tons of others that I listen to, even though I love these podcasts and find them all superlative. Those will have to wait for a separate post.
But there’s something about the following podcasts…The comforting way their hosts interact. The creativity and gusto with which they execute their premises. The kismet that brought them to the place they are today. Anyway, without further ado, here are the podcasts I can’t live without:
The IFC News Podcast – Matt Singer and Alison Willmore analyze a movie trope and then discuss how it’s been deployed in movies throughout history. In my opinion, this podcast is a movie geek’s dream come true, with tons of thoughtful references to movies past and present. But while the show’s premise is great, I live for the moments when Matt will break into some bizarre, hilarious impression, or Alison will drop some obscure film knowledge that leaves me in awe of her wisdom. Add in some of the best listener feedback I’ve ever heard, plus a clever IMDB keyword game (with weekly prizes!), and this podcast becomes an absolute must-listen. Also, I’m pretty sure I have a crush on Alison Willmore. [iTunes] [Website]
KCRW’s The Business – Kim Masters takes the most important entertainment news and talks to the people involved to get an inside perspective. I don’t think this podcast gets enough credit for creativity with which it addresses its topics. For example, a recent episode was devoted to what behavior is acceptable in the writer’s room, vs. what constitutes sexual harassment. To tackle this issue, Masters invited on a lawyer who has filed lawsuits against studios, and had him duke things out with a lawyer who has defended studios in the past. It was as informative a discussion as you could get on the topic, while still being entertaining.
Other recent episodes have included an inside look at how the Oscars were produced, and how the script for Battlefield Earth went wrong. For those interested in the industry (and for those like myself who cover it), The Business also features a short “Hollywood news banter” at the top of the show, which is a really good way to stay on top of the latest developments. At a scant 30 minutes long, you have to search hard to find a good reason NOT to listen to The Business. [iTunes] [Website]
On The Media – This is less a podcast about the stuff the media covers, and more a podcast about how the media covers it. For a news junkie like me, it’s a goldmine of interesting factoids and fascinating reflections on the nature and the state of journalism in the U.S. and around the world. Recent episodes have included coverage of the history of the term “baby-killer” and how Google plans on creating a universal translator. Fascinating stuff. [iTunes] [Website]
Battleship Pretension – Each week, the Battleship Pretension podcast chooses a theme and tries to explore it to its logical conclusion, often with a fascinating and/or humorous guest. Tyler Smith and David Bax, two film school graduates, aren’t necessarily the most dynamic podcast personalities out there, but what this podcasts lacks in bombast, it makes up for in intelligent discussion. Both hosts are incredibly articulate and careful in their locution, in a way that people who listen to my inane ramblings will probably find refreshing. But more than any of that, sometimes it’s just fun to hear people who are good friends banter back and forth about random topics in a way that is not obnoxious. Also, I find both of their voices incredibly soothing. I think you will too. [iTunes] [Website]