Scott’s Guide to Podcasts 101
Sun May 24, 2015 · 1405 words

Every now and again there are people who have asked me about podcasts, where to start and how to listen. This is probably because I talk about listening to podcasts a lot, in fact it is my main form of entertainment and education. So I thought I’d write up a bit of an article to cover how a beginner should start and a collection of some of my favourite podcasts that I listen to.

To begin with you’ll need to have a Podcast client, for iOS users I strongly suggest Overcast.

Overcast

The place to start when you’re talking about podcasts is how you’re going to listen to them, and my suggestion is to use Overcast. This is a great app from Marco Arment (who will be mentioned again later), and is by far my favourite podcast client, and I have tried quite a few.

One of the best features in Overcast is Smart Speed which, speeds through all the parts of a podcast where there is no talking, and at this point has saved me over 49 hours!


Now onto my top 13 suggested podcasts:

99% Invisible

If you’re a fan of design, I believe 99% Invisible is a must listen. 99% Invisible explores the world of design, from the Chrysler Building to sound design to even covering other podcasts, you never know what you’re going to get until Roman Mars starts talking.

99% Invisible is actually the podcast that got me into podcasts, with it’s short and sweet episodes I strongly suggest starting your trip into the world of podcasts with 99% Invisible.

Accidental Tech Podcast

Just a heads up, Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP) is a podcast from three developers (Marco Arment, Casey Liss and John Sircusa) so sometimes the conversation can get very technical, however from my experience, even if you don’t understand what they’re talking about you can still enjoy the banter between the three hosts.

ATP is one of my favourite ways to get up to date about the goings on in technology, especially when it comes to Apple. With the perspective that they bring as developers being both interesting and informative.

The Adventure Zone

This is actually one of two podcasts on this list which boil down to people playing Dungeons & Dragons. The Adventure Zone is created by the McElroy brothers (experiences podcasters with a multitude of podcasts under their belts, and their dad which brings a great collection of laughs and awkward moments to the show.

While some people may think that listening to a group of people playing Dungeons & Dragons sounds incredibly boring, I definitely suggest giving it a try at least. Playing Dungeons & Dragons is simply a method for adding drama to the conversations which often leads to hilarity as the situations get more and more ridiculous.

Analog(ue)

Analog(ue) (the spalling depends on what variant of English you speak) is a very interesting podcast exploring the relationship between people and technology. This podcast focuses on how certain aspects of technology makes you feel rather than what it does.

This often leads to interesting conversations about online datingprocrastination and feedback and even parenthood. No matter what episode you jump into you’ll be able to find an interesting conversation which may make you laugh, cry, or simply find yourself in deep thought.

Bonanza

Bonanza is a very hard podcast to describe, basically it’s the unfiltered converastion between Myke Hurley and Matt Alexander. This often means looking at the start of the conversation and wondering how they got to the end. Bonanza is purely an entertainment podcast for me as the banter between the hosts will always have me laughing.

Hello Internet

If you’re looking for a podcast which covers a lot of different subjects from managing email to Comic Sans to watching Star Wars with Darth VaderHello Internet is your type of podcast.

Whenever a new episode of Hello Internet starts downloading I’ll often switch straight to it as the conversations that Brady Haran and C. G. P. Grey have are always very interesting.

The Incomparable

Ever looking for opinions on popular culture? Then The Incomparable should be your first stop, hosted by Jason Snell, The Incomparable features a rotating array of panelists talking over many topics including comic books, movies, and TV Shows.

They have also spent over 15 hours talking about the first 6 Star Wars movies, and over 4 hours already talking about Episode VII based on the trailers and the casting list. So you know that the panelists are both passionate and very well informed.

The Incomparable Game Show

If you enjoy The Incomparable but feel like there is a lack of points being handed out and a lack of competitiveness then The Incomparable Game Show is your best bet to scratch that itch.

There are a variety of Game Shows which appear in the Game Show feed, including:

All of these shows are great and are very entertaining if you have any interest in the nerdy things in life.

Robot or Not

Robot or Not is a new addition to the list of podcasts that I listen to, with only one real episode out in the world. This podcast debates whether something is a Robot or Not, often leading to interesting questions and answers.

The first episode covers off the Styx song Mr. Roboto. Although it’s early I have faith that it’ll be a very entertaining podcast.

The Slack Variety Pack

The Slack Variety Pack is another podcast which has only started recently, the first episode has started off strong with a great variety of entertaining moments such as, working out what emoji sound like, and extremely interesting moments such as explaining how a quantum computer works. Again based on the first episode I think this will be a podcast that stays in my regular queue for a long time.

Song Exploder

Song Exploder is very interesting podcast, which breaks down a song a episode with the help of the artist/composer of the song. The variety of music is also fantastic with music ranging from pop to hiphop to TV title music.

This podcast is for people who like to hear how things are put together, and episodes often including interesting bits of information from the artist themselves on why they made a certain decision.

Episodes I suggest checking out are: Bob’s Burgers (Theme Song)“The Commander Thinks Aloud” — The Long Winters and “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” — The Postal Service.

Total Party Kill

This is the second of the two Dungeons & Dragons podcasts on this list. Again the reason this podcast is so good is the interplay between the people more than the playing of Dungeons & Dragons. Total Party Kill is now in it’s 3rd season, and while it’d be good to start from the start to get all of the context and jokes you can easily jump in at a season break.

So far the members of Total Party Kill have faced much worse situations than The Adventure Zone, which often brings moments of complete hilarty as they try and get out of the situations using some very interesting solutions. If you’re looking to start, the starting episodes of each season are: Season 1Season 2, and Season 3.

Upgrade

Upgrade is a fantastic technology show which also covers a lot of different topics, especially around getting work done. These topics can range from creativity to traveling. Upgrade often takes a higher level look at technology in general and how that technology integrates into people lives.

Another recent development when it comes to Upgrade is the additions of the periodic segment of “Myke Watches a Movie”, where the hosts Myke Hurley and Jason Snell discuss what Myke thinks about a movie that Jason has reccomended he watch.


So that brings us to the end, if you’d like any other opinions on podcasts to listen to feel free to get in touch.


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