Thursday, August 19, 2010

Podcast Rollcall: Slate's Culture Gabfest


Genre: Cultural analysis and criticism

What It's About: Examining recent cultural events. In every edition, three writers from Slate.com gather for a roundtable discussion of three topics. Topics range from the ubiquitous and obvious -- a discussion of Eat Pray Love on the week the movie debuted, for example -- to the more obscure but fascinating -- like the IBM supercomputer that can beat humans at Jeopardy. Then there are the topics that are just plain fun, like the Old Spice guy.

Why You Should Care: Slate.com is one of my favorite websites. A news and left-leaning opinion magazine, they have a knack for finding interesting angles on current event stories. That carries over to their podcasts. The Gabfest is hosted by smart, informed writers whose wit and insight will motivate you to scrutinize your own thoughts and opinions on a topic. Sometimes a bit too snobby, the participants are self-conscious enough to realize it, and self-critical enough to balance it out.

Frequency: Weekly

Average Length: 40 minutes



As always, if you become a regular listener to a podcast that solicits donations, try to find a way to make the occasional contribution.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Podcast Rollcall: On the Media


Genre: News & Information

What It's About: On the Media covers current events in the news, but addresses them from a unique perspective - that being how and why the media covers events the way that it does. When Republican Scott Brown won a senate seat in Democratic Massachusetts, this show didn't cover how it happened but instead investigated how the media didn't know it was going to happen. While other news outlets pursue intriguing statistical data, this show looks into why news outlets are so obsessed with numbers. This isn't news; it's news about the news.

Why You Should Care: Because it's rare for the media to turn such a critical eye on itself. And in these days of rampant accusations about media biases and questions about where to draw the line between fact and opinion, it's more important than ever for the public to understand how the media operates.

Frequency: Weekly

Average Length: 1 hour



As always, if you become a regular listener to a podcast that solicits donations, try to find a way to make the occasional contribution.