Obsessions: Podcasts

Since buying a new iPod Touch last fall, my satellite radio subscription has recieved little use. After getting the iPod, I immediately found myself obsessed with podcasts, which usurped all my drive time listening. One of the best I’ve found, though they produce new podcasts only intermittently, is Freakonomics, with the authors of the best-selling book of the same name, economist Steven Levitt and writer Stephen Dubner.

Their shtick is to challenge the conventional wisdom that colors our understanding of all manner of topics. This week, they presented a brief on the NFL‘s labor negotiations, not the most interesting topic, but Freakonomics has a way of making the mundane interesting. The podcast features interviews with Green Bay Packer running back Brandon Jackson and CEO Mark Murphy, a former player now fighting on the side of ownership. Other recent topics: Why Cities Rock, Trashed, and Food and the New Physics, all worth checking out.

Here are three more podcasts worth a listen. If you have other suggestions, please send them my way or post them in the comments below.

Bill Simmons: The Sports Guy

Simmons is a Boston sports fan who has parlayed his love of sports into a career as a columnist for, where he mixes pop culture references with sports in ways rarely imagined. (best examples, his Seinfeld vs. Cheers column, Levels of Losing, and his trip to Lambeau). His podcast may be as fun as his writing, with a tremendous spectrum of guests: David Duchuvny, Mike Lombardi, Jason Sedukis, Kevin Love, David Stern.

Radio Times

Marty Moss-Coanne hosts this show out of WHYY in Philadelphia and touches on all manner of topics. Her show is where I first heard about the book, Hollowing Out the Middle, which inspired a series of articles in the Pulse about Door County’s Brain Drain. Though Moss-Coanne’s often focuses on Pennsylvania-specific topics, at least once each week she takes on a fascinating topic or person of national interest. Recent programs include Should Everyone Go to College and the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

On the Media

This one is a must for understanding how the media works – and its inherent flaws. Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone look at the news of the week in a new light each Sunday, picking apart not the stories of the week, but instead, how those stories were covered. They also look at larger media issues, such as music piracy, race, and how twitter, Facebook, and search optimization are changing the world of journalism (and framing what we see as news).