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Ask HN: Recommend me a Podcast
127 points by whatusername on Aug 1, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 141 comments
Hi HN.. I've been doing a bit more commuting than normal lately and have found I have more commute time than podcast time. What Podcasts do you listen to that you can recommend to others? (Basically I'm after the HN guidelines -- anything that satisfies my intellectual curiosity)

The History of Rome Podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-history-of-rome/id261...

I've listened to all 112 episodes so far (and still quite a bit to go) - once this finishes I'll probably go back and listen to the "12 Byzantine Rules" again - which is also very good.

Although not purely a podcast, I can also strongly recommend the BBC Radio 4 series "In Our Time" - which is available as a podcast:


This is an informal "history of ideas" and is the kind of thing the BBC does extremely well.

IMO 'In Our Time' is less useful than it appears at first. Melvyn Bragg invites a few University professors to discuss a topic in every episode and things go straight to the deep end with everyone trying to sound smarter than everyone else. It's an intellectual knife-fight where the listener hasn't even been told the rules.

ABC Radio National's Philosophers Zone http://www.abc.net.au/rn/philosopherszone/ is way better and covers much the same topics. Great interviewer; talks clearly and slowly and summarizes key points periodically. It's the Mixergy of philosophy.

things go straight to the deep end with everyone trying to sound smarter than everyone else

Yeah, that's the degenerate case, and is why I'm less keen on IOT than I used to be. The Indian Rebellion (20100218) was the worst one this year (although I'm almost two months behind now).

Still, when it's good, it's really good. Fortunately, you're rarely compelled to listen to an episode: if it's no good, just move on.

At least they are short, mercifully.

I think I lost the ability to take this sort of arrangement seriously after having watched this little 'bit of Fry and Laurie' sketch...


"The Indian Mutiny". Here's a link, since I went through the trouble of searching for it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qprnj

But I agree, IOT has a lot of podcasts that I've liked (e.g. the one on The Great wall of China), while others are just academic catfights.

Thank you for referring me to The Philosopher's Zone. I had not heard it before. I listened to 4 programs last night. I did not get as much from it as I do from most of the In Our Time episodes. Having just one person to interview does not seem to lead to the same quality of discussion as the panels of experts tha Melvin finds. I am not saying every IOT is a gem, but I learned from and enjoyed IOT more. But, I have listened to most of the IOT episodes and I can't get any more back episodes. They now hide IOT behind Flash and I have better sense than to install that program. Good day

The History of Rome looks good. Here's the link for their home page, for those of us who don't use itunes: http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/

I was going to write a perl script to download all these but after I discovered that the naming scheme wasn't consistent throughout every file, I gave up and installed iTunes to download everything. I then promptly removed all hundreds of megabytes of it. An advantage is the naming scheme is pretty good; nothing that a novice shell-scripter can't fix.

I don't understand why you "removed all hundreds of megabytes of it".

At any rate, this is a simple python script to list all mp3 files in those posts (I like to use wget do do the actual downloading):


It uses the cool lxml library: http://codespeak.net/lxml/

(I use something similar to download all posts of a blog I want to read offline on my kindle).

I then promptly removed all hundreds of megabytes of it.

I think he was referring to Itunes.

I came here to say this - the History of Rome is a phenomenal podcast, and easily the most interesting history text I've read or listened to. The narrator does a good job of trying to reconcile the sometimes wildly varying accounts of the source material, and he's clearly extremely passionate about the subject. It's very to interesting to hear about the progression from early kingdom, to republic, to empire, to military dictatorship with a very thin republican veneer.

I just started listening to "The History of Rome" podcast, and I love it. He tells a story rather than deliver a lecture, it's great fun.

NPR's Planet Money grew on me. First few times I heard it I thought it was about a bunch of unsophisticated 20-somethings trying to make finance "cool".

I was very wrong. They brought rigor and a human touch to finance. The format is extremely compelling, and the stories narrated from sharp angles.


WNYC's Radiolab: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/

Absolutely brilliant in every way. Has the highest production quality of any podcast I've ever listened to. Please give it a listen as soon as you can.

Radiolab is great. However, it presents topics much in the same way that I imagine people who visit this site do- they love to explore interesting surface-level explanations of everything from the multiverse to the nature of consciousness. Don't get me wrong: Radiolab is very good at this, and since it's in audio form, it's the perfect way to learn while commuting, for example. I'm just saying that I have already learned a lot of the stuff they explore on the show, and I suspect a lot of hackers will have, too.

I also find their presenting style annoying sometimes, as they cut in and out of the subject talking and the hosts telling the story, and occasionally the hosts' banter seems forced for interest.

On the whole though, highly recommended!

Edit: It's worth confirming the high quality. I listen on 2x speed and it is almost 100% natural to listen to. Amazing.

I second that. One ethe best radio shows ever - an interdisciplinary popular science program produced like a radio play.

I love the stories they tell, but I can't listen to it. They're constantly interrupting the flow of the podcast with sound effects and pointless frills. I also can't stand how they often talk over interviewees.

It was much worse in the earlier podcasts, the new ones are pretty solid. Don't download the big torrent you can find on Isohunt but download the latest ~20 podcasts. I found the effects irritating too at first but now I kinda like them.


This American Life is pretty much the gold standard in podcasts.

That stuff is gripping. Really. Every Saturday at around 3PM it has me frozen still, no matter what I am doing.

Ira Glass is a top notch story-teller, in that he doesn't get between his subject and the microphone.

Wanted to mention that (at least for me) the iTunes Store feed for This American Life is usually messed up. The RSS feed from their website works a lot better:


Have you tried the iPhone app instead of the iTunes feed? It sends a nice push notification whenever a new episode is ready.

It's public radio.Asking for money is pretty much the norm.

and the current episode starts with a tech founder bit about the garage myth. see my first HN submission ever, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1566128

A few podcasts I enjoy:

The Guardian's Media Talk podcast is normally very good: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/series/mediatalk

Robots, News and Views on robotics: http://www.robotspodcast.com

Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

Radiolab: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/

Techzing: Startup and tech talk: http://techzinglive.com/

Mixergy: Startup interviews: http://mixergy.com/

Floss Weekly can be good depends on the guest: http://twit.tv/FLOSS

+ For the skeptics guide. It's very interesting and fun.

+1 for TechZing and Mixergy

+1 for techzing

econtalk : http://www.econtalk.org/

1 hr interview show (usually a writer promoting recent book) by a Hayek influenced economist. Most shows relate in some way to economic issues but not much. Many are about truth, bias and knowledge in social science fields.

I recommend starting with the archives and picking out guests you know and like already.

Econtalk is my favorite podcast. For those who might be put off by economics, here are a couple of interviews that readers here on HN might find interesting:

Paul Graham on Start-ups, Innovation, and Creativity http://www.econtalk.org/archives/_featuring/paul_graham/

Paul Buchheit on Google, Friendfeed, and Start-ups http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2009/09/buchheit_on_goo.htm...

I wouldn't personally start there (eg I like econtalk & I like PG's essays but I didn't feel like the show was a showcase for either one).

Looking over the archive, here are some from the archive that I liked:

Blakley on Fashion and Intellectual Property

Okrent on Prohibition and His Book, Last Call

Romer on Charter Cities

Boettke on Elinor Ostrom, Vincent Ostrom, and the Bloomington School

Hitchens on Orwell

Kling on Freddie and Fannie and the Recent History of the U.S. Housing Market

Karol Boudreaux on Wildlife, Property, and Poverty in Africa

Chris Anderson on Free

Taleb on Black Swans

Those were good ones indeed, but let's not be too narrow. For example, division of labor is a common topic discussed. (An economics program! And division of labor!? No effin way!) For those of us trying to get a business going, it's probably more relevant to our work, even if it might not look like it at first blush.

In any case, I third the recommendation. The host Russ Roberts has a gift for explaining things clearly, and, rarer and more wonderful still, the ability to disagree and remain civil.

Econtalk is wonderful! Don't be put off by the title and your unpleasant memories of the micro and macro courses you took in college. Econtalk covers a lot of ground, including emergent behavior, behavioral economics, Prohibition, and the Russian revolution. Great stuff.

  % uraniacast -lv | grep -v ^pol | sort
  biz.econtalk http://www.econlib.org/library/EconTalk.xml
  biz.ft.digital_business http://podcast.ft.com/rss/21/
  biz.ft.listen_to_lucy http://podcast.ft.com/rss/18/
  biz.harvard_ideacast http://hbsp.libsyn.com/rss
  biz.mixergy http://feeds.feedburner.com/Mixergy-main-podcast
  biz.the_economist http://www.economist.com/media/rss/economist.xml
  biz.wsj.the_journal_report http://feeds.wsjonline.com/wsj/podcast_the_journal_report
  comp.37signals http://feeds.feedburner.com/37signals_podcast
  comp.agile_toolkit http://agiletoolkit.libsyn.com/rss
  comp.bsdtalk http://feeds.feedburner.com/Bsdtalk
  comp.coderpath http://feeds.feedburner.com/coderpath
  comp.entrepreneurial_thought_leaders http://www.stanford.edu/group/edcorner/uploads/podcast/EducatorsCorner.xml
  comp.floss_weekly http://leoville.tv/podcasts/floss.xml
  comp.grady_booch http://csdl.computer.org/rss/podcasts/audio/onarch.xml
  comp.hacker_medley http://feeds.feedburner.com/HackerMedley
  comp.security_now http://leoville.tv/podcasts/sn.xml
  comp.software_engineering_radio http://feeds2.feedburner.com/se-radio
  comp.stackoverflow http://rss.conversationsnetwork.org/series/stackoverflow.xml
  comp.technometria http://rss.conversationsnetwork.org/series/technometria.xml
  comp.the_startup_success http://startuppodcast.wordpress.com/feed/
  comp.twi.startups http://feeds2.feedburner.com/twist-audio
  comp.twi.venture_capital http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThisWeekInVentureCapital-audio
  eng.bbc.6_minute_english http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/how2/rss.xml
  etc.bbc.thinking_allowed http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/ta/rss.xml
  etc.twi.comedy http://feeds.feedburner.com/twicomedyaudio
  hist.dan_carlin http://feeds.feedburner.com/dancarlin/history
  psych.the_psych_files http://www.thepsychfiles.com/feed/
  sci.omegatau http://omegataupodcast.net/category/podcast-en/feed/
  writ.writing_excuses http://www.writingexcuses.com/?feed=podcast

Lots of very good stuff mentioned by others already so I'll just mention others:

Astronomy Cast: http://www.astronomycast.com/ I saw someone else mention it, but it needs a second vote. I love the "not just what we know, but how we know what we know" format.

All in the Mind: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/default.htm

For amusement, The Bugle. John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman BSing for a bit is fun.

I've listened to http://www.astronomycast.com/ almost every single night for the last 3 years. I must have listened to every episode at least 5 times. Amazing stuff.

Entrepreneurship Thought Leaders: http://ecorner.stanford.edu/podcasts.html

It's an excellent podcast from Stanford. The guest speakers give a good idea of the quality of the podcast: Marc Andreessen, Steve Case, Steve Blank, Eric Ries, David Heinemeier Hansson, Mitch Kapor, etc

I listen to them all the time.

Not just educational but also motivating.

+1 these are excellent

EDIT: not sure why this was down voted, all I did was concur with the above statement.

Because all you did was concur with the above statement?

One of my favorites that hasn't yet been mentioned is NPR's "On the Media". They talk about currrent events in the context of how they are being reported, which tends to make me feel more informed than just getting the "straight" reporting.

Also, they do a lot of reporting on old media/new media issues, and they don't get the technology wrong in ways that make me cringe.

The Economist: Audio Edition. It's exactly what's in the magazine, but voiced by some excellent English readers. It comes free with a subscription, either digital or print.

Obviously depends on your interests.

I do a video & podcast every week that covers startup lessons, venture capital advice and deals funded for the week. It's called This Week in Venture Capital. http://thisweekin.com/thisweekin-venture-capital/ (there are links to there to the free iTunes download.

Also, This Week in Startups is great because it profiles startup CEOs and talks about the week's news. Hosted by Jason Calacanis and is here: http://thisweekin.com/thisweekin-startups/

Other recommendations: www.mixergy.com - Andrew Warner is great and profiles successful founders.

And I live TED talks.

What's the connection between the "This Week In" (thisweekin.com) network and the assorted shows on the TWiT (twit.tv) network?

There isn't a connection, one network (TWIT) is fronted and owned by Leo Laporte, the other (This Week In) by Jason Calacanis.

Laporte doesn't seem to like how Calacanis has diluted the TWIT brand by launching a similar sounding network, so Calacanis is essentially banned from appearing on Laporte's network.

Not really a fan of either though. These days, TWIT seems to focus on shows that are opinion heavy, rather than content heavy, while Calacanis' podcasts feel a bit too "pie in the sky".

There is no connection between thisweekin.com and TWIT, other than they share a common naming convention.

For the record, I got permission from Leo to buy and use the domain. however, since we launch 17 shows in under six months he is a little upset with me.

He is pretty pissed about it:


I don't think there is a connection. thisweekin.com is one of Jason Calcanis' projects and is separate to twit.

I like Hardcore History. The guy sounds exactly like Glenn Beck in his voice and speaking style, which made it nearly impossible for me to listen to at first. But, now that I'm over that, it's great.

His take on what combat must've been like in ancient times is spot on. It gives you an insight of how different the psychology of people like that was.

The most intellectually stimulating podcast I have ever listened to. 12 Byzantine Rulers - http://12byzantinerulers.com/

My podcast (I have no shame) GeekNights - http://frontrowcrew.com/

My favorite podcast these days is The Tobolowsky Files: http://www.slashfilm.com/category/features/slashfilmcast/the...

Stephen Tobolowsky, the actor probably best known for Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, is a fantastic storyteller. He's been recounting stories from his life, inside hollywood, and everywhere in between. Funny, poignant, and something I look forward to every week.

TechZing gets my vote. http://techzinglive.com/ It's broadly about issues relating to tech startups but meanders quite a bit. The hosts are characters and it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Hey, this is Jason from TechZing. Thanks so much for the mention! I never really thought of myself as a character, but you're probably right. ;)

By the way, for anyone interested in checking out the TechZing podcast, we not only discuss tech, startups and other HN-like topics, we'll even on occasion take a risk and venture into the unknown. For example, we recently interviewed a historian of UFOs and the national security state which, to our surprise, turned out to be one of our most popular shows of all time.

This week we're interviewing David Fogel, who evolved a world-class checkers playing algorithm named Blondie24, and I anticipate that to be an especially interesting show.

Anyway, you should listen to us here: http://techzinglive.com because if you like HN then you'll probably like our show.

Jason, the interview with Richard Dolan (UFO guy) was the best show in my memory and I listened to almost all of Techzing episodes.

NPR's All songs considered: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=37 Great music podcast

CBC's And the winner is: http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/index.html?newsandcurrent#andth... The best documentaries from the Canadian brodcasting corp.

Radiolab is brilliant. I doubt you will find a better radio show/podcast than that. Listen to the episodes on memory and race—they blew me away.

NPR Planet Money podcasts http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/

They discuss very interesting economic issues that everyone can relate to. Suitable for any audience.

Software Engineering Radio, http://www.se-radio.net/ (English, sometimes with a German accent).

Chaosradio Express, http://chaosradio.ccc.de/ (in German with a German accent). Two-hour interviews on mostly technological topics.

If you have any interest in Django, I'm a fan of DjangoDose ( http://djangodose.com/), I'm also one of the hosts though.

Seminars About Long-term Thinking at the Long Now Foundation: http://longnow.org/seminars/

BBC World Service documentaries: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/

What are your interests? Are you looking for podcasts specifically related to the topics discussed on Hacker News?

All the Hacker News related ones I currently listen to and know about have been listed, so there is no need to repeat those.

So, I'll list the ones based on my other interests that I enjoy:

1. The Dan Patrick Show

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dan-patrick-show-podc...

I do not enjoy sports much, I can't sit through a game of any professional or college sporting event, even going to the actual game bores me to tears. However, this show is fun, daily, keeps me up to date. It's a good listen at night while working on my next big thing or preparing for the next day. I am able to competently converse with the many sports fans at the office, at the gym, coffee shop, etc. Note: I lied, I care about 2 sports team: Minnesota Twins and Vikings.

2. Weekend Confirmed

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/weekend-confirmed-the-vid...

I enjoy video games, mostly older stuff, but I like to think I keep up to date on the current market. This is typically 2 hour very professionally well done weekly podcast. Show host is Garnett Lee of former EGM / 1Up fame. He does an awesome job. Two thumbs way up. I look forward to this every week.

3. A Life Well Wasted

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a-life-well-wasted/id3036...

It's retired now, but everyone who enjoys video games even a little needs to listen to these (except for the last episode; don't bother). Truly epic and well researched and produced.

Honerable mentions or already mentioned previously: Retronauts, Twit, NPR Planet Money, This week in Startups, MDN (Mac Developer Network), Engadget, Joystiq

Also, You Look Nice Today - great comedy.

I've been enjoying Dan Savage's Lovecast a lot - http://podcasts.thestranger.com/savagelove/archives.php

He's an adorably snarky sex advice columnist.

Savage Love is one of my favorites. He's not the sort of person a lot of people here would be likely to admit listening to, but I know at least a few do ;-)

Dan is, perhaps, responsible for me coming entirely around to absolute and total equality for people of all sexual persuasions. Not that I was against it before, but I was neutral. Now the idea that gay people can't marry or adopt in many areas almost makes my blood boil.

Radiolab and You Look Nice Today are already mentioned several times.

Lately I've really been enjoying Risk: http://risk-show.com/ Honest stories people thought they'd never share.

Anything on 5by5: http://5by5.tv/

I think Mark Suster does a good job with This Week in Venture Capital - http://thisweekin.com/thisweekin-venture-capital/

Astronomy Cast: A hard science (almost exclusively discusses accepted peer reviewed theories) podcast about cosmology. Everything from the Big Bang to Missions to Mars: http://www.astronomycast.com/

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: A skeptical podcast by Steven Novella & co. They cover a lot of interesting topics, and some other ones that I'm not a big fan of. But overall pretty good: http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

On the Media is my favorite for news. Frankly it's one of the only news programs where I feel like I've legitimately learned something about the situation after listening to it.

+1 for On the Media


in fact, I've been on a couple of times:

http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2007/05/25/05 http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2010/05/21/03

very intelligent hosts, covering very important issues in a deep way.

Come on, this is ridiculous. Why was this downvoted? I mean, seriously, what's so bad about the content of this comment that made it deserve at least two downvotes?

If the entire readership of HN hadn't had such an unquestionable integrity without exceptions, I might be tempted to think that it was downvoted simply out of pure childish hatred and not some real objective reason. But that would be, of course, impossible.

TED Talks: "Riveting talks by remarkable people" http://feeds.feedburner.com/tedtalks_audio

Conversations with Richard Fidler: a little-known, even in his home country of Australia, radio interviewer who is better than Michael Parkinson http://abc.net.au/queensland/conversations/conversationspodc...

I'd recommend the Thomas Jefferson Hour for people interested in early US history or the enlightenment period.


The podcast consists of Clay Jenkinson, a Jefferson impersonator, being interviewed and answering listener questions on various historical or modern topics. I wouldn't normally like this, but Jenkinson has accumulated a mountain of knowledge on the period, and seems to have read everything that was formative in Jefferson's intellectual development. This creates a remarkably effective illusion that Jefferson is actually speaking.

The format is two in-character sections where Jefferson answers questions, then one out-of-character section where Clay Jenkinson gives context for the answers. Occasionally Jenkinson also does an entirely out-of-character show where he talks about recent events in the news. While out-of-character, Jenkinson always maintains a clear separation between Jefferson's opinions and his own thoughts on a subject.

I don't think The Thomas Jefferson Hour is as good as Radiolab or the Philosopher's Zone, but it's still one of the best podcasts I've ever listened to.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, here are some of my favorites:

Entrepreneur: 1. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

   2. Venture Voice (hasn't been updated in a while, but Greg Gallant is a very good interviewer, and some interesting ones are non-tech, e.g. Jon Boggle).

   3.  StackOverflow Podcast - not strinkly entrepreneur, but good general technical discussions.  Great to listen to when you don't have your full attention to devote.

General Interest:

   1. This American Life

   2. The Moth

   3. NPR Planet Money

   4. WNYC Radio Lab - stories with science bend
Some other ones I listened to in the past that I'd recommend:

   Hanselminutes (technology, focused on .NET, but other topics as well)

I also strongly recommend The Teaching Company - they put together courses tought by the best professors. Mostly nontechnial, but interesting stuff (and they do have some more business-focused courses).


This week in google - Covering the googleverse and the cloud http://twit.tv/twig

A lighter, enjoyable podcast from Leo Laportes network. I've been listening to this every week since it launched and it's one of the ones I never seem to miss. It's perfect for a commute where you tend to miss things here and there.

A few BBC shows/podcasts I like:

Peter Day's World of Business: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/worldbiz (international business news, interviews)

From Our Own Correspondent: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fooc ('letters' from far-flung places)

Excess Baggage http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/excessbag (travellers and travelling)

Kermode and Mayo film reviews http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/kermode (witty round-up of new film releases with a cult following)

Material World http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/material (science show)

The overthinking it podcast is one of my favorites. A panel generally overthinks movies and other artifacts from pop culture and arrives at some interesting concepts by following Hollywood's 'movie logic'. http://www.overthinkingit.com/category/podcast/otip/

If you enjoy comedy Jordan Jesse Go! and Stop Podcasting yourself are two podcast from Maximumfun that regularly interview comedic stars from Los Angeles and Vancouver respectively. http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/jordan-jesse-go http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/stop-podcasting-yourself

Hardcore History is the best podcast by far (even if you are not a history buff) -> http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/hh

Others on my list include:

This Week In Startups -> http://thisweekinstartups.com/

Mixergy -> http://mixergy.com

Prairiecast -> http://prairiecast.com

Smodcast -> http://smodcast.com/main.html

Tell Em Steve Dave -> http://smodcast.com/stevedave/index.html

Common Sense -> http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/csarchive

http://webpulp.tv/ is very nice, and should be interesting ton HNers because it interviews with startups and webapps on what technologies they use, why, and how they run their systems.

I always keep some episodes of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and Car Talk on my iPod for long drives. They're not very productive, but they are entertaining.

Backyard FX is an interesting video podcast with lots of DIY projects for budding filmmakers.

The Wizards of the Coast / Dungeons and Dragons podcasts with the Penny Arcade / PvP / Wil Wheaton guys were pretty entertaining. http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Archive.aspx?category=resources&#...

I also like John Hodgman's "Today in the Past" as a quick break between other podcasts.

Here's a list of podcasts for .net programmers: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HanselmanListOfPodcastsForNETP...

The Pipeline by Dan Benjamin.

Reporters Roundtable is a professionally produced weekly conversation about a single tech-topic. It's great - http://www.cnet.com/reporters-roundtable-podcast/

If you handle two hours of Jason Calacanis you could try This Week in Startups. http://thisweekin.com/startups

37signals podcast has had a couple of moments but it's not particularly thrilling. - http://37signals.com/podcast

++ on Reporters Roundtable and 37signals.

I had David Heinemeier Hansson on This Week in Startups and he is brilliant IMO: http://jc.is/9K4f0l

That episode is a classic, I highly recommend it too - DHH and Jason are a good match.

Love this thread found some new podcasts I haven't heard of before. Ever since I started my own business podcasts have taken over completely from movies and tv as my primary source of entertainment. Here are my favorites:

1) The Adam Carolla Podcast - Its not heavy material (this is my daily candy entertainment) but I marvel at how well Adam communicates and improvs-- he's been doing radio for over 10 years and he's the most consistently funny improv guy I've ever heard-- he constructs some pretty complicated comic maneuvers in real time, like call-backs and alliterative rhymes and stuff... anyway the guy is a mench

2) This Week in Start-Ups - I think @jason 's podcast is the currently the best consistently produced business related entertainment on the web (second is now defunct UK version of Kitchen Nightmares by Gordon Ramsay, watch out you might get addicted) sometimes interview podcasts can frustrate you with their non-sequitor randomness but this show involves experienced high-level tech entrepreneurs in pitch reviews, business advice, and news commentary. There are also some pretty awesome narratives to the show, like Jason getting in random fights, confronting celebrities, calling out other entrepreneurs, and starting businesses on the show. GREAT stuff.

3)Fresh Air - The most entertaining and insightful interview podcast I've come across. Terry Gross interviews people who do interesting shaz and she asks really damn good questions.

4)Mixergy - Andrew Warners show is like entrepreneurial popcorn, its fun to hear what other folks are up to. Andrew pretty much seems like the nicest guy ever and is really good at pulling out interesting stories from his guests.

5)This American Life - Finds SUPER interesting stories, tells them awesomely, and from time to time if you are alone in your car you might pop out a tear or two. Very pro.

6)Internet Business Mastery - The content might be a little beginner level form many HN users, but if you are just getting started marketing an internet based business, these guys have some really professionally produced episodes (100 now) that walk you through every single aspect of setting up a blog based marketing type business. Not much start up or tech info, but lots of good mindset and basic business 101 stuff. This really helped me out when I was making the transition to quit my job.

I'm a fan of Jon Udell's interviews with Innovators:


This guy really do pick some very interesting companies or people that often later on turn out to be important or popular.

Highly recommendable.

Also Phill Windley's show technometria.

Of podcastsites I can recommend both itconversations.org and spoken word.org

Techzing is a great podcast about startups, web development and general discussion. http://www.techzinglive.com

I'm surprised nobody has brought up the stackoverflow podcasts:


87 hour-long episodes with Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood discussing the creation of stack overflow and other tech related stuff.

Here's a good one - (interview with reddit founders) http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/10/podcast-27/

Some podcasts my partner and I both enjoy:

Politics, Diplomacy, Economics >

Fareed Zakaria GPS = The Sunday show with actual newsmakers, global perspective, focused on diplomacy, economics, and conflict.

The Political Gabfest from Slate = John Dickerson, best beat politics writer, David Plotz, editor of slate, and Emily Bazelon, one of the best actively writing essayists talking about 3 topics in politics from the week. Frequently one topic touches on the supreme court.

Left, Right, and Center from KCRW = Crossfire without the bullshit. Usual guests: Arianna Huffington, Robert Scheer, and Tony Blankley.

The Political Scene from the New Yorker = Short, smart discussion of the week's policy and political happenings. The hosts are from the political, finance, and foreign affairs staff from the New Yorker.

It's All Politics from NPR = Extraordiarily in depth for its short length. Hosted by two of the best beat political reporters in the business. Podcast only about political minutia, no policy discussion, just politics.

Planet Money from NPR = As someone who studies economics, it is the best podcast out there for economics. But it's accessible for everyone. Created by NPR's best young reporters.

Culture >

The Treatment from KCRW = Elvis Mitchell, according to Bill Murray, smartest man alive, according to me, probably the smartest working critic.

The Monocle Weekly = Tyler Brule, founder of Wallpaper and the Monocle magazine, columnist for the Financial Times, and friends. Casual, smart, like the NYT Style section, but for the Financial Times set.

The Moth = True life adventures told live in front of an audience. I don’t understand why the episodes are so short and only once a week.

The Story from APM = similar to The Moth, but with an interviewer. It’s also published daily.

Out Loud from the New Yorker = A New Yorker writer is interviewed about a piece that they wrote for the New Yorker that week.

On the Media from NPR = media critique, ALWAYS smart. Best show on NPR.

Fresh Air from NPR = The classic interview show.

On Point from NPR = Call-in show, but really an interview show similar to Fresh Air. More in depth and timely than Fresh Air.

Philosophy Bites = Short discussions on open questions in philosophy. Accessible to non-philosophers. Ususally features non-philosophers talking about philosophy. Biologists, psychologists, mathematicians, etc.

The Double X from Slate = loosely focused on women's perspectives on life, books, pop culture and politics. The hosts rotate, but most of them are truly brilliant. Hanna Rosin, Margaret Talbot, and Emily Bazelon are great.

The Sporkful = For eaters, not foodies, as they say. Bryant Park Project people, very good.

Wiretap from CBC = My second favorite podcast. Jonathan Goldstein, who's the best regular contributor to This American Life. Does monologues and has amusing phone conversations with his friends.

Radiolab from WNYC = Broad topics in science, most interestingly presented. Good WNYC aesthetic (lots of unconventional editing).

Comedy >

Comedy Death Ray-Radio = a funny weekly snapshot of the LA-UCB scene (i.e. Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, etc.).

Never Not Funny = similar to Comedy Death Ray-Radio, but for NYC instead of LA. It costs to subscribe, but the free podcast is still worth listening to.

Sports >

The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons = Usually smart, rarely-about-sports, sports podcast.

FreeDarko Presents: The Disciples of Clyde = great writers talking about basketball, usually other topics too.

Hang Up and Listen from Slate = My favorite podcast. Sports radio for people who hate sports radio.

Etc. >

We also love EconTalk, and Dan Benjamin's podcasts are not totally great, but they will be someday.

I recommend out-law radio ( http://www.out-law.com/page-7212 ), a weekly podcast by a law firm covering technology/law matters

EDIT: Oh, there's also A History of the World in 100 Objects ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/ ) - which does what it says, based on 100 objects from the British Museum.

Definitely Not the Opera (DNTO to those in the know). http://www.cbc.ca/dnto/ The best way I can describe is that they take a theme from day-to-day living (small talk, friends, language, etc.) and have a series of thoughtful discussions about it. It grew on me quickly and is a nice change up from tech, news, and tech news. ;p

Mixergy interviews are excellent (and downloadable).

The VOIP users conference, www.VUC.me. The range of topics is all over the place, in a good way. It goes from discussing very small installations to huge 100,000 plus installs and the products and solutions used. Every week there is a new guest speaker giving a talk. They recently had a talk about providing a trial cell/voip setup to a remote island.

I really like Drunk and Retired. It's done by Michael Cote at Redmonk and Charles Lowell at the Frontside. Can get a little offtopic sometimes (like tangents about Austin traffic) but in general really funny.

Here's one about sandboxed javascript...


Only one of my favorites that hasn't already been mentioned: The Nerdist Podcast, with Chris Hardwick (half of the comedy duo Hard 'n' Phirm). Lots of good interviews that intersect the Venn diagram between nerd culture and comedy.


I can only pass on the recommendation of Dan Carlins really great hard core history podcast http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/hh

If you need an idea for where to start, you could start with the Ghost of the Ost front podcasts - extreemly enlightening, but bloody.

Check out Quirks & Quarks. Over its lifetime, Q&Q has won more than 70 national and international awards for science journalism. It is consistently rated the most enjoyed program by CBC Radio listeners.


I enthusiastically second this recommendation; Quirks & Quarks has definitely been my favorite podcast recently and is the only one I listen to that holds my attention and interest every single program. It covers a delightfully broad range of scientific topics and while nothing is explored in too much detail, Bob asks interesting and substantiative questions of the serious researchers he has as guests and gives them plenty of time to formulate a complete answer.

The Lifestyle Business Podcast is an absolutely awesome podcast about modern business. The content is so valuable that they decided to take payments for the first 30 episodes, but it's so worth it!


hehe thanks for the shout out KrisofferR! Truth is our justification for charging for the first 30 episodes is to give show supporters an opportunity to help us pay for our audio editor's/virtual assistant fees which helps us produce new shows faster. Thanks for listening :)

I personsally like The Changelog, run by two big fans of Github and open source. They have on guests to discuss what's new and hot in the world of open source. They've talked to Doug Crockford, John Resig, and some people behind projects like NodeJS, MongoDB, etc.

Linux Action Show is one that I love that isn't listed yet. http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/?cat=4

It's not particularly intellectual, but it's an entertaining rundown and discussion of Linux-oriented news.

Has nothing to do with hacking, code, politics, making yourself smarter etc, but is good for a laugh. Smodcast by Kevin Smith is pretty awesome.


Smodcast is fantastic... so is Tell Em Steve Dave

I've found History According to Bob endlessly fascinating; http://www.summahistorica.com/

Short, digestible college style lectures about various history topics.

Monocle Weekly - High quality reporting about current global issues done in a refreshing way. Awesome.


The Venture Voice series of interviews with great tech entrepreneurs - http://www.venturevoice.com/

I've always liked the GDGT podcast: http://features.gdgt.com/podcast/

Insightful/thoughtful gadget discussion.

Uhh Yeah Dude: America through the eyes of two American Americans. http://www.uhhyeahdude.com

TED Talks are wonderful


They have both audio and video podcasts available. search "TED talks" in itunes.

And my FOSS/Linux related podcast feed http://friendfeed.com/fosscasts

you might want to check out http://said.fm/ it provides recommendations for podcasts.

As one of the said.fm culprits I would totally also recommend checking out http://blog.said.fm for some listening ideas, we've got tons there.

We love discovering new stuff to listen to and our theme of the day is a simple showcase of this, incidentally here's a very basic RSS feed I use for testing: http://rss.said.fm/v0.1/themes/theme_of_the_day.xml - this might disappear in the long term but for now feel free plug it into ur iTunes and go!

We're finally ready to rumble again after recently running out of cash. Our next priority is to make the app mobile and very developer friendly (and slightly more fun and social). Watch this space!

I run a podcast about cognitive science you may enjoy: http://cogscast.ca

Sound Opinions is a fantastic music talk show.


for digital video I like Red Centre http://www.fxguide.com/redcentre - it actually covers more than Red cameras and some of the episodes are pure teaching clinics. Plus, it has got to have the best show notes of any podcast (PDF + Pictures).

NPR's Marketplace

No Agenda, for real news, no tabloid shit.

I listen to podcasts all day while I work. I've consumed hundreds of hours of all types of podcasts. No Agenda is the best show on the internet.

Edit: There is plenty of 'real news' tabloid shit though.

The value in No Agenda is the deconstruction of media and the calling out disguised propaganda. Thanks to No Agenda, I realize why the local news is covering 'Jersey Shore', I can see that a ten minute news segment with no interruption is being secretly paid for, and I know to check the sponsors of every news story and check out the history of the journalist.

Maybe I'm biased, since I've always been extremely skeptical of any entrenched establishment, but I don't lack for intelligence or critical thinking and I think that is the cause of my anti-establishment tendencies.

Well said. If you listen to No Agenda you quickly start to realize that mainstream media is a huge waste of time and completely controlled by corporations.

Adam may have some crazy theories, but a lot of what they talk about is the truth.

You don't have to agree with everything they say. In fact, if you only listen to opinions that you agree with, why bother listening to anything?

I find it highly entertaining, as long as I don't get too ramped up with all of the conspiracy theories. And like the BBC, it gives me a wider view of what is going on in the world than US media.

I also agree that it helps counteract all of the bias out there.

I love Adam and John, but it's not "real news" -- it's conspiracy theory devised by two guys who don't understand how to think critically.

I think you're missing a good part of the show, it's alot more than conspiracy theories.


THE BEST PODCASTS http://channeldvorak.com/shows

I listen to his tech5 and crankygeeks podcast, but don't bother with the link above. It brings up a page about half obscured with what is probably a black TV. Why bother putting up a website where the content is obscured? Maybe the slow people who browse with javascript on see something else.


This American Life

The Moth is a great podcast.

People who are mostly in NY and mostly people who wrote non-fiction books who tell stories true stories about their lives without notes. Really engrossing.

The Moth is a great podcast but there website makes it difficult to find old shows. Subscribe to the RSS feed if you want to look through their archives.

I am not exactly learn from an audio podcast type but I really liked listening to John R Searle's class of Philosophy of Mind, at UC Berkeley Webcasts[1]. The quality is bad as hell, but the content not so much.

Also if you want to have some light listening (you don't want the all intellectual boring life do you?) then I would highly recommend Bells in the Batfry[2] by John bell and Decoder Ring Theater [3]. Listen to everything produced by them, its a treat.




Coolness Roundup: entertaining gadget reviews by two charismatic, fun guys. http://coolnessroundup.com/

Chillcast: if you like chill music at all, you'll love Anji Bee and her tasteful playlists. She's got a great voice, too. http://www.anjibee.com/

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