Podcasts for the Commute

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Usually I fill my commute with podcasts. I have roughly two hours a day of commute time and instead of letting two weeks of my year slip away into radio ads and traffic reports about two years ago I turned almost completely to podcasts.  Now some of you may ask  “Dan, why don’t you just relax with some music?”

Its a good question and one I am happy to answer.  A 1 hour time block is quite a chunk of time and music although wonderful doesn’t teach you anything except that when no one is listening you sound really good to yourself in the car.  The reality is one day i recorded myself singing and played it back.  I don’t need to tell you that no matter how many hours I spend singing in the car my lyrical stylings are not going to get any better. So, having come to the conclusion that I am not the next winner of  “The Voice” i thought it best to make my one hour blocks more useful.

What can happen in the car for a solid hour is learning.  Now don’t get me wrong I am not about to tell you to try and learn a second or third language in the car.  The content has to have a bit of humor/entertainment value or you will just end up turning it off or veering off the road into a ditch as you drift to sleep.   So here are a few podcasts I am currently listening to on my commutes.  It doesn’t fill my week of 10 hours driving time so if you have one you like feel free to comment about it.  I can always use suggestions.   I also want to mention I am limiting this to my audio-only podcasts because you should not be watching video podcasts in the car.  Also I have tons of video podcasts and youtube channels that I try (unsuccessfully) to keep up with and it simply doesn’t belong in this post.

1. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is a once a week podcast from NPR that is a quiz show based on the news of that week.  I have no idea how long its been on radio before it was a podcast but if you find the news as ridiculous as I do then this show is worth while.  The show is approx 45 minutes.  Although the whole show is a comedy and not really a game show you do end up getting a weekly wrap up of what happened that week in the news.

2. Startalk

Startalk is lead by the well known astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson ( Twitter:@neiltyson) and is perhaps the only podcast out there that tackles explaining the universe in such a way that anyone at all can understand and follow it.  Neil deGrasse Tyson has an infectious laugh and the kind of roll with it attitude that allows him to take on any topic or joke about the universe (that’s saying a lot) and roll with it.   He always has a good mix of folks on the show and I have never gotten bored of a subject.  The only downside of this show is it doesn’t update as often as I would like.  Its rare to hear someone as passionate and down to earth and who also is considered world renown.

3. Here’s The Thing

This is a new addition to my podcast list.  Its an interview podcast by Alec Baldwin (Twitter:@alecbaldwin) and it generally centers around Hollywood and “the business” as they call it.  You learn a tremendous amount about each person Alec interviews and a fair amount about Alec himself.  This podcast also doesn’t update every week but each podcast is lengthy and the interview is in depth.  You really get a sense of the actors/actresses/musicians that Alec has on his show and nothing seems rushed like it does on those late night show guest interviews where they are really just there to push some new creation and not really there for the interview.

4. NPR Technology Podcast

I generally keep up to date on most of the bullet reporting that whizzes by my head and ends up in my aggregator but there is a need for me to have some more coverage of some of this tech news and with a total lack of anything else this fits the bill.  I wish it was made daily but its not.  However it seems to fill the bill and gets me the 20-30% of coverage beyond the short form news we are all getting used to these days.


So give one or two of those a try for a little bit and see if you like it.  If you have an audio podcast you listen to regularly drop it in the comments and I will add it into my Downloader App and give it a try.  But please if you disagree with Neil deGrasse Tyson on some nuance of something he talked about on Starchat don’t comment here. Neil doesn’t read these comments.  Use his twitter account I linked above.  He responds to folks often.


Editors Note: OR you should be only listening to the WatchPlayRead FLAGSHIP PODCAST Redlight Roundtable. I’m sure it was just an accident that Dan didn’t put it on his list. He’s new, we’ll cut him a break this one time.

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