On Podcasts

I complain about podcasts a lot because I listen to a lot of podcasts. It's amazing how many podcasters can't do the basics of podcasting - turn off the TV/radio in the background, edit out your long pauses, and tag your fucking files properly - and no, "show-####-####" isn't a proper tag scheme.

That said, there are a few podcasts I've been listening to regularly and, in light of having any gaming projects finished to talk about (there's a GENERALA dungeon coming soon, I'm just waiting for playtesters to get back to me) I'm filling my blog void with podcast recommendations. I've ditched the radio and TV shows that release podcast versions and listed, in no particular order, what's currently in my subscriptions.


Kumail Nanjiani's X-Files Files - This podcast started out as another b-celeb invites other b-celebs on to talk about something and then plug their stuff, but Kumail's genuine fanship for X-Files made it so much more than that in just a few short episodes.

Cocktail Nation - Koop Kooper is the standard by which other music podcasts must be measured. Even toned, interesting, and he spins a pretty good tune. If you like lounge music, this is a good use of an hour of your time.

Fear the Boot - RPG podcast that sometimes strays dangerously close to dudebro chest beating with a few of the hosts, but Dan always brings it back before it gets obnoxious.

Blurry Photos - Supernatural and esoteric topics. I've been getting a little bored lately with their ever-increasingly-complex intro pieces, and I frequently skip over their pun runs, but the rest of the show is well produced and does a decent job of talking about the weird and paranormal without being too pro- or anti-.

Welcome to Night Vale - Narrative about a weird little town, you might have heard of it. I've been losing interest since the election ended, actually a little before the election ended, but I'm willing to give them time to come back to the random silliness of the first 20 or so episodes.

Nearly Enough Dice - RPG related, but also covers computer games. Basically, it's two people just sitting and talking about the geeky things they've done or played in the last week. It's a gaming podcast that doesn't interview all the same people every other gaming podcast is interviewing. Also the hosts are fun people.

How Did This Get Made - Honestly, I skip every other HDTGM episode because they do these dumb, half hour "previews" of upcoming episodes. Which is dumb. Just give me the episode. Their actual episodes are entertaining if you like bad movies.

The Bugle - Do you find John Oliver funny? Because this is John Oliver. It's the funniest current events podcast out there.

The Moth - Storytellers telling their stories. I'm amazed at how often someone starts telling a story and I'm really not interested in their story and by the end of their story I'm loving their story.

Geologic - Atheism, music, and, well, George. George likes to talk about himself a lot. Fortunately, he's usually entertaining. A few of his bits are not.

Getting On with James Urbaniak - James Urbaniak and a rotating cast of writers do a podcast that's James playing fictionalized versions of himself. What makes it work is how well he sells the character - whether it's James the wild west gangboss or James the dad who's hiding, along with his trick-or-treating kids, from a real life werewolf.

The Big Red Couch - Gaming inspiration. I used to love a podcast called Postcards from the DungeonK which was basically two guys picking a topic and talking about how to use said topic in roleplaying games. It was brilliant. Then they changed format to be just another interview podcast that talked about the latest gaming products and/or Kickstarters. Big Red Couch takes the run-with-an-idea concept and, well, runs with it. It's a handful of hosts, one of whom sounds remarkably like Fin Patterson from YSDC, who draw a phrase from a box and then spend a week designing either a campaign scenario, setting, or a new game concept based on that phrase. Then they all share and discuss their concepts. I'm probably not selling it right. It's a very entertaining listen, but be warned, they really need an upgrade in their recording equipment.

Mysterious Universe - Esoteric topics. MU fills that void that was left when Art Bell left the air, that mixture of wide-eyed wonder at supernatural topics combined with a decent dose of skepticism when fringe topics go too crazy.

Penn's Sunday School - Yeah, I know, I wear my atheism on my sleeve. Also, I took my first girlfriend to seen Penn & Teller. She hated them. We're not together anymore.

Regret Labs - Science. Aric McKeown was (is?) half of the, now sadly defunct, Mustache Rangers. This is his new podcast where he and cohost Levi Weinhagen ask the science questions that the rest of us don't ask because we're afraid of being laughed at for not knowing the answers to.

Revolutions - History. Mike Duncan, he of History of Rome fame, talks about actual revolutions from history. It's deep and dense at times, but Mike could discuss the history of the dictionary and still find a way to make it entertaining.

Nerd Poker - RPG actual play. D&D and fart jokes. This one's not for everyone.

RPPR Actual Play - RPG actual play. I've been listening to RPPR's actual play for a long time, since the first few episodes of the New World campaign. They are, without a doubt, some of the best actual plays out there.

WTF with Marc Maron - I find myself skipping this more often than not because I don't know/don't care about the interviewee. But when it's someone I know and I'm interested in knowing about, Marc puts on a fine show.


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