Some interesting podcasts

For one of the few good curated list of podcasts, try openculture [oculture.com], which also lists sources for audiobooks, college lectures, etc.. NPR has over 600 podcast titles; also try publicradiofan.com, Public Radio Exchange and PRI, Public Radio International. National broadcasting systems from the Netherlands, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Canada have many English podcasts as do major online news outlets.


  • Astronomy Cast
    explanations about the universe, one of my favorites; tight organization, always teaches something
  • All in the Mind
    ABC [refers here to Australian Radio]; on brain, psychology, behavior, society
  • Hmm…Krulwich on Science
    NPR, engaging RadioLab host here with short episodes about science
  • Natural Selections,
    NPR, two hosts present a short explanation of some aspect of animal or plant ecology, well-scripted, a favorite
  • Nature Stories
    NPR, sponsored by Nature Conservancy, often focuses on social aspects of environment, well-produced location docs
  • Living on Earth
    PRI, weekly hourly show on ecology, environment, health news and information
  • Brain Science Podcast
    topics in neuroscience clearly explained
  • Dr. Karl's Great Moments in Science
    ABC, brief explanation of a topic, interestingly presented
  • Science Update
    podcast of the AAAS; one-minute story each day, or a 6-7 min. compilation weekly; compact, beautifully written explanations of science news
  • Smithsonian Podcasts
    wide variety of streaming audio and also podcasts; some are not free of charge
  • IT Conversations
    lots of MP3s to download about tech and science, with leaders in their fields; also podcast
  • Nature Podcast
    weekly news and information roundup from Nature Magazine
  • In Conversation
    ABC; science writer Robyn Williams converses with a major scientist on a theme related to that scientist's research
  • Multiverse Radio
    short reports on topics in science news, usually about new products
  • Science Podcast
    from Science Magazine, approx. 30 min. weekly, news and commentary, archive back to 2005
  • UCSF Science Café
    science info. and science culture, conversation with a researcher or medical expert
  • Moment of Science
    WFIU, two min. explanation of a science concept
  • Naked Scientists
    weekly 60 min. program covering a number of topics in science and technology, often about science news
  • Vega Science Trust - Freeview Science Programmes
    many programs that originally were on the BBC, audio and video, about science and the life of scientists; lots of good material to download for iPod
  • UCDHSC Health Sciences Library
    University of Colorado at Denver, Medical Campus Library listing of many health and science related podcasts, which seems to be a growth area for podcasting; continuing education is required for licenses
  • MedicCast for EMTs Paramedics and EMS Providers
    good example of well-produced podcast in medical field; online shownotes with links and research notes
  • Savage Love
    sex-advice columnist Dan Savage fields phone calls, 30 min program weekly, archive available; not quite science but good lead-in to next section, first person narration

Storytelling, first person

  • This American Life
    NPR; subscribe for weekly podcast, no archive available, first person stories and short fiction pieces, a favorite
  • Catalogue of Ships
    NPR, another favorite, stories in innovative sound mix by duo, David Terrry and Michael Kraskin
  • Re:Sound
    Chicago Public Radio, documentary stories from the Third Coast International Audio Festival
  • Radio Diaries
    NPR, first person stories, complete archive at www.radiodiaries.org, well worth downloading
  • StoryCorps
    NPR, people tell their story to a relative or friend in little recording booths set up around the U.S.
  • The Moth Podcast
    autobiographical stories told to an audience live without notes, like standup comedy
  • Digital Flotsam
    well told stories in a personal voice
  • Joe Frank Radio
    host from 80s and 90s said to be major influence on Ira Glass and This American Life, selections of past programming available as podcasts
  • Love and Radio
    alt.NPR, stories from strange people
  • What Would Rob Do?
    alt.NPR, sticky situations and what to do
  • WireTap with Jonathan Goldstein
    CBC, a well-known radio personality tells a story in his unique way
  • Slice of Life Radio Essays
    NPR, first person life experiences
  • Stoop Storytelling Experiences
    from Baltimore MD, first-person storytelling to an audience, various tellers speaking to a theme, most recently "immigrant stories."
  • Verge of the Fringe
    storyteller Lance Anderson, sometimes talking about acting
  • WGBH Morning Stories
    NPR, first person episodes
  • Benjamin Walker's Theory of Everything
    alt.NPR, described as Ira Glass plus Andy Kauffman
    , wacky and fantasy-filled first person narratives


  • WNYC's Radio Lab
    polished audio presentations, weekly 60 min. program around a theme, " science meets culture and information sounds like music," one of my favorites
  • B-Side Radio
    alt.NPR, hosted Tamara Keith, onsite exploration and narration of a theme
  • American RadioWorks
    NPR, documentaries, series, investigative reports
  • The Story
    NPR, stories and reportage around an issue, often first person accounts and interviews
  • Peopletalk's podcast
    (archive from earlier site also available at peopletalk.org—two feeds on iTunes Store): audio books, anecdotal stories and social history documentaries about ordinary people's lives.
  • Street Stories
    ABC, social documentaries about ordinary people, field reportage
  • Public Radio Exchange
    PRX, new short audio documentaries from member stations
  • Hearing Voices
    NPR weekly story compilation, described as " Adventurous Audio: Sound-Portraits, Vox Pop, Radio Docs, and Audio Art."
  • NPR Station Showcase with PRX
    weekly presentations of radio documentaries from around the country
  • Transom Podcast
    new public radio documentaries showcased, some with interviews
  • Documentaries, BBC
    weekly social-issue documentary

Media and the arts

  • On the Media
    NPR, analysis of current issues in the media, often about journalism and news
  • podcast411
    podcast directory and information; weekly interview with major podcaster; archive back to 2004 is a major research tool for podcasting research and analysis of online audio developments as they happened
  • We Media Podcast
    well written podcasts from Carleton College students about important developments in newmedia; informative
  • Pandora Musicology Show
    10 min., analyzes music writing, performance, and production; related to Pandora's creation of Music Genome Project
  • Uncensored History of the Blues
    from Delta Blues Museum, playing early blues songs around a theme and telling their social context
  • Big Shed Audio Documentaries
    IndieFeed, location stories from/about producers, musicians, and audio artists
  • Studio 360
    PRI, weekly 60 min. show on a topic in pop culture, society and the arts
  • Quirky Nomads
    radio actors with music and sound effects; 416 episodes
  • All Avant-Garde All the Time
    Ubuweb podcast featuring site's sound archives; an excellent source of avant-garde audio and video classics
  • One Minute How-To Podcast
    60 seconds to explain how to do something; great practice for screenwriters and podcasters to learn how to write succinct narration
  • ScreenLex
    a pronunciation guide for film/TV studies

Books and literature

  • Radio Books
    RNW (Radio Netherlands), reading of short fiction by Dutch authors, in English
  • Miette's Bedtime Story,
    reading of short story, expressive voice, ranging from 1-40 min., large archive
  • thelumberyardjournal
    "a radio magazine of poetry, prose and music," 30 min., writers read from own work, background info. given
  • Poem of the Day
    sponsored by poetryfoundation.org, daily brief reading of a poem
  • Central Audio Theater
    five episodes a semester, about every other week
  • SFFaudio
    lots of science fiction available to download as podcasts, mostly short stories; good for long auto trips
  • Escape Pod
    science fiction podcasts
  • WellToldTales.com
    15-35 minute "pulp fiction" podcasts in horror, sci-fi, and hard boiled detective genres; free
  • Modern Poetry - Open Yale Courses
    can get downloads of course pack, audio or video/Flash downloads of lectures; one of the best designs, simple and clean, for online courses I have seen
  • LibriVox
    LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net, striving to make all public domain books available as free audio books; an open source, free content, public domain project.
  • LoudLit.org
    public domain literature given good audio, live performance; available on MP3s; for folks with visual disabilities, new readers, drivers, etc. Many who like podcasts will like these.
  • audible.com
    Download books, magazines, newspapers and radio shows, a monthly-fee service that sells audio books at reduced rates; useful if vision impaired, drive a lot, or do assembly work; nice present for elderly
  • Selected Shorts
    PRI, well produced readings of short stories by well know stage and screen actors
  • Assistive Media
    "..audio access to reading materials... Talented volunteers record short works which are then available for download or podcast .. magazine articles, short stories, and selections from anthologies."
  • Storynory
    free children's stories, "Prince Bertie the Frog brings you an audio story every week. Each one is read specially for him by his friend Natasha."
  • Stories to Go
    reading of short stories from around the world (not current but good archive)
  • New Yorker Fiction
    monthly conversation with well-known authors and reading from their work
  • The Penguin Podcast
    interviews with authors and readings
  • Writer's Corner
    WLRH, writers give brief presentations of their work
  • Prosody
    91.3fm WYEP, authors read from and discuss work

Current events, news, major social issues, cultural topics

  • Best of Ideas,
    CBC, discussions around a theme
    ; mother site here, culture.ca, gives lots of Canadian podcasts on cultural topics
  • Big Ideas
    ABC, lectures on topic of interest, often focusing on an extended discussion of a major literary work
  • New York Times
    of particular interest, Science Times podcast
  • Slate Magazine
    daily podcasts; also, "the spoiler special" about current movies; mother site is a long-running ezine in US which has stayed free of charge; Political Gabfest — lively weekly political roundup with young voices; also on XMRadio
  • Guardian Unlimited
    UK paper with many hours of podcasting each week; select category
  • Democracy Now
    some of the best Left news out there, M-F, hosted Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez
  • NOVA | PBS
    Archives include anthropology, disasters, earth, exploration, flight, health, history, investigations, nature, physics & math, space, and technology.
  • historyonair.com
    long running history podcast; episodes in this archive listed by topic or event
  • Historical podcasts
    largely organized by names of important people; look at listing for Freud, for example
  • PodcastingDirectory.org.uk
    UK educational podcasting database; organized by category, well curated, good descriptions of each show
  • listeningtowords
    free lectures, literary readings, ideas of SciFi authors

Spirituality, especially Buddhism

  • Alan Watts Podcast
    podcasts from audio recordings of zen thinker and lively speaker, good audio reproduction
  • AudioDharma
    Buddhism, audio downloads for education and meditation, cleanly recorded, wide range of speakers
  • Internet Archive: Spirituality & Religion
    The Internet Archive is a major source for essays and audio stored online; it is huge and a little unwieldy to find things, but worth poking about in; link here is to audio archive on spirituality and religion
  • Tricycle Podcast Archive
    Buddhist audio downloads from major journal; also can subscribe to weekly podcast
  • Online Courses for Yoga
    many MP3s for Yoga exercise and meditation, especially for relaxation, mindfulness, and breathing; free
  • guided meditation cd's | Ask MetaFilter
    query about guided meditations; some of the answers refer to podcasts and web sites; personally I find some styles of speaking and use of metaphor more congenial than others; do search on MetaFilter for podcasts and find some interesting questions and responses

Experimental or freeform audio, radio

  • Phillip's podcast
    natural audio sounds, sometimes hidden ones speeded up or slowed down or brought into a frequency we can hear; a way of entering the wonders of the world around us and also the sounds of outer space; for me, zen revelations
  • Audiolingo.org
  • BLaAsTaAL
    experimental audio collage from Belgium
  • Les Phonogénistes
    improvised audio collages and electronic music, experimental audio from France
  • Plum Industries
    ElevenEleven and Resonant Tapestry, experimental audio art and music radio station from Sydney; varied types of segments
  • Tones for the Head
    audio collage experimentation
  • Press the Button
    2-hour experimental weekly show with audio exploration and collage, sometimes free-form with guests and listeners shaping the show
  • Le Show
    KCRW, Harry Shearer, freeform radio, humor, news, media commentary; highly recommended
  • The Dusty Show
    WFMU, creative editing, soundscapes, monologues, interviews, old records, recommended
  • Art Radio WPS1 Sonic Adventures
    about audio art and examples of practioners; archive of cultural programming also available from this 24 hour streaming station
  • B-Side Radio
    off-beat themed podcasts, edited by experienced NPR programmers; independent podcasters can contribute; written guide for producing good radio; process of working with the segment executives to sharpen presentation.
  • Dizziness
    experimental-audio radio show, archived; good links to other experimental audio sites
  • free103point9 Newsroom
    a blog for people who see radio as a means for creative expression; good links to other art audio bloggers
  • HyperAcousia
    by Joan Schuman, audio artist, creative audio, both environmental and suggestive of narrative

Travel, walking tours

[Note: For the sake of future travel podcast producers, I have included here the whole range of material currently available, which varies widely in production quality. To try out the commercially available audio travel guides, go to audible.com, which lets you play a sample of each. This is a growth field, into which indie producers can easily enter.]

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