Starting off 2015 let’s do a lightning quick primer on what podcasts are, how you listen to them, and quick recommendations on some good podcasts to start subscribing to. Cool? Let’s begin!
What are podcasts?
Simplest definition they are the radio programs of the 21st century.
But not quite.
Almost 100 years ago radio (the medium, the invention) was the mass media wunderkind and juggernaut and technological cutting edge of the world. It united the world and united disparate geographically separated people in a way that was largely inconceivable just generations before. It redefined communication, but more it redefined entertainment.
No longer did you have to go to New York or LA or London to see the greatest and most exciting acts of the day, the comedies, the dramas, the concerts, the debates, but now with radio the greatest acts in the world, this sea of entertainment, and news, and interests… with a flip of a switch, comes to you.
Radio of a hundred years ago was a watershed evolution in the way people communicated, it expanded the width of our collective conversation, even if lessening to some degree the depth of the impact of the individual and the local community on that conversation.
TV tends to get the hype, but is nothing more than an extrapolation of that model that radio defined, radio being the true 1st evolutionary leap of the 20th century. The next real evolutionary dialog changer of the 20th century would come at the end of that century, with the mass adoption of the WWW, the Internet. The Internet into the 21st century has been the evolutionary next leap in communication from the medium Radio.
That brings us to podcasts and VOD. In a world where traditional terrestrial radio and television just doesn’t meet the needs of a 21st century audience, the on demand nature of podcasts and VOD platforms such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, perfectly fits the needs of an internet age that wants to “watch what it wants whenever it wants”.
And podcasts (recorded audio files on a near infinite range of topics, available for streaming or download or subscription through select syndication hosts) particularly are dear to me, as someone who grew up on the idea of radio drama, the theater of the mind, and loving shows like THE SHADOW, ESCAPE, SUSPENSE, and recognizing the intimate power of the audio format to move you in a way that television rarely does, I’m thrilled to see the flourishing of audio drama and audio commentary in the 21st century.
So that in a horribly non-brief way is what podcasts are and why they rock. But now how do you get them?
There are a bunch of ways to do it, depending if you are doing it on your smart phone, or tablet, or media player, or computer. I use an android tablet, so that’s the process I’m going to cover here. And we’ll wrap this puppy up with some quick shows to get you started with in 2015:
1- Get a tablet. My personal preference is Android 10″. Android OS because I don’t want to put up with the gatekeeping of Apple or Microsoft, and I like the bang for the buck I get. Your preference may be different and that’s perfectly fine, just telling you what works for me. As far as 10″ , I like reading books, magazines, and comics on the tablet, so that form factor works great for me. All this to say you do your homework, you can end up with a great tablet for around Ebook prices.
2- Find an app to use to subscribe to podcasts: Being tech savvy, I have tried MANY, MANY apps looking for the most useful, least obtrusive podcast app (also known as a podcatcher) and most of them are ultimately disappointing. The exception, and my current podcatcher of choice is PODKICKER. You can easily stream shows or you can download shows you want to keep for posterity, the “WTF Robin Williams” episode comes immediately to mind. Have been using PODKICKER for most of 2014, and still using it in 2015. Highly Recommended!
3- And now last but not least… choose podcasts to start your 2015 off right. Just type the following into your podcatcher search engine to subscribe to them, and job done.
WTF WITH MARC MARON
B MOVIE CAST
Start with those few, guys and gals, as they were all shows I consumed voraciously in 2014, and will remain in rotation in 2015 as new shows are discovered.
Hope this primer has been helpful!
B MOVIE CAST
Conventional/mainstream radio and discussion of music in the US is utter garbage. So to get a handle on what’s good out there takes a bit of digging, takes a bit of hunting for perspectives from the fans and true lovers of music, rather than the soulless money grubbing suits.
I’ve done the hunting, so you can do the enjoying. Hands down, below are the five best Music Podcasts…. IN THE WORLD!!
No hyperbole here. 🙂
VINYL, LIVE, LOCAL– Vinyl, Live & Local is hosted by Josh Gellman on Thursday’s from 3-8PM. The show always includes music from vinyl records, live recordings, and local artists. Featuring a range of music from Funk, Latin, Jazz, Indie, Classics, and a few surprises. It’s gonna be a party!! – This is an absolutely wonderful podcast of nothing but great music cuts. Radio as it should be, but unfortunately isn’t. Hosted by Josh Gellman, the show appears to have gone dark, but use the feed and for right now you can access the back shows, and I HIGHLY recommend it. If anyone has the inside scoop on this program let me know if it will be coming back. It’s that good.
CBC RADIO 3– The home of Independent Canadian Music – CBC Radio 3 is a weekly hour of 100% Canadian music from new and emerging artists. It’s one of the most popular podcasts in the country, playing the best in new rock, pop, singer-songwriters, hip hop, and electronica. Updated Fridays.
300+ episodes in and this Podcast/indie Radio Show is going strong. Wonderful selection of music, a nice range of feels, and moods. Great music to listen to while creating, for those artists and writers out there. I’ve only listened to a few of the shows so far, but my clear favorite is episode #311, their International Women’s Day Special. Lot’s of lovely music.
THE ZRO HOUR – I’m depressingly out of the loop when it comes to what the kids are listening to. But mostly because I don’t like the garbage the mainstream is pumping out. This hiphop show comes from the performers however, and as such, so far, I’ve found it a lot more listen-able. Show has gone on hiatus, but there’s a huge archive of shows to catch up on, and hopefully it will return so keeping it on the feed for a bit.
GILLESPETERSON WORLDWIDE– And the sceptered isle, not to be outdone, Gilles Peterson of the BBC, keeps our eyes on the prize with this podcast coverage and discussion of the once and future music, the greatest music that was, and will be again.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
—William Shakespeare, “King Richard II”, Act 2 scene 1
IZATRINI– The website leaves much to be desired, but man the music on this monthly podcast is —- glorious. I don’t consider myself a dancer, but even I can’t help bumping into furniture in my house when this is playing. 🙂 What higher recommendation do you need? As long as they don’t start doing that annoying crap some reggae stations do, of interrupting the music while it’s playing, continually cutting the sound in and out so they can make comments. I HATE THAT! But luckily this show DOES NOT do that, so it’s a big recommend.
And wrapping it up, here are today’s recommended CDs:
Mysterious Traveller– “Weather Report’s greatest album – Following their previous breakthrough album ( “SWEETNIGHTER”), which established the “Weather Report sound”, “MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER” (1974) contains a number of interesting compositions that give the recording the feeling (if not the formal unity) of a “suite”, an extended journey through varying musical landscapes. Even more than in prior albums, individual improvisation is eschewed in favor of an “orchestral” and textural approach, an aspect of style distinguishing Weather Report from the Mahavishnu Orchestra ( the other great fusion band of the era”–Ian K.Hughes@Amazon
-Considering the original CD is selling for 3 figures, this import CD is a bargain at under $14.
Concrete Love – Julia Fordham“Fourteen years and six albums into her recording career, British thrush Julia Fordham hasn’t quite earned the following one might have forecast for her when she arrived with a bit of fanfare in the late ’80s. That said, she’s persevered long enough to have garnered the admiration of a core of devotees and more than a few notable musicians, including this collection’s guests, India Arie and Joe Henry. That Fordham has become something of a singer’s singer is not surprising given the cool intelligence of her phrasing and the versatility of her husky-to-piercing range, which recalls trilling ’70s singer-songwriters Minnie Riperton”—Steven Stolder@Amazon.com
Well that’s all for this installment. If you dug this post, and my selections, do three things:
1/if you’re a fellow blogger press ‘like’ on this post, that’s always helpful and
2/ definitely leave a comment and let me know if you dig the selections or tell me if I’m on crack, and left out your favorite music podcast and
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Enough shilling, thanks for supporting. And in the immortal words of a wiser man than I… Peace, Love, and Soul!