Saturday, September 23, 2006

(alt)NPR Podcasts

New podcasts!

While I wasn't looking, NPR has expanded its offering of podcasts. Here are my new favorites.

I used to listen to Most Emailed Stories. Now I've switched to The Shuffle. It's still a mix of some of the day's pieces, only instead of listeners choosing, NPR has chosen what they consider the best. Some are overlaps, but I think they're more interesting on the whole. Not as much Iraq stuff. It's about 30-45 minutes.

Science Friday got to be too much for even me, a science geek. So far, I like Hmmm...Krulwich on Science better. It's a finished piece on some science topic, rather than a straight-up interview. It's more entertaining and more interesting, more worth the time.

Driveway Moments is also good, but not published enough, and often repeated in the above podcasts.

Then there's the altNPR offerings. They're wacky. Hip. Incredibly strange.

Two programs offer tips for everyday life. Brini Maxwell offers Martha Stewart-type tips, like how to keep a well-stocked bar for entertaining guests. Some of her ideas are pretty far out there, and they leave me wondering, "Is she serious?" So I skimmed her website, and, omg, I think she IS serious. I'm not sure if I'll stick with it just for the kitch effect, but it's worth a shot.

The other tips for life show is a bit more applicable, but no less funny. What would Rob do? features an everyday guy offering his advice on trying situations. My favorite so far is his advice on recovering from embarrassing situations. When you spill coffee on your pants at the office, he suggests picking up a nearby plant and carrying it in front of the wet spot. When people ask what's up, tell them you're just doing some re-arranging.

Finally, we come to the culture programs. I lost track of Benjamin Walker's Theory of Everything when it looks like he did some remodeling. Well, he's back, teamed up with altNPR, and still quite bizzare. Lately, he's done a series of Adventures in Surveilance.

Perhaps a less strange podcast, on related topics, is Love and Radio. It's almost a This American Life, with hipper themes, because they pick a topic and explore it from different angles by getting people's stories. The last two episodes ("Tell Me The Future" and "Secrets") have been great.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I'm still listening to Wait Wait--Don't Tell Me religiously. It holds a special place in my heart.


  1. Wait-Wait Don't Tell Me is the best thing on radio. Ever. Except for Paula Poundstone, who I think tries too hard. ;-)

    One day you should call in!

  2. Anonymous12:24 AM

    I haven't heard of Brini Maxwell, but checking out that site--she's rediculous. I love it.