Posts Tagged ‘podcasts’

My Favourite Podcasts 2012

December 12, 2012

Podcast Headphones

I love podcasts.  I spend most of my free time listening to them, and now the rest of that time is spent making podcasts…yup!

I’m going to start with a caveat: I am not including This American Life, RadioLab, Planet Money or On The Media in this list…because they collectively would hold the #1 spot, and many people regularly include them in their own lists…so recognize that I like these shows. Freakonomics and The Moth also sit at a close tie for 1.5…again…you know these…so…

In no specific order:

No-Budget Nightmares

On Podomatic and iTunes.  Consistently the show I most look forward to.  I LOVE low-budget flicks, and so do these guys.  Even if the movie is awful, the episode ABOUT the movie is amazing (Hip-Hop Locos and Barely Legal Lesbian Vampires is still among my favourites).  Moe and Doug have a great rapport, reminding me a bit of the chemistry between Hometown Tales’ Gene and Bryan.

Here’s The Thing

On iTunes and WNYC.  Alec Baldwin…talking to interesting people.  How could you NOT love them.  The Fred Armisen, Billy Joel and David Letterman episodes are especially amazing.

Lexicon Valley

On iTunes and Slate.  Bob Garfield from On The Media joins Mike Vuolo of Slate to discuss words, grammar and the english language.  Bob gets to let his hair down MUCH lower than he can on OTM, and Mike is a perfect foil for Bob’s oft-times cynical repartee.  You are entertained, and learn.  What I like most is that there is often an attempt to bring the subject matter some history, which many of us forget language has!

Jay and Silent Bob Get Old

On Smodcast and iTunes.  OK…I admit it…I’m a Kevin Smith fan.  I was obsessed with Clerks when it first came out.  I have a Clerks hockey jersey from the original video release promo (the local video store knew I was obsessed).  This is an intervention podcast, where Kevin helps keep Jason Mewes on the straight and narrow…by telling dirty sex stories, cautionary tales, and going on hilariously filthy tangents.  NOT for the weak of heart, or spirit.  Definitely for the Gen-X and Why’ers who grew up loving the foul mouthed Jay and silently-wise Silent Bob.

99% Invisible

Web and iTunes.  Genius.  Seriously.  This show has the capacity to change not just podcasts but radio as we know it.  Roman Mars talks design and architecture.  If I describe episode by episode you will probably think I’m crazy (the rules of flag design, giving names to all the areas in an urban space that have none, a big purple building) but I’ve never been so hypnotized by a show before.  RadioLab meets University Lecture after taking gentle hallucinogens.

Honorary Mention: Hometown Tales

Website and iTunes.  I love this podcast, but they’ve updated two or three times in the last year.  I’m SO glad I chose to write in when I did…one of the last ‘proper’ episodes they did (#350, possibly that last ‘proper’ episode actually) they read my hometown tales and I had a mention on the show.  I listened to this show backwards, from newest to oldest, which was an amazing experience I should write about in another blog.  If there were two guys I would want to have a beer with and talk about ‘everything’ it would be Gene and Bryan.  I’m not sure if the show is dead or just ‘temporarily inactive’ so I include it here…a show I would listen to as often as they post…so hopefully they post again!

I guess here I’ll drop in a quick note about the podcasts I do myself!  I in NO way compare mine with these, but the shows above are partly the reason I got into podcasting (and in the case of No-Budget Nightmares, the door I used to get in!)

FUZZY NOTES: My most popular show, about the music made by furries.  If you don’t know what furries are, they’re the lovable oft-misunderstood fandom of people who associate themselves with animals.  Some like to dress in costumes (most people do not, despite what the media likes to say!) and some draw art…and some do music!  I felt that there was a need for a hub for furry music, so I made one!  Over 500 downloads a week and growing, it seems to be working!

SOMETHING WEIRD THIS WAY COMES: It’s irregularly updated at this point, but I’d like to change that in the new year.  Originally a podcast about low-budget films…now about the music of low-budget films.  Here’s a link to the inaugural episode of the ‘music’ format where I play songs from the various films Moe and I had discussed in the first eight episodes of the original ‘series.’

DALE SPEAKING PODCAST: My work podcast, a show about music, musicians and the music industry from what we hope is a unique perspective!  We talk about the music industry and artists in Canada and try to identify tips, tricks and trends!

What do you think?  Any opinions on these shows?  Hate my shows and blog?  Talk to me!  Either here or in Twitter @Potoroo.


One Song, One Podcast, One Thought: Monday, June 13 2011

June 13, 2011

Welcome back!  Did you enjoy your weekend?  Are you watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs?  I am for the first time since high school.  Nax!

I also hit up a party this weekend and DJ’d me a set of Nu Disco (which I’m affectionately calling ‘Roo Disco’…heh…) and if you’d like to listen to it simply click this oddly coloured sentence!  It’s music for your ears if your ears were gaudily dressed dancers!

Anyways, onto the simple Monday blog which requires little thought on my part and even less on yours!

Song: The Wombats: Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)

Freakin’ awesome song from a freakin’ awesome band!  Their first album was practically perfect in every way, and now their second album has clearly been handcrafted with love and devotion.  Honestly, they had me four years ago with their song ‘Songs of Girls and Boys and Marsupials’…and that was just the intro to their album!  Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves) is a catchy pop tune with thick synth and a singable chorus.  If you like good songs stuck in your head…PRESS PLAY!!!

Podcast: Bands Under The Radar

In the same vein as last week, a great music podcast that gives you a glimpse into music that you may have heard of but haven’t really…heard!  Or maybe you’ve never even heard of them!  The Boxer Rebellion.  Tapes N’ Tapes.  Boy and Bear.  Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of them…they’re all pretty damned good, and BUTR can catch you up!  Also, like TripleJ Unearthed, they have an awesome app!  Check it out! 😀

Also, it helps that Kami is awesome.  Awesome hosts are awesome.


Honestly…my thoughts are everywhere today.  How come good musicians can get totally ignored by the media, and bad musicians can get all the attention (possible answers: the bad musicians have great producers, and MONEY!)  Why is radio still around when TV should’ve killed it years ago?  I mean, TV stole radio’s stars AND pretty much replaced it in the market, yet people continued to listen to the talking box.  If MySpace lost all it’s importance over five years…will Facebook do the same by 2015?

Mostly, I’m thinking about how I want to record three songs by the end of August.  I have at least one written.  I have an older song I want to give a new shot.  But when do I sit down and record them!?

…yup, you’re getting thoughts but no answers today!  I’m putting the thinking in YOUR hands!!

Soooo…what unanswered thoughts do you have today?

The Great Podcast Die-Off of 2010

May 12, 2011

Screenshots from some of Canada's Dead Podcasts

Ladies and gentlemen…I firmly believe that some sort of weapon of mass destruction was unleashed on the Internet between September 2009 and December 2010.  It was a smart bomb, that drained the passion and interest out of everyone who was sitting at their computer at the time that it went off.  There may have been multiple bombs, that I do not know, but I know one thing for certain: it knew when they would be sitting there formatting a new blog, or uploading a new podcast…

And as a result, a huge number of music podcasts and blogs just…stopped.

I noticed the phenomenon (do dooo do-do-do) earlier this year while doing research.  I was trying to find blogs who might feature a new artist’s video.  I am not kidding you…and clearly I didn’t do a sample of ALL blogs in the world…but more than half of the blogs I came across STOPPED in 2010, and by stopped I mean just that.

It was the digital equivalent of finding a steaming cup of tea and warm toast in an otherwise abandoned town.


It’s officially creepy how often I come across a music blog and I find a final post with the date 2010.  In some cases they say “This is my last post!” but in others they seem so hopeful: a review is upcoming, a show is next week, they’ll be back after the weekend.

…and now it’s happening to Podcasts too!

This is a working spreadsheet...Red is a Dead Podcast, Yellow is useless or tied to a radio show, Blue is francophone, Green is...potentially useful.

I’m trying to research music podcasts, specifically Canadian ones but I’m not picky.  I need podcasts which= will feature new music from new artists.  See that picture above and you get the point.

Some thoughts:

  • Podcasts are hard!  It takes preparation, time to record, to edit and tweak, and finally upload
  • Podcasts, like blogs, don’t offer instant gratification.  If it’s a passion then the creation is the reward…but sometimes it’s tough trying to gauge if you actually have an ‘audience.’
  • Getting your name out there isn’t as easy as signing up for iTunes.  How do you let people know that you exist? It’s disheartening to think you’re talking into an empty room.
Those three elements alone are enough to discourage anyone who’s put time and effort into a podcast.  Blogs are easier to maintain but even they can be easily cut down by time restraints, loneliness, and the inability to increase your readers.
There’s another thing to note: most existing and successful podcasts and blogs are tied to traditional media…sad to say but true.  The big internet revolution allowed thousands of budding music reporters and lovers to speak their mind, but despite the open concept it’s still radio stations, TV shows, magazines and newspapers who have the audience.
…because they already have the product, plus the equipment and time to do it. They have a trained team to upload and promote it. They have the audience to push it to.
If you think about it…the rest of us…we aren’t pushing…we’re trying desperately to pull and don’t know if the rope is tied to a cow, a dump truck, or a fan.
Some websites have tried to bridge the gap…Podcast Alley, Technorati…by acting as portals.  Though, I’m not sure even THEY have the audience they need.  You can have a nicely organized list, and use the noosphere to weed out crap, but in the end if no one knows you’re there (or what you’re there for) you’re as useful as a jello doorstop. (WTF? Tug of war with a dump truck?  Jello doorstop?  What did you eat last night, Roo?)
What to do?  Good question.  I have some ideas:
  • Blogs and Podcasts need to act like the artists we talk about…treat your creative project like a band…build a fanbase, support them, give them something other than your reviews and opinions, listen to them.  You (the reader) are hopefully a fan of me!!!  Am I doing enough to recognize you?
  • Blogs and Podcasts need to work together.  I occasionally slip (moving, work, excuse, excuse part 2) but I try to keep close ties to the two blogs closest to my type and (luckily) region – Sound In My Memory and Moon Vs. The World.  I should also branch out…cross-promote…which could help get the word out and find new fans
  • If you’re serious about what you do and want to draw people…consider putting some money in outreach.  Connect to a local radio station, even a community station, see if they would like you to do a segment on one of their shows.  Maybe start off with a local paper, or look into a regional and drop some money on a small ad for your podcast or blog.  It seems counterproductive to do a free blog on the free internet and pay a paper for advertising, but you know what they say about ‘free.’
  • Learn a ‘tiny’ bit about marketing.  Don’t take away from your creativity, but take time to educate yourself on techniques and approaches that might help you get the word out.
I love blogs, I love podcasts, and it saddens me to see them in such bad shape!  Let’s see if the next wave of new media (new wave new media?) can be a bit healthier and not all succumb to a smart bomb…or VIRUS!  Damn, I should’ve gone with the virus metaphor!
What do you think?  Am I way off base?  Did I just happen to look in the part of the online world where podcasts and blogs were sick…I mean bombed?  Let me know!!

Reading vs. Podcasts

April 27, 2011

A bit of a break from the music thing…

I became a podcast whoooore when I returned to school in early 2009.  I started listening obsessively to This American Life, to Hometown Tales, and to odds and ends here and there.  They entertained me while travelling to and from class.

I wanted to read during the long commutes but for some reason my brain was completely uninterested.  I would yawn uncontrollably, very little kept my attention (I’ve done a weird switch from Fiction to Non-Fiction, but even the most interesting books tired me out), and I read page after page without absorbing anything.

Recently, I found a way to increase brain-interest.  It’s called Kobo.

My roomie recently has found himself working with the fine folks at Kobo, and procured a first generation e-reader from them (I currently could not afford any kind of gadget…I was lucky enough to use one for free)

I was skeptical: the screen does weird things when you change pages, and I’m so used to the feel of paper and the weight of a book I thought it would be weird to read off of a little plastic slab.

So far…it’s enjoyable!  I’m not struggling to keep the pages open, or a book on my lap…people bump into me but it’s not a big deal…I can travel from streetcar to bus to subway and back and not have to force my book into a backpack, or fear of losing my place.  Also…if the book gets boring for one reason or another, I have dozens other waiting to ‘pick up.’

I’m reading ‘Musicophilia‘ by Oliver Sacks for now.  I’m tempted to check a few other music books once this one is done.  Feed my brain, perhaps?

I can’t figure out which I prefer.  Podcasts are great…but they’re almost a lazy form of entertainment.  Someone else did the work for me, so I sit and stare and listen.  I feel when I go too long without listening, Ira Glass, Gene and Bryan get lonely!  Books are more likely to help me expand my brain but sometimes are a pain in the butt to read while surrounded by noisy kids and angry old ladies.

Do you have a preference?  Do you use an e-reader and do you like it?  Are there any podcasts that catch your attention?