Archive Opinion The Orion

Podcast aside your radio

January 1, 2007

I have officially given up listening to the radio.

Outside the occasional San Francisco Giants game on the radio, I have no reason or need to. The songs I want to listen to are all on my iPod, and now even some of the TV shows I’ve missed are waiting for me to download for free.

I’m not talking about LimeWire; I’m talking about podcasting.

Rather than being held hostage during my daily commute, I’m entertained for free while escaping the monotonous corporate broken record that is commercial radio.

Podcasting is a time-shifted medium. It can be listened to whenever and wherever the listener gets to it – even if it’s six months later.

Another way it’s separate from the bland mess that comes over the airwaves every day is the way it’s delivered. All it takes is a free program, such as iTunes or Doppler, and a click to subscribe to the feed. From there, new episodes are sent directly to your computer and eventually to an MP3 player, if you so choose.

I could go on about the wonders of podcasting, but here are a few listening recommendations to immerse you in the wonders of free media.

Never Not Funny

Comedians Jimmy Pardo and Mike Schmidt shoot the breeze with producer Matt Belknap for an hour each week with no sign of a script or a point. Stories like Schmidt’s helicopter surprise for his wife and Pardo’s tryst with 1980s pop star Tiffany are just a sample of what happens when three men let loose for an hour.

Chronicle Podcasts: Correct me if I’m Wrong

The Orion hears complaints about what goes in the paper from readers all the time, but nothing like what comes on the San Francisco Chronicle’s voicemail. The actual messages from readers cover everything from a cat-sitter killing conspiracy to why the United States should surrender to Russia so we aren’t nuked.

Mac OS Ken

The best news show for news about everything related to Apple and the iPod. A brilliant blend of news and sarcasm bring the latest rumors, products and legal disputes about the Mac-maker every weekday. It blows rival Inside Mac Radio out of the water.

Real Time with Bill Maher

You don’t have to subscribe to HBO to hear some of the most informed and opinionated debate on anywhere. The b.s. is swept away through intense and heated discussions, leaving the facts to be easily found by the audience. There are also numerous bonus podcasts that go beyond the weekly hour. Sadly, there is no video involved with any of them.

David Lawrence’s Personal Netcast

Six nights a week, radio host and tech guru David Lawrence gives 10 minutes and 46 seconds of essentially everything under the sun. Whether it’s about his latest forays into the short film industry, helping listeners with their computer issues or discussing the sad state of the Federal Communications Commission, Lawrence always makes it interesting.

MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann

This is a strongly opinionated and short clip from Olbermann’s evening newscast, mostly taken from the fallout of the latest Bush administration blunder. But forget about politics for a moment and just listen to the eloquent delivery of his attacks. It’s a style and sophistication that isn’t heard often enough in today’s media mess.