Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Podcast Time Crunch: The Best Hour (or longer) Podcasts

I've been listening to podcasts for decades. It started with Astronomy Cast and exploded from there. 

I have a couple categories of podcasts I enjoy. Many are about gaming, but the rest cover science, history, travel and entertainment. 

Current thinking on podcasts is that 15 to 30 minutes is best. I'm inclined to agree, but my habits are not rational. Many of my favorites are all at or over an hour in length. 

Let's start with the shortest, The Dis Unplugged hovers at about an hour. This one is a weekly round table show on all things Walt Disney World. Hosted by Dreams Unlimited Travel, this podcast is definitely an ensemble performance. I love hearing all the different perspectives. It's been going on for years and they have a back catalog of over 1000 episodes. 

The Dreams Unlimited gang has many shows in different travel locations. They cover Universal, Disneyland, Disney World and tangentially, many other places. I tune in for the main show plus The Best and Worst of Walt Disney World and Si, Disney, their Spanish language show. 

SI, Disney isn't a translation of other shows, it has completely different hosts and guests and offers a more global look at the House of Mouse. Most Si, Disney episodes are under an hour but a few make the hour mark. They speak nice and slow which is great for me. My Spanish comprehension skills are years out of date. Unfortunately, it's a Youtube only experience, so I have to plan ahead if I want to listen offline. 
Moving on, The History of English podcast tells the epic story of the English language. It started off at about 45 minutes but now tops out at around an hour and 10 minutes. Kevin Stroud is an excellent host for this history-focused romp through the English language. Mr. Stroud starts off way back in prehistory with a multi-episode arc on Proto-Indo-European languages. Being a history of English, he rapidly blows through Latin, proto-Germanic, and other languages on the way to French, which is how many Latin terms came to the English language. He touches on linguistics, but this commentary runs alongside the history of the people who made English what it is. 

Additionally, he has an audiobook, The History of the Alphabet. You can get it on Youtube Music for free with your monthly subscription or purchase it at retailers like Amazon. 

Froth's Thought Eater podcast was an excellent blogroll of the OSR and D&D world. Sadly, he has his last show in the can. However, he has 200+ episodes in his catalog, so start listening now before he starts recording again. No promises here, but he has the blog at the link above and I wouldn't be surprised if we got a 5-minute update from time to time. 

Jeremy "Froth" Smith's format is around the blogosphere run down on everything happening in the OSR and gaming. It's quite the show. 

(I have to say thank you to Jeremy for all of the times he mentioned my website, These Old Games. Every time made my week... or more. Thank you, again.) 

I've written about Safco Cast, the Traveller game themed show. This baby tops out at 90 minutes and it is excellent. Hosted Jeff Koenig and Bob Loftin, the back and forth chat reminds me of Astronomy Cast's Pamela and Fraser. But that's not all, they do interviews and game recaps. It's awesome!. 

I have to be honest, I suck at Traveller. I don't play it unless I'm a part of group of longtime players. I don't understand one bit of it, but Jeff and Bob make me want to grok it. I sort of get it when listening and incorporating some of the ideas and methods used for the game always seems to improve my D&D campaigns. 

Finally, the big one. 

Mike Rowe's The Way I Heard It started as a short 15 minute, Paul Harvey-style podcast that morphed into so much more. Hovering around the 90-minute mark, the show includes great stories and writing plus interviews on a great number of subjects. In addition to the regular stories and guests, Mike has been reading his autobiography chapter by chapter. 

Tune and engage, it's a lot of fun. 

Soon, I'll be looking at some other, shorter podcasts. 

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