On the Podcasts I Listen To

Every morning at work, while I’m writing catalog copy or working on other projects, I listen to a number of podcasts, sometimes up to two or three hours worth of podcasts that will take me up through lunchtime or beyond. 🙂

So, what do I listen to?


PRI’s The World. An hourly news program co-produced by the BBC, WGBH in Boston, and Public Radio International that presents a global perspective on news to American audiences. This is a program that I usually hear a part of on the radio each day, and I listen to the podcast to get the rest of it. RSS feed.

The Progressive Point of View. Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive Magazine, ruminates on a political topic for ninety seconds each day. RSS feed.

History and Culture

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. This is broadcast on some public radio stations, but I rarely catch it so I catch up with it through the podcast. Garrison Keillor talks about important events from this day in literary history such as births and deaths of writers, books that were published, and so forth, and then he ends with a poem. RSS feed.

Colonial Williamsburg Past & Present Podcast. Don’t let the title fool you; this isn’t devoted entirely to Colonial Williamsburg. It casts a wider look at what life in Colonial America was like, from the streets of Williamsburg to the halls of power. Sometimes you get a discussion about life in a smithy, sometimes you get a discussion of Thomas Jefferson’s religion. RSS feed.

Drama of the Week. A weekly BBC podcast that spotlights one of the BBC’s radio plays. Some weeks there’s something interesting, some week there’s something not so interesting. Still, it’s interesting to see what comes up, like when Burning Both Ends landed in my feed reader one day. RSS feed.

Great Lives. A BBC podcast that gives a half-hour-long biography of an important person. RSS feed.

In Our Time. A BBC podcast hosted by Melvyn Bragg. Here’s how the BBC describes it: “The history of ideas discussed by Melvyn Bragg and guests including Philosophy, science, literature, religion, and the influence these ideas have on us today.” That covers it pretty well. It’s an hour that delves into a single topic each week as Bragg asks a panel of experts to discuss topics that range from the way we measure time to why Benjamin Franklin was a world historical figure. The archives of this podcast go back about a decade, and it covers an immense range of topics. I feel smarter because of listening to this. RSS feed.

Re:Joyce. Irish author Frank Delaney delves deep into James Joyce’s Ulysses, going through the book line by line, reference by reference. This is one of the most delightful podcasts I’ve ever listened to because Delaney is having fun with Ulysses and he brings the novel to life. RSS feed.

Secrets of Middle-Earth. Father Roderick ventures into Middle-Earth (usually riffing off of something in Lord of the Rings Online and explores some of the themes, places, and characters of Tolkien’s work. RSS feed.

The Tolkien Professor. Washington College’s Corey Olsen discusses the works of J.R.R. Tolkien with these recordings of his lectures. RSS feed.


6 Music News: Daily Download. This podcast is only available in the UK, and I have to use proxy servers to get it. It’s ten minutes of music news with a UK focus. RSS feed.

Beatles Complete on Ukulele. There are dueling podcasts with this name, and it’s exactly what the name suggests — it’s ukulele covers of Beatles songs. RSS feed.

The Beatles Complete on Ukulele. The longer-running of the two dueling podcasts that feature Beatles songs covered on the ukulele. RSS feed.

Marc Gunn’s Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Marc Gunn, the autoharpist, hosts a monthly podcast with an hour and more of Irish and Celtic music. This is a podcast that I’ll download and listen to in an afternoon when I need some background music. RSS feed.

NPR: Live in Concert. NPR posts some full concerts and the Tiny Desk Concerts on a podcast feed. Some interesting stuff turns up here like full Bon Iver, Adele, Decemberists, and Liz Phair concerts. RSS feed.

Paddy Rock. John Bowles hosts a monthly podcast with an hour or more of Celtic rock and punk music. If you like the Pogues or the Dropkick Murphys, this is the podcast you want. RSS feed.

Scotland Introducing. BBC Radio Scotland deejay Vic Galloway plays four songs from unsigned Scottish bands. I love this. RSS Feed.


SkyWatch. An astronomy podcast with a focus on discoveries by Hubble. RSS feed.

StarDate. A radio program on astronomy produced by the McDonald Observatory. Each day, an astronomical event is discussed for about two minutes. RSS feed.

Random Stuff

The Little Letter for Gaelic Learners. A BBC podcast to help people build their Scots Gaelic vocabulary. RSS Feed.

Whomix. Love the Doctor Who theme? This podcast presents new mixes of the theme in a variety of styles. RSS feed.

There are a few others that I’m subscribed to (like the Elbow podcast or the Carbon Leaf podcast), but they haven’t produced an episode in a long time.

When Doctor Who is on the air, I listen to Radio Free Skaro (RSS feed), and I’ve just downloaded the first four episodes of the spin-off podcast The Memory Cheats (RSS feed).

I’m sure there are other things I could listen to, but that would take up more of my work day. 🙂

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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