It’s officially award season and the one great advantage to this is to find a few gems that you might have missed along the way. Stitcher is an app that I’ve written about before, which hosts 20,000+ on demand radio stations. There are 16 Categories in their annual podcast awards which covers the full gamut of interests: comedy, investigative reporting, news, politics, music, food, sport, health and lifestyle, business and finance, games and hobbies, storytelling. It’s a good list to take a look at for ideas for new podcasts to download.
Certainly many of my favourite podcasts are nominated, with This American Life being nominated in a few different categories, Smodcast, Tell Em Steve Dave, Nerdist ,Mohr Stories and Fatman on Batman filling out the Best Overall Show, Best Comedy and Best Interview slots. One that I tuned into after hearing about it from the nominations list and which is up for an award in Best Overall and Most Original categories is Welcome to Night Vale.
1.Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast presented as a radio show for a fictional town called Night Vale, a town in the middle of the desert where all conspiracy theories are real. The show has been described as Lake Wobegone seen thought the eyes of Stephen King. The show has a strong fan following and a certain amount of fanfiction and art is created around the town’s characters, in particular the presenter of the show, Cecil Palmer and the scientist Carlos. Episodes are twice monthly on the 1st and 15th of the month and run to 20-30 minutes so are perfect to listen to on your journey to work. You can follow them on twitter @NightValeRadio where a typical tweet is : Life is a series of choices. None of these choices are made by you. Hold still, and let the microscopic robot insects do there work (4/1/14).
2.I didn’t think I’d be someone who would listen to a food podcast but one that caught my eye this year was Food is the New Rock. This podcast marry’ interviews, music and food in that they interview chefs about music and musicians about food. Fronted by Zach Brooks,a food blogger and Chuck P from KCRW, their 5 most downloaded podcasts of 2013 were Tenacious D, Local Natives, Nathan Followill and his wife Jessie Baylin, Yo La Tengo and Chris Cosentio. My favourite vignette from the Nathan Followill interview was about the Nathan and Caleb,along with Caleb’s wife, going to El Bulli and how they all got through the 30 tasting dish meal.
3.Nerdist podcast has been going from strength to strength this year and has interviewed a very eclectic bunch of people. Nerdist is fronted by Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira and Jonah Ray- all stand up comedians by trade, and is a conversation between these three and as they say themselves, someone more interesting. Recent interviewees have been Moby, Jon Lovtiz, Will Forte,Harrison Ford, Jerry Stahl, Kevin Feige ( the man in charge at Marvel) and Christopher Lloyd. Interviews are always funny, sometimes charming when the fandom of the interviewers towards the interviewee shines through and thoroughly entertaining.
4.Having actually studied Economics in college, I’m always interested in people who can make it’s theory interesting and that’s where those Freakonomics guys come in. Steven D. Levitt is an economist and Stephen J Dubner is a writer and together they have written books, blogs and radio shows. There’s even a movie. Their latest podcast is timely for all those new years resolutions as it is about the most efficient exercise, as most people who don’t exercise blame lack of time.
5.Risk! True Tales Boldly Told is a storytelling podcast. RISK! is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public” hosted by Kevin Allison, of the legendary TV sketch comedy troupe The State. The award-winning live show happens monthly in New York and Los Angeles. It’s featured people like Janeane Garofalo, Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin Nealon, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, Lili Taylor, Rachel Dratch, Andy Borowitz and more, dropping the act and showing a side of themselves we’ve never seen before. New shows are released on Thursdays and the show has 10 million downloads to date.