O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

QOD: What Podcasts Do You Download?

Two of the questions I’ve been asked multiple times are: 1) why don’t you have a podcast? and 2) what podcasts do you listen to?

To answer #1: I’ve got enough going on already. Don’t have time to plan, record, and produce a podcast. Unless you’re interested in a podcast of me typing.

To answer #2: See below.

First, a few words about how I listen to podcasts. I have a little 2nd generation iPod shuffle (the silver one with the clip). But rarely do I listen to music on my iPod. It’s almost always podcasts. Why? I don’t know. I like to multitask, but I can’t listen to anything when I’m writing. It’s too distracting (including music). So anytime I’m doing something mindless, like working out, jogging, riding my bike to and from the office, working in the yard, or driving long distances, I like to listen to podcasts. I save them up.


Here are a few of my favorite podcasts right now. You’ll probably notice a trend:

NPR Books: A great resource for author interviews, book reviews, and other industry news, compiled from NPR programs like All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

NPR It’s All Politics: Ken Rudin and Ron Elving are NPR’s political analysts and are Washington insiders who deliver great insight into what’s going on. I got hooked on them during the presidential campaign, and they’ve proven valuable during the early days of this administration as well.


NPR Pop Culture: A wrap-up of the week’s pop culture stories from NPR’s various programming. Always good for interesting music, television, and movie news.

NPR Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me: My favorite weekly news quiz. Download it for the always-funny panel members, stay for the compelling “Not My Job” guests. I am not too proud to admit that, some day, I’d like to join Mo Rocca, Tom Bodett, PJ O’Rourke, Paula Poundstone and others as a regular panelist. A Pocket Guide writer can dream, can’t he?


Chicago Public Radio’s This American Life: One of my favorites by far. From a storytelling pespective, I’m always amazed by the stuff Ira Glass and friends are able to produce. February’s “Bad Bank” episode was brilliant, and the best explanation of the current banking crisis I’ve heard yet. If you listen to one podcast for either education or entertainment, I’d recommend this one.

Slate’s Political Gabfest: Another politics podcast that grabbed me during the election, with John Dickerson, David Plotz, and Emily Bazelon. All great writers with interesting perspectives.


The New Yorker Out Loud: I don’t subscribe to the New Yorker, but I do enjoy its weekly podcast. It features an interview with one of its writers about their work in the current issue. A good overview of the story, with occasional background into the writing/research process.

CBS Sports Fantasy Baseball Podcast: Because I’m a nerd and my big fantasy baseball keeper league auction is this Friday night. If you those last few words made absolutely no sense to you, then I won’t even try to explain why this is one of my favorite nights of the year.


Mars Hill Bible Church: Rob Bell sermons. I used to be pretty caught up, but got way behind while writing the last book. I’ve listened to other sermon podcasts over the years (Tim Keller, John Ortberg, Matt Chandler, Greg Boyd), but Rob’s are the ones that stick with me, and which I always tend to stick back to.


Those are what I’m currently downloading each week. What about you? What are your favorite podcasts?

Comments read comments(18)
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posted March 24, 2009 at 11:04 am

What, no RELEVANT podcast?Why, I’m shocked!

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Jason Boyett

posted March 24, 2009 at 11:15 am

I used to listen to Relevant pretty regularly, but it was always so LONG. And after one of the numerous month-long breaks they’ve taken, I never returned. Shocking!

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Lance Culbert

posted March 24, 2009 at 11:28 am

I don’t actually download the podcast, but I do listen to the Wait Wait stream. I love the intelligent humor combined with a news nerd’s love for trivia! :-)

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posted March 24, 2009 at 11:37 am

Remember when one of the “other” portable music player companies tried to re-brand podcasts as something Apple-neutral, like “Digital Informational Audio Delivery File Types” or some such? Marketing FAIL!Anyway. My favorite podcasts:ESPN’s “Around the Horn” – Sports are vapid and pointless, so why not have a podcast to match? That’s what I say.”Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” – I want write good.”The Onion Radio News” – Short and hilarious, much like a midget clown. The only thing funnier than The Onion Radio News is the fact that one of Amarillo’s AM radio stations plays it regularly. Glenn Beck listeners just don’t like their fear and flags mixed with surreal, silly humor.”The New Phil Hendrie Show” – Phil Hendrie makes me laugh more consistently and satisfyingly than anyone, and has done so for the last 10 years or so. He does the funny voices still, but he also has one of the most level-headed points of view I’ve heard.Plus, all the ones you mentioned.

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posted March 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I listen to way too many podcasts. I listen on at work, on the bus, shovelling snow or mowing the lawn. I’m with you on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and It’s All Politics. My other regular listens are:Relevant PodcastMars Hill Bible ChurchMars Hill Church (Mark Driscoll)Imago Dei Community (Rick McKinley)Artisan Church (in Rochester NY)Mission YearWorship CircleThis Week in TechMacBreak Weeklynet@nightYouth, Church and CultureOccasional listen/watch:John Cleese

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Nathan Reimer

posted March 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I can’t believe you left off NPR: This American Life

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posted March 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm

@nathan don’t tell Cornell, but shouldn’t we both be working.I used to listen to This American Life as well, but I was getting too far behind.

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Danny Clayton

posted March 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm

This American Life. Best. Show. Ever.Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Smart, sassy, geekily sexy.In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. 22 minutes=my bus ride.American Public Media, Prairie Home Companion’s News from Lake Wobegone. Brilliance in storytelling.You’re right—a Podcast that is TOO long isn’t good. Cadence Revolution’s workout mix. Yes, it’s dumbed down house music, but I need some mindless background if I’m at a health club.Jason–I’m on the late show with you, just found you on Twitter and discovered your writing. Went and bought PG: Apocalypse. Un-freaking-believably funny.

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Tyler Clark

posted March 24, 2009 at 1:19 pm

You can be honest about why you really don’t listen to the Relevant podcast anymore. I know. I know. It just hasn’t been the same since I left.My main podcasts:The Official Lost PodcastMy History Can Beat Up Your PoliticsNPR’s This American LifeCommon Sense with Dan CarlinThanks for reminding me about ‘Wait Wait’. Haven’t listened to it in too long.

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Jason Boyett

posted March 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm

@Nathan: Didn’t leave off This American Life. It’s produced by Chicago Public Radio, not NPR. Just sayin’@Danny: Thanks for the unfreakingbelievably kind words.@Tyler: You called it. The Relevant podcast died a little when you left. Then Jesse left, and I lost interest. (Of course, Jesse’s back now, so maybe I should re-up.)

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posted March 24, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I wish I made time for more podcasts, but I try to keep up with a few:This American Life (the “Bad Bank” was one of the first I listened to and it was a little overwhelming, but by the end I was hooked)The Moth – “features people telling true, engaging, funny, touching and eye-opening stories from their lives.”(BONUS – each episode is about 20 minutes long)Status – weekly messages from a ministry in Orlando.Status Solarium – the conversational companion podcast to the Status messagesand occasionally:TEDtalks – presentations from the TED conference

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Matthew H. John

posted March 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Lots of NPR:WNYC’s Radio Lab (definitely my favorite)This American LifePrairie Home Companion’s News from Lake WobegonMarketplace Morning ReportLiving on EarthAnd my newest is Speaking of Faith. It’s great.Oh, and I do like to catch up on Grammar Girl episodes whenever I’m on long road trips.And I used to listen to the Relevant podcast too, but once Jesse and Cara left, I lost a little bit of interest.Great post, Jason.

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posted March 24, 2009 at 7:56 pm

On the PageCreative Screenwriting MagazineDesiring GodRansomed Heart (John Eldredge)Ricky GervaisHamish and Andy

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Paul Wilkinson

posted March 24, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Mars Hill – Grand Rapids (Rob Bell)The Meeting House – Toronto (Bruxy Cavey)Woodland Hills – St. Paul (Greg Boyd)

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posted March 25, 2009 at 2:00 am

One of the great things about my job is that I get to listen to whatever I want throughout the day — normally it’s either the local news/talk station, the local NPR station, or just about any of the podcasts mentioned here. My week feels completely off without hearing “Wait, Wait”, “This American Life”, and Rob Bell.One more for the list — From WHYY in Philadelphia, “Fresh Air” has some of the most insightful interviews you will ever hear with writers, actors, artists, etc.

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posted March 25, 2009 at 3:40 am

I know you asked what do we listen to, but just to be a little ornery I’m going to put my totally irrelevant list anyway:NadaNothingNobodyum…and…hmmm…oh yes! Zero. :-)If I listen to my ipod, it’s for music. The funny thing was that it was a gift given to me for listening to church planting broadcasts. The goal was that I and others in our group would give feedback on what they were sharing. I’ve listened to a few over the past couple of years, and I still faithfully download the new ones. My favorites are about those planting unusual churches like a cowboy church or something cool like that. I just got overwhelmed. I’m already super behind on my reading of really encouraging blogs that need time to sink in due to their true profoundness.And yes, I have plenty of good reasons like running my own business/ministry, keeping up with my four year old boy, and reading blogs. Kind of hard to read a blog and listen to someone speaking all at the same time. :-)So how’s that for a tongue-in-cheek, way-too-long, honest answer?

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Angela Hart

posted March 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Another great one, that I think you might like as well, is APM Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett. See if you can find the one called The Wisdom of Tenderness from Dec 20,2007, it’s really great…but I’ve enjoyed all of them actually.

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posted March 28, 2009 at 1:09 am

New Heights Church is the only one I listen to. Yes, it's my church and yes, I just heard the sermon last week. My pastor is really great and I like to hear the sermons over because I sit with my husband and 13 & 11 year old children. I always miss something!

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