O Me of Little Faith

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?

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