My Favorite Ten Podcasts (with Yves on “This is Hell,” Talking about “Fake News”)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

This year I “discovered” podcasts, which means I’m pretty slow, since the very first podcast was in 2003, Christopher Lydon being the talent (and Dave Winer the techie. Lydon also launched BOPNews (sigh), storied in the blogosphere, so podcasting and blogging were intertwined, back before cosmic inflation that brought us walled gardens like iTunes and Twitter and Facebook). Be that as it may, a reader here turned me on to Mike Duncan’s History of Rome, and I began to use it — and I hope this doesn’t make me a bad person — as a sleeping aid, since Duncan, like many of the podcasters on this list, has a very soothing “radio voice.” So I would fall asleep with Caesar invading Gaul playing on my iPad, say, and wake up during the first Punic War (I would play the episodes background in time so as not to run out and wake up). And as a bonus, I could feel a sense of accomplishment, having listened and perhaps even absorbed all that history! Then I gradually began to listen to them while I was awake….

So here are my favorite ten podcasts, and I was really pleased to see or rather hear Yves on one of my favorites, This Is Hell. Other than putting Yves first, the podcasts are in no particular order. For each one, I’ve given the name of the podcast, a link to a good episode, a link to their website, and sometimes a brief comment. For some, the podcast is a side gig. For others, like Mike Duncan or The Civil War Podcast, it’s a full time job and/or a labor of live. For those especially, I encourage you to hit the tip jar.

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1. This Is Hell!: The economics of prison labor / The wrong side of fake news. From their website: “This is Hell is a weekly longform political interview program broadcast across Chicago on WNUR since 1996. Every Saturday morning, Chuck Mertz works off his news hangover by talking to the journalists, authors and activists working to make this world a slightly less hellish place.” • Yves starts at 33:33.

2. The Katie Halper Show: Matt Stoller on the rise of autocracy & Krugman, Leslie Lee on Sanders excellent identity politics. From their website: “The Katie Halper Show takes a humorous look at the news, politics, pop culture, and the arts through news segments and conversations with writers, journalists, activists, artists and political comedians.” From the younger set, and pleasantly tough-minded.

3. Foreign Policy: Hitting the Reset Button on International Order. From their iTunes page: “Foreign Policy is the world’s leading media organization dedicated to providing leaders in business, finance, and government with real time insight and analysis into global affairs. As authoritative as it is dedicated to challenging wisdom, FP is unique in its ability to bring together the powerful with those committed to speaking truth to power.” • If you want to understand The Blob — Ben Rhodes’ evocative name for the foreign policy elite — this podcast is essential listening. They’ve got NPR tote-bag voices, there’s a lot of witty repartee, a lot laughter, and a mix of clever Brits, American reporters, and foreign policy “nerds,” as they insist on calling themselves. They hate Trump, love Hillary, and they’re batshit crazy.

4. Christopher Lydon: Post-Democracy in America. From Lydon’s website: “We like to call Open Source ‘an American conversation with global attitude.’ It was the first podcast and now it’s a weekly show on WBUR. Drawing on our roots here in Boston, we’ll remind you why the city has been the capital of ideas in America since the heyday of Emerson and Thoreau in the 1840s.” • Lydon is perhaps the best interviewer of the bunch; endlessly curious, he really draws people out.

5. Harry Shearer: Le Show For The Week Of Dec. 4, 2016. Shearer writes: “Part-time New Orleans resident Harry Shearer hosts a look at the worlds of media, politics, cyberspace, sports and show business while providing an eclectic array of music along the way.” • From friend of the blog Harry Shearer, this podcast has the feel of an old-time radio show (but more like Bob and Ray than Garrison Keillor, fortunately).

6. In Our Time: The Bronze Age Collapse. From the show’s page at BBC Radio 4: “Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.” And no Oxford comma. Bad BBC. Bad! • “Melvin” (the host) makes real scholarship accessible, which is quite a gift. Oxford, Cambridge, even the red brick universities!

7. The Civil War: A History Podcast: #22 ELECTION OF 1860. From their website: “We started this podcast because we wanted to share our passion for history with others, and because we think the Civil War is not only a fascinating story from the past but is also important to understanding the America we live in today.” • This was the second podcast I started falling asleep to. It starts out with the Missouri Compromise in 1820, and now it’s up to episode #174; there are rather a lot of battles, but the podcasters give an excellent sense of “the fog of war,” and the role of accident and contingency. All the liberals playing with the matches of civil war should listen to this to get a sense of what a real Civil War entails.

8. Mike Duncan, Revolutions: 3.2-The Broken Regime. From Duncan’s website: “After completing The History of Rome podcast he studied Public History at Texas State University but dropped everything to move to Madison WI where he now changes diapers, writes short cartoon histories and produces the Revolutions Podcast.” • Starts with the English Revolution where Charles I lost his head, moves through the American and French Revolutions, then Haiti and Bolivar. Next up: 1848, and heading toward 1917. Timely!

9. Mike Duncan, The History of Rome: 043- Insert Well Known Idiom Here. From Duncan’s website: ” A weekly podcast tracing the history of the Roman Empire, beginning with Aeneas’s arrival in Italy and ending with the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Now complete! ” • A little too many great men and big battles for my taste, and not enough about economics and stuff, but then those men and battles are part of “the canon.” The well-known idiom is “crossing the Rubicon,” also highly relevant to the political antics of defeated factions today.

10. Stuff You Should Know: The Duality of Caffeine. Here’s the FAQ for “HowStuffWorks”, a media empire of which “Stuff You Should Know” is part. • Random general knowledge, and the interplay between the two hosts is terrific.

* * *

So those are my top ten podcasts of the moment. But there’s a whole world of podcasting out there. Readers, which are your favorites?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. wsa

    BBC Radio 4’s In our time remains one of my favorites. You might get an episode about an obscure event in Roman history one week, with something about quantum mechanics the next, and an author the one after that.

      1. BDBlue

        It was. I also like how he tied Thiel’s drinking of young blood to Ayn Rand and also the lack of vision for any future.

        And for a bonus, here’s the link to Curtis’ new movie Hypernormalization. Haven’t watched it yet, but really want to. He’s clearly a smart guy.

        1. bob

          The movie was very long winded and didn’t really introduce many more ideas than his earlier stuff. The interview does a better job of summing it up. I’d hesitate using that movie as an intro to his work, a lot of his older stuff is much more succinct.

          Yves and other here have noted this series in the past- Century Of The Self

          He’s brilliant, no doubt.

        2. Jeff W

          Ugh, Adam Curtis. You can see my comment here, and, more particularly, the links therein, regarding his rather dubious analysis and flatly false conclusions, at least with regard to his earlier film All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. I won’t say his films aren’t enjoyable—even mesmerizing—to watch. But, as AWOBMOLG indicates, he might not really get the topics he’s talking about.

          1. paul

            There has been increasingly less than meets the eye about Curtis’ work since ‘the mayfair set’. I tried with the trap,AWOBMOLG, Bitter Lake but there did not seem to be anything there at all for me.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a nice “get” for Chapo Trap House, Adam Curtis.

      The ones I listened to were a bit too much on gross humor, a bit too little on analysis, but clearly I need to give them a second look.

      1. sonambulo

        If you can forgive some of the silly self-mythologizing, dumb Twitter feuds and crass humor, there are some worthwhile nuggets of analysis and passionate defense of left ideals from the Chapo guys. Some of the running jokes are genuinely funny and effective skewering of establishment liberalism. The running “Democrat voice” bit at the very beginning of their first post-election episode was a much needed cathartic burst of bittersweet laughter for me and family listening in the car together at the time.

        They’ve also had several other excellent guests including Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi, Lee Fang, Sam Kriss, Matthew Karp, and Katie Halper.

  2. Masonk and

    One podcast (albeit behind a paywall) that I think deserves a mention here is Radio War Nerd, which is from the journalist Mark Ames and the journalist/author John Dolan a.k.a. the War Nerd (a.k.a. Gary Bretcher).

    They do an excellent round up of global conflict and usually bring on a guest to do an extended piece about a specific conflict (or if there is no guest they pick a theme or historical conflict to cover).

    I think they do a nice critical analysis of the surprising amount of wars and violence that occurs all over the world, much of which is rarely covered by msm.

      1. rusti

        I’ll echo this recommendation. In addition to the two of them being really good sources of information they’ve had a long series of fantastic guests. Well worth the few bucks it costs to become a subscriber for several hours of quality content each week.

    1. Swendr

      Agreed. Kick a few bucks to the RWN crew and help keep the War Nerd flush while he and Mrs. War Nerd are abroad. Well worth a pittance.

      Also, let me put in a plug for Sean’s Russia Blog’s Podcast, available free on itunes, but worth a donation. Sean Guillory is doing the world a great service making Russian culture and politics accessible to dumb westerners like me without the propaganda spin we get most places. Plus he gets killer interviews.

        1. Listen to the bombs

          War nerd is the only podcast i even pay attention to. It is well worth it. In addition his books are just fantastic and i would say that they give you the perfect understanding of the ideas behind the podcasts. For Naked Capitalism readers these books are recommeded reading for another dimension of the links like syriaqistan.

  3. Hans Suter

    the already named Doug Henwood and Chuck Mertz, Dick Wolf’s Economic Update, Longform, Scheer Intelligence, Salmon’s Slate Money and Exchanges at Goldman Sachs, all via iTunes

  4. Precious Jeffers

    Tom O’briens ‘From Alpha To Omega ‘ podcast is excellent. Lots of political economy from a Marxist / Post-keynesian point of view. There is also a good deal of random very interesting other stuff thrown in the mix too.

  5. Simon

    +1 for Chapo Trap House — leftist political commentary that’s both incisive and incredibly funny. The hosts put a layer of irony over a lot of things they say, but their underlying passion is obvious and infectious.

    I also listen to “Keepin it 1600” and “Vox’s The Weeds” in order to keep up with what boringly milquetoast liberals think about the current state of things. Not the most thrilling shows in the world, but they serve their purpose.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for conservative/ultra-conservative shows to keep up with what they’re thinking? Preferably one that only comes out once a week or so (ain’t no one got time to listen to that every day)

  6. Steve H.

    Jalen & Jacoby

    Technically, sports and pop culture. But they clearly like each other, are united in a love of music, and have wisdom coming from experience of disparate cultures within America. Jacoby’s a white guy who stood out in the crowd at early hip-hop shows, and Jalen’s talent and drive means he went from poor to rich-but-black.

    It should be old news, but when Phil Jackson mouths off about LeBron and his business associates being a ‘posse’ it is crystal clear that even the wise don’t get that the game is no longer just on the court. Entertainment can be turned into power, and J&J bring awareness on the mechanisms.

    And it is fun. That too.

  7. craazyman

    those are all boring. People yacking about politics and economics? Oy vey make me yawn and then lose consciousness,.

    try the woo woo foo foo podcasts like “Where did the road go?”

    These are about strange animals people see in the woods that disappear while you’re looking at them. A woman who was deer hunting sitting up in a tree and looked at another tree and saw a weird figure wrapped in plastic among the branches. Then it disappeared! I think ti flew away. Flying humanoids are always of interest. Sometimes they just float in the sky rather than flap their arms like wings. Usually there’s a pungent smell associated with sitings of weird things like bigfoot. Also people have missing time experiences and get temporarily lost in other dimensions where they have contact with strange entities. That last example is a little like politics I guess.

  8. DJG

    This Is Hell truly is a weird local gem. I hope that Yves had fun with Chuck Merz and gang, who are very sharp but also sometimes make a mess of their studio and the recording (and admit to it). Also recommended: Jeff Dorchen’s Moment of Truth, a regular feature in Hell.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    OK I’ll be the neo-luddite. I have not yet discovered podcasts but I was intrigued by the one about Bronze Age collapse. The directions at the website said to just mouse over the title and click play but that didn’t work when I tried it. Do you have to have iTunes on your computer for it to work? If so is there any drawback to downloading that program?

    For the technologically challenged like myself who are interested in this subject, I found 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed to be a pretty decent read. No groundbreaking discoveries but a very good rundown on the scholarship. The author does tend to project current events onto ancient history at times but not flagrantly so. Couldn’t hurt to heed Cassandra a little more…

    And Lambert I always appreciate the prominently placed archaeology and physics links!

    1. pricklyone

      The ones linked to on itunes do require you to have itunes. Try searching for the original author of the podcast, lots of times it is also on their personal blog, or on YouTube.
      I don’t like itunes, so it is not on my Wintel machine. Probably no more harmful than anything else social media wise.

    2. pricklyone

      The version linked to on the BBC site, (not the itunes site) worked fine here. Sometimes, they are reliant on Adobe Flash, and I cannot see or hear media, but not the case with this one.
      When you click on the “play” arrow icon, does it refer you to a new page?

    3. Odysseus

      @lyman alpha blob – you’re not the only one. I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would listen to podcasts. Way too slow for information transfer, and way too high maintenance.

      That said, I did get through about 40 episodes of Welcome to Night Vale.

      1. rusti

        Podcasts and Audiobooks are wonderful when doing menial tasks. I live alone and spend a lot of time doing things like chopping vegetables, cleaning and washing dishes and listen for at least an hour per day on average.

        It was also a very powerful tool when I was trying to reach higher proficiency levels in my second language because there is such a wide variety of subject matter to build vocabulary in different areas.

    4. rusti

      Do you have to have iTunes on your computer for it to work? If so is there any drawback to downloading that program?

      No, you don’t have to download iTunes to listen to podcasts, but it is one of many programs that can manage downloading and playing episodes. What device would you like to listen to them on? I used to use iTunes but find it counterintuitive and think it has a lousy interface, so on my Android phone I use the “Podcast Addict” app, which includes a search engine, episode manager and player.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The iTunes “store” interface is horrid. I have a theory that Apple discovered they could get away with a shitty UI/UX with iTunes, tossed the Mac Human Interface Guidlines, and the crapification that is iOS began.

        1. Lord Koos

          iTunes seems to get worse with every major software release, the interface is worse than it once was, and every nagging effort is made to get you into the iTunes store. I use it since I own an iphone, but as little as possible. If you like listening to podcasts, the easiest way might be on your cell phone, there are many free apps that make it easy to subscribe to podcasts and then automatically download them.

        2. bob

          Kill apple with fire.

          iTunes has always been terrible. Better than others? Maybe. But now, they’re the only market in town.

          I still use winamp. It’s not great, but does the job, and only the job. iTunes erasing your local music, and then making you “stream” your music, was just the latest flub.

          Didn’t hear anything about that? Not surprised.

    5. lyman

      Thanks for the tips everyone! And now I notice that you can go to itunes or to the website directly and just listen from there.

      The other reason I asked about itunes is that I bought an ipod for my significant other a couple years ago because she told me she would use it while exercising all the time. It’s still in the box. I think I’ll regift it to her again this year and see if it gets more use ;)

      1. TheCatSaid

        I am still trying w/o success. How to listen after “go to itunes” if I don’t have itunes installed? On the This is Hell website there isn’t a link for this individual show (whereas others have an episode number). What’s the secret sauce to listen w/o installing itunes?

        1. bob

          They use soundcloud for hosting the files. Listening while connected to the internet is no biggie, but downloading can be a PITA, without a “sign up” to soundcloud.

          TIH does have a good “feature” where you can download the show, via the show website, without a soundcloud log in.

          1. beth

            It may be no biggie but I still don’t know how to access Yves podcast. Could you add steps? No I don’t use iTunes SoundCloud.

            1. bob

              itunes does not equal soundcloud. Different things/places.

              I could try to give directions, but what are you trying to do it with? What are you trying to do? If you just want to listen, click the link. Downloading, so that you can listen while offline is more complicated.

              Tech support on comment threads rarely works outs well.

    6. donknowitall

      Eric Kline, the author of 1177BC, has a public lecture online in the Youtube channel of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute lectures. He is an entertaining public speaker. The Oriental Institute channel is actually a lot of fun because it has a lot of lectures and covers a lot of ground from economics and debt in ancient Rome to the status of women in Babylon. The lectures play right in the browser and no iTunes client required.

      Two more podcasts on iTunes for your consideration which I enjoyed a lot were “Norman Centuries” and “Twelve Byzantine Rulers” about a period in History we don’t hear a lot about.

      The website links you mention actually are just meant to activate your computer’s iTunes player which then takes you the the BBC4 page and you get to choose the podcast you want to play so you do have to have iTunes installed in your PC (the Mac already comes with it installed). My understanding is that iTunes is well behaved on the PC.

  10. JEHR

    I walk a few kilometres each morning and have my iPod right full of (free) podcasts. Some of my favourites from iTunes are The Taxcast by Tax Justice Network (tells where the offshore money is and how journalists expose same); Global Research (on many interesting topics, politics, environment, etc.); The History of England (from the dark recesses of the past to the present); Profile (interesting biographies); The Documentary (on wide range of topics); Escape Pod (science fiction from today’s authors); Writers and Company from CBC Radio (Eleanor Wachtel is the best interviewer of authors). If you go to the iTunes store and search for free iPod articles, there are a lot more items to choose from–A Great Resource.

  11. Marilyn

    Inquiring Minds from Mother Jones is one of my favorites. …”understand the world around you through science and critical thinking”

  12. kj1313

    Love Katie Halper, & Chapo so much I became their patreon supporter. I will check out all the other podcasts mentioned here.

  13. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

    I’m a big fan of the No Agenda show. Hard to sum up succintly, but let me try: It’s two guys, with “morning zoo” radio style trappings (like funny sound effects used to accentuate a point) deconstucting the news of the day. For each show (Sunday and Thursday, about 3 hours per show) Adam and John each bring a set of audio clips of recent news. They play the clips and discuss then. They often have several different takes on the same story (e.g from CBS, FOX, NPR, etc.) which they compare to show whatever bias may be inherent in each. It can be quite irreverent and not to everyone’s taste, I suspect. I disagree with some of their takes (e.g. on gunz and climate), but still listen because I feel like I get the best of TV news from them without having to actually watch TV.

    I also like that N. A. is listener supported. They don’t have formal advertisers, so they can speak pretty freely without fear of advertisers pulling out. They take monetary donations from listeners to produce the shows. They also have a system for people to create and submit new cover artwork for each podcast show.

  14. Pavel

    Small reminiscence: in 2000 or 2001 I was in a Japanese hot springs lounge (with recliner chairs and headsets to listen with)… there is a cable radio channel called Usen 440 and first stumbled on Harry Shearer’s Le Show. At the time it was radio only but now of course it is a fantastic podcast and one of the highlights of my week.

    I listen to a variety of podcasts (being a non-TV consumer I have more time than most perhaps) and they range from comedy to finance to politics to film. Of special note I’d recommend:

    * Dan Carlin’s Common Sense:

    He’s been called a lot of things, but no one says that Dan Carlin is boring. His two long-running podcasts are among the most popular in the world. Part storyteller, part analyst, Carlin has mastered the art of looking at subjects from multiple angles and dissecting and thinking about them in original ways. He isn’t afraid to go deep or to inject historical context into modern debates. Whether it’s history or current events he’s discussing, his passion is contagious, his approach refreshing and his ideas tickle your brain in all the right places. He’ll make you mad too. You’ll like it.

    I can’t remember how I found him, but he is very intelligent and relentlessly non-partisan (rather like NC).

    * The Scott Horton Show (“Antiwar Radio”)

    Scott comes at foreign policy from a libertarian perspective which will rile many here, I suspect, but he has an amazing grasp of history and is absolutely anti-war. He has great interviewees e.g. Ray McGovern, Patrick Cockburn, Gareth Porter, and many others. He provides absolutely the best coverage of Mideast and Russian affairs that I know.

    Scott Horton Interviews Archive

    1. Dan

      Was wondering if anyone would mention Dan Carlin. I love both his Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts. Heartily second the Common Sense recommendation for any fan of this site.

  15. Fool

    I also didn’t do podcasts before 2016, but now I never miss an episode of Radio War Nerd or Chapo Trap House.

    1. mookie

      Ha, I came here to say the same! I have limited time for podcasts and these two fill my needs.

      If I had to choose I prefer RWN to Chapo but both are good. I donate monthly to Radio War Nerd and Naked Capitalism.

      The most recent episode of Chapo Trap House featured Adam Curtis and was a high water mark for the show thus far.

  16. Ciaran

    Kpfa’s “Against the grain” and “Letters and politics” are available as podcasts and are definitely worth checking out.

    The FT has some good podcasts as well.

  17. Inert_Bert

    This is a great post/thread.

    I’ll second Chapo Trap House. It is a bit of a nestingdoll of (quite rude) injokes though so be warned. The curtis interview mentioned above is good and accessible by their standards and the post-election episode –58– was great.

    The nostalgia trap is a podcast that moves in the same circles as a lot of the new political podcasts but has a bit more of a biographical angle. That way you get more complete picture the interviewee’s politics. I really enjoyed the episode with Freddie de Boer (episode 44).

  18. norm de plume

    I second the recs for:

    In Our Time – great archive divided into Science, History, Arts etc

    From Alpha to Omega (genial host O’Brien talks to Keen, Varoufakis, Kelton, Black, Wray, Foss, Orlov, Pilkington, et al) and

    Revolutions and Rome – Duncan is primus inter pares among history podcasters.

    Duncan pays credit to Lars Brownworth and his pioneering Byzantine and Norman podcasts and I would also mention Scott Chesworth’s The Ancient World

    I have lately enjoyed the amusing company of two young and very English amateur historians who have run thru all the English/British monarchs since Alfred the Great, giving them ratings for a range of qualities (scandal included) and deciding if they have what they call The Rex Factor Spoiler alert – the eventual grand final winner is Henry II.

    Last but not least is the fascinating History of English podcast from Kevin Stroud, whose History of the Alphabet is even more engrossing but will cost 10 bucks on iTunes.

    I too fall asleep under the influence of podcast… passing out say when Charles I’s pigheadedness finally leads to his execution and waking up suddenly when James II’s pigheadedness leads to the end of the Stuart line. It is a job to go back and work out exactly where I nodded off..

  19. YY

    Late Night Live on ABC Radio National (Philip Adams on Australian Broadcasting podcast) recommended.
    I have a podcast feed of about 50 subscriptions that are picked up by my podcast application which is not i-Tunes. Current app is gPodder, can also recommend Juice as a podcast application . Refuse to use i-Tunes for any other purpose than resetting the i-Pod, which is usually connected via Copy Trans Manager to the PC. Please if at all possible I urge non i-Tunes way of subscribing. Most podcasts still have RSS or other information to allow a non-iTunes subscription. This is important as i-Tunes should not become the monopoly of podcast feeds. As someone who started listening to mp3 audio (eg. Democracy Now mp3 feed predates i-Tunes) on a Diamond Rio (the 2nd model), I’ve looked upon with both horror and admiration the success that Apple as had in taking over this convenient technology. Diversity is of supply and access is important, thinks a facebook refusnik.

    1. Cry Shop

      Hear, hear! I’m glad Google quit the rss business for the same reasons, though they did significant damage to the alternative reader market before they did. If Apple ever gets a monopoly, then next step is some sort of Fecesbook filtering of “false news”, etc.

  20. Steve C

    99 Percent Invisible connects history, culture and curiosities with design and some really interesting characters. Things like the enormous light towers from more than 100 years ago that still exist in Austin, Tex., or why Salt Lake City has such enormous blocks. 99 Percent Invisible

  21. Steve C

    The StrongTowns podcast explores how to make towns work, how suburbanization is a product of government policy and why it is financially unsustainable. One factoid I gleaned from StrongTowns is that even the most neglected, rundown traditional Main Street downtown produces far more property tax revenue than the same acreage of big box development, with less cost in infrastructure, such as highways, water and sewer. Big boxes are favored by entrenched federal and state transportation subsidies and a variety of local tax incentives, just to name a few of their advantages. StrongTowns approaches these issues from a similar framework as The American Conservative, to which NC often links. Don’t always agree, but often derive valuable insights.

    StrongTowns podcast.

  22. @davidrankin

    Sam Seder’s The Majority Report. 30-40 min interviews with academics and journalists with a focus on US politics — very informative and funny. Definitely get into this one. Mon-Fri daily.

    Doug Henwood’s Behind the News. Each episode is usually two 30-minute interviews on world politics with excellent guests.

    Those two and Chapo I usually never miss an episode.

    Other than that, lots of other good ones I try to catch most episodes: NovaraFM, Against the Grain, Unanimous Dissent, Belabored, Canadaland, Longform, The Nostalgia Trap, The Benjamin Dixon Show. Also check out the podcast called New Books Network — daily hourlong interviews with authors of new books out from university presses.

  23. JamieGriff

    Podcast pioneer KMO has been putting out the C-Realm podcast for over 10 years now. Themes have included peak oil, technological unemployment, artificial intelligence, the collapse of industrial civilisation and, yes, Trump. Interviews with the likes of Nicole Foss, John Michael Greer (the Archdruid) and NC regular Gaius Publius pepper the archive.

  24. dontknowitall

    Can someone explain why my comment just disappeared, as far a I can see there was nothing outrageous about it and no links.

  25. twonine

    Not a podcast but John Kenneth Galbraith’s “Age of Uncertainty” on youtube is good for “sleep and learn”.

  26. Vero

    I co-sign on Sam Seder’s Majority Report and would also add the other podcast under their channel, 2 Dope Boys & a Podcast. It’s a culture/insights podcast but it breaks into politics and economics in a really grounded way. I believe one of the host is also former GS…they interviewed Rana Foroohar author of Makers & Takers and it was great…grounded and relevant with perspective you don’t often hear..

  27. Wes

    Because this list contains episodes from some of my personal favorites, I will drop a couple more suggestions here that you might also find interesting and/or stimulating:

    1) The Glenn Show – Listen to a self-described “ivory tower,” liberal, Ivy League-credentialed professor of economics indulge his own more-controversial intellectual curiosities on popular current affairs while generally having to defend himself from accusations from other academics of being an “Uncle Tom” and other liberal criticisms of his research. Yes, he’s black, he’s liberal, he’s an academic, and so his his primary guest-host. This is a rare treat even if you disagree with him.

    2) Waking Up by Sam Harris – one of the more popular liberal podcasts out there, Sam Harris, an atheist boasting best-seller publications with academic interests in human consciousness, intelligence, and spirituality, has cause quite a stir in liberal circles over the years for repeatedly claiming that radical Islamism and jihadism are based on and fundamentally inexplicable without dangerous religious beliefs inherent in particularly dangerous strains of contemporary Islam, takung intentional aim at liberal commentators or analysts who focus entirely on so-called “terrestrial” explanations to the dismisall and/exclusion of religious belief as an or the principal factor in some humans’ behavior. When not attempting to tackle Western struggles to understand the Islamic world, Harris takes on topics as wide-ranging as the future and implications of technology and artificial intelligence, the nature of human empathy and compassion, and modern spirituality without religious belief.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      “Yes, he’s black, he’s liberal, he’s an academic, and so [is] his primary guest-host. This is a rare treat”

      This comes off in a way that sounds really quite odd. Maybe an accident of drafting?

      1. Wes

        Absolutely not. How many other black podcasts been listened in this comments section? It’s very relevant information, if only for that reason. How many of those podcasts are economics and race?

  28. David Green

    Unauthorized Disclosure with Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola. Smart and appropriately funny in covering not-so-funny issues.

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