WTF with Mark MaronMark Maron is a standup comedian who has managed to create arguably one of the most compelling and popular podcasts out there. He started it over 5 years ago in his garage and has since recorded almost 600 episodes. WTF is basically an interview show. What sets it apart is Mark’s ability to really pull things out of the people he’s interviewing. He has a knack for pushing past the usual lame interview questions and getting into the interesting stuff. For instance the episode he recorded a few years back with Robin Williams is one of the few times you will ever hear Robin talk candidly about his own battles with depression.
Episode #106 with Robin WilliamsEpisode Link As I mentioned before, this is a rare glimpse into a side of Robin Williams that we didn’t get to see much of.
Episode 111/112 - Louis CKEpisode Link Mark and Louis are old friends and this conversation contains some great stories about their early days in the comedy business. This episode was voted by Slate Magazine as the best podcast episode of all time. No big deal.
RadiolabRadiolab is a podcast about science. Not the boring kind of science though. They typically tackle 1 topic per episode and use little narrative vignettes to tell the story. It’s really well produced and overall great.
Season 10 Episode 13 - ColorsEpisode Link
Season 9 Episode 2 - Lost & FoundEpisode Link
BullseyeBullseye is hosted by Jesse Thorn who had a long running podcast a few years ago called The Sound of Young America. Bullseye is a lot like it’s predecessor, but a little more polished. He typically interviews two different high-profile guests and includes various pop culture recommendations and reviews. My favourite part is called “The Outshot” where he recommends a classic album or movie. Jesse is a master interviewer and is great at asking really unique questions. You routinely hear his guests remark, “That’s a really great question”.
Dolly PartonEpisode Link I’ve never been a huge fan of Dolly Parton but this interview made me realize how great she really is.
Bob Newhart.Episode Link Because… Bob Newhart is awesome.
The Nerdist PodcastThe Nerdist Podcast is another interview show that typically gets really great guests. It’s hosted by Chris Hardwick, who on the surface really doesn’t seem like much of a nerd but after listening to him drop Dr. Who references into almost every show I can now accept that he is probably a nerd. He is often joined by the stand up comedians/writers Mat Mirah and Jonah Ray who are both very funny dudes.
Episode #219: Billy HardwickEpisode Link In this episode Chris interviews his dad, Professional Bowler Billy Hardwick. It's a touching episode full of great moments. Billy passed away about a year after this episode aired which adds a bit of weight to the conversation.
Episode #267: Tom HanksEpisode Link Tom Hanks - No explanation needed.
Startup PodcastI was hesitant about getting into the Startup Podcast when our co-founder, Kendall, suggested it to me. I typically don’t like listening to “entrepreneurs” blather on about stuff. However, I was instantly drawn in by their completely honest look into what happens behind the scenes at a startup. It’s hosted by Alex Bloomberg, formerly of This American Life and chronicles the journey he took when starting his own Podcast Network ,Gimlet Media, from scratch.
Notable EpisodesThey just got started so there are only 15 episodes at the time this post was published. I suggest just starting from the beginning, as the first season follows one story arc.
Reply AllReply All was the first Podcast (besides Startup) that was launched on the Gimlet Media Podcast Network mentioned in the previous entry. Basically it’s about the Internet. Not in the technical sense, but more in how human beings interact with it and how it’s changing our lives. It’s really well produced and each episode is short, so they are easy to digest.
Episode 3 - We Know what you did.Episode Link You know Popup Ads... This is about the guy that inadvertently invented them. Jerk.
This American LifeYou can’t have a Podcast list without mentioning This American Life. It’s the Canonical Podcast, hosted by veteran radio/podcast guy Ira Glass. These guys wrote the book on well produced narrative radio and with over 500 episodes there is a lot of gold to choose from.
Episode #460 - RetractionEpisode Link Remember when Mike Daisy created a one man show about Apple and the factories that make their products in China, which This American life devoted a whole episode to? When it was later revealed to be mostly made up they invited him back on the show to be confronted about his lies and explain why he did what he did. It’s fascinating.
WiretapWiretap is the Podcast version of the CBC radio show hosted by Jonathan Goldstein. He’s hilarious, his guests are hilarious and it’s always good. Listen to it.
Notable EpisodesToo many good episodes to recommend just one. Make a decision. You can do it.
InvisibiliaI just got turned on to Invisibilia. It’s hosted by two women who both sound exactly the same, so for the first few episodes I was very confused. The show is about Human Behaviour and is very similar in style and tone to Radiolab and This American Life.
How to Become BatmanEpisode Link This episode is about a blind man who taught himself to navigate the world using a system of mouth clicks.
Song Exploder is probably my favourite podcast. If you are a musician or you’re into music production, you will love it. If you aren’t a musician you will probably still find it interesting. Basically the host, Hrishikesh Hirway (best name ever) invites musicians and producers on to dissect the production of one of their songs. It provides a glimpse into some of the creative decisions and happy accidents that go into recording music. So good.
Episode 28 - The Long Winters.Episode Link I LOVE the song, "The Commander Thinks Aloud" by The Long Winters. After listening to this episode, and specifically learning about how they recorded the drums it gave me a whole new appreciation for the song.
Episode 7 - Jeff BealEpisode Link Jeff Beal is a composer who mainly does Score work for Movies and TV. In this episode he breaks down how he wrote and recorded the theme song for the TV Series House of Cards.
Bonus Podcast - The Unknown StudioIf you live in Edmonton The Unknown Studio is a must listen. Adam and Scott are funny guys that always have great local guests. They've been doing the show on and off for six seasons, which is a lot of good content.