Podcasts present some of the best media in the world; the very brightest of our futures, the strangest notions and the most startling warnings make their way into podcasts. In my first two Podcast Selections posts I focused on fiction, personal development and spirituality; now I will showcase an assortment of the best podcasts that cover pop culture, geek culture, counter culture and other strangeness.
The Hour has become Canada’s best interview show due the superb interviews conducted by its host, George Stroumboulopoulos. The show covers a wide range of topics that include —but are not limited to— science, politics, arts and ethics. The Hour offers both video and audio podcasts, as well as full episodes, marking it as one of the most web-savvy major television shows.
Past guests of the show have included Eckhart Tolle, David Suzuki, Jimmy Carter, Larry King, Henry Rollins, Alanis Morissette, The Smashing Pumpkins, Richard Dawkins, Al Gore, Tony Robbins, Margaret Atwood, Levar Burton, Cory Doctorow, Naomi Klein, Blue Rodeo, Stephen King, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Morgan Freeman, Moby, Spike Lee, and Margaret Cho.
The Hour is unlike any program on television. It is a hybrid of news and celebrity, reflected through in-depth conversations and dynamic production. It covers politics, the arts, entertainment, the environment, human rights, sports and more. George is one of the most respected journalists in Canada, equally comfortable speaking with a world leader as he is a rock star. He has interviewed many of the most influential and recognized people in the world.
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) creates astounding meetings of some of the world’s greatest minds. Presentations from every conceivable discipline have graced the TED stages and have revealed some genuinely world changing ideas. Like The Hour, TED Talks are available in both video and audio, but have been taken beyond that and translated into many other languages.
Scott McCloud, Pranav Mistry, Kevin Kelly, Juan Enriquez, Ray Kurzweil, Imogen Heap, Al Gore, Richard Dawkins, Jane Goodall, Tony Robbins, Aubrey de Grey, Janine Benyus, Richard Branson, Stefana Broadbent, Natalie MacMaster, Stephen Hawking, Chris Anderson, Richard Baraniuk, Dan Ariely, Peter Gabriel and Karen Armstrong have all been speakers or performers at TED.
… We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.
… TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices.
… Today, TED is therefore best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who have just two things in common: they seek a deeper understanding of the world, and they hope to turn that understanding into a better future for us all.
… Each year, the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference hosts some of the world’s most fascinating people: Trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses. These podcasts (also available in audio format) capture the most extraordinary presentations delivered from the TED stage.
Like your podcasts weird, outcast and with a dash of social responsibility? Look no further than The Viking Youth Power Hour, where you’ll be encouraged to “quit dreaming like a pussy!” The Viking Youth explore such diverse topics such as entheogens, conspiracies, music, aliens, natural buildings, comics, politics, religion, science fiction, environmentalism, Americana, whiskey, and science. The Vikings have talked with Cory Doctorow, Alex & Allyson Grey, Erik Davis, R.U. Sirius and Stuart Davis, among others. This podcast is currently on an extended break, but lots of great material is offered in the archives, and the vikings are teasing about a new episode soon. Three of my favourite episodes are “Wooing the Odd Muse“, “Erik Davis on Scientology” and “Comic Book Culture“.
The Viking Youth Power Hour covers issues that mainstream media typically ignores. Some of these efforts have included helping disseminate information on detailing ‘astro turf’ organizations efforts to undermine net neutrality, and issuing information on surviving possible future influenza outbreaks. [wiki]
Kelly Cree and Jessica Mullen produce The Popular Podcast around themes of new media, altered lifestyles, lifestreaming and academia. Their insights into online presence, monetization of content and lifestreaming are especially valuable. The podcast is anything but dry because every bit of process talk is layered with pieces of Kelly and Jessica’s lives and they clearly have a lot of fun bringing their lives and knowledge to the web.
In many ways, it has become a reason to get up in the morning (and who doesn’t need more of those?). Our goal is to support ourselves with this endeavor, since we have so much fun making it. We’re working on improving the show daily, always while documenting the process. We’ve spent a lot of time learning how to podcast and lifestream; now it seems like a good idea to share the knowledge.
We’ve reframed our focus just a bit to dig deeper into the various aspects that go into designing a podcast, lifestream, or general online presence. We cover theory (why podcast at all?), technical issues (hosting, ecommerce), lifestyle design (integrating technology into your life to improve it), and where human relationships fit in amongst all the computers.
I’m always open for great new content, so if you have any podcast suggestions for me, please leave a comment. I’ll be sure to share anything I fall in love with in future entries and through my lifestream. In my next selections entry I’ll delve into the depths of geekery with commentary podcasts on science fiction and comics.