Years ago, families gathered around old timey radios and listened to plays and talk programming. At some point, radio stopped being cool and became something you listen to at your grandma’s house and in your car. Unfortunately NYU is deficient in both grandmothers and cars.
Luckily, not all hope is lost: podcasts are ideal for a listen while you’re walking and commuting. Today might just be the golden age of podcasts and has given rise to shows as diverse as news pieces, talk shows, old timey radio plays, and storytelling.
Here are some of NYU Local’s favorite podcasts, divided into NYU schools for your convenience.
For CAS : Real life and science!
This American Life
If there were an introductory course to podcasts, it would be called “This American Life.” The weekly show, produced by WBEZ Chicago and distributed by Public Radio International, serves up several acts per episode all based on a common theme. These acts include radio plays, interviews, and excerpts from other favorite podcasts like “The Moth” and “Radiolab” as well as readings from writers including David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell and the late David Rakoff.
Like “TAL,” WNYC’s “Radiolab” focuses on a single theme each week, but it tackles that theme within the realms of science and philosophy. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich do an excellent job of making science accessible to those of us who don’t really get it normally. And we’re not the only ones who think so–”Radiolab” won a Peabody award in 2010, Abumrad received the MacArthur grant in 2011, and the show is currently broadcasting its 11th season.
TISCH: Comedy, theatre, and classy celebrities
Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast
Comedian and Earwolf Comedy Podcasts co-founder Scott Aukerman hosts conversations with fellow comedians and actors. “Comedy Bang Bang,” now a TV series on IFC, usually features two or three guests, but that number often grows exponentially when any given guest pulls out his or her repertoire of characters. (Comedian Paul F. Tompkins makes for an excellent Buddy Valastro Cake Boss, Werner Herzog, and Andrew Lloyd Weber, and The League‘s Nick Kroll and SNL writer John Mulaney kill it as elderly Upper West Side divorcés Gil and George.)
The Thrilling Adventure Hour
Written and co-created by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker and released as a podcast through Nerdist Industries (which was founded by Chris Hardwick and is home to lots of cool podcasts including the original “Nerdist Podcast“), “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” is an old-school comedy radio show performed in Hollywood and sometimes on tour throughout the US. The hour features series regulars Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster, Busy Phillips, and John DiMaggio as well as special guests like Patton Oswalt, Ed Helms, and Nathan Fillion.
Glitter in the Garbage with Drew Droege
In this show, also released through Scott Aukerman’s Earwolf, host Drew Droege (of Chloe Sevigny impersonation fame) gathers with some friends for audio improv. Droege and buddies impersonate sassy celebrities except with better conversations.
GALLATIN: Concentrating on bad things and interdisciplinary reviews of the week
How did this get made?
Comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas, whose collective filmographies include roles in shows like The League, Party Down, and Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV, team up to analyze so-bad-they’re-good classics like Wild Wild West, Batman and Robin, and Leprechaun in the Hood. Rather than just making fun of bad cinema, the friends explores the movies in a fresh way, often with special guest comedians or filmmakers (Kevin Smith’s in the Wild Wild West episode!). And then, yes, they make fun of them, too.
How was your week with Julie Klausner
Marc Maron made comedy interviews personal via his podcast “WTF With Marc Maron,” where he has done some awesome candid interviews with Louis C.K. as well as Dane Cook, Bryan Cranston, Diablo Cody, and a lot of other notable people he has or has not had terrible feuds with in the past. “How Was Your Week with Julie Klausner” is in a similar vein, but more dynamic (and less feud-centric). Julie Klausner, comedian, author, and Real Housewives recapper for Vulture, opens each episode with a 20-ish minute drunk, sleepy, or food coma’d rant reviewing the week in pop culture and then has conversations with fellow comedians and performers. Special bonus: Klausner is based in New York and frequently hosts live shows at the Bell House in Gowanus!
An offshoot of “This American Life,” NPR and Chicago Public Media’s “Planet Money” also puts together reports for NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” The history with TAL is evident in Planet Money’s real-life interesting stories of things like the New York trinket trade or how Brazil turned around its economy.
American Public Media’s “Marketplace” does for finance what Radiolab does for science. It makes business accessible for even the non-business minded people. Sternies and non-Sternies can bridge the gap via stories about topics, like what makes a hit song. “Marketplace” offers a variety of options for podcast subscriptions, from morning and mid-day business updates every day, tailor-made for business students, to shows like “The Dinner Party”, which gives especially unconventional bits of news for the everyman to sound business-smart.
STEINHARDT: Education through culture
NPR sweetheart Terry Gross, AKA the absolute #1 queen of compelling interviews, talks with a wide variety of cultural figures and gathers just about everything you might want, culture-wise. A funny interview with Aziz Ansari? Check. A Maurice Sendak interview that will make you weepy? You bet. An interview so intense that Bill O’Reilly walked out of it? Yeah, that happened.
“The Moth” is a storytelling open mic competition hosted in New York and around the US, and the podcast brings it to the rest of the world. People–both famous and not–take the stage to tell true stories based on a certain theme such as Chemistry, Falling, Aftermath, or Haunted. Mike Birbiglia is a regular on the show, and lots of other cool people have been on it to share their stories–including Steve Burns of Blue’s Clues semi-fame, Kimya Dawson, and Momofuku founder/executive chef David Chang.
There are countless other podcasts, so let us know in the comment section what we’re missing! More suggestions to come.