Entertaining (or educational) Podcasts for doing dishes

I’m still new to the whole Apple environment having never subscribed to any audio streaming stuff. So I’m looking for podcasts, or “audio stuff” that I can stream from my iPad when I’m cleaning the house. Comedy, science, fiction… any suggestions on stuff that’s interesting or fun for a nerd?

OK I downloaded a few to my PC (iTunes) and I can’t find a podcast thing anywhere on my iPad. Help!

A couple of the ones that I tend to listen to:

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics – long title, but descriptive. The narrator takes modern-day political doings and compares them to similar situations that have occurred in US history… like whether or not a debate can be a game-changer, or whether picking a VP to carry a state you would not have won otherwise is a good idea or not. If you’re not interested in politics, the narrator’s voice may put you to sleep, but it is well-researched and wonks like myself find it fascinating.

Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me – the podcast version of the NPR radio show. Hilarious.

This American Life – same deal.

Skeptoid – a critical examination (not always a debunking) of pop-culture or urban myths or just ghost stories. It varies in quality and his “clip shows” where he answers student questions can be a little too snarky, but overall this is worthwhile and educational.

If you’re using iOS 6, there should be a separate podcasts app (it’s purple and looks like an “i” with radio waves emanating from it. If you’re not on iOS 6, it’s a separate field under “More” in the Music app (or whatever it’s called on iPad). You may have to edit the fields to get “podcasts” to show up.

As for specific recommendations:


Wait, Wait… as recommended above.
The Bugle - Transatlantic news satire/silliness with John Oliver and Andy Zaltzmann
Answer Me This - Semi-serious advice show, but mostly comedy
Almost anything from Maximum Fun - especially Judge John Hodgman Jordan, Jesse, Go! and International Waters
Thrilling Adventure Hour - Brilliant spoof of 30s adventure radio serials - definitely start from the beginning with this one.
Nerdist - Interviews with actors, comedians and others

The Skeptic’s Guide To The Univere - Science and skepticism news and views
Little Atoms - As above, but from the other side of the Atlantic
Science Friday - NPR’s show in podcast form
Astronomy Cast - A mix of topic-specific education and news
Nature - Weekly podcast from the science journal
Point of Inquiry - Mostly interviews with authors of books about the intersection of science and politics
Science Weekly - The Guardian’s science podcast, mostly news and interviews
Radiolab - The WNYC radio show

I’ll second (or third, or whatever) Wait Wait, This American Life, and Radiolab. I’ve still got a huge Radiolab backlog to work through sitting in my iTunes.

Most of my favourites have been listed already, I also like WTF, Improv for Humans, Comedy Bang Bang and Wiretap though!

If you like music I’d highly recommend Never Not Funny Presents: Rock Solid.

Two funny guys (and their producer) discussing music and playing clips with a theme each week. One of the hosts is your stereo typical classic rock guy while the other is an indie rock guy. They’re both very funny.

If there aren’t kids around, I would recommend My Brother, My Brother, and Me for a comedy podcast. The most recent episode (“Tuggies”) is a great example. They discussed why birds are crappy pets, except falcons; gave a eulogy for the guy who invented Mad Libs; and dropped a Pepsiman reference.

Just remembered another good science one: Star Talk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’m not a big fan of the current production style of Tyson doing a longform interview with someone, but presenting it as a discussion about the interview with a co-host. But if you can handle Radiolab’s production style, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

In Our Time by BBC 4 is dense with information if you can stomach the rather dry and academic presentation. I really like episodes about historical figures or the development of particular ideas.

If you are geeky or nerdy pretty much anything produced by the 5by5 network is great. These are really well produced shows.

The Flop House is a very funny review of films which have not done well. The back catalogue for this show is a riot.

You Look Nice today is a wonderful comedy podcast. I’m doing “The Fishstick” now, just thinking about it.

I love Roderick on the Line, which is a weekly wide-ranging discussion between rock-god John Roderick and hyperactive raconteur Merlin Mann, a 5by5 alumni. This is easily the most delightfully offensive podcast I listen to.

The Pod F Tompkast is a comedy podcast by Paul F Tompkins. I really like his gentle and infectious style of humour, and his improvised ramblings at the start of the show accompanied by improvised piano are clever.

Edit: Ooh ooh forgot…

The two Quarter to Three podcasts are really great too. The Quarter to Three Movie Podcast is always wonderful, with Tom and Dingus coming at movies with an L.A. perspective and tons of experience, and Kelly Wand from a baked perspective. The “Opsis” movie summary each episode is amazing. The Quarter to Three Gaming Podcast is a really general games podcast. Tom gets to show what a talented interviewer he is when they have guests, and Jason McMaster is the most laid-back co-host, who gets the dud jobs.

Go to your music app, click on the More button, click on Podcast. (Assuming the music app is just like on the iphone…)

Awesome list and thanks for the help! I grabbed Comedy Bang Bang first as I’d heard Paul F. Tompkins doing Ice-T and it was so funny.

If you have any remote inkling to learn more about crocodiles, you might be interested in the CrocLog Podcast. Recorded on a fairly irregular basis, it contains shocking revelations about crocodiles that you would never have suspected. And given that we make absolutely no money whatsoever from putting it together, I have no problem in spruiking it. ;)