A couple weeks ago on this blog, I mentioned a number of podcasts related to shortwave and DXing that I've been sampling. While I don't have time to listen to as many I'd like, I thought I mention a couple other podcasts I try not to miss.
If you don’t already know, “podcasting” is a very simple method to “subscribe” to an ongoing radio show or audio program and have your computer automatically download each new one as it is posted online. For years, it’s been possible to capture or digitally record streams and snatch audio archives from the internet-- IF you knew what you were doing. Now it's much easier. I use a PC program called iPodder (which is now called “Juice,” I hear). Very simple. There’s others I haven’t tried, but in general it’s not hard science. However, if you don’t have an “always on” broadband connection it could be problematic. With dial-up, you won’t be able to subscribe to many programs, and downloads could take a lot of time (and cost you some bandwidth).
Podcasting allows you to time-shift listening to radio shows you can’t usually catch, and gives you access to all sorts of amateur programmers who are going online with a wide variety of good, bad, and ugly programming. While lots of mainstream radio content is either unavailable as a podcast or requires you to give up some money to do so, there’s PLENTY of choices when it comes to subscribing to free podcasts. Too many really.
Wow. I just found out about this one this week, and it’s quite
impressive (to me). Readers of my “Adventures In Amplitude Modulation” series
should check this one out immediately. It’s a program dedicated to
medium wave (or AM radio) DXing. These guys are serious. Armed with
meaty receivers, the two hosts of this show (and many of their DX
confederates) offer up recordings of exotic AM radio reception, along
with propagation reports and the current state of the weather in outer
space. The medium wave passion is palpable in this podcast, and the
sport of hearing AM stations from other
continents is celebrated and
explained on this show. So far, the podcasts have been monthly, but now
short interval programs appear in between the full shows. And if
you didn’t already guess, this is an internet only homemade show. But the show is concise, filled with information and fun to listen to. If
you’re prone to AM DXing, after hearing a couple of these podcasts you may be tempted to save up for some high-end radio equipment.
I also talked about a few other podcasts related to DXing and shortwave listening in this post.
Way back in the mid-1960's, WKNR (otherwise known as “Keener 13") was the biggest top 40 station in Detroit. And since I grew up with Keener on my transistor radio, this is a rather appealing podcast for me. The station is long gone, but Scott Westerman’s podcast celebrates the glory days of WKNR and features air checks, interviews and stories about the artists and Detroit jocks in 60's.
Even if you didn’t grow up near Detroit and don’t remember the 1960's at all, you may find something to love in this tight and informative podcast. It’s not just nostalgia, it’s a love letter to AM top 40 radio, 60's pop, and the Motor City itself. And the airchecks are a treat. In fact, last week the Keener 13 podcast featured an extended uncut interview with the late Gene Pitney from 1965. When this podcast is good, it’s great.
I know, I've talked about this show at length on this blog, but it's so damn good that I'm going to mention it again. What's really amazing to me is his network provides a high-quality commercial-free podcast for free to the browsing public. Not only that, but the podcast is edited and posted very quickly. I’ve seen it download to my PC less than two hours after it's over. I applaud the WOR Network for being so charitable and prompt!
I’ve been listening to Lionel off and on since 1991, and over the last couple years I’ve heard a rather apolitical and irreverent talk host evolve into a eloquent gadfly relentlessly skewering the Bush Administration and the Iraq War, all without losing his warped sense of humor. And more than most, he understands the tricks and dynamics that can make talk radio compelling and powerful.
Set for Air America syndication at the end of this month, Marc Maron’s new nighttime show is already underway at his new home station in L.A. With co-host and wacky satirist Jim Earl, Maron’s show is much like his work on Morning Sedition (which I wrote about here and here). It’s a funny and freewheeling two hours which is part lefty talk radio, part late night TV talk show, and a good bit just the zany off the wall mess that Maron and Earl put together in the morning with former mates Mark Riley and Kent Jones on the Air America Network. Actually, some of Jones’ “characters” call in to Maron's show for old time’s sake.
In the few weeks this program’s been on, it’s become my favorite show
on Air America. There’s a musicality to Maron’s spirited and neurotic rants and rambling that's not unlike
free jazz at its most melodic. Let’s hope a bunch
of Air America stations pick up the program once it goes national. To be honest, The Marc Maron Show never gets on my nerves or makes me run for the knob, like a few other Air America shows I won't name. But I will say that I'm baffled and saddened that Jerry
Springer is still on the network at all. It’s obvious that some of the
bigwigs at Air America must not be listening to the radio, or they
just have no shame or pride. It's embarrassing.
Speaking of that, while Marc Maron’s show IS a podcast, it is not free. In fact, Air America would like to charge you about the same price to receive Maron’s podcast as you cough up for some crap like Rush Limbaugh on your hard drive every day (like seven bucks a month or fifty dollars a year). And considering the fact that Maron built up a huge following on Air America here in New York and around the country-- and he’s currently only on in L.A., the Air America brass know they have Maron fans by the balls. And hey, if you have some spare dough and feel generous, go ahead and pay up if you like. However, there are alternatives...
You can sample big chunks of Maron’s new show at this site, and if you have
some bittorrent software and know how to use it there are places on
the web where you can easily find archives of The Marc Maron Show.
Meanwhile, I heard a rumor that Air America has possibly found a home for Mike Malloy’s program in the New York market, at WWRL at 1600 AM. Maybe they’re just waiting for Alan Colmes’ contract to run out. As you may recall, they decided to air the vapid and moronic Satellite Sisters program at night on WLIB instead of Malloy’s because Disney/ABC held out a fat wad of cash and the Air America honchos turned weak in the knees. If Maron’s show was to run live locally it would conflict with Gary Byrd’s (non-Air America) overnight show on WLIB. Maybe, just maybe, Maron could follow Malloy on WWRL as well. One can hope.
Also, there are a number of ways to still subscribe to Air America podcasts (or at least download them) for free if you look around on the web. For example, the excellent “Ring of Fire” program (with Bobby Kennedy Jr. & Mike Papantonio) is available as a high-quality podcast on their website. And The White Rose Society site offers free podcasts of Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann (which is also one of the better lefty talk shows around). And archives of almost any Air America show can be found as torrents (or on Usenet), if you do a some searching.
Oh and in case you weren’t aware, WFMU podcasts a nice spread of shows these days. And we don’t charge a dime. You can take your pick here, and there's plenty of FMU shows I would suggest. But just to name one, I'd recommend a recent addition to the WFMU lineup-- "The Dusty Show.” It’s only one hour, and it’s good for you.