All of this media recap madness has me in the mood for just one more round of sharing media I love to consume.  This time:  podcasts!

Do you listen to podcasts?  When they first came out I thought they were just a passing fad, but in the past few years, I have come to almost exclusively listen to podcasts.  Yes, I will occasionally listen to an audiobook, lecture series or sermon, and of course I listen to a lot of music, but when it comes to "talk radio", podcast is my preferred medium.

I can listen to them whenever I want, they update automatically through iTunes and they are great for the commute.  The only downside is that Min and I have nothing to talk about at the end of the day because we've already listened to the same stories.

Me:  "Did you hear about..."
Min:  "Yes, I listened to the podcast"
Me:  <silently eating my dinner>

Here are a few podcasts I enjoy:

Born a little before my time but still well-versed in the pop-culture and sports that were an important part of my childhood, Bill Simmons covers it all in this consistently entertaining podcast.  Possessing a savant-like knowledge of sports and communicating in fluent pop-culture-nese, I am rarely disappointed after a session of the B.S. Report.

Growing up in Canada I was more accustomed to CBC Radio than NPR, but once I discovered these NPR podcasts, I quickly made them a part of my regular talk-radio diet.  NPR Shuffle is a good place to start for a random sampling of news items and stories, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me is a fun "game show" based on current news items and often involving celebrity guests, and the Pop Culture Podcast is just what its name suggests.  Left leaning and well-produced, I have really come to appreciate the content that comes out of National Public Radio.

This is one of my favorites.  Produced by some of the staff at RELEVANT magazine (also a good magazine/website that engages the world and progressive culture through a Christian worldview), this podcast is one part nonsense (often hilarious), one part serious content (thoughtful interviews with thinkers, musicians, writers etc) and one part entertainment (there is usually a live musical performance from emerging artists).  I have come to know of many good writers and musicians as a result of this podcast and even if you don't listen for the content, the banter between the hosts is usually entertaining enough for the commute.

From the How Stuff Works folks, hosts Josh and Clark use their easy conversational style to cover an incredible broad and diverse set of topics.  Here are a few of their recent podcasts (how parkour works, how circumcision works, how mcdonald's works, who were the vikings? and who are the amish?)  Always informative, this podcast helps me learn about stuff I would almost never choose to learn about on my own initiative.  Once a week I learn something new, whether I want to or not.

The popular TED lectures are available as a weekly video podcast that you can also just listen to.  It is amazing how well these people communicate fascinating ideas in just 10 minutes or less.  Also, the ukelele rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody was pretty amazing.

The podcast that defined the genre, this is a consistently excellent program that just excels at the art of story-telling.  Last week's podcast about building superintendents contained a story about a bench-pressing snowman that had me and Min in stitches for days.  Oh and the thing about podcasts, I am always shocked when I see a picture of the host as the mental image in my head almost never corresponds with their actual appearance.  Host Ira Glass is no exception.

Mars Hill Bible Church and Tim Keller Podcast - Rob Bell and Shane Hipps are the teaching pastors at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Tim Keller is the pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.  Both approach delivering sermons in very different ways but both are excellent at what they do.  I don't think listening to sermons through podcasts will ever replace the weekly hearing of the Word in the context of a community journeying together, but it is good to occasionally hear from these diverse and excellent communicators.

There are others I listen to regularly but I think that's enough for now.  What do you enjoy listening to?

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