I like to listen to podcasts. Music doesn't interest me - I'm tone deaf. Podcasts are like talk radio except I can choose my area of interest and choose hosts who aren't idiots. That's not generally an option on broadcast radio. I listen while I do housework, yardwork, work in the shop or drive. It's great just about anytime when I'm alone, don't need to concentrate too hard on my work and in the mood to learn.

I don't always listen though, often I give my full attention to my work or I prefer natural sounds.

This has changed the way I consume news. I still get most of my news in written form from the Internet, but I don't pick up as much from radio (and I don't watch TV at all). That gives me a less frenetic response to current events. I know enough about the world that I don't need fresh details every hour. I need more quality analysis and less distraction.

This American Life
I’ve been listening to This American Life on public radio since it started back in 1995. It is a mix of fiction and non-fiction always told as a story. “I laughed. I cried.“ I had a cliché moment. I don’t think there’s anything out there like it or better than it.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
When this comes up on my mp3 player, I know I'm going to enjoy the next hour. Dr. Steven Novella and his "Rogues" discuss the latest science and the state of rational thinking. More than a little irreverent, but they take reality seriously. One of my favorite podcasts.

Bill Moyers Journal
A very smart, very experienced journalist who interviews experts in detail. I often learn that what I thought I knew about an issue was wrong and/or oversimplified. I understand the world better because I listen to this. Some topics don’t interest me as much, but the intelligence makes it worthwhile to listen to anyway.

The History of Rome
A straightforward telling of what happened and when in the the Roman Empire. Made interesting by describing competing interpretations of personalities and motivations and by placing events within the sweep of history. I often listen to each podcast twice because I am unfamiliar with the names and the time line. I visualize the podcaster, Mike Duncan, with a bit of a smirk on his face as he tells his stories.

The Classic Tales Podcast
Classic short stories read by B.J. Harrison. Many stories and authors I’ve wanted to read, but never got around to.

To the Best of our Knowledge
A calm-and-rational detailed look at a topic twice per week. I've been listening to it on public radio for years.

Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena
I enjoy hearing from Brian Dunning as he blows another bit of pseudoscience out of the water. Unfortunately, in trying to make his points, he sometimes uses logical fallacies himself. Especially creating a straw-man arguments implying that a few points represent an entire concept. Many skeptics don't want to be called debunkers. Skeptoid attacks bunk every week.

Media Matters with Bob McChesney
This comes out of my hometown public radio station - WILL AM. Bob McChesney has high-powered, knowledgeable guests on every week to talk the world with special emphasis on the media. Recent guests include Naomi Klien, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. Similar to Bill Moyers Journal in that I learn that what passes for news and discussion is really just a mask covering the real issues.

Slate’s Political Gabfest
Three smart, knowledgeable and opinionated people talk about the week’s national politics. Very “inside the beltway.”

Blast the Right
A look at the talking points of the political right, addressed from the political left. Presented as arguments to use when you meet your favorite “right-winger” at the water cooler. Host Jack Clark has a confrontational style, but the facts are good and the style is exciting.

Radio Lab
A highly produced science program asking irreverent but relevant questions about science and our relationship to science.

Point of Inquiry
Calm and incisive interview show put on by the Center for Inquiry “focusing on CFI’s issues: religion, human values and the borderlands of science“.

Science Talk by Scientific American
Calm and incisive interview show put on by Scientific American. Science and technology are always interesting.

Selected Shorts
Short stories presented live at “Symphony Space” in NYC. Mostly modern fiction. Some stories can be challenging and sometimes I’m not in the mood for the story presented, but there are plenty of good ones to make it worth listening to.

Grammar Girl: quick and dirty tips for better writing
Grammar should be fun. Short interesting discussions about grammar and usage.

Stuff You Missed in History Class Podcast
I finally came up with the word to describe the hosts: glib. This show brings out the curmudgeon in me. None the less, I enjoy it and learn from it.