It’s time for my annual look at my podcast listening. Much of it’s similar to last year’s list, though there’s a few changes. So, here’s my favorite podcasts of 2020.
Since I’ve switched to mainly using a Windows laptop at home, along with my iPhone and iPad, I’ve been using iTunes for podcast software. On my mobile devices, I’m using the default Apple podcast app. I can access all of my podcasts from anywhere. iTunes also lets me add podcast feeds via RSS, though I’ve not needed to use this feature lately.
iTunes also lets me drag and drop podcasts to my Sandisk MP3 player, an iPod Shuffle-like clip-on MP3 player I bought for work. My job doesn’t allow us to use our smartphones at our desks, and our workstation computers are fairly old/locked down. Thus, I can still listen to podcasts while working.
All Songs Considered
NPR’s weekly podcast is a compilation of what they consider the most noteworthy or interesting songs of the week. A variety of music genres are included.
Ask Me Another
“Ask Me Another” is an NPR quiz show similar to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” but centered around pop culture trivia and random facts.
Code Switch is an NPR podcast that focuses on American society’s treatment of minorities. Topics covered by Code Switch range from analyzing the origins of the term “people of color” to the cultural impact of “Dora the Explorer.”
Deep in Bear Country
Deep in Bear Country is a podcast by Phil Gonzales about the long-running series of Berenstain Bears books. Gonzales adds some humor to his book reviews, and uses the books to expand upon a range of related subjects, from sexism to 1980s “He-Man” toys.
Films(trips) is a podcast by Andrew Kannegiesser and Dave Babbitt, a pair of Canadian hosts who review a wide range of movies. While all film genres are covered, the main criteria is that the next episode’s film must have something in common with the previous episode’s film, in terms of production (the same directors, actors, etc.). An example is following a review of “Superman III” with a review of a 1983 Richard Pryor movie (Pryor starred in both).
MEGASheen is a podcast by Viktor Kerney and Bussy Phillips, two gay Black men. The podcast covers sci-fi, fantasy, and comics related material.
Kerney also created the fantasy/horror webcomic “StrangeLore.”
On the Media
“On the Media” is a weekly public radio program by WNYC in New York. The podcast covers American media and issues concerning such, including journalism, corporate media, how to cover certain topics, etc. Given (as of this writing) recent political events, “On the Media” definitely isn’t short on material, or appropriate criticism.
A design podcast by Maurice Cherry, Revision Path features interviews with a variety of Black graphic designers, web developers, and other digital creators.
The podcast’s website has also recently expanded into carrying job listings, as part of supporting job-hunting Black graphic designers and other content creators.
The Vergecast is a podcast by the tech site The Verge. As such, it covers a range of consumer tech topics, including new product announcements, reviews, etc. The Vergecast also covers some tech issues like net neutrality.
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
NPR’s long-running panel quiz show airs every Saturday, covering the week’s major events. The show also features celebrity panelists for one quiz segment, “Not My Job.”
Welcome to Night Vale
“Welcome to Night Vale” is basically the TV cartoon “Gravity Falls” if it were a radio show. The premise: a radio announcer named Cecil delivers the day’s news, events, and his thoughts on life in the small desert town of Night Vale. The twist is that Night Vale’s home to numerous supernatural/horror tropes and conspiracy theories. Cecil, meanwhile, is used to or oblivious to most of the town’s oddness.
Running themes include a different musical number in the middle of each episode (by an actual rock/pop group, usually of the indie variety). There’s also some recurring plots, including Cecil’s relationship with (and eventual marriage to) Carlos, a middle-aged Latino scientist who moved to Night Vale.