PodJax II: The Hosts with the Most


A few months ago I regaled you with tales of other people’s tales in my inaugural post of favorite podcasts.

I’ve added quite a few new shows to my iPhone since then, so an audio update is in order. In this edition, the common thread among all of these shows is they have great hosts as well as subject matter. It’s an important note, since podcast hosts are much more than mouthpieces… they’re also the writers, editors, producers, and promoters of their own original content.

That said, here are the four shows currently on the top of my Play Next queue. Let me know what you’re listening to, too.

https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/shrinknp_400_400/p/8/000/299/355/10062a4.jpgCrime Time

A ‘cast after my own true-crime heart, Crime Time covers current events in crime news, analyzes trials, and discusses possible legal scenarios as crimes are investigated and tried. It’s presented in either a panel or one-on-one interview format with host Allison Hope Weiner, who keeps a good pace: reining in her guests in with a polite lasso and always keeping a set of well-prepared questions on hand (she’s a writer, so of course she does). This makes for a meatier podcast than most in this genre…opinions are given and discussed, but the facts serve as a strong scaffold for these often contentious conversations, so they don’t skid off the rails.

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/660065357822980096/mgq-eRU6.jpgAngry Mancave

Focusing on politics, sports, and current events, Angry Mancave also serves up a healthy portion of culture in the form of music, movie, and book reviews, with plenty of nostalgia on the side. This podcast is hosted by two old friends of mine, Scott Eck and Pete Maguire, both of whom work in multimedia trades and also happen to have great radio voices. That sets the ‘Angry Mancavers’ above a lot of other free-form style shows; it’s also polished, planned, and diverse enough in topic for a wide variety of listeners, even Angry Wo-mancavers like myself.

https://i0.wp.com/www.projectarchivist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/10390140_10152453890886113_241651847947373593_n.jpgSword & Scale

Another true crime podcast that perhaps isn’t for everyone, as it’s graphic as hell. But if deep-dives on crimes of the near and distant past are your bag — and at 10 million downloads, Sword & Scale is apparently a lot of people’s bags — give it a try. It’s professionally researched, written, and narrated by show-runner Mike Boudet, who also uses music by unsigned or free-range artists in each episode, which adds a really nice (and unexpected) layer of depth.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 10.42.56 AM/Filmcast

/Filmcast (‘Slash-Filmcast’) is the official podcast of Slashfilm.com, hosted by film bloggers/reviewers/journos David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Jeff Cannata. While most episodes revolve around the review of a current film, the first half of each show starts with a recap of the hosts’ media consumption from the previous week. That’s downright helpful in a mostly-streaming household, especially on a slow TV night, when it comes to Hulu and Netflix recommendations.


And now, a couple of PodJax updates:


Season Two of Serial is rumored to be dropping in ‘fall 2015…’ it being November 24, this could mean it’s coming tomorrow. Or in three months; who knows. Keep an eye (or ear) out for the next installment, which will be covering the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl story.


It looks as though we’ll have to wait until summer 2016 for new episodes, but reddit is abuzz with news that a third host is being added.

PodJax: This is What I’m Listening to. You?

I’ve been a listener for decades. As a kid, I had a weird fascination with talk radio that used to drive my friends batty at sleepovers. That obsession stretched into adulthood; I usually listen to some radio or pod-based talk show every night as I drift off, I often have my phone propped up on a shelf playing a podcast episode while I’m in the shower, audiobooks aren’t relegated to plane trips, and I have multiple NPR stations pre-set in my car; in fact, I’m now at the point at which I can listen to NPR programming seamlessly from one end of Massachusetts to the other.

Podcasts have been around longer than smart phones, but they’re enjoying quite a mainstream renaissance this year, due largely to the success of ‘casts like Serial and Comedy Bang Bang. I must admit, I was listening to Serial and loving it for a few weeks before I realized that the rest of the world knew there was a shrimp sale at The Crab Crib, too. So, here are two shows I’m listening to now, plus a list of what else is in my iPhone these days. I did try to put together some words of wisdom on each show, but at my current pace, I won’t be done until Armageddon. Some are podcasts I’ve been listening to for years, others are brand new. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff, so let me know what you’re listening to in the comments.

Finish Line

Finish Line – A podcast updated every day of the Boston Marathon bombing trial and hosted by David Boeri of WBUR and Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe. Each episode is about 15 minutes – shorter than my usual fare, but perfect commuting length – and gives a detailed, vivid summary of the day’s testimonies. Much of the coverage reminds us of the week Greater Boston was literally under siege and the events that unfolded, but there are new tidbits each day, too. Last night, for instance, we were first introduced to Stephen Silva by his real name; he first appeared as ‘Sam’ in the now infamous Rolling Stone article.

Invisibilia – Named for the Latin word for ‘all the invisible things,’ Invisibilia is go-to programming for the connoisseur of human behavior. Hosted by NPR vets Alix Speigel and Lulu Miller, each episode takes an ‘intangible force’ we all experience — big things,  like fears, thoughts, and expectations — and breaks it down with the help of interview subjects who’ve experienced some sort of extreme versions of the theme. Episode three, for instance, features a woman who lacks the ability to be afraid. It’s scary good.


The Paperclipping Roundtable – A show for scrap bookers — or, if you prefer, paper crafters — that covers everything from new artsy gadgets to the growing world of ‘alternative scrapping.’
This Week in Astrology – If you’re into what the stars say your week is going to be like, give this ‘forecast’ show a try on Sunday evening.
Meditation Oasis – A great archive of guided meditations for just about any life event, be it a meeting, a pregnancy, or just sleep. My baby daughter likes the ‘music only’ episode.
…Speaking of pods, PodCamp Western Mass., the longest running podcamp in New  England, is coming back to Holyoke Community College on April 25! PCWM isn’t just about podcasting, it’s all things social media. But I’d wager a guess that ‘casting is just one topic we will be exploring this year. Learn more about this event that’s very close to my heart here.