Favorite Podcasts from 2014

I care a lot about podcasts. I care about the content, character, and audio quality. I always give every podcast a chance, but a lot of them fall short. Either the content is boring or the production quality is poor. Some people’s voices just put me to sleep. There are plenty of ways to find popular podcasts, but I’ve never found a list of podcasts that have high production or entertainment value. Podcasts need a group to present awards like the Oscar for sound mixing. Until that happens, I listen and judge podcasts on my own, and here are the podcasts that constantly have great content and production value. I should say that these are podcasts that pertain to my interests, so you won’t find Serial on this list because I haven’t been interested in it. I do want to give it a shot, though.

The Talk Show With John Gruber

thetalkshow

iTunes | Overcast

John Gruber, writer of Daring Fireball, hosts this show and delivers an interesting and great sounding podcast. The reason it sounds great is the host and guests properly use the double-ender technique to maximize audio quality. Content is the main reason this podcast is on the top of my list. The episodes of The Talk Show often go over two hours, but I always listen to every minute. The viewpoints and stories are excellent.

Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project

stilluntitled

iTunes | Overcast

Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame joins Will Smith and Norman Chan to discuss movies, television, books, and life in general through their Tested site. They post an audio and video version, yet somehow manage to make both versions independently great. The video version enhances the audio, but isn’t required to understand the discussion. Adam is a great host and has a seemingly limitless amount of entertaining stories, Will has a great knowledge of technology, as does Norm, and Norm is one of the best product interviewers I’ve witnessed. This group of three puts together a great podcast.

Blender Guru

blenderguru

iTunes | Overcast

Andrew Price, creator of BlenderGuru, hosts this lighthearted show with Blender tips, pointers for artists, interviews with successful artists, and answers to questions submitted on twitter. The content makes up for the mediocre audio quality during interviews. Andrew is quite funny and will have you laughing throughout the podcast. This is probably the most niche podcast I listen to, so I would only recommend it to artists using Blender or visual artists who don’t mind listening to specifics about another program.

Freakonomics Radio

frakonomicsradio

iTunes | Overcast

Stephen Dubner, co-author of the popular book Freakonomics hosts this podcast about “the hidden side of everything.” This podcast is very well produced, and the backing music is great. Some guests call in, so their audio isn’t necessarily amazing, but the content is always on point. This is probably the most popular podcast I listen to, so it’s safe to say you’ll enjoy this podcast.

How To Do Everything

howtodoeverything

iTunes | Overcast

Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag host this podcast where they take questions from people and ask experts or celebrities to give them advice. This podcast’s content is always interesting, and Mike and Ian are quick-witted. In a style similar to Freakonomics Radio, the hosts sound great, the call-in guests don’t sound amazing, but have great content. Their music is probably the best of any podcast I listen to, and the segments are always fresh.

Upvoted

upvoted

iTunes | Overcast

Alexis Ohanian, founder of reddit.com, hosts this very new podcast. The first episode was published on January 7, 2015, but the stories that came out of these first two episodes were amazing. The audio quality was great for Alexis[footnote]As with other podcasts, phone call audio is used and will never sound great[/footnote], and the production value is great. So far, the content of Upvoted has been a review of great content from the past few years. I hope that Upvoted tries to explore more recent events.

The Nerdist

thenerdist

iTunes | Overcast

Chris Hardwick hosts this podcast that draws me in for two different reasons. The caliber of the guests on The Nerdist are as high as anyone could hope. Celebrities typically have 5 minutes on television, but podcasts open up the door to the interesting information with their longer format. The second reason I love The Nerdist is the hostful episodes, where Chris is joined by Matt Mira and Jonah Ray to talk about anything under the sun. The interviews are always done in person so the audio quality is very good. The content is not over-produced which leads me to feel more connected to the interviewee.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

waitwaitdonttellme

iTunes | Overcast

While Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is really not a true podcast, but instead a recording of a radio show, there are a lot of great qualities about this show. Peter Sagal is an outstanding host, Bill Kurtis[footnote]who recently took over for the amazing Carl Kasell after he retired[/footnote] is a fantastic scorekeeper, and the comedic co-hosts are always funny. This show makes keeping up with current events fun and easy to digest.

If you have a good podcast you think I should listen to, send me a tweet @heatedbits.


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