One thing that makes me happy every week are the podcasts I listen to. There’s only three of them because that is all I can keep up with. I’m sure there are many more excellent podcasts out there, but my listening time is limited. I can’t concentrate on work while listening to people talk so any kind of podcast or talk radio is out, and my commute is approximately 10 minutes long which really doesn’t give me enough time to work in a podcast. I usually listen to my podcasts at the gym or occasionally on longer car trips.

The three podcasts that have made it into my weekly rotation are as follows:

NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour

This is the first podcast I ever really listened to. I had long been a fan of Linda Holmes, the podcast’s host. She used to write recaps of The Amazing Race for Television Without Pity which I loved. When she left TWOP I followed her writing over to NPR’s pop culture blog Monkey See. It is through this blog that the podcast was born. Due to the fact that I loved reading the blog I decided to listen to the podcast as well and the rest is history as they say. In addition to Linda Holmes the other regular podcast members are Trey Graham, arts and entertainment editor for NPR’s digital media division; Stephen Thompson, editor and writer for NPR Music; and Glen Weldon, book and movie review for NPR.org. I am a big fan of many areas of pop culture including television, books, movies, music, and theater, all of which are discussed on this podcast. Thus the topics under discussion are interesting to me, but that is not the only reason I love it. Listening to this podcast is like getting to sit in a room and listen to an awesome group of friends talk about things that you love in an interesting and amusing way. I have tried listening to other pop culture podcasts that are extremely dry and do not have the heart that lives behind this one.  Plus they end every episode with a segment called, “What’s Making You Happy This Week.”, which totally goes right along with the theme of this blog. New episodes post every Friday morning.

Extra Hot Great

I learned about the Extra Hot Great podcast from listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour. Linda Holmes is friends with the hosts of Extra Hot Great and mentioned how fantastic it was during Pop Culture Happy Hour, so I decided to check it out. It’s another podcast focused on pop culture but with a different vibe than Pop Culture Happy Hour. It’s hosted by David T. Cole, his wife Tara Ariano, and their friend Joe Reid. This podcast pretty much sticks to the topics of television and movies. They have a number of regular segments including the Canon in which they discuss whether or not individual episodes of television shows should be inducted into the Canon; Winners and Losers of the Week, and Game Time in which Tara and Joe compete in some pop culture themed trivia game. Those three segments appear every week, but there are a number of others that rotate in and out. Like Pop Culture Happy Hour this podcast is really like listening to a group of friends discuss pop culture, which I love. Also, Tara Ariano has the best laugh of anyone ever. It’s worth listening to this podcast just to hear her laugh. Based on things they say about the podcast posting late there apparently is supposed to be some regular posting day, but I haven’t figured it out if there is one. It usually goes up sometime between Sunday and Wednesday of each week.


The Nerdist podcast is hosted by Chris Hardwick along with his co-hosts Matt Mira and Jonah Ray. Many of the episodes are interviews with people (mainly actors and directors) beloved by nerds. I started listening to this podcast when they interviewed Nathan Fillion because hello Nathan Fillion. I enjoyed it and went back to the archives and have been working my way through their older interviews as well as keeping up with the newer ones. There are also some host only episodes, but I don’t listen to very many of them. I enjoy the interviews more and because this podcast often posts more than once per week I usually don’t have time to listen to both the interview and the host-only episodes so the interviews win out.This podcast does not have a regular posting schedule.

If you enjoy pop culture I highly recommend all of these podcasts. What podcasts make you happy?


10 thoughts on “Podcasts

  1. I love Nerdist as well – also started listening for the same reason 😉 Another one that I’ve enjoyed is Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show which airs live online every Sunday afternoon (we watched it the first time for NF as well, go figure 😉 ) and since then, he’s made all of his archived episodes free (both the audio and video versions)! I’m going back through some others (just listening to Neil Patrick Harris). His show is longer, usually at least 2 hour interviews….good for my long commute!

  2. I’ll have to look into podcasts the next time my carpool mate has a baby & I have to drive alone for a few months. I barely even listen to the radio since she’s in the car to talk to. Or maybe I’ll pull them up and listen while I make cards. I read a ton of blogs, but I have never jumped on the podcast bandwagon.

  3. I mostly use podcasts to catch up on NPR shows I miss or to listen to Librivox books. One that I use pretty regularly for working out are the PodRunner and PodRunner Intervals series for up beat (mostly electronic) music. I have on occasion listened to The New Yorker’s different podcasts as well.

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