Radio Stars

Podcasts are fantastic. I don’t like media that isn’t on demand, like traditional television and radio. I don’t know why I let theatre off, maybe because it’s more of a conscious decision to consume theatre.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the content (although most of it is garbage) – I love DVDs and own a few television series on DVD so that I can watch it when it’s convenient (and pause it when the kids wake up), and I listen to a lot of podcasts. Since I started a new job in Cardiff and hence do a lot of commuting, I’ve been listening to even more – and here they are.

.NET Rocks

This is a good one to start with – it’s one I’m thinking of giving up. I started listening to it a few years ago as one of the first podcasts I picked up. It’s a technology podcast about .NET stuff, programming stuff and related fields. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty heavy schedule and puts out two shows a week of about an hour, and not all of the topics are relevant to me as it’s quite a broad range of subjects. They also seem to have quite a heavy bias towards Agile methodologies, and I’m not a fan of those yet. Although one episode did seem a little sceptical about them, so maybe they’re just playing up to whatever guest they have. I don’t think the value I get out of it is worth it.

On the other hand, it is good to put on in the background and mostly ignore when I am working from home – I’ll see how that goes.

The D6 Generation

The D6 Generation is a mammoth show about games – mostly board games, though they are familiar with (and less fanboyish than) tabletop wargames. There’s always a quiz, usually a guest, and the most in-depth reviews I’ve ever heard to give you an idea of playing a game. I’ve picked up a couple of suggestions for future additions to Games Night from this show, but so far not tested their reviews. I also love that they don’t blindly review things, they actually give negative opinions if they don’t like a game.

This is another one I listened to many years ago and dropped, because each episode is over 3 hours long and come out every 3-4 weeks. Now that I’m commuting over 5 hours a week, I have the time for this show again and I get an awful lot out of it.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

I’ve only recently picked this one up but gone back through the archive as far as the RSS feed goes. This took me back as far as an episode on the Age of Exploration and the whole of the Death of the Roman Republic series. It’s a fantastic podcast, although each episode is a few hours long they only come out every couple of months and I still have the whole Wrath of the Khans series to get through to keep me going. I try and keep these episodes as a treat to myself for having finished listening to everything else on the list, else I would just blow through them all in no time at all.

Hanselminutes

I think this is the only podcast that I’ve been listening to since the very start. It’s another .NET technology podcast, but occasionally branches into other areas like organisational skills, diabetes and disability, fitness and hobbies, but Scott Hanselman is an excellent host and as it’s only a half-hour show it’s very easy to fit in to the daily commute and learn a little bit about a range of subjects.

I realised how long I had been listening to this show when I met up with some developer friends, mentioned a Hanselminutes show about something we were discussing, and when I went to the archives to find it for them found it had been over three years before!

Webcomics Weekly

Technically, this is another one that I’ve been listening to since I started listening to podcasts – it may even have been the first podcast I listened to. But it stopped being weekly, then it stopped being… then it came back for a few episodes and disappeared again. It’s still on the RSS reader if it ever updates again, but I’m not holding my breath.

Heelanhammer

This is the first Warhammer podcast I subscribed to, and I thought it was fantastic. Unfortunately it’s ceased recording now, but at least (unlike Webcomics Weekly) they officially announced their end. Ironically, it was after a week where they joked about finishing up the show.

While writing this, however, they have announced that after a nine month hiatus, they are coming back in the middle of March! Hooray!

Bad Dice

The second Warhammer podcast I started listening to, I almost quit this one immediately. The first episode I listened to had three guests, and one didn’t play Warhammer and was just being a snarky, rude and extremely annoying twerp. The following week, it was announced that he and another of the guests would be co-hosts going forward, and he was marginally less annoying.

I stuck it out, and over the past year Gareth has been getting better and better and made the podcast really enjoyable. He’s an excellent counterpoint to the tournament-heavy bent of the other hosts, asking simple questions and getting used to things slowly just like people who don’t play Warhammer at least once a week. I’m glad I didn’t quit on it back in the beginning.

Bad Dice Daily

This is a spin-off from the Bad Dice podcast (the clue is in the name) where the main host (Ben Curry) talks for 15-20 minutes each day on a different subject. I don’t sync episodes on my phone every day, so I normally end up with a few to listen to all at once. It’s an excellent show, short enough to not get annoying if the subject is dull (most tournament results or White Dwarf news, for me) but long enough to impart useful knowledge such as the “How to Paint Black” or “How to Paint White” episodes.

Mantic Podcast

I’ve become a big Mantic fan in the last year – their Kings of War ruleset is interesting and if I had more time to play, I’d love to give it a go, and I’ve mentioned Dreadball on this blog a few times already. They put out an infrequent podcast also hosted by Ben Curry and since most of these recently have been about Dreadball, I’ve been listening avidly.

Garagehammer

I picked this one up when Ben Curry of Bad Dice was a guest on it talking about Dark Elves (my favourite army), their tactics, and the rest. I added it to the regular subscription list and figured I’d see how I liked it – and I did! They are more hobby focussed than Bad Dice, and they’re not serial tournament champions. Since Heelanhammer finished, they’ve definitely filled a void that Bad Dice doesn’t quite fit. Some of their best and worst episodes are their playthrough battle reports – during a game, they take breaks to describe the turn. It might be just that sometimes I’m not paying complete attention to the podcast (something I make sure to do with shows like Hardcore Histories), but I can’t always visualise the game and lose the thread of things, and at that point I just want it to be over and skip to the next bit.

Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy and Comedy of the Week

When I used to drive to work on my own, I got used to listening to the radio. I eventually gravitated to Radio 4 because Radio 1 is not for me, Radio 2 was hit and miss with the DJs, and every other station has adverts and I can’t stand adverts. Jack FM is best of a bad bunch, but I found that at the same time every Wednesday evening there would be Steve Harley Come Up and See Me, and that was the nail in the repetitive playlist coffin. Then we removed the car radio but didn’t replace it so that was the end of the radio for me.

These podcasts are (usually) hilarious and give me something that amateur comedy podcasts don’t usually do and in a British accent. Listening to too many American accents can get irritating and most of my podcasts now (or at least the longest podcasts) are American.

LRRCast

This podcast is put out by the LoadingReadyRun team and has changed over the last year – they used to go into some detail on how their videos are made, but since this is now handled by the Loading Time video series, they’ve reduced that content. The Ask LRR section is a bit hit and miss – sometimes it’s really interesting and other times it’s “what Magic card would you be if you were the opposite gender”. After a long hiatus, they’ve also come back with a new format – regular LRRCast once a month, a Magic podcast once a month, and a games podcast once a month. This is nice, because if I don’t feel like listening to a bunch of Magic: The Gathering stuff (and why would I? I don’t play!) I can just skip it. Similarly, I’m just not into computer games as much as I used to be, so that one is skipped too.

Penn’s Sunday School

Penn Jillette, the noisy part of Penn & Teller, puts up a libertarian, atheist music-loving podcast.

This is another podcast I almost dropped – before I had a big catch-up a couple of weeks ago, it was always the one I passed over for other things. The big problem was an episode a fair while ago that just had so many adverts it bored me – especially since most of the adverts were for American berry supplies, American postage stuff, etc. It’s just not relevant or interesting. I usually catch up on it to get to an interesting guest interview – the last catch-up was to get to an episode with Teller, and before that to get to one with George Takei. I won’t just skip to the interviews I want though, because that would mean missing things like an interview with Peter Noone. I had never heard of him before, but it’s one of the best episodes of Penn’s Sunday School they’ve done.

Meeples & Miniatures

I listened to a couple of episodes of this that discussed Dreadball – obviously – and decided it’s not really meant for me. I liked the podcast, but it was a bit long and didn’t really click for me. But apparently, the guys behind Meeples and Miniatures are going to be making a Dreadball podcast soon! That’ll be going straight onto the list. Since I can’t actually think of a reason why I didn’t pick this up (they’re like a calm, quiet, relaxing D6 Generation) as a regular cast, maybe I’ll give it another go.

The Diecast

Shamus Young of Twenty Sided is experimenting with a podcast – I haven’t listened yet, but I’ll try it out. I didn’t like the Spoiler Warning series (I barely got five minutes in), although I normally like commentaries and MST3K style things, I just found it annoying more than anything else. But the podcast will be worth a listen to see if I can add it to my list.