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Podcasts 2016

I love listening to podcasts, but I don't have a whole lot of time to listen to them. I listen when I stretch in the morning and at night, while I drive to school (3 minutes one way) or the Y (6 minutes) or out on errands, while doing the dishes, while cleaning the house and doing laundry, and for 10 minutes while I'm falling asleep. Maybe that seems like a lot, but it's not that much. I also like a wide variety of podcasts, which means I'm always behind. I'm listening to March episodes of one and August episodes of another and 2015 episodes of some others and I can never catch up. A friend suggests I should just cut my losses and jump to current episodes, but I know I'll get behind again, so what does it matter. I love the medium and don't want to miss out on episodes of shows I really like. Speaking of which, here's what I was into this year...

1. Comedy Bang Bang! - This is the third year I've been a listener of Comedy Bang Bang! and this is the third year it's shown up on my year-end list. It's just a consistently funny show and is full of in-jokes that I reference all the time...and no one else in my life gets. That's okay. I am quite behind on the regular show, because I also took the time to listen to their tour episodes from the year, which number more than 30. The tour was really great, featuring Paul F. Tompkins and Lauren Lapkus along with Scott Aukerman, plus Neil Campbell, Mike Hanford, and a bunch of guests. Jason Mantzoukas was around for a few epsof the regular show, as were Ben Schwartz and Horatio Sanz. The "Apple Song" by Victor and Tiny was hilarious and we got another Middleditch/Lapkus Kid Detectives episode. And who knows what other goodies there are in all the episodes I haven't gotten to yet?

2. Doughboys - I'd heard of Doughboys before this year, but finally decided to try it this summer; I should have started sooner. Nick Wiger and Mike "The Spoonman" Mitchell review restaurant chains alongside a new guest each week. Wiger has these great introductions every episode, giving us a little bit of history on that week's focus and Mitch makes fun of him almost immediately. The podcast is really funny, while also delivering opinions on Chipotle and Chick-fil-A and so many more. Each episode ends with another food-related bit and some viewer mail. It's reminiscent of, but also completely different than, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (which put out only 3 episodes this year; then again, I'm about 4 years behind on that one). I know I will never catch up (I'm in Sept. 2015), but I am definitely along for the ride.

3. Robots From Tomorrow - Speaking of podcasts new to me this year, I picked up this comics podcast in the summer. I originally jumped aboard with their "Pull List" episodes, where Greg and Mike each highlight two comics from the upcoming week to recommend and discuss. However, they put out two episodes each week, with the second focusing on some other aspect of comics, and before long, I was listening to those as well. I've come to enjoy their dive into the Previews catalog every month and they also have good interviews, like the recent two-parter with John Arcudi. I'm behind on reading comics, but this show makes me feel like I'm still in the mix, if that makes any sense. Also, since I just jumped in on episodes, I'm only 3 behind!

4. All The Books - I like this podcast for some of the reasons I outlined in the previous entry - I can't keep up with all the great books that come out, but this show highlights around 10 every week that are worth checking out. Liberty and Rebecca have great chemistry and are not locked into any particular genre, which makes this a good overall recommendation show. I do skip over the ads for bras every week, but to be fair, I skip over the ads of almost every podcast. New episodes come out on Tuesdays but I save them for when I'm doing housework on Sundays; it's a good ritual and, as a bonus, I'm completely caught up!

5. Baseball Tonight - It's not a secret that I love baseball, but a lack of cable means I can't watch all the baseball I would like to. Buster Olney and his crew of regulars (like Tim Kurkjian and Jason Stark) keep me up to speed with what's happening around both leagues. It's a daily podcast, which makes it difficult to stay on top of it, but I feel like I did the best job of it this past year (which could also explain why I'm behind on everything else). I also had a "Bleacher Tweet" read on air in August, where I asked about Rick Porcello's Cy Young chances. Keith Law was hosting that day and laughed off my idea...guess who won the Cy Young? Victory!

6. iFanboy Pick of the Week - This show has always made my list and while I still love it, I've fallen way behind. That has nothing to do with the quality of the show and everything to do with the fact I'm behind on reading comics. They spoil the books they discuss and some of them I'd rather read first, so it becomes a vicious cycle. My next episode will be one from October, plus I still have some special episodes to go back and listen to, like the one of Star Trek Beyond now that I've finally seen it.

7. All Songs Considered/Dad Rock - I still love my music podcasts, though I've gotten behind on these as well. I'm all the way back in early September on ASC and late September on DR. When they each put out two episodes a week and sometimes more, it's hard to catch up.

8. Celebration Rock - Speaking of music podcasts, this one has taken up my listening time this year as well. It started up at the beginning of the year as a companion to Steven Hyden's first book and went through October; I'm currently in July episodes. Hyden is one of my favorite music writers and he talks to both musicians and other music writers; the interviews are always engaging and give me food for thought.

9. The Great Albums - You could take the first sentence from the previous entry and just insert in here. Bill, Brian, and (usually) a guest take on one album each episode and spend a long time going through it, the history of the band and their relationships to the band, and all sorts of tangents. I'm not always the biggest fan of their third chairs, but I always find something to enjoy. After each episode, I'll spin the albums for myself; some I know (like New Pornographers' Twin Cinema) and some I don't (like Regina Spektor's Soviet Kitsch), but I'm always happy to listen. I am, however, in episodes from June 2015, so it's another never catch up situation. That's okay, these are timeless.

10. Spontaneanation - I've gotten woefully behind on this delightful improv podcast from Paul F. Tompkins (currently back in May), but the laughs are evergreen. There's been some interesting crossover from characters created here showing up on Comedy Bang Bang and not just by PFT either (love you, Chris Tallman!). Tompkins is a great interviewer too, so the opening segments are always great too. Hard to believe the show is coming up on its second anniversary.

Bonus: Pop Culture Happy Hour - You may have been wondering where this perennial favorite was. Well, I was wanting to watch The Hateful Eight before listening to that episode and then never got around to the movie. Finally, I decided to just forge ahead and it's been back in regular rotation. Unfortunately, I'm only in March episodes right now. Just going to keep plowing through, like with everything else!


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