Guest Post: Pop Culture Podcasts

This guest post was written by Isaiah Vianese. Isaiah is always incredibly informed about the world of pop culture, so I asked him to stop by and share some of his favorite sources for staying up to date. I’m looking forward to sneaking these podcasts into my listening schedule in between audiobooks! If you have any other sources you’d like to recommend, I hope you’ll share them in the comments.

The internet brims with podcasts, particularly those about art and culture. It is difficult to search through this forest to find what suits you because liking a podcast relies on finding common ground with its commentators. Their voices will narrate your cleaning, jogging, or commute, so the chatter has to charm you. Below are three podcasts to help you whet your appetite for pop culture, some better than others.

Pop Culture Happy Hour (NPR)

By far, the premiere pop culture podcast on the web, Pop Culture Happy Hour is charming mostly for its cast of characters: Stephen Thompson (music editor, proud dad), Trey Graham (theater enthusiast, gay man extraordinaire), Glen Weldon (comic-book reviewer, humorous curmudgeon), and the lovely Linda Holmes, an all-around pop culture guru. The show also rotates in a diverse cast of friends and family. The discussion has a warm tone, particularly the concluding weekly segment called, “What is Making Us Happy this Week.” Each episode also involves at least two main segments, which range from current cultural events (movie releases, award shows) to more general discussions (“pop culture punching bags,” “pop culture comfort food”). The show is truly like having a good drink with friends.

Extra Hot Great

The runner-up for most likable podcast, Extra Hot Great features talking heads who are harder to please. However, their discussions are in good humor. Each week, the podcast focuses on movie and television premieres. The show includes a series called “The Canon,” in which listeners submit “important” television episodes to be considered by the commentators for inclusion in their echelon of essential entertainment. They also play a plethora of games about television and movies, as well as share pop culture gossip and news. The people at Extra Hot Great are not always kind, but they are likable and funny.

Slate Culture Gabfest (Slate Magazine)

The podcast for your inner pseudo-intellectual, Gabfest commentators take everything very seriously. A discussion of a children’s film can end up at Proust or Aristotle. If that sounds insufferable, stay clear. If not, indulge your pretentions. To their credit, they take on brainier topics than the other podcasts and, as a result, highlight highbrow subjects in greater depth than their peers. That said, the show lacks the lightness often prized in pop culture chat-fests.


2 Responses to "Guest Post: Pop Culture Podcasts"

  • I have to admit that podcasting is one form of media that I’m not really “up” on. I’ve given it a try a time or two, but I always end up falling behind, for some reason. I’m sure you don’t have to listen to every one, but I have trouble getting a backlog of podcasts and then just deleting them all…lol.

    1 Natalie @ Mindful Musings said this (April 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM)

    • I haven’t really done much podcast listening, so I may be a total failure, too. Looking forward to giving it a shot, though! If I can listen in my car, I’m thinking maybe it’ll just be like turning on talk radio from time to time.

      2 Melanie said this (April 25, 2012 at 7:44 AM)