I don’t have to tell the readers of this blog that most of the content – news, information, and entertainment – found across the various mediums, including broadcast television, radio, and the Internet (including over-the-top services such as Netflix), are sorely lacking in depth and quality.
In addition to seeking specific content (e.g. documentaries) via services such as Netflix and Amazon, I have gravitated toward podcasts quite a bit the last two years or so. Among my favorite providers in National Public Radio (NPR). Among my favorite shows are the following:
On Point with Tom Ashbrook
Hosted by award-winning journalist Tom Ashbrook, On Point is broadcast for two hours daily across the country. Each two hour broadcast is split between two topics, covering from breaking news to ancient poetry, and features writers, politicians, journalists, artists, scientists and ordinary citizens from around the world.
There are multiple ways to listen to each show, including the podcast version, my preferred choice.
Planet Money is a podcast and blog produced by NPR, in association with Chicago Public Media. The podcast launched on September 6, 2008 to cover the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 in the wake of the Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was created after the success of “The Giant Pool of Money”, an episode of This American Life. Currently, episodes are produced two days a week and are around 15 minutes in length.
The brevity of each podcast is perfect for my drive to work. Among my favorite episodes is a recent episode about firefighters in Contra Costa County, California and the drama surrounding their pension program. Definitely take the time to check it out.
Embedded is, I believe, the newest NPR show. Host Kelly McEvers takes a story from the news and goes deep, getting up close and personal with the people and facts involved in the story, hence the show’s title.
Here is the description of the most recent show, The Police:
On Skid Row in Los Angeles, where thousands of poor, homeless people live — many of them black — questions of how police should use force and interact with people come up all the time. We embed with both the police and the locals after the police shot and killed an unarmed black man. And we see what police tactics, from glad-handing to tough love, look like up close.
The Marketplace portfolio of programs includes Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace Morning Report with David Brancaccio, Marketplace Weekend with Lizzie O’Leary, and Marketplace Tech with Ben Johnson.
I like to check out Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal on my way home from work in the late afternoon. This show examines what the day in money delivered, through stories, conversations, newsworthy numbers and more.