April 21, 2021

“Pod Save America” and “The Daily” Podcasts

Podcasts continue to proliferate and gain popularity with people world-wide. Friends suggested I check out the progressive political podcast, “Pod Save America.” The twice-weekly podcasts feature former Obama Administration staffers, Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor and Jon Lovett on Mondays, and Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer on Thursdays.

I liken the shows to listening to very smart political insiders discuss the news of the week, with a decidedly left-of-center bent. Be forewarned that four letter words abound.

The show averages 1.5 million listeners per episode and the podcast app has been downloaded 120 million times so that is a lot of ears tuned in to this irreverent and sometimes hilarious audio show.

Their umbrella company, Crooked Media, films their podcasts and releases them on YouTube, but I like listening to the show while cooking, cleaning or driving. It remains to be seen if the show will be as amusing in the post-Trump era.

Let me add a brief note about another podcast show I wrote about in February 2018, the New York Times’ show, “The Daily” with Michael Barbaro. This October 2020, the New York Times newspaper said 4 million people were subscribers of “The Daily,” which surpasses its number of print subscribers. Think about that! “The Daily” is number two on the Spotify most popular podcast list, and number three on Apple’s podcast line-up.

Instead of emphasizing political irregularities, “The Daily” has consistently featured a broad array of topics on its episodes, so they may have the easier transition in the months to come.

If you want to see what the “Pod Save America” hosts look like, here is a video link. Both “The Daily” and “Pod Save America” podcast apps are downloadable in your chosen app store.

Dec. 3, 2020 Pod Save America episode on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSD40GvBPbA&list=PLOOwEPgFWm_NHcQd9aCi5JXWASHO_n5uR&index=1

I also add this “Daily” audio link about Covid from February 2020. You might find this 24-minute podcast thought-provoking as the alarm was sounded at this very early stage.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/podcasts/the-daily/coronavirus.html

Podcasts: The Daily from the New York Times and The Rachel Maddow Show from MSNBC

I continue to love my WBEZ app where I can catch radio programs I have missed, but podcasts have now become my listening choice when I have exhausted favorite NPR programs.

Along with Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, I have added two new podcasts to my audio play list: The Daily from the New York Times newspaper and the Rachel Maddow Show from MSNBC.

I no longer get a paper version of the New York Times delivered to my home, so this audio slice of the paper was a welcome find. Each episode goes into depth on a particular topic and ends with one of the day’s most important events. I definitely feel more informed after my daily brief audio dose of the NY Times.

I don’t watch television news so I was unfamiliar with Rachel Maddow (which flabbergasted one of my sisters.) After listening to a couple of podcast episodes of The Rachel Maddow Show, I can say that this lady is really smart. She seems to be able to uncannily connect a lot of the dots concerning current news topics.

The podcast episodes appear to be audio broadcasts of her MSNBC show, so I can tell people that I am not watching TV, I am listening to it.

If you have a podcast recommendation, please send them my way.

NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett

I continue to adore my WBEZ app which allows me to catch all of my favorite NPR broadcasts no matter the time or day.

One of the marvelous programs that concerns itself with philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical topics is On Being with Krista Tippett. As the web site notes, “We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Not only have I heard celebrities interviewed like poet Nikki Giovanni and actor Martin Sheen, but also academics, religious figures, artists, poets, civil rights advocates and thinkers of all stripes. Big questions about life, death and meaning are frequently tackled.
Seekers of audio fluff need to look elsewhere!

Four ways to experience On Being:

Live on air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 7 a.m. on WBEZ (91.5 FM)

At the WBEZ Web site: https://www.wbez.org/shows/on-being/53693dfa-bfc9-43ec-a09f-6f5de55e9e9f

as an On Being with Krista Tippett podcast

or add the WBEZ app to your smart phone or tablet.

One of my favorite recent programs is with Daniel Kahneman, author, psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. He discusses why we think and do what we do which sheds light on the current cultural and political scene.
https://www.wbez.org/shows/on-being/unedited-daniel-kahneman-with-krista-tippett/ef9062da-7f48-4249-8d8a-b14180f3b5a7

Apple TV Generation 4

I finally bought a flat screen Samsung Smart television after quelling family resistance to installing something new.  Yet, nostalgia has kept us from wheeling the old tube tv to the dumpster.

I must admit that television is now a much more vivid and engaging experience which is a bit of good thing, but with its dark side, too. Binge-watching is a little too easy. Especially with Siri.

Did I mention that I also bought the Generation 4 version of Apple TV?  The system is now voice-activated with Siri being all too happy to find your selected program, especially if it means buying it from itunes. She is quite the sales clerk.

The only real set-up needed is to download free and paid apps for anything you may want to watch. For example, PBS and CNN apps were free; the MHZ Choice, Netflix and HBO Now apps simply connected to my existing paid-monthly accounts.

The remote-control allows you to swipe to make selections, hold down a button to summon Siri or punch Menu which takes you back to your previous page view.

A nice feature is your iCloud photo gallery can be run as a slideshow on your tv screen. I’m still discovering ways to use Apple TV, but Siri alone has revolutionized how I watch television.  Imagine being able to talk to all of your appliances?

Apple, please come up with an equivalent to Amazon’s Echo so I can tell Siri to turn my lights on, lower my heat, switch off my oven or set my alarm clock. And then put Siri into a robot that can do my laundry while I watch my Apple TV.

WBEZ’s new app

WBEZ has been announcing its new app on their radio broadcasts and I just downloaded it a few days ago. This app has transformed my radio experience. As many listeners know, Morning Edition repeats during the morning rush hours. If you didn’t want to re-listen to all of the news, you either switched the station, put on a CD or shut the radio off.

Now with the new convenient app, you can access much of their previous radio material whenever it’s convenient. Imagine catching the BBC World Service, Terry Gross’ Fresh Air, Marketplace, Krista Tippett’s On Being, Ted Talks or All Things Considered whenever you want.
Hopefully you have a way to hook your smart phone or tablet device into your car’s sound system via Bluetooth or an earphone jack.  I even line up my favorite programs on my iPhone when I know I will be waiting alone in long grocery or service lines. With this new little free app, you will never be bored!

Apps are also available for NPR News for iPad, NPR One, NPR Music and other individual NPR stations.