Sunday, October 21, 2007

Road Trip iPod Lineup

Gregor brought to mind that since I am working on the road so much, I really don't get to listen to much local radio. As a substitute, I cram the iPod with podcasts. All of these are free downloads. Simply go to the iTunes Store page and type in the names in the "search" window. Make sure you have plenty of hard drive space!

Here are my regular listens:

1. Cato's Daily Podcast. These are short (4-9 minutes) topical discussions. The program was greatly improved when new host Caleb Brown was introduced. Brown interviews Cato policy analysts on issues of the day. The ones I've enjoyed most have been on the subject of regional planning and light rail mass transit, although the insallment titled, "Is Hilary a Neo-Con?" was a goodie. Cato's main page.

2. Jonesy's Jukebox Jury. Steve Jones, guitar player for the Sex Pistols, lives in LA and hosts a great daily freeform radio show on Indie 103.1. It plays like the best of college radio that I was lucky enough to be a part of back in Cleveland (I was at WCSB, but also check out WRUW), with Jones playing tunes he wants to hear (no 12-song playlist!) and sharing insider tales about the musicians heard on these songs. Jones also plays his guitar and sings from time to time, even sometimes breaking it out spontaneously as he reads a set list. He also hosts LA scenesters. This has led to the "Jukebox Jury". Every Friday, Jones hosts a panel of four guests who comprise the "Jury". They spin a tune and then each declares it "Mustard!" if they like it, or "Pants!" if they don't. They're British terms that Jones uses. (His Cockney is a crack-up.) There are always huge laughs during the show, and Jones will surprise you. Think "Sex Pistols" and you'll have a firm impression. Jones breaks his own mold.

The podcasts are only of the "Jury" show, which is too bad. Indie 103.1 can be heard for free by streaming via iTunes, so I sometimes listen live (Noon-3pm Pacific). Average podcast length is 90 minutes, and I generally listen to the whole show in one shot while on the interstate. There isn't another show this length I can say that about. Jukebox show page.

3. The Watt From Pedro Show. Mike Watt, together with Jones, is my other punk rock musical hero. How grand is life that each has a podcast? Watt (bass) played in the legendary band The Minutemen with childhood friend, the late D Boon (guitar, vocals), and George Hurley (drums). Watt currently plays in the Stooges (yes, Iggy Pop's band), and has four other current working bands that are more or less his.

I find Watt endlessly engaging. I share his blue collar background, and while I don't share his politics, I really soak up his ethic, and his vocabulary. (He has his own lingo. Check out his Hoot Page and look for terms like "econo", "konk", "boat", and "thudstaff".) He's a workaholic musician who doesn't take part in the rock star BS, but instead takes in the places he visits and their people. The podcasts are intensely personal, as he talks about his past with Boon (especially) and the people in his life. He often interviews musicians he's touring with.

Unfortunately, I skip a great deal of this 3-hour show. Watt has a format: Open with music from John Coltrane, play a few rock tunes, talk/interview, Brother Matt's Spin Cycle (dance & beat DJ stuff), and an old radio theatre bit. I listen for Watt and his insights. The Spin Cycle can be as long as 50 minutes, and I skip the whole thing every time. Ditto the radio theatre, which can be up to 40 minutes. That's a lot of filler, if you ask me. But hey- the show is a free download, so I don't mind skipping over. I just wish it was three full hours of Watt instead of about an hour and twenty minutes. TWFPS homepage.

4. Free Talk Live. This isn't the best radio in the world, but when I'm out and about and not likely to hear libertarian views via terrestrial signal, this is where I turn. There isn't much in the way of contrarian views on FTL, so it gets to be a bit too much of a know-it-all fest at times, and that's saying something because I agree with the vast majority of what they're saying. A lot of Ron Paul coverage lately, for which I am eternally grateful. FTL's homepage.

Which podcasts make your playlists?

1 comment:

gRegor said...

I have a variety of vid/podcasts that I keep up with, but highlights are Free Talk Live, Relevant Magazine ("God. Life. Progressive Culture"), The Onion Radio News (short onion style news segments that are hilarious) and This American Life