Alright. I admit it. I'm a bit of a bookworm. But there is no better interviewer of authors than the CBC's Eleanor Wachtel. Eleanor has been interviewing authors for a long time and now I can enjoy them on my time, not when the CBC tells me to. Most book reviewers
if they read the books at all, rarely have the breadth of knowledge to put the plot, themes, and preoccupations of the authors into some perspective. Eleanor does it all. She makes the authors tell stories about themselves, stories that they sometimes don't want to tell. It's one of the nice things about having a professional radio announcer on a podcast. And it reminds us that fuddy-duddy radio isn't sitting on its hands while content moves to the web. They are right there.
3) This American Life by NPR
Ira Glass is probably one of the worst nasal voices on radio. That said, he is also the visionary behind National Public Radio's This American Life, a program I had never heard of before until an Australian podcaster pointed me in its direction. Here is great radio reportage in a podcast format, and because I am also a little bit of junkie on all things Americanski, a great fix on the little stories and the big stories south of the border. This American Life chooses a theme each week and fills in stories on that theme. Sometimes they are stories current, and sometimes they are stories Glass and his team has culled from other sources. It makes for a well-curated program any way you cut it.
I can't think of a time when financial disasters have grabbed the headlines like today. And you can't help but wonder how the average person understands it all. I think I have read now at least 10 books about the collapse of the housing mortgage debacle in the US, and now we have the prospect of sovereign debt defaults in Europe. Planet Money helps me understand how international finance impacts on the little guy, and even when the guys aren't so little, how it shapes the world we live in. Recently it pointed me to a little known story about how an Iraqi oil engineer hep steer Norway away from the typical curse of riches that accompanies massive oil finds and stabilize its economy, and also the impact of huge shale gas finds in Pennsylvania.
So many of my customers already listen to TEDTalks that I almost left it off the list. TEDtalks are public lectures given by some of the brightest scientists, artists, educators, and commentators the world over on what it is they are doing today. You can learn about the frontiers of robotics, or medicine, or the design of cities, or simply how people are getting along it extraordinary circumstances. TEDTalks helped launch Al Gore's climate change crusade. It helps publicize many fascinating projects. It is also very upbeat. Happy news for a change.