Six Podcasts You Should Listen To

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In all of the fuss to rush to Twitter or fawn over some viral videos on YouTube, there’s a subtle and ever-growing audio platform that seems to have lost some its lustre in terms of public excitement, but continues to grow in terms of loyal audience.

Podcasting continues to be one of the best ways to consume audio and video content. A good portion of this content is available free in places like iTunes, and it is staggering once you begin to deep-dive into the content just how rich, robust and fascinating the shows are.

Unlike streaming audio or video online or simply downloading an MP3 or WMV file onto your hard drive, the real power behind podcasting is in its subscription component. Without getting technical, podcasting is audio and video that is very similar to a blog in terms of how it is delivered to you. Once you subscribe (which is usually free – although there are some podcasts that charge a nominal fee), the minute the producer of the show publishes their content to the Web it is automatically delivered to your computer (in my case, this is done using Apple‘s iTunes). From there, you can sync it to your iPod and that’s it: your choice of audio and video programming on your own schedule that you can pause, rewind, fast-forward or even delete.

Imagine being the program director of your own radio station, only you can also decide when the shows are "on the air." That’s podcasting, and it will not only change the way you think about media, it will turn all of your downtime into a moment where you can learn, grow and expand or simply listen/watch some mindless entertainment. Podcasting truly is "as you like it."

Yes, you can get the latest in comedy and entertainment, sports and news and more. In fact, the true beauty of podcasting is how much more it is like narrowcasting vs. broadcasting. Interested in knitting? There’s a podcast for that (multiple ones!). Interested in magic? Yup, there’s more than a few for that subject matter, too. There are thousands of podcasts. Some are professionally produced by some of the more well-known mass-media outlets, while some are recorded on a Logitech headset with a microphone right into a laptop and edited using freeware like Audacity. Some are slick with high production values and others are more rugged and reminiscent of pirate radio.

There’s something for everybody.

While many people listen to or watch podcasts on their laptops or desktops, make no mistake about it, as the iPhone and iPod continue to become an integral part of our day-to-day lives (in fact, the iPod is one of the best-selling consumer electronics devices in history), the portability of media is going to be an increasingly important component of how the mass public consumes media. So, instead of filtering the millions of blogs online or trying to make heads or tails of whether or not you should join FriendFeed, you can grab a handful of audio (or video) podcasts, sync them on to your iPod and head outside for the few months of summer we have in the city.

Here are six great podcasts that will get you excited about business, technology and new media (in alphabetical order):

1. For Immediate Release – The Hobson & Holtz Report – is hosted by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. This twice-weekly podcast usually runs about an hour per episode and features conversations and news critique on the state of public relations, communications and technology. If you like FIR, you might also want to check out Inside PR, JaffeJuice, Managing the Gray, and Marketing Over Coffee.

2. Harvard Business IdeaCast – from the publishers of the Harvard Business Review, this podcast (which you can get in audio and video formats) features great commentary from the top thinkers on the topics of management and leadership.

3. On the Media – courtesy of the good folks at National Public Radio, On the Media points a critical eye on items in the news and in the public forum. It can be highly critical but always presents new ways of looking not just at the news, but at ourselves.

4. SparkNora Young from the CBC hosts this show about technology and culture. It boasts itself as an "online collaboration" as it includes the community’s thoughts, comments and insights, which helps to drive and push the programming content.

5. TED Talks – usually reserved for the one thousand people invited to this exclusive annual conference that has been dubbed, "gymnastics for the brain," TED Talks features the now-famous 18-minute presentations from some of the world’s smartest thinkers and brightest minds (you can get the as both audio or video).

6. This Week In TechLeo Laporte is best-known as host of multiple TV shows on TechTV (now G4TechTV). The likeable and passionate technology guy loves to break it all down, explaining technology and keeping it simple for the everyday person. This Week In Tech, is his star-studded show for geeks, nerds and closet techies. Laporte is always entertaining and consistently discusses new and emerging technologies (hardware, software and online) to keep you ahead of your peers and the curve.

So, take a dive down the rabbit-hole that is podcasting. You’ll never watch or listen to traditional mass media the same way again.

Which Podcasts have helped you shape the way you think about business, technology and new media?

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for the Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun newspapers called, New Business – Six Pixels of Separation. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:

Montreal Gazette – Here’s six podcasts you should listen to.

Vancouver Sun – Podcasts can change the way you become informed.


  1. Ooh! I’m a huge fan of the Ideacast ! One of the pods I listen to without fail each week.
    May I suggest checking out The Media Hacks Podcast? All those big brains and opinions crammed into one fat audio serving? That’s awesome value.
    Phil Mckinney’s Killer Innovation podcasts were great, although I don’t think he does them anymore. The back-episodes are still on iTunes, I think.
    On a different tack, The Wizard Of Ads – while not a traditional business podcast – is a really good source of inspiration when it comes to marketing with new media.
    And if you guys want to try something with a South African flavour, why not check out The Digital Edge podcast? It may serve up a different look at the world of digital marketing for you lot on that side of the Atlantic.

  2. I love the Dishy Mix Podcast! Its the #1 Podcast when you search social media in the iTunes directory! Highly informative and she does a great job interviewing her high profile guests!

  3. I’ve gone through a lot of podcasts trying to find those that I can really relate to, and I’ve been left with this relatively stable list for about a year now:
    1) Six Pixels of Separation (of course)
    2) Jaffe Juice
    3) Marketing Over Coffee
    4) Inside PR
    5) Shill
    and if it comes out 6) Managing the Gray

  4. I work for HP and I’m Phil McKinney’s PR manager. He does continue to do his podcasts (on his own time, not managed or influenced by HP). His latest podcast, although related to HP, is an interview with the product manager who was given the assignment from Bill Hewlett to invent the first scientific calculator, the HP 35. You can listen to it here:
    — just go to the podcast tab.

  5. A fascinating “post” for so many reasons.
    I think it reflects an evolution and a maturation of the space…for better AND worse.
    For starters, this is a newspaper article so to speak which has been republished on a blog.
    Second and most fascinatingly, essentially 5 of your 6 choices are mainstream media and/or established brands. That said, one of our own…the mighty and ever present FIR sits on top of them.
    Third, the hyperlink to my mention goes to which was either intended or by mistake. I guess that says a lot in terms of my podfading OR how I’ve shifted my focus to video (for now)
    Forth, for this to be an accurate list, 6POS would have to be #1 🙂
    Again, very reflective of the times they are a changin’. It’s not a good or bad thing. Ain’t nothing but a thang.
    Happy July 4th my French Canadian brother.
    Enough Kibbitzing for now…
    PS Here’s my CGC effort for your book: “Six Pixels of Separation: You’ve commented on the blog; you’ve heard the podcast; You’ve read the book; now…eat the pie”

  6. Great post Mitch!
    I’ve been enjoying The Connections Show by Stan Relihan out of Australia for a while now. He interviews interesting people from all over the globe who are involved in the world of social media and networking.

  7. Hey Mitch,
    One thing that’s not covered in the post is how does one discover what’s out there? Currently you need to download random shows and invest time in to separating the good from the bad. Sure it could be argued that that’s part of the fun, but I think it’s a major barrier to entry for the podcasting industry. It’s just too hard for normal people.
    We rely on lists like this, advice from friends, and pure chance to discover podcasts. As much as I love podcasts, this isn’t good enough if we expect anyone with a computer to listen.

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