In the next day or two, the podcast library on my iPod will reach two thousand. Every day, despite the fact that I listen to as many as fifteen or twenty of the podcasts, the number grows, sometimes by ten or so, sometimes by more than twenty-five, once even by thirty-two. I have already subscribed to more than one hundred different shows, and almost as quickly as new shows pop up on the iTunes podcast page, I subscribe to them as well, and they begin to add to the mass accumulation. From my iPod screen, 42: 09: 24: 24: at last count; 47: 09 GB and guaranteed to grow. Podcasts from last spring wait patiently to be listened to along with yesterday's latest download. Video podcasts vie with audio for their day in the sun. Musicians and singers, novelists, pundits political and economic, all beckon, some calmly, some with urgency, for my attention: "Choose me. No, choose me," they seem to say.
As I write, the podcast of Aspen Public Radio's Classical Music program — a Beethoven quartet, some Chopin nocturnes, etc. — has just ended, so I am going to pause and choose something new. Back in a minute. I went for, Texas Blues Café, session 146 (one of three I've yet to listen to). Cow Dog says he's going to play something by Stevie Ray Vaughn. My tastes in music are nothing if not eclectic. Not only do I have classical and blues, I have folk and country, Doo Wop and Jazz, Big Band and The Grateful Dead.
Pardon the digression.
So many podcasts, so little time. They all look so interesting, so appealing. They offer a world of entertainment and a universe of knowledge and god knows the price is right. I can get the talking heads from Slate gabbing about politics or culture or even sports. I can meet the press and face the nation at my convenience. I can listen to My Friend Irma, The Shadow or Lux Radio Theater on old time radio podcasts. The National Gallery will give me a tour of their latest exhibit. Brian Dunning debunks myths urban and otherwise on Skeptoid. Kevin Pollack plays the Larry King Game with Dana Carvey. Adam and Mattie talk film from Chicago on Filmspotting. My iPod is a storehouse of riches just waiting to be tapped.
Take film for example. It's not just Adam and Mattie. I can hear what A.O. Scott thinks about The Deer Hunter. I can get the Rotten Tomatoes take on the week's new movies. I can listen to discussions from the American Film Institute. Then, of course, there's Elvis Mitchell on KCRW, not to mention the crew from Total Film Talk. And if this isn't enough, I just found a new Bollywood podcast from Independent News and Media in the U.K., not to mention Creative Screenwriting which I've been debating over for the last few days.
Speaking of the U.K., the BBC offers dozens of downloads from Radio 1, 2, 7 (it seems like infinity) on everything from theatre to philosophy. They'll even give you an insight into what the Brits are hearing about the States on Americana: Inside the USA. The Guardian will set you straight on books and culture and politics and the media and…well you get the idea. Then there's The Economist and The Monocle Weekly, and that's just skimming the possibilities. Then there's our Northern neighbor. Canada offers its share of goodies: whether you want to hear a Canadian novel serialized or take a daily excursion into pop culture with Jian Ghomeshi, Canada's answer to NPR's Terry Gross.
Terry Gross: I was listening to one of my back-logged podcasts of Fresh Air the other day. Terry was interviewing Judd Apatow, who was making the rounds in support of the release of Funny People. As they came to the end of the interview, Judd was telling Terry how much he enjoyed the show. He said he listened to it all the time, that he downloaded podcasts of the show, and listened to them when he went to bed. He only used one of the ear pods, he said. It was uncomfortable to use both. If he fell asleep, he would listen to what he missed the next night. "Right on, Judd," I thought.
Last night I fell asleep listening to The Hack and the Flack.