<p><a href="http://www.derek-ward.com/2018/03/state-of-my-podcasts/">State Of Podcasts 2018</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.derek-ward.com/2019/03/state-of-podcasts-2019/">State of Podcasts 2019</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.derek-ward.com/2020/03/state-of-podcasts-2020/">State of Podcasts 2020</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.derek-ward.com/2021/02/state-of-the-podcasts-2021/">State of Podcasts 2021</a></p>
This is the sixth year I’ve reviewed which podcasts I listen to, how I listen to them, and when I listen to them. Part of it’s my own curiosity at how my podcast habits change. I’m also curious what others think about the same podcasts and which podcasts come and go.
I listen to my podcasts in Overcast. I prefer Overcast because the app deletes podcasts I’ve listened to, plus it has a smart speed feature which will speed up if it hears dead air. Generally, I listen to my podcasts at 2X speed.
Rather than try to fit podcasts into categories, I apply categories to the podcasts. Also, I try to listen to podcasts "with a shelf life" (i.e., current events) first. I’m going to include the show’s "blurb" and then any of my comments.
Comedy – One of the central themes of the podcast is making me laugh
Debate – The podcast uses a formal debate format
Economics – Discusses economic theory and impacts
Entertainment – Main subject matter is an entertainment form or persons
Free Speech – Discussing the current issues and assaults on free speech culture and laws
Government – Discusses the review of government operations
Guns – Discussing gun hardware and associated technology and skills
History – Delving into history in general or one facet/era
Legal – Discussing legal cases and theories
Libertarianism – Discusses libertarian theory
Interview – Substantial episodes interviewing guests
Opposing Views – Hosts regularly espouse politics or theories that are substantially different to my own
Prepping – Discussing prepping gear, methods, and skills
Politics Of The Day (POTD) – Discussion of current political events
Right To Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) – Discusses issues around gun rights
Science – Discussing current science news and skepticism-related issues
Self-Defense – Discussing best practices for self-defense
True Crime – Podcast is a narrative/story of real crime events
War – Discusses issues surrounding armed conflicts
Writing Improvement – Helps me improve my writing
My podcasts as of February 2022:
Active Self Protection Podcast (Guns, Interview, RKBA, Self-Defense) – Active Self Protection exists to help good, sane, moral, prudent people in all walks of life to more effectively protect themselves and their loved ones from criminal violence. On the ASP Podcast, you will hear stories of life or death self defense encounters from the men and women that lived them. If you are interested in the Second Amendment, self defense and defensive firearms use, martial arts or the use of less than lethal tools used in the real world to defend life and family, you will find this riveting. One of the shows I listen to build up my "scenario card file" for self defense. Plus, the end segment with the host of The Reload (see below) is excellent.
Advisory Opinions (Legal, POTD) – Hosts David French and Sarah Isgur have a weekly conversation about the law, culture, and why it matters This one helps me understand how the law "thinks" and why it sometimes is at odds with what people think it should think.
Alienating the Audience (Interview, Entertainment, Science, Skepticism) – Andrew Heaton and an army of nerds plunge deep, deep into films, books, and TV shows to ask: what’s science fiction really about? What is The Twilight Zone really exploring? What are the underlying themes of Star Trek? What is the worldview of Star Wars? Also sometimes Heaton performs comedy on other planets. This hasn’t been active since April of 2022, but it has some excellent discussions on different aspects of sci-if. The comedy bits aren’t my favorite, and I tend to skip them.
Angry Planet (War, Interview, Opposing Views) – Conversations about conflict on an angry planet. Formerly known as War College, this podcast is an interesting look at politics and military issues through interviews with specialists, but definitely not from my political point of view.
Assorted Calibers Podcast (RKBA, Guns, Entertainment, Interview, Self-Defense) – Everything including the kitchen sink. Weer’d Beard and Erin Pallette are the real reason I listen to this, but the other segments are generally surprisingly good. I’m also a patron, and listen to the Mag Dump round tables, Film Tracks, and Blooper Reels (which are hysterically funny).
Black Man With A Gun (Guns, RKBA, Interview, Self-Defense) – Discover American history, gun training tips, product reviews, and interviews with great people on the responsible, family friendly, gun owners podcast hosted by Kenn Blanchard (since 2007). I have a soft spot for this podcast as it was one of the first podcasts I found. Plus, there was the whole Zombie Strike thing.
Blocked and Reported (Free Speech, POTD) – Journalists Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal scour the internet for its craziest, silliest, most sociopathic content, part of an obsessive and ill-conceived attempt to extract kernels of meaning and humanity from a landscape of endless raging dumpster files. This one is just full of amusing internet drama. Okay, sometimes the internet drama is more worrying than entertaining.
Bound By Oath (Legal, Libertarianism) – Bound By Oath is a new podcast by IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement where the Constitution’s past catches up to the present. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution requires every judge to be "bound by Oath" to uphold "this Constitution". But to understand if judges are following that oath, it’s important to ask, "What is in ‘this Constitution’"? In this podcast series, Short Circuit takes a deep dive into specific parts of the Constitution, starting with the 14th Amendment, which turned 150 in 2018. "Bound By Oath" features interviews with historians, legal scholars, and the real people involved in historical and contemporary cases. The first season was on the 14th amendment and the second was on qualified immunity. Good primer on the legal issues surrounding those topics.
The Bradenton Times Podcast (POTD, Interview, Opposing Views) – A weekly podcast by the Bradenton Times that highlights the people and issues in the Manatee County community. This is one I use to get to know what’s going on in my local community. And as much as I disagree with the host, at least he makes me think and re-evaluate my stances.
Bribe, Swindle, and Steal (Interview, True Crime, Opposing Views, Writing Improvement) – Alexandra Wrage, president of TRACE, interviews luminaries in the field of financial crime, including bribery, fraud, money-laundering, inside trading and sanctions. Each week, Alexandra and her guests will discuss who commits "white collar crime", how it works, and what is being done to stop it.
The Charles C. W. Cooke Podcast (Interview, POTD) – A show about politics, music, technology, rollercoasters, golf carts, and the United States of America. The spiritual successor to Mad Dogs and Englishmen after Kevin Williamson’s departure to The Dispatch. Charlie Cooke’s still providing thought provoking takes and brings on guests to expound on them.
Clockwise (Tech) – Clockwise is a rapid-fire discussion of current technology issues hosted by Dan Moren and Mikah Sargeant and featuring two special guests each week. Four people, four topics – and because we’re always watching the clock, no episode is longer than 30 minutes. Generally enjoyable, even though it gets a little too Apple-centric or a little too media-centric.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (History, Writing Improvement) – In "Hardcore History" journalist and broadcaster Dan Carlin takes his "Martian", unorthodox way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This isn’t academic history (and Carlin isn’t a historian) but the podcast’s unique blend of high drama, masterful narration and Twilight Zone-style twists has entertained millions of listeners. This podcast is a master craft in how to tell history in an exciting and entertaining way. It’s probably better to treat the arcs as audiobooks and just listen to them all at once to get the width and breadth of the story. This updates very infrequently.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: Addendum (History, Interview, Writing) – Interviews, musings and extra material from the makers of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. If it did not fit in the HH feed it’s probably here. A companion to the Hardcore History podcast where Dan Carlin does segments outside his normal narrative style. Often very informative.
The Dispatch Podcast (POTD, Interview) – Host Sarah Imgur is joined by Steve Hayes, Jonah Goldberg, and David French for a weekly thoughtful discussion on politics, policy, and culture. The panel rotates a bit more often with other members of the Dispatch staff which gives the panel discussion a wider variety. The interviews are always entertaining.
The Economist Asks (Interview) – One question posed to a high-profile newsmaker, followed up with lively debate. Anne McElvoy hosts The Economist’s chat show. It’s mostly an interview with a newsmaker on an issue. The host doesn’t really have a lively debate, but occasionally asks more probing questions.
Econtalk (Interview, Economics)- Econtalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem and Stanford’s Hoover Institution. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it’s like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. I’ve been learning a lot on economics, and even more on some wildly different topics.
Editor’s Picks From The Economist (POTD, Opposing Views) – Selected articles from the audio edition of The Economist. I listen to the Economist, because it provides a different perspective and reports on areas that barely hit my normal feeds.
The Editors (POTD) – Unravel the threads of American politics with incisive commentary and in-depth analysis on the state of the political scene. Editors from National Review discussing the issues of the day. Part of my keeping an idea of the conservative side of the issues of the day.
Fall of Civilizations Podcast (History, Writing Improvement) – A history podcast looking at the collapse of a different civilization each episode. What did they have in common? Why did they fail? And what did it feel like to watch it happen? This is a good companion to Hardcore History and Revolutions. Not that they cover the same things, but this one does an excellent job in showing the decline and fall of various civilizations from every level.
FBI Retired Case File Review (Interview, True Crime, Writing Improvement) – Host Jerri Williams is a retired FBI agent and author on a mission to show you who the FBI is and what the FBI does by interviewing retired agents, her former colleagues, about their most intriguing and high-profiled cases, as well as fascinating but not as well-known FBI investigations. This has been very useful in dispelling some misconceptions about how the FBI works. Plus many of the cases are very compelling.
The Fifth Column (POTD, Free Speech, Opposing Views) – Your weekly rhetorical assault on the news cycle, the people who make it, and occasionally ourselves. Kmele Foster (Freethink), Michael Moynihan (formerly Vice), and Matt Welch (Reason) talk and laugh and drink their way to at least quasi-sanity in a world gone mad, often with the aid of clean and articulate guests. This is an excellent roundup focusing on the issues of the day and how the media reports them. They also bring on guests who will disagree with them and have excellent discussions.
Geeks Gadgets and Guns (Guns, Tech, Entertainment, POTD, RKBA) – A show of geeks discussing passions from technology and video games to firearms, design, history, and testing. A roundtable of geeks discussing guns and other geeky stuff with sometimes politics intruding.
GLoP Culture (POTD, Entertainment) – Jonah Goldberg, Commentary’s John Podhoretz, and Ricochet’s Rob Long discuss culture and politics. The hosts often muse on current POTD and culture through the lens of Gen X experiences.
Government Accountability Office Podcast: Watchdog Report (Interview, Government) – Featuring interviews with GAO officials on significant issues and new reports, the Watchdog Report is recorded, hosted, and produced by GAO staff. The Government Accountability Office discussed some of their reviews they’ve done on federal agencies. Kinda dry, with occasional interesting insights.
Gun and Gear Review (Guns) – Gun Reviews – Gear Reviews This is a good review podcast for new stuff in the gun world. I enjoy the reviews and the banter between the hosts.
Guns Guide To Liberals (RKBA) – Talking guns across the aisle with better communication and better arguments. This is a good podcast focusing on techniques to use when talking about guns and RKBA to those who don’t share our views. Not active, but would recommend going back and listening to the whole series.
Handgun Radio (Guns, Interview, Self-Defense) – Your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world. Delving more into the history and technological aspects of guns – mostly handguns. Also, just fun musings on different aspects of guns. Sometimes they bring on interesting guests.
High Caliber History (Guns, History, Interview) – A podcast for enthusiasts about firearms, history, museums, and more, with a goal of providing an understanding of what it’s like to work with these items in an environment that is becoming less and less accepting of the scholarship and work being done in this field. Logan Metesh interviews specialists on the history of guns, as well as lending his own vast expertise.
The History of WWII Podcast (History, Interview) – A biweekly podcast covering the last Great War. Join Ray Harris Jr as he explores World War Two in intimate detail. This one is going through WWII chronologically, with interview episodes interspersed. Good for learning about areas where my own knowledge is skimpy.
Honestly (Free Speech, Interview, Opposing Views) – The most interesting conversations in American life now happen in private. This show is bringing them out of the closet. Stories no one else is telling and conversations with the most fascinating people in the country, every week from former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalist Bari Weiss. Sometimes this one is interviews, and sometimes Bari brings on several guests for a panel to discuss an issue.
Honoverse Today (Entertainment, Writing Improvement) – Honoverse Today is a fan podcast providing review, commentary, and opinion for the Honor Harrington and Honorverse book series written by David Weber and published by Baen Books. The Honor Harrington series is one of the largest and most successful science fiction series in history. Yet it has never had a podcast. Until now. The series chronicles the life and world of Honor Harrington from her humble beginnings through the changing of the galactic order. The series includes 14 main series books, 2 spinoff series, several anthologies, 2 prequels, a comic series (which we will not be covering at this point), and several non-fiction reference and/or RPG game books. Honorverse Today will be covering the body of fictional stories, with the possible exception of the comics. More imporant, we will be covering all of the books in publication order. The three hosts analyze the Honor Harrington books. The nifty catch is that two of them are brand new to the series, while the third is a fan who has read the series multiple times. It’s interesting to hear the different items they pick out from the books.
The Incomparable Game Show (Comedy) – The people of The Incomparable play various games, including trivia, classic board games, word games, and even a few reimagined classic game shows from years gone by. Rotating panels playing rotating series of ostensibly board games. Often hilarious, sometimes dangerously so when driving. Some of the games I look forward to, others I bypass.
Left, Right, & Center (POTD, Opposing Views) – Left, Right, and Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture. This podcast covers the week’s political events with a progressive, a conservative, and a host who’s a left-leaning centrist. Guests are brought on to provide additional commentary – who tend to be overwhelmingly on the left-side of the aisles. Still, the debates are more conversational rather than confrontational.
Managing Uncertainty (Prepping, Writing Improvement) – Welcome to Managing Uncertainty, a podcast series discussing crisis management, business continuity, and crisis communications. You’ll learn strategies, tactics, and resources about preparing for, responding to, and recovering from all sorts of disruptions and critical moments. Will you be ready to lead through your company’s critical moment? This podcast is mainly focused on risk management from an organizational standpoint, but I find it’s useful as a prepping exercise as well.
The Michael Shermer Show (Interview, Science, Opposing Views) – The Michael Shermer Show is a series of long-form conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our times. Very thought provoking conversations as Dr. Shermer interviews scientists, scholars, and other intellectuals – generally on their new books.
Part of the Problem (POTD, Libertarianism) – Dave Smith expounds upon current events, our government, foreign policy, and all things Libertarian. He is part of the new generation of pundits. He’ll educate you and open your eyes to the possibility of a truly feee nation. Rabid anti-war libertarian comedian Dave Smith is interesting. He’s certainly challenging some of my ideas. Particularly when he veers over to the conspiracy theories.
The Political Orphanage (Interview, Libertarianism) – Politics minus bile plus jokes. Comedian Andrew Heaton interviews authors and thought leaders about policy and big thinky stuff. Andrew Heaton interviews a variety of individuals to discuss issues. Not necessarily just the POTD.
Pop & Locke (Entertainment, Libertarianism, Opposing Views) – Political ideas meet pop culture. This one looks at pop culture media (books, TV, movies) through the libertarian lens. Sometimes the panel goes a little more woke than I appreciate.
Popular Front (Interview, War, Opposing Views) – Popular Front is a grassroots media organization that focuses solely on war and conflict. We go deeper than mainstream news in a way that makes important war coverage accessible for everyone. The podcast focuses on the niche details of modern warfare and underreported conflict. A look into smaller conflicts going on or unusual aspects of modern warfare.
Power Problems (Interview, Libertarianism, Opposing Views) – Power Problems is a bi-weekly podcast from the Cato Institute. Host John Glaser offers a skeptical take on U.S. foreign policy, and discusses today’s big questions in international security with distinguished guests from across the political spectrum.
Quillette Podcast (Interviews, Free Speech) – Quillette is an online magazine founded by Australian writer Claire Lehman. The publication has a primary focus on science, technology, news, culture, and politics. Interviews and articles focusing in on free speech issues and cancel culture.
The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie (Interview, Liberatarianism) – Want to know comes next in politics, culture, and libertarian ideas? Reason’s Nick Gillespie hosts relentlessly interesting interviews with the activists, artists, authors, entrepreneurs, newsmakers, and politicians who are defining the 21st century. Reason editor interviews a variety of guests. This would be an even better podcast if they had a different host.
The Reason Roundtable (POTD) – Every Monday, the libertarian editors of the magazine of "Free Minds and Free Markets" – Matt Welch, Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Peter Suderman – discuss and debate the week’s biggest stories and what fresh hell awaits us all.
The Remnant With Jonah Goldberg (Interview, POTD) – In "The Remnant", Jonah Goldberg enlists a "Cannonball Run"-style cast of stars, has-beens, and never-weres to address the most pressing issues of the day. Is America doomed? Has liberalism failed? And will mankind ever invent something better than ’90s-era "Simpsons"? Mixing political history, pop culture, rank punditry, and shameless book-plugging, Goldberg and guests will have the kinds of conversations we wish they features on TV. And the nudity will (almost) always be tasteful. Brace your bingo cards. The Wednesday show is interviewing pundits, politicians, and others. The Friday show is Jonah musings.
Revolutions (History, Writing Improvement) – A weekly podcasting exploring great revolutions. Really good series on various revolutions. Each season goes through one of the more pivotal revolutions in history, starting with the English Revolution. It’s ended its run, but I’m still getting through the appendices.
The Rewatchables – (Entertainment) – "The Rewatchables", a filme podcast from The Ringer Podcast Network, features The Ringer’s Bill Simmonds and a roundtable of people from the Ringer universe discussing movies they can’t seem to stop watching. Variety panel of guests discussing a movie that is considered highly rewatchable. Depending on what movie they’re reviewing, if it’s one I haven’t seen, I’ll delete it. The categories are neat, but sometimes I get lost when they make sports references.
Self-Defense Gun Stories (Self-Defense) – Weekly reports and commentary on civilian self defense. I like the analysis of what went right and wrong from a variety of professional trainers. This is another I recommend to new shooters and those who are thinking about using a gun for self-defense.
Short Circuit (Legal, Libertarianism) – The Supreme Court decides a few dozen cases every year; federal appellate courts decide thousands. So if you love constitutional law, the circuit courts are where it’s at. Join us as we break down some of the week’s most intriguing appellate decisions with a unique brand of insight, wite, and passion for judicial engagement and the rule of law. From the Institute of Justice, this one discusses notable cases that IJ is arguing. I put it under libertarian theory rather than politics because it discusses legal libertarian arguments rather than issues of the day.
Skeptoid (Science) – The true science behind our most popular urban legends. Historical mysteries, paranormal claims, popular science myths, aliens and UFO reports, conspiracy theories, and worthless alternative medicine schemers… Skeptoid has you covered. From the sublime to the startling, no topic is sacred. Another one that helped in developing my skeptical outlook. It takes a particular pseudo-science claim and investigates with a skeptical eye.
So To Speak: The Free Speech Podcast (Free Speech, Interview) – So To Speak: The Free Speech Podcast takes an uncensored look at the world of free expression through personal stories and candid conversations. FIRE’s podcast discussing free speech issues. The guests and legal theories put this more into theory although it sometimes delves into the issues of the day.
Stop The Killing (Self Defense, Opposing Views) – A deep dive into the case files of former head of the FBI’s Active Shooter program Katherine Schweit with co-host Sarah Ferris. This US-UK dynamite true crime podcast duo reveal the insider’s story of what happened and what went wrong at some of the world’s worst mass shootings, empowering listeners along the way. Not a fear and scary facts conversation, and no politics. Sarah and Kate prove true crime in not just for criminals as they provide a bit of reality check on just how much power each of us has to stop the killing. Okay, the no politics isn’t quite correct. Still, useful to think about how to react during mass shootings. Also about looking for warning signs in others who might be about to commit these atrocities.
Tactical Tangents (Self-Defense, History, Writing Improvement) – Mike is a police SWAT team member, K9 handler, and tactical medic. Jim is an Air Force pilot with a background in close air support and combat search and rescue. Our goal is to elevate the conversation about all the things tactical for public safety, military, and concerned citizens. Join us to hear lessons learned about decision making, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork. I picked this one up originally because it has some excellent breakdowns of historical gunfights and mass shootings. It’s mostly geared to the professional, but the regular person can pick up some really good info.
Techmeme Ride Home (Tech) – The day’s teach news, every day at 5pm. From Techmeme.com, Silicon Valley’s most read new source. Fifteen minutes and you’re up to date. This is a relatively short, but thorough examination of the big news in tech.
Unregistered with Thaddeus Russell (Interview, Libertarianism, Free Speech, Opposing Views) – A show about what you’re not supposed to say. Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States, interviews people who break the rules of conventional discourse and expand the realm of the possible. Thaddeus interviews a varied list of guests he finds intriguing. Some are very interesting, some less so. It’s gotten a little weird since the pandemic.
The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe (Entertainment, Interview, History, Writing Improvement) – In The Way I Heard It, Mike Rowe gives a different take on a variety of topics – from pop culture to politics, history to Hollywood, each mystery is trueish tale about someone you know, filled with facts that you don’t. Delivered with Mike’s signature blend of charm, wit, and ingenuity, these stories are a part of a larger mosaic – full of surprising revelations, sharp observations, and intimate, behind-the-scenes moments drawn from Mike’s own life and career. This one is mostly interviews with people Mike finds interesting.
We’re Not Wrong (POTD, Opposing Views) – Jen Briney, Andrew Heaton, and Justin Robert Young discuss the world of politics, government, and media. They have never, and will never, be incorrect about anything. This is another one of those I listen to because the guests bring different views than my normal feeds and challenge my ideas.
The Weekly Reload Podcast (RKBA, Guns, Interview, Opposing Views) – A podcast from The Reload that offers sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis. It focuses on gun policy, politics, and culture. Tune in to hear from Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski and special guests from across the gun world each week. The audio companion to The Reload newsletter. The host interviews a wide variety of pro-gun and anti-gun guests, or those who just have something to important to add to the world around guns.
White Collar Crime and Fraud Podcast (True Crime, Self-Defense, Writing Improvement) – An exploration of fraud and white collar crime. Your host is Gene P. Tausk of The Tausk Law Firm in Houston, Texas. We will discuss various aspects of fraud and white collar crim including: legal, historical, the personalities involved, law enforcement responses, and the victims of fraud. This show discusses more of the theory behind scams and frauds, but also discusses actual cases.
Words & Numbers (Economics, Libertarianism, POTD, Interview) – Words & Numbers touches on issues of Economics, Political Science, Current Events and Policy. An economist and a political scientist discuss different aspects of economics from a libertarian perspective. Sometimes dipping into issues of the day.
Writer Dojo (Writing Improvement) – The WriterDojo is different than most other writing podcasts out there – our primary purpose is to cut through all the bad advice and help you tell stories that people want to read (and get you paid in the process.) This is advice on becoming a Professional Writer from two very knowledgeable Professional Writers. Authors Steve Diamond and Larry Correia discuss the ins and outs of writing for fun and profit. Readers will find interesting tidbits as well and may come away with new insights into what goes into creating the stories they love. This one has helped me with the art of writing. If I ever decide to actually get my stories published, I’ll probably go back through those episodes. One of the podcasts I support financially.