PODCASTS: More Recommendations

First, this post has nothing to do with CBC Radio One’s show On the Coast.

Except that sentence.

As with the earlier post recommending various podcasts, all the links for them take you to the iTunes releases, but if you plonk the titles of these shows into Stitcher or whatever you listen to podcasts on, you should be able to find them.

CBC News Network's "Power and Politics" [click to embiggen]

CBC News Network’s “Power and Politics” [click to embiggen]

Every weekday on CBC News Network, Power & Politics with Evan Solomon runs for two-​hours including commercials. They don’t issue a video-​format podcast of the show, but they do release an audio-​only version. This is basically the single best way to be as up-​to-​date with national issues and Canadian politics. It’s also the single-​best way to become infuriated with the horse-​shit passing for standards of responsible behaviour on Capital Hill now.

Some of you may think the following is exaggerated, but I swear it’s more toned-​down and simplified than reality:

Evan Solomon: Let me ask you this straightforward ‘yes or no’ question, which is clearly phrased and to the point.

Any Elected Person of Any Party or Appointed Ministry Official Spokesperson: Thank you for that question about a topic every single Canadian cares about, and which I will now completely ignore as I repeat all the stock phrases and policy statements that I’ve spent the last hour being coached on, most of which consist of saying what an idiot another party’s leader is, and how not one single candidate of theirs should ever hold public office due to reckless endangerment of the economy /​public safety /​federal purse-​strings in general [choose one or more]. None of this has even the remotest connection to the matter you’ve just asked, but I wasn’t listening anyway.

Seriously, this is what we get in the halls on Parliament Hill. Over and over. Every single day. Without fail.

How about starting with ‘yes,’ or ‘no,’ and then explaining why? Is that so impossible?

Every single party is just as bad at directly answering, except for the Green Party’s Elisabeth May who seems to not only have an ability to listen but also respond appropriately to the interviewer. If there was ever a convincing reason for me giving that party my support, and for the citizens’ increasing feeling of cynicism and powerlessness with the electoral system, this is it.

My blood pressure probably increases twenty points every time I listen to this, but the discussions they have with the political analysts and reporters like Kady O’Malley are excellent. Hearing the interviews that make your blood boil will help to give the broader context of the analysis the panels give you.

CBC Radio's "As it Happens" [click to embiggen]

CBC Radio’s “As it Happens” [click to embiggen]

Every weekday on CBC Radio One, As it Happens runs. This show has been around for as long as I’ve listened to CBC radio, and hearing the late Barbara Frum interview people taught me much about how to think intelligently and look at the world’s events with an informed and inquisitive mind. Currently involving Carol Off (interviewing) and Jeff Douglas (announcing and occasional editorial rants), this provides national and international news by speaking to the people directly involved in the event, or at the very least able to offer details from the area.

Sometimes there’s science; sometimes issues specific to a particular province, or US state, or city; sometimes there’s interviews with people who stuff and mount mice in dioramas using themes from popular movie musicals. There are always puns, and it’s always excellent. The podcast includes all the material from the show, and is often available before it’s broadcast on the West Coast. I always hear it the next day, right after listening to Power & Politics.

CBC Radio's "The House" [click to embiggen]

CBC Radio’s “The House” [click to embiggen]

If you still need Canadian political news after a week of listening to people not answer questions, there’s CBC Radio One’s The House.

Hosted by Evan Solomon, you amazingly do not get a bunch of repeated material from Power & Politics, instead you hear fresh interviews with Ministers and others, plus analysis from intelligent people. All of them discuss the important issues of the last week and try to make sense of them in a meaningful way. That’s not always entirely possible, but they give it their best. Good as a supplement to Power & Politics, or as a fifty minute replacement of it if you’re not all that addicted to knowing how Her Majesty’s federal, bicameral, legislative branch of Canada works.

CBC's "The National" ~ At Issue [click to embiggen]

CBC’s “The National” ~ At Issue [click to embiggen]

A weekly analysis of national issues can be found through the “At Issue” section of Thursday evening’s The National on CBC Television. They issue it in a video format, but the link I’ve provided takes you to the audio-​only version. Typically it’s about fifteen minutes or so, and involves one (sometimes two or three) topics of import from that week’s political news and looks at what it means and what sort of effect it may have in the week to come. The discussion is always measured, intelligent, and informed. You may not always agree with particular commentators, but their points are always well-​thought.

CBC Radio's "The 180" [click to embiggen]

CBC Radio’s “The 180″ [click to embiggen]

Once a week, CBC Radio One’s The 180 looks at people who have done an about-​face on an issue and taken a stand that either seems surprising for them or anyone. Sometimes the topics have two people on either sides of the issue, but more than not you get a topic being looked into across a couple of episodes, sometimes due to listener’s comments or reaction to an interview the week before. If the ideas of what if economists started a political party or shooting wild animals is entirely defensible or if basic food is tax exempt we shouldn’t tax tampons piqué your interest, then this is a show to listen to once a week for just under an hour.

Bugle, The ~ The Bugle (an Audio Newspaper for a Visual World) [click to embiggen]

Bugle, The ~ The Bugle (an Audio Newspaper for a Visual World) [click to embiggen]

Fridays, the brains behind the web-​site TheBuglePodcast​.com release a podcast called The Bugle.

Quite how they made the decision to do it that way, I don’t know, as it seems more than a little confusing, but… well, they’re English, so it probably makes sense in the let’s mess with the Colonials’ minds sort of way they are wont to do.

Typically, the half-​hour is made-​up of American, UK, and international news items, but focuses on one topic in detail for a majority of the show. Occasionally there are references to “footie” and cricket, as the hosts are both British: comedians Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver.

Funny. Very very funny. Also occasionally rude.

Due to Zaltzman living in London, England and Oliver in New York City, there have been occasional shows which may have been recorded when one of them has had a couple of drinks, what with the time differences and all (late at night New York is quite early in the morning in London, you see). There have been at least two episodes where Zaltzman was in the Antipodes, Oliver was in NYC, and their technician co-​coordinating the recording was in London; thus creating truly trans-​global, dual-​hemisphere, intercontinental satire spanning the earth’s day. The sun never sets on The Bugle’s mighty hosts, it seems [the pointless use of technology which was seemingly improbable only a generation ago simply to make dick jokes has been commented upon by the hosts, so keep that in mind].

NPR's "Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me!" [click to embiggen]

NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” [click to embiggen]

An additional show I’ll simply mention in passing is Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, a marvellous quiz-​style look at the week’s news in the USA. If you’ve ever heard “Quinn’s Quiz” on a Thursday episode of On the Coast, then much of this will be comfortably familiar. It runs under an hour, and always has some Great Person interviewed and who participates in one of the quizzes. Get this now, you’ll thank me later.

Oh, damn. I mentioned On the Coast again. Sorry.

Book: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis [W.W. Norton & Company, February 2011; ISBN 9780393078190]