I use public transit to get to work every day. I have a hard time shutting my thoughts down when it’s time to sleep. These two things mean, for me, that I listen to an awful lot of podcasts. In an average week, it’s not crazy for me to chew through ten hours of podcast audio.

Here are three that have been in high rotation as of late.

pirateThe Pirate History Podcast

By Matt Albers, this podcast is both ambitious and covers a huge amount of history. Matt is not content to simply reiterate anecdotes of great pirate raids, but rather he likes to dig deep into the political affairs that lead to the position piracy occurs. He goes into detail, but he moves through the facts smoothly and efficiently, and as such the story is always moving forward and it keeps my attention.

The audio quality is great, and Matt has a smooth, professorial voice that is well suited to podcasting. This does, however mean that it is also easy to fall asleep to. I usually listen to each episode twice, because if I start one while going to bed, I’ll drift off easily before finishing it. That’s not a bad thing, as that is ultimately the reason I listen at night, so don’t let that put you off.

It is a fairly new podcast, but the fifteen episodes so far have been posted with a decent regularity (in stark contrast to, say, Hardcore History, where you’re lucky to get three episodes a year) and that consistency has been a real draw for me. One thing that can really make me stop listening to a show is to constanly be updating the feed only to find out that no new episode has been added. If that happens too many times, I will usually unsubscribe and move on to something else.

Lately, this one has been my go-to, each new episode going right to the top of the queue. Pirates plus history are a good draw for me, and I am looking forward to each new show.


WWLogo250Wait, What?

By Graeme McMillan and Jeff Lester, Wait, What? is a comic book podcast that has pushed some of the other comic podcasts I used to listen to (Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, Journey into Misery) out of rotation. Graeme and Jeff look at comics in a way that I relate to a bit more, and usually comment on the art in a book more often that other similar podcasts, and I enjoy that.

I am especially into the podcasts’ sub-category “The Baxter Building”, where they read and discuss the entire Fantastic Four comic series, right from issue #1, and go into exhaustive detail of the plot and art, and then speculate (wildly?) about the goings-on behind the scenes that led to the book’s creation. They are also not afraid to take their time to talk about the stories. If in a two hour episode, they only make it through four or five issues, well, so be it. That’s fine with me, because if they have something to say, I’m usually interested in hearing it.

It’s a fun couple of hours, and the two hosts are playfully sarcastic and willing to run with their flights of fancy before reigning it back in to highlight, yet again, that Reed Richards is such a dick. (He is such a dick. More so than you even realize or remember, and it seems to be that he’s a dick on purpose, not just through misguided scripting. I have no idea why he’s always written that way, but it’s no wonder that after so many Stan and Jack comics featuring Reed’s deep-seeded douchebaggery that it has become a key part of his character through the ages.)


HOF-Cover-ArtHistory on Fire

Historian Daniele Bolelli was inspired by Dan Carlin to do his own history podcast, and History on Fire was born. Long form, in depth looks at some of the greatest moments in history, and listening to it makes me feel smarter just for going along for the ride. This is a good substitute for the never updated Hardcore History, but it is also not without it’s flaws.

Many people harp on Bolelli’s accent. These people are wrong. He has an accent, it’s a bit thick, but the guy is speaking in english and it’s easy enough to understand him if you’re paying attention. However, I really do hold issue with his handling of his sponsors. I get it. You have to help out the people who help your show. I truly understand. But his presentation is arduously long and uninteresting when he’s talking about them. It blows.

That issue aside, the show is a smart ride through huge historical events, and Bolelli’s insight sand imaginings are interesting and thoughtful.


So, that’s what I’ve been listening to, lately. After you listen to us, what do you put in your ears?


Scott has his fingers in a few of the pies here at 9to5.cc; he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated) and with Jason McCullough on Templars, co-hosts The 9to5 Entertainment System and blogs here and there when the whimsy takes him.