[With the new website, there is no longer a built-in blog for CoStudio Architects. So if things are a bit more tangential (as this article is), this may be a better place to post. There will be articles on the website, as well, but this will be home for things a little farther afield. This is also going out as the first installment of the CoStudio Architects Newsletter.]
The EntreArchitect community on Facebook started a discussion about recommended podcasts. Since this is a group for (primarily) small-firm and sole-practitioner architects, some of the top recommendations (starting with the Entrepreneur Architect podcast itself, and also including Business of Architecture podcast, Archispeak podcast, and the Archinect podcast) are not going to be high on the list of most non-architects, but non-architectural recommendations were also requested. After a brief answer to the question, I wanted to expand a bit more on some of my favorites, and share them with non-architects and architects alike.
In the past couple years, I have assembled a set of podcasts that are my regular rotation. Although I was a long time getting to podcasts, once I figured out I could listen to some of the over-the-air programs I sometimes missed, and when I was regularly commuting while I was working for another firm, I started using the time to listen to things by choice, and so developed the habit of being a regular podcast listener. Several of these are radio programs that I’m just time-shifting so it’s more convenient for me. These are programs that I think will have broad appeal to architects and non-architects alike.
99 Percent Invisible [http://99percentinvisible.org/]
The title comes from a quote by Buckminster Fuller, “Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.” The show examines how design (not just architecture, but typography, acoustic design, graphics, and more) is a part of everything we encounter in our lives. This show has become a juggernaut; producer and host Roman Mars has turned a little show about design into a whole blossoming media empire called Radiotopia. (Frankly, I haven’t delved into the other Radiotopia programs too much yet, but I’m sure there is more awesomeness to be found in there.)
Quirks and Quarks (CBC) [http://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks]
A long-running science program on CBC Radio, it could be subtitled “All Science Things Considered.” Each hour has a handful of stories about hard science research and new discoveries. Not just the stuff that breaks through, like New Horizons or the Large Hadron Collider (although those are there, too), but everything from dinosaurs to deep space.
On the Media (WNYC) [http://www.onthemedia.org/]
This is another one of the first programs I started with. I’ve been a longtime NPR listener and supporter, and I started listening to this program as an over-the-air broadcast from my local station. But it’s aired at inconvenient times, and I’d often miss part or all of it, so this was one of the first shows I started following as a podcast. The show is not a straight news program, but discusses the news, as well as other media issues, with a critical eye that harkens back to the days when NPR news programs offered thought-provoking content (which I find to be less and less the case these days). Far and away the most informative and critical program about news and the media landscape.
Spark (CBC) [http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark]
A program about technology, “tech trends, and fresh ideas.” This has been the first place I’ve come across a number of new technologies, Like other CBC programs, it’s currently on summer hiatus, but that gives you the opportunity to catch some past episodes.
Reply All [http://gimletmedia.com/show/reply-all/]
On the Media had a spin-off show called tl;dr for a while. The program was chiefly about Internet-specific topics and focusing on that growing segment of the mediascape. The two hosts for that show moved on and are now making a similar program as a podcast.
Note to Self (WNYC) [http://www.wnyc.org/shows/notetoself/]
A new-ish program, previously called “New Tech City.” They did the Bored and Brilliant project with NPR earlier this year, which was a compelling series about re-engaging your creativity and unplugging from the constant connection to our smartphones. Even if you don’t go for the whole show, I highly recommend the Bored and Brilliant project to everyone. Bringing some mindfulness to how you are using your smartphone (and other tech) can be an enlightening step to help regain some focus in your life.
My podcast app of choice is CarCast for Android operating system. It is simple, minimal, and the basic functions can be fairly easily accessed if you are driving. “Optimized for use in a daily commute, it features big buttons, large text, remembers last played location.” It’s free, or you can get the paid version which is identical in features, you just contribute a couple bucks to the developer; absolutely worth it, to me.