What are your least favorite podcasts?

I’m a fan of podcasts and always read the “what is your favorite podcast” threads with great interest. But this last one reminded me- I kind of hate a lot of podcasts. Indeed, I hate a lot of the more popular ones. So what podcast sacred cows do you despise? Here are mine:

Fresh Air Someone once said it was the epitome of self-congratulatory upper middle class white liberalism (SCUMWL). It is never relevant. It’s rarely interesting. It is by SCUMCWL and for SCUMWL and serves only to make them feel like they know something about the real world without them having to take time out of their Pilates lessons to experience something.

All the skeptic podcasts I’m a skeptic, and I thought I’d be all over it. But it turns out there really isn’t a lot of exciting news in the world of skeptics. “Atlantis still doesn’t exist” just isn’t interesting enough to talk about for an hour. It’s just a bunch of people preaching to the crowd, and rarely teaches me anything. And the presenters always seem like uptight douches.

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me Man, I can’t even get through an episode of this!

Also, I really hate to say this, but This American Life misses as often as it hits. When it is interesting, it is really, really, really interesting. Probably some of the best stuff out there. But when it’s not interesting…yaaaaaaaawn.

NPR: Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
I used to like it, but lately everyone on the ‘show’ are so friggin full of themselves it’s horrible. I’m way past amused at the self indulgent, smug, self loving asses. Ugh. They make me sick. They think they’re just so witty and clever.

I’ve been meaning to complain about it lately, and now I have an excuse. I’m getting a little weary of TAL. The Iraq war was done to death last year, and it started to bore me after about two episodes. Now it’s stuff about the financial crisis. Dudes, overload. If I want to hear about that, I’ll listen to a news podcast or a financial podcast. And the “aren’t I so clever and droll,” nasal-toned, hipster-beloved regular contributors are wearing reeeeeally thin.

But I still listen, because when they do the “bizarre slice of life” stories, it’s really, really good. Like the episode where the kids found the abandoned house, or the one about the guy who reinvented himself about eight times over the course of his life, with eight different families left behind, or my personal fave, the one about the Super.

ETA: Oh, and Car Talk. Um, it’s about cars. Yes, I gave it a listen, and it was…about cars. I have no interest in cars. Why is this podcast so popular?

I like Kevin Smith. I like most of his movies I think he is a pretty decent filmmaker overall with some clever dialogue.

SModcast, however, is no good about 75% of the time. Most of the time it consists of Kevin rambling on for about an hour about nothing while his co-host, Scott Mosier, seems hardly able to be a part of the conversation at all. Kevin probably gets 10 words to 1 in from Scott. Not that Scott is fighting for his time on the air either he hardly ever seems to have the desire to supply his 2 cents on anything. The amount of fluff and junk from Kevin you have to go through to find the good stuff is not worth it anymore.


Not that Harry Potter interests me anymore now all the books are out, but what an alarming bunch of squeeing nerds they are. Shouting over the top of each other, red-lining the poorly recorded audio, in a big echoing room or over bad skype channels, displaying irritating American ignorance about British-set books.

It would probably be fun if it was my mates round for a laugh and a chat, but not so much for a non-participation experience like a podcast.

Cartalk. Argh. Could be one of my favourites, but the constant laughing-at-own-jokes just drove me up the wall.

Not that I listen to it, but I’d gather it’s popular because… a lot of people are interested in cars?
I’m liking this thread! I still haven’t gotten much into podcasts, so I like this as a counterpoint to the “omg these are awesome podcasts” threads.

I think I’m with you on the skeptic podcasts. I have a low tolerance for the “omg you believe in the Invisible Sky Unicorn - rofl!” attitude; yes, I get that religion tries to muck around in people’s lives, unjustifiably IMO, and think Church and State should stay very, very separate, but the attitude is wearying. Skeptoid can have some interesting topics at times, but the guy’s presentation style can be off-putting.

NPR’s Talk of the Nation - Like the material, but why the hell are they now splitting the broadcasts into separate topics? I only infrequently remember to go download the other episodes from that day (I don’t want to enable it because those times when iTunes hiccups and re-issues half of my latest podcasts, I don’t want it to repeat all of those), and it’s not like it’s a video podcast so even the entire broadcast wouldn’t take up that much room. Did they start issuing a digest version podcast without telling us? (And if not, they should?)

The Quick and Dirty Tips podcasts - Grammar Girl, Nutrition Diva, Modern Manners Guy, etc. These came highly recommended but I just can’t get into them. They come off kind of awkward and dull.

Any podcast that’s only a minute or two long. I’m looking at you, The Onion, NOVA (IIRC), and others. I like to settle in for a little bit with a podcast and listen, not have to fiddle with my iPod every few minutes and find the next thing to listen to. I’d prefer a weekly release of one longer podcast.

Radio Lab - Actually, I love this podcast. I hate the “edgy” intro with the stuttering audio. The creators know that people are writing in with increasing irritation over it, and acknowledged it in a show last year; the guy who did it basically said “It sounded like a good idea at the time” and noted that he was getting annoyed with it and needed to do something else. So please, please change it already.

Stuff You Should Know - I listen to it because it’s apparently a very popular podcast in the tradition of the Straight Dope. (I.e. they research an interesting question and then talk about it for 20 minutes.) But it never fails to drive me up the wall. The two co-hosts are idiots who are not as funny as they think they are, are not at all thorough in their research, and who occasionally let slip some hint of a Greater Ignorance that lurks below the surface. (E.g. one of them mentioned offhand that he believes in homeopathic medicine, and in the podcast about dying of thirst, the other one said “doctors” recommend 10 glasses of water a day. Old wives’ tale!!)

I totally agree. I first started listening to this thinking it would be pretty cool, but the hosts are just too boring. The podcast about making beer got to the point they were just rambling about nothing to fill time.

Dan Savage from the Stranger. I love the guy but hearing him talk like that drove me up the wall in under 2 min

but its the only one I have tried to listen to so…

I’ve yet to find a decent sports podcast. They all try to copy sports radio. I don’t need stupid sound clips, ranting fans, or self-important hosts. I’d like a nice discussion between 3-5 knowledgeable sports lovers. Kind of like Twit, but sports instead of tech.

I see where you’re coming from, but I find short podcasts nice when I finish a podcast a few minutes before I arrive at my destination. They do tend to collect on my player, though, and it’s irritating to listen to a bunch (with identical intros & outros) at a time.

I agree. I listened to for a while, but stopped when it became nothing more than bitching about Zack and Miri Make a Porno bombing

I used to like Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me until I discovered that there are several British radio shows that do the same thing in a far far superior way (The News Quiz springs to mind).

I think iTunes lists The News Quiz under “Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4” if anyone is interested in checking it out. I enjoy both this and WWDTM.

There’s a very popular knitting podcast that I listen to about three episodes of before I threw up my hands in despair. Horrible production values, and the hosts spent the entire time laughing at their own jokes, apologizing for swearing, and saying ‘we’re going to have to edit that out’, which obviously they don’t. And yet, it’s wildly loved within the knitting community. :confused: As a result it’s hard for me to trust recommendations for other amateur podcasts.

I complained about it in the other thread, but NPR’s All Songs Considered. It has a very narrow view of what constitutes good music, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a show by and for SCUMWLs (thanks, even sven). I listened to a dozen or so episodes because I really wanted to like it: I love music, I love NPR, I like some of the artists they talk about and I’m interested in some of the topics they discuss. I especially liked the idea behind the “Guest DJ” series, in which a musician plays a series of tracks and talks about how they influenced him or her. But I just found the show to be incredibly smug and musically dull. Worst of all are the panel shows, where the panelists basically sit around congratulating each other on their superior taste in music. The episode that did it for me was one on '80s music, which essentially amounted to:

  1. OMG (pop) music was so terrible in the '80s!
  2. OMG the production’s so dated I can’t even bear to defile my ears by listening to it!
  3. Hey, I do have this guilty pleasure - don’t make fun of me - but I actually like “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears, especially after hearing it used in the brilliant masterwork Donnie Darko.
  4. Are you kidding?! That song’s so dated! Turn it off before my ears fall off!
  5. To be fair, guys, not all music in the '80s was terrible. My older brother introduced me to this band called The Replacements - of course, I didn’t hear about them till the early '90s, but they represent what '80s music means to me …
  6. That’s true. Have you heard of this band called Mission of Burma?
  7. Hey, let’s listen to this obscuro sadsack with an acoustic guitar and a mumbly voice cover “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” He really captures the true pathos behind the song.
  8. Wow, I never thought that I would think a Deneice Williams song was beautiful!

By the end of the episode, my eyes were rolled so far up into my head I could barely see to hit the “unsubscribe” button. I actually love The Replacements and Mission from Burma (and am indifferent toward Tears for Fears), but the attitude of “all indie music is better than all pop music” is something I got over in 9th grade. The false equivalency bothered me in particular: if you’re going to mock bad '80s pop songs (and there are plenty of those), then counter with some great '80s pop songs (astonishingly, these do exist!). And if you’re going to make the case for great '80s indie (which was a little off-topic from the episode’s construct to begin with), then it’s OK to mock bad '80s indie (astonishingly, this does exist!). At least don’t act like you’re the first person to unearth the super-obscure Replacements and are doing the musical peons a favor by sharing your hipper-than-thou taste in music. And lastly, “semi-ironic covers of cheesy pop songs” is the dullest, laziest, least inspiring form of music on the planet (even worse than Hall & Oates!).

Wow, I definitely didn’t expect to write that much. But All Songs Considered is symptomatic of a certain type of music journalism that (almost) makes me want to listen to nothing but The Jonas Brothers and Danity Kane in retribution. Luckily, by the end of my run listening to the podcast, I discovered another rock podcast better suited to my deep AND broad musical tastes, which made it all the easier to drop ASC.

I realized I didn’t like All Songs Considered when they kept going on and on and on and ON about how Fleet Foxes was the greatest new band of 2008. I listened to their cd. It was navel-gazing, self-absorbed noodling crap. I’ll stick with Pandora for my music recommendations, thanks.

I just recently got into Stuff You Should Know and while I find it generally entertaining, their episode on moonshine got on my nerves. (I think that’s the one Enright3 was talking about.) They start off talking about how everyone in Georgia knows how to make moonshine or knows someone who does :rolleyes:. The information in the episode was pretty good (the history of moonshine, how bootlegging started NASCAR, that sort of thing) but they kept talking about how much they liked moonshine and then “oh, wait, it’s illegal to make it so don’t do it!” and then they’d go back into how good it was. I say again, :rolleyes:. A script would help them immensely.

I like a couple of Smith’s movies, and I think his run on “Daredevil” was pretty good. But Smith himself strikes me as a smug, self-congratulating asshole, so convinced by his bizarrely fawning fans of his own brilliance that he treats anyone who doesn’t like his work as a drooling idiot. Your description of his podcast sounds about in-line with this impression.

I’d like to find better comics-oriented podcasts. “Comics News Insider” is pretty good. “11 O’Clock Comics” is just awful - two hours of directionless, disorganized and poorly produced rambling about comics-ish things. There are…jeeze, I donno, six or seven participants/hosts, all talking over each other and interrupting each other and babbling about how much they’re paying to have their back issues bookshelf bound. The thing I think is the worst is that they interrupt the pointless ramblings of the hosts at seemingly random points to drop in the insane phoned-in rantings of their deranged listeners. Simply dreadful. Any dopers listening to comics-oriented podcasts that are actually good?

I kind of enjoy “Skeptoid,” but I agree that the profusion of skeptic podcasts is kind of weird. How many times does one need to hear that Kinoki footpads don’t actually do anything?

NPR has some great interviews and news subjects, but they’re so hit and miss, I can’t I can’t bring myself to subscribe to most NPR podcasts (Intelligence Squared is the only one I like so far). I have found the NPR Mobile (not affiliated with NPR) iphone app to be pretty nice. It basically allows you to browse all the mp3s that NPR has to offer.

I totally agree with the skeptic podcasts. I’ve been through pretty much all of them and haven’t found any of them interesting. When they do have something of substance, the odds of me being interested in that particular subject are pretty slim (who gives a damn about Kinoki footpads?), and the odds of me listening to someone who is not an expert act like they are (please don’t talk authoritatively about drug research if you technically don’t really even have a job), even slimmer.

I’m also finding it hard to laugh at the comedy podcasts. I’m not going to name them as I’m fairly new to this and have only listened to one or two episodes each, so maybe I’m missing something, but if I sit through 30 minutes or an hour of audio comedy, I expect to at least have one slight chuckle.

I listened to this podcast when it started, and I liked it. Now, not so much. There were two original co-hosts. One is currently very busy having a life and isn’t around much. So there’s a stand in. In my opinion, the missing original co-host did a better job of adding balance to the conversation and keeping focus. The stand in is a nice person, and perhaps still feels like a semi-permanent guest, and gets railroaded by the forceful and rather scattered personality on the other mike. It just doesn’t work in the same way. I think the popularity is a result of people hanging on and waiting to see if it comes back. Or maybe I’m just projecting my own reasoning onto others.