Tag Archives: podcasts

My Public Radio/Podcast Dilemma

I used to listen to a lot of public radio — mostly NPR affiliates — over the FM airwaves. For the past year or two though, I’ve been listening to as much if not more public and community radio, except rather than tuning in on my radio and listening to whatever is being broadcast at that time, I’m downloading the shows I want to hear and listening to them whenever and pretty much wherever I want.

At work I’m in front of a computer all day, so that make’s listening to podcasts easy. Around the house I have two radios I can hook my iPod up to and listen to podcasts I’ve already downloaded or stream shows over wifi. I have a cable to hook my iPod or smartphone up to the stereo in my car and can use either when out (at the gym, walking the dog, etc). In fact, it’s often easier and more convenient for me to listen to podcasts than radio broadcasts.

Here in Durango we have two public/community radio stations, KSUT and KDUR. KSUT is an NPR affiliate and plays most of what I consider the “standard” public radio shows, NPR news shows, Fresh Air, This American Life, Prarie Home Companion, etc. On weekdays, after Morning Edition and before All Things Considered, they mostly play music though. KDUR is also very much music based, they have a few talk shows, but most of the time I turn it on music is playing.

With the exception of Cycle Squawk, a local bike related show on KDUR, I never tune into either station to specifically listen to a certain show (but you should be turning into KDUR Sunday’s from 12:30-3pm for This Small Town Life!), but I recognize the benefit and am a member of both. There are times I just want to hear something, to not have to pick what I’m going to listen to, but those are few and far between. I don’t pay anything to download podcasts, but by being a member of other public radio stations that support NPR, APM, PRI, etc I’m indirectly supporting those shows.

One reason I don’t tune in for specific shows too often is that many of my favorites aren’t played here. None of the following shows are played here: Marketplace (or Marketplace Morning report), On the Media, Radiolab, Studio 360 or The Sound of Young America. In addition to those shows there are others that are regional that I have to listen to online also, I still listen to These Days on KPBS sometimes (oh how I miss Tom Fudge) and listen to a show out of Denver that covers stories all over Colorado (but as far as I can tell doesn’t get played on KSUT).

This leads me to wonder what public radio station I should support monetarily and become a member of. I understand the idea of supporting the local station, but the amount of content I listen to that isn’t available on those stations probably outnumbers the amount of content that is, and I definitely listen to more online than from the local stations. I can’t support all of the shows or stations that I listen to content from, so who do I support?

One part of me thinks I should continue supporting the locals, even though I have some problems with the KSUT. One part of me thinks I should support one of the stations that produces the majority of the content I listen to (or value most). That would probably be WNYC. Another part of me thinks I should support KPBS, I think they’re doing great things online, still listen to them every once in a while, and I have a few friends/acquaintances that work at the station.

I’m sure I’ll continue giving up some money to KDUR as long as I’m in Durango, Cycle Squawk alone is worth the $30/year membership fee. But the decision is harder when it comes to KSUT/NPR.

What do you other Pod-People do when it comes time to write your check to your public radio station do?

Too Much Public Radio?

I think I listen to too much public radio and too many podcasts.

This morning while waiting in the border line I started listening to the latest podcast from The Moth. It was Mike Birbiglia, a comedian and actor telling a story about his problems with sleep walking. After a few minutes I started to recognize the story and by the halfway point I realized I’d heard it before. Performances from The Moth often get played on This American Life, a public radio show and podcast. As it was an entertaining story I kept listening.

Later in the day I started listening to the latest Sound of Young America show (another podcast/public radio show). The guest this week was none other than Mike Birbiglia. As I listened I felt like I was hearing the same story again. I found it weird because the thing about The Moth is that the stories are told live without notes, but as I kept listening I was heard the exact same story, with the same jokes and exact same language as I heard hours before.

Mike Birbiglia was on the show promoting his new one man play Sleepwalk With Me. He told the story of wanting to write a one man romantic comedy, which got me interested, I love romantic comedies and I think if done right a one-man-play-romantic-comedy would be awesome. Then he started telling the story exactly how I heard it on The Moth. I got a lot less excited about his one man show. (It’s playing in New York so I’m not going anyways) but I felt like if I went I’d be sitting through this story a fourth time. Towards the end of the interview he did talk a bit more about it, which made it sound like it might have more to it than just the story he told on The Moth. But then I worried it might be like those movies, with really awesome and funny trailers and commercials, that when you go to see them the only funny parts were in the trailer. Hopefully his show isn’t like that, and if I were in NYC I might check it out, because he is funny and a good storyteller.

But I did start thinking that I might be listening to a little bit too much public radio.