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A listing of the podcasts I’m listening to in spring of 2021.

Podcasts I’m Listening To: Spring 2021

For the fourth (?!) year in a row,1 here’s the list of podcasts I’m listening to in the spring of 2021.

This list is broken down into ‘Currently Subscribed’ and ‘Previously Subscribed’ sections.2 Podcasts that are new to the list are in bold.

Happy listening!

Currently Subscribed

  • Accidental Tech Podcast: At this point the three-white-guys-discuss-Apple podcast is a meme but hosts Marco Arment, Casey Liss and John Siracusa do it better than anyone else. The key is calling Apple to account when they screw up.

  • All the Presidents’ Lawyers: It wasn’t clear whether this show would continue into the Biden Presidency but with a subtle shift of the possessive apostrophe, hosts Josh Barro and Ken White keep providing the best analysis of the legal issues swirling around U.S. presidents.

  • Against the Rules: Last year, I was looking forward to the second season of Michael Lewis’s podcast about fairness and this year I’m looking forward to the third.

  • The Anthropocene Reviewed: This was my favourite podcast of 2020 and I was crushed when host John Green ended it in September. There’s been two episodes since as promotional tie-ins with the book of essays of the same name. My fingers are crossed for its eventual return.

  • The Bike Shed: I was worried last year that Chris Toomey going indepedent might mean the end of the tandem of he and co-host Steph Viccari (given the show began as a discussion between Thoughtbot employees). Thankfully, Toomey remained throughout the year. It continues to be an excellent podcast about web development, typically concentrating on Ruby and JavaScript technologies.

  • The Book of Basketball 2.0: I wrote last year that I thought the signal-to-noise ratio of this basketball podcast was terrific and that continued to be the case throughout 2020. There are episodes when there are episodes.

  • Cautionary Tales: Host Tim Harford uses historical incidents to explain various principles. Once you realise how an episode is constructed, it can be a bit repetitive but I like Harford’s voice so much I sought out another of his podcasts just to get more of him into my life.

  • ClojureScript Podcast: I continue listening to episodes from this interview show with figures in the ClojureScript world but have debated multiple times whether to cut it. It has the worst audio quality of any show I listen to and it’s a source of constant frustration that the links in the shownotes aren’t actually links.

  • Dithering: The episode of John Gruber’s ‘The Talk Show’ that featured Ben Thompson were always the best and so it’s not a huge surprise that this is my favourite new podcast of the year. It’s a paid show but worth every penny. My only disappointment was when it went from three episodes a week to two.

  • Exponent: Hosts Ben Thompson and James Allworth discuss tech and business. The schedule became very irregular over 2020 but as I’ve established previously: I love irregular podcasts. Give me quality over quantity any day of the week.

  • Hemispheric Views: Did we need another three-white-guys-talk-about-Apple podcast? Probably not but the difference here is that two of the hosts are Australian. Andrew Canion, Jason Burk and Martin Feld have a great rapport and listening to a tech podcast with more of an international focus is a refreshing change.

  • More Or Less: This is the new Tim Harford podcast I mentioned above. Each week, Harford addresses a question about statistics. It’s nice and short, usually about 10 minutes an episode.

  • MusicalSplaining: It looked like a global pandemic that shut down theatres would be the end of this podcast about theatrical musicals. Hosts Lindsay Ellis (of YouTube fame) and Kaveh Taherian (of knowing Lindsay Ellis fame) cleverly pivoted to reviewing movie musicals. I occasionally wish the breakdowns were a little more methodical but Ellis and Taherian are always amusing.

  • On Margins: Long-time readers will know that I will keep podcasts in my ‘Currently Subscribed’ list long after they appear to have ended. Craig Mod rewarded me with a two-part interview with Sam Anderson in February after more than a year of no episodes. And since then, nothing. Is it dead? Who knows?

  • Panic Podcast: Independent Mac software developers, Panic, made a podcast about… well, it’s hard to explain exactly what it’s about. Things related (sometimes very tenuously) to Panic, the company, I guess? The last episode was back in April of 2020 and I think it’s done but it was so weird and entertaining that I keep it subscribed just in case.

  • Philosopher’s Zone: I don’t have this podcast at the top of my queue but every time I listen to an episode I’m glad I did. Host David Rutledge does an impressive job straddling a huge variety of philosophical topics.

  • The REPL: There haven’t been any interviews in this show about Clojure for more than a year but hopefully it’ll return.

  • Revisionist History: Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast looks at historical moments that are overlooked or misunderstood. I’m not sure how accurate it all is but does anyone do infotainment better than Gladwell?

  • The Rewatchables: After coming back to this podcast, I stayed subscribed for the full year. A rotating crew of guests from Bill Simmons’s Ringer Podcast Network discuss rewatchable films. Any episode that features Chris Ryan and Sean Fennessey is a must-listen for me.

  • Slow Burn: When this podcast detoured into the story of rappers Tupac Shakur and Christopher ‘Biggie’ Smalls, it lost me but I re-subscribed when season four looked at the rise and fall of white supremacist, David Duke. Season five has started and is exploring the build up to the Iraq War and so far, so good.

  • Software Sessions: This is my favourite programming interview show, although I’ll admit episodes can be a bit hit or miss. It’s not easy for a host of a general programming podcast to be able to go in depth in his questions given the breadth of possible topics but it’s to host Jeremy Jung’s credit how often he’s able to do so.

  • The Stratechery Podcast: I enjoy reading Ben Thompson’s Stratechery blog but struggle to keep up with his prolific output. This year I started listening to the paid podcast that’s provided to members and have found it a good way to keep up.

  • Swift by Sundell: I decided to teach myself iOS development in 2020 (I even made an app!) and so listening to this interview show with figures in the Swift programming community seemed like a good idea.

  • Swiftly Speaking: Speaking of Swift, Paul Hudson maintains the ‘Hacking Swift’ website, an excellent resource for Swift programmers. I’ve only recently started listening to his interview podcast but have been impressed so far. Maybe I’m just a sucker for British accents?

  • The Talk Show: When you stop and think about it, this is an unusual podcast. It’s ostensibly a talk show with a new guest each week but the guest is almost always more of a sounding board for host John Gruber to air his thoughts about the Apple news of the day.

  • TECHnical Foul: The last episode was in 2017. I need to let this one go.

  • Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism: Seth Stevenson, a writer at Slate, started this weekly podcast last year and I became a regular listener. Each week, he spends 30 minutes looking at the history of a company in the news.

Previously Subscribed

  • 20 Macs for 2020: I’m technically still subscribed but I’m sure this one has ended. The conceit of the show was host Jason Snell going through a list of his 20 most notable Macs. Snell did a great job blending his own observations with those of other Mac pundits.

  • California King: Unsubscribing from this was tough. As long-time readers will know, I literally spent years waiting for ‘You Look Nice Today’ to return and then it did and… I don’t know what happened. The hosts (Adam Lisagor, Merlin Mann and Scott Simpson) and the format are basically unchanged. Maybe it’s me.

  • The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan: This is a paid podcast and I had high hopes for it. I’ve found a lot of value in reading the conservative Andrew Sullivan and while I think I should be broadening my media diet to include the kinds of right-of-centre voices Sullivan features, the constant whining and griping was too much for me.

  • Full Stack Radio: This one didn’t last long. Host Adam Wathan had some good interviews but then the show lost its way after (I think) Wathan ran out of people he wanted to interview.

  • Functional Design in Clojure: I’m also still subscribed to this podcast but I think it’s ended so I’ll put it down here. There hasn’t been a new episode since December and the podcast is now calling itself ‘App-Sauce’.

Another year done. See you all again next year! ✺

  1. Previous years: 2020, 2019 and 2018.

  2. As I did last year, I include podcasts in the unsubscribed section even if they weren’t listed in the previous year. These are shows I started listening to after last year’s post but that I stopped listening to before writing this one.