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Podcast Prowler: ‘casts for the radio nerd

Podcasts don’t have to be an alternative to radio, they can make a great complement to radio, too. Not to get all meta on you, but as a certifiable radio nerd I’ve enjoyed many podcasts about radio for many years. I recently discovered a new one which prompted me to share my list of radio-centric ‘casts with Radio Survivor readers.

Read on to learn about four podcasts that might deserve a place in your media player. Please share any radio podcasts I’ve missed in the comments.

This Week in Radio TechThis Week in Radio Tech

Veteran tech writer and radio host Leo Lapaorte has built quite a prolific podcast network built upon his This Week in Tech or TWIT brand. I only just discovered This Week in Radio Tech, and it covers exactly what you’d guess from the name. It is unabashedly geeky, with content aimed squarely at radio engineers and other technically inclined radio lovers. I just finished listening to the latest episode which covered new power-saving techniques for AM radio broadcasting being exploited by Alaska Public Broadcasting. I must admit that some of the more esoteric technical points were lost on me, but I did get the gist of most of it. The hosts don’t seem to break things down for a lay audience. So if you’re not already somewhat familiar with radio engineering then this podcast probably isn’t for you. But if you know the difference between an AM carrier and side-band, then you’ll like this one.

International Radio Report

International Radio Report

The International Radio Report is a long-running weekly program all about radio that originates from community radio CKUT in Montreal, Quebec. I believe the program has been on since 2000, though the show no longer has an active website. Each week hosts Janice Karlock and Sheldon Harvey broadcast a casual rundown of news and discussion about radio broadcasting around the world from the perspective of true radio lovers. Not surprisingly, attention is paid to radio in Canada, but it’s far from an exclusively Canadian show.

Glenn Hauser's World of RadioGlenn Hausers World of Radio

This is another program that’s been produced for much longer than there’s been podcasting. Glenn Hauser started out broadcasting in the late 1970s with a program on Radio Canada International sharing long-distance radio listening (a/k/a DXing) tips. His World of Radio program debuted in 1980 and has been on the air somewhere ever since. I started listening to WoR on shortwave in the early 90s, then started listening to archived RealAudio streams online in the late 90s. Of course, now the program is available as a podcast in addition to being heard on shortwave, FM and satellite radio worldwide. Each week Hauser reviews interesting radio reception reports from around the world, including unlicensed and clandestine radio stations, often from regions undergoing civil conflict. He also reports on news from domestic AM and FM, and international shortwave broadcasters and the status of their transmissions. To get the most out of WoR it helps to be a little familiar with shortwave radio and its jargon. Nevertheless, listening to Hauser is a info-rich reminder that radio remains a vital and essential communications medium for most of the globe.

Pirates WeekPirates Week

Shortwave pirate radio guru Ragnar Daneskjold produced the Pirates Week podcast for what seems like a record-setting six years, from March 2005 until a bad case of tendonitis forced him to suspend operations this past June. On a nearly weekly basis Ragnar reported on all the news and events in unlicensed radio, with a particular focus on shortwave pirates. Though some of the segments, such as his review of activity on the Free Radio Network message boards, are a little insidery and opaque to someone not intimate with the US shortwave pirate scene, Ragnar’s pacing and enthusiastic approach keep the show interesting and entertaining for anyone with an interest in unlicensed broadcasting. Although a new show hasn’t been produced since May, it’s still worth listening to the archives. However, Ragnar recently posted that he intends to return with some kind of program in January. Here’s to hoping his tendonitis heals and Ragnar returns to the intertubes.

I imagine there must be other radio-centric podcasts out there. Please share your favorite in the comments.

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