Quick heads up: I had heard about Radiolab before as “a cool science podcast” but it was Ira Glass’s admiring essay that really made me want to take it seriously, and I am so glad I did! He’s right, it IS the best podcast ever! It’s almost like the platonic ideal of podcasts*. When I first started listening to podcasts, I heavily favoured the easy conversational style of, say, the Overthinking It podcast (well worth listening to if you’re into pop culture and a certain hipster aesthetic) and for a long time I couldn’t get into the much more slickly produced nature of Freakonomics or most other “proper” shows. Radiolab, as Ira explains, easily captures the best of both worlds.
And the music! And the topics! I don’t like to think of myself as a cynical man but I have come to the conclusion that I probably am, all the same. Well, most of the time it only takes a good xkcd comic to arouse a sense of “enchanted naturalism” in me, but that is fickle, and Radiolab seems like it could do the job quite consistently. I’m really looking forward to catching up on their shows.
*OK, so the voicemail-as-advertisements/sponsorship messages thing kind of turns me off a bit, but other than that… it’s really good!