Talking with David Tytell, former ATK Online Managing Editor

Dave TytellHannah Brown of Simmer Magazine interviews Dave Tytell, formerly of America's Test Kitchen. With so many recipes online for free, why should consumers pay for ATK's premium services — and how effective is this strategy? Tytell reflects on these matters, as well as successful and failed ventures, during his time at America's Test Kitchen (2008–2012).

This interview was recorded on April 22, 2014.

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Talking with Anjali Prasertong, Editor at The Kitchn

Anjali PrasertongMiriam Avila chats with Anjali Prasertong, contributing editor at The Kitchn and founder of Eat Your Greens, about creating a personal blog, bringing humor to food blogging, and the online tools necessary to build an online community.

This interview was recorded on April 21, 2014.

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Talking with Chris Brock, Manager of Digital Vendor Operations at Constellation Digital Services

Constellation Digital ServicesBriana Loewen interviews Chris Brock, manager of digital vendor operations at Constellation Digital Services. E-books are soaring in popularity and sales, yet the process for creating them and the platforms that support their more advanced features stand room for improvement. Brock discusses where the medium can go from here and the skills and resources necessary to get us there.

This interview was recorded on April 18, 2014.

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Talking with Sarah Rodriguez, Director of Network Development at Geek and Sundry/Creator and EIC of Nerdy But Flirty

Sarah RodriguezAshleigh Heaton interviews Sarah Rodriguez, director of network development at Geek and Sundry as well as creator and editor-in-chief of Nerdy But Flirty. As these two geek empires expand, it's important that they remain connected with their audience and not lose focus of their founding mission. Rodriguez discusses the approaches and tools she uses and the future of media platforms such as YouTube.

This interview was recorded on April 17, 2014.

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Talking with Stewart Ulm, Director of User Interface Development at KAYAK.com

Stewart UlmAmber Cunningham interviews Stewart Ulm, director of user interface development at Kayak.com, about his experience with user interface development, user experience, and the electronic publishing industry as a whole. What elements should a website have to offer a satisfactory user experience, and what skills should a webmaster have to implement those features? Listen as Amber and Stewart discuss these issues, as well as tangents such as the pervasiveness of digital media, its effect on our memory, and the tracking of online activity.

This interview was recorded on April 16, 2014.

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Addressing Blocks: The Accidental Creative

 

I've generally had a difficult time finding a podcast that I like, so I was thrilled when I discovered The Accidental Creative. The episodes vary in length from a mere six minutes to a half-hour. The show tackles all issues of creativity, from setting goals to the topic of one of the more recent episodes, the creative flow state. Host Todd Henry addresses what most people see as the roadblocks of creativity, and provides methods to create on a day-to-day basis. The show is succinct yet insightful. Henry interviews sources who work in the field, who have insight into the various trials and tribulations of the creative process. I would highly recommend this podcast for those who suffer from procrastination, a tough inner-critic, or writer's block. Learning about the scientific roots of creativity allows listeners the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to successfully reach a high level of productivity. Being a victim of procrastination myself, this podcast is definitely worth investing some time in.

Critiques and Comparisons with NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour

Many of NPR's live radio shows are available in podcast form, but one I had never listened to is its weekly Pop Culture Happy Hour.

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The Pop Culture Happy Hour is packed full of deep discussions about our favorite films, movies, books, and celebrity events. Each episode falls around 40 minutes, not actually an hour. That is, however, the actual content length of hour long TV shows, so I'll forgive it. Host Linda Holmes begins each episode introducing that days panel, usually three or four other contributes to NPR's other radios shows and blogs. They begin by discussing the main topic of the week. They give their critiques and go beyond personal likes and dislikes to deeper discussions on how that work fits into a bigger picture of pop culture. For example, the most recent episode discusses the recent film Divergent. They talk about how it stood up to the novel and then went on to talk about the recent trend of YA dystopias with strong female leads. It is a great listen for anyone who likes to not only consume entertainment, but also discuss it.

You can download the episodes on iTunes or via their website.

Grantland's The Andy Greenwald Podcast

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The podcast has never been a medium I have spent much time exploring. Until recently, I didn’t even know podcasts could be anything but audio alone. Maybe that isn’t the best thing to admit, but we all have a few things to learn. My contact with podcasting has been limited to me sitting next to my best friend as he downloads his favorite shows to listen to at a later (internet-less) part of the day. I turned to him to find the right podcast for this post, or to at least get a few suggestions in the right direction.

I ended up finding something that fit my interests at Grantland. Grantland is a sports and culture blog that is loosely affiliated with ESPN so I was incredibly skeptical when my friend sent me to their podcasts. Turns out they have a wide coverage of culture and pop-culture, not just sports culture. Even though Grantland features many interesting podcasts and on-air personalities, I ended up listening to an episode of The Andy Greenwald Podcast all the way through.

The Andy Greenwald Podcast focuses on television. He interviews TV personalities and they discuss the shows, projects, and genres the individuals are involved with. The show I listened to ran just over an hour and, though it may have been the subject matter of the particular interview, I was sucked right in. This particular show featured Anthony Bourdain and focused on his experiences along with food television in general. It was really fascinating. The interview was so casual but I felt like I was learning a lot by just listening to these two guys talk. I don’t have a huge passion for the behind the scenes world of television but somehow these two made it very interesting and accessible. I didn’t feel lost or like I needed to have seen every episode of Bourdain’s various TV shows to understand what was being discussed and how the references were relevant. I really enjoyed feeling like I was a part of such an intimate industry discussion.

I think I might actually be a podcast convert. I see doors opening for my relationship with the new (to me) medium.

Geek History Lesson Podcast

 

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As I was looking through various iTunes podcasts, I stumbled upon the Geek History Lesson podcast. The podcast is described as "A podcast that will educate you about a different character of pop culture each week. Geek out, laugh, and learn. Get ready to enter your mind university." And this truly describes the podcast, and is exactly why I chose to write about this podcast.  Each episode is about 45 to 50 minutes long. There are a total of 9 episodes, since the podcast first began to air in February 2014. The podcast airs weekly. They have covered characters such as Teen Wolf, Lex Luthor, Loki, and Robocop. I really enjoyed this podcast because the speakers make it fun and interesting. My favorite part of the podcasts are when they discuss the origin story of each character. They work a lot of fun tidbits about each character into each podcast. Geek History Lesson is just pure fun, and quite satisfying to the curious! You should check it out when you have a few minutes to spare.

Make a Trip Down to Harmontown

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As a fan of Community’s off-beat and hilarious jokes, I was instantly intrigued when I found out Dan Harmon, the creative genius behind the show, has a podcast. “Harmontown” is, as one might guess, a show mostly about Dan Harmon and his opinions. It’s recorded in front of an audience, and features many different (often famous) guests. Because Harmontown is primarily a live show, the podcast might lose some of the hilarity that ensues from seeing comedians live. However, the show is still plenty funny. Without the restrictions of network TV and a script, “Mayor Harmon” and friends are irreverent, a little innapropriate, and very opinionated. For fans of Dan Harmon’s other shows or anyone looking for a new comedy podcast, Harmontown is definitely worth a listen.

Check it out here!

 

Listening to Elements with BBC World Service

Elements PodcastElements is a fairly new podcast by BBC World Service, which accomplishes exactly what the name implies: Each episode explores the history, properties and applications of an element in the span of 26 minutes.  It's been broadcasting weekly since February 8th, so there are only four episodes.  So far, they've covered phosphorous, helium, carbon, and tin.

As I was picking through the iTunes directory for a podcast to write about, I found myself drawn to Elements for a couple of reasons—mainly that it is educational and, in the midst of 1+ hour long podcasts, relatively short.  (Plus, BBC's pretty much nailed the conversational-educational tone.  Who doesn't want to learn from someone cooing factoids in a sophisticated accent?)

Since podcasts are an audio format, Elements educates with discussion of the element in question, but it even provides sound effects for the elements themselves.  You get to listen to tin bending, carbon dioxide dissolving, and coal burning.  The audio also lends a sense of movement to the podcast.  We don't just listen to a couple of guys talking in a vacuum about carbon use.  We travel from a locomotive museum, where we can hear the chatter of museum visitors in the background, to the National Composite Center in Bristol, where we hear the industrial whirrs and mechanical drone of a factory space behind the interview.

I really enjoyed listening to Elements, and if I had a mobile audio streaming device, I could definitely see myself getting into an educational podcast like this for my commute.  As a visual learner, though, I would've loved to have seen the people in this podcast and the elements they discuss.

A Podcast You Should Know: Fun Facts and Tidbits with Chuck and Josh

Stuff You Should KnowI'll admit, I don't listen to many podcasts, simply because I've never found something interesting enough to listen to. So I asked my friends what they listen to, and one recommended this gem: Stuff You Should Know. Her description was, "It sounds like it would be boring, but the hosts are great".

Stuff You Should Know is, at its core, a show about random and little-known facts, from history to tattoos, health to the supernatural, economics to pets. With over 500 podcasts and over 100 million downloads from iTunes, there is plenty of knowledge being spread around by hosts Chuck and Josh.

In a way, Stuff You Should Know works in the way that the show "How It's Made" does, by presenting little-known facts in an interesting, engaging light. It definitely makes for a cerebral listen, though nothing as daunting as a lecture.

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There are a lot of good things going on with this podcast. First, the sheer number of episodes is a wonderful foundation, allowing listeners to click around and find a topic that interests them (which, with so many episodes, there's bound to be something for everyone). Second, Chuck and Josh themselves speak clearly and calmly, cracking subtle jokes while explaining the topic at hand to make for a fun listen. Lastly, the show is also available not only on iTunes, but also on their centralized website.

If I don't have you convinced, here's a short and sweet episode that answers what is (I'm sure) your most burning question: Can I Survive a Shark Attack by Gouging Out Its Eyes?