Commentary: Where do you listen to audiobooks and podcasts?

SFFaudio Commentary

Where do you listen to audiobooks and podcasts?

I listen to a lot of novel length audiobooks while walking.

Pitt River Dyke, British Columbia

I listen to audiobooks when walking to work, from work, or walking a dog.

Short stories are for folding laundry, cooking or loading and unloading a dishwasher.

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time with Melvyn BraggCBC Radio One - IdeasEntitled Opinions (about life and literature)

Depending on the length of the trip I either listen to audiobooks or podcasts while driving. Short podcasts are no good for long drives. So for longer drives I listen to BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time, CBC Radio One’s Ideas, or WKZU’s Entitled Opinions.

TVO Search Engine with Jesse Brown - Audio PodcastCBC Radio - SparkFreakonomics

There are a few podcasts I consistently like to hear only on weekday mornings, like TVO’s Search Engine, CBC’s Spark, and WNYC’s Freakonomics. They somehow just seem to set the right tone – and that tone just doesn’t work for me in the evenings.

The Memory Palace with Nate DiMeoToday In Canadian HistoryEli Glasner On Film

Some podcasts, like The Memory Palace, Today In Canadian History, and Eli Glasner On Film are so short I reserve them almost exclusively for walking to or from a car.

TriangulationGweekFresh Ink

At the gym, while pumping iron, I tend to listen to interview podcasts like TWiT’s Triangulation, or Boing Boing’s Gweek. On the stationary bike I watch G4’s Fresh Ink because that’s a video podcast.

BrokenSea Audio Presents: OTR Swag CastRadio Drama RevivalDecoder Ring TheatreI listen to audio drama almost exclusively in the evening. OTR Swag Cast, Radio Drama Revival, and Decoder Ring Theatre, are turned on in the minutes before I go to sleep.

Forgotten ClassicsUvula AudioNew Books In Public PolicyI listen to a couple of shows, Forgotten Classics and Science News Update, almost exclusively while getting dressed or clipping fingernails and toenails. I also listen to podcasts while in the bathroom – and that’s where my big pet peeve with podcasts comes most to a head – too many are just too quiet.

While brushing my teeth and when showering you need a decent volume to overcome the white noise of running water. I can’t listen to New Books In Public Policy in the bathroom, it’s volume is just way too low.

Where do you listen? And what do you listen to there?

Posted by Jesse Willis

4 thoughts to “Commentary: Where do you listen to audiobooks and podcasts?”

  1. Once a week I have to work in Cologne and this makes a trainride about one and a half hour if the trains are running to time. In Cologne I have an one hour lunchbreak and in the evening half an hour to walk home, so this gives me about 4 hours time to listen to podcasts just where I am. On normal workdays here in my hometown I got about 45 min to work an one hour lunchbreak that I mostly spend with reading SF or listening to podcasts. Since late September 2011 I listen to the Sffaudio podcast and I wanna go through all episodes in chronological order.

    I used to donate blood plasma twice a week and that procedure takes about an hour and a half. There is much going on in the donation area that I have a hard time concentrating on books, so I started listening to podcasts.

    Sometimes I listen to podcast in bed…and fall asleep. Sometimes that’s kind of cool, because I awake two hours later in a totally different episode.

    My favourite podcasts are sffaudio and – the H.P. Lovecraft literary podcast, hosted by Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer.

    The first podcast I used to listen to on a regular base was from a well known astronomy professor here in Germany. His name is Harald Lesch and his podcast are so great that you think you could graduate in astrophysics next week.

    Then came the Yog Radio Podcast, hosted by Paul Maclean ( and it’s awesome spin-off News from Pnakotus, hosted by Paul Mclean and Chris Lackey.

    Last year I was very proud to interview the two hosts of Being a Lovecraft fan for nearly two decades, I listened through their episodes twice in a row and particular episodes three to four times. The episodes are about half an hour long so I could listen to two or three per day.

    I also listen to a lot of stuff in german. The audiodrama and the audiobook has a long tradition in Germany. My parents gave me tons of cassettes when I was a kid and I listen to everthing from SF to horror to crime and still do. My kids are adiodrama fans as well and we enjoy the Three Investigators together, because this series runs since 1979 with the same speakers. We listen to audiobooks on long car rides, at lunch or just while doing the housework.

  2. I have a love/hate affair with podcasts. I used to listen to about 30 different shows and listened to them everywhere. Lately, my listening has shifted to audiobooks.

    I still listen to a few podcasts (including SFFAudio) regularly. I divide the podcasts that I listen to into two groups: those that are noise and those that I have to pay attention to. Most of my podcast-listening is done at work or while waiting in doctor’s offices. Podcasts that are noise (which includes a few music podcasts), I listen to any time, one after the other. Podcasts that I have to pay attention to are consumed when I have the ability to multi-task, or when I know I can pay attention (see previous comment about doctor’s offices). I too am a shower-listener. It’s funny to read about other people listening while in the shower or while getting ready for the day/getting ready for bed. That is prime podcast time for me. That all said, lately I’ve found myself ignoring my “noise” podcasts in favor of music.

    When I listen to an audiobook, I like to have time to get invested in what’s going on. My commute to and from work is about 10 minutes each way and that is rarely long enough for me to really get into the story. Luckily (?) I travel a lot, so I end up listening to a lot of books while driving or while on planes. When I can escape from work and take a vacation, I’m a big fan of going on cruises, which are book (audio and print) binge times for me. If the book is good, if the narration has really sucked me in, I’ll find myself also listening when I’m at home instead of watching TV or playing video games. When it’s not as engaging, I find myself easily distracted so turn to printed media…or video games.

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