Arts / Entertainment / Media

8 Brooklyn podcasts we love

Creative pros are finding a new way to build audiences by publishing audio online. Here's a batch of eight homegrown podcasts that give you a taste of the borough's inspirational breadth.

Podcasting. (Photo by Brady Dale)

A generation old, podcasting is continuing its advancement to the mainstream, bolstered first by the iPod in 2004, maturing web usage and now new discovery tools like Stitcher. Still, it hasn’t gotten to the place that pioneer Jesse Thorn wants it to reach: where it’s as easy to listen to them as turning on the radio.

Still, every year, more and more of people’s listening time is going to podcast content. So if you want to listen local, here are some Brooklyn podcasts to check out.

(Yes, we just have to plug that we launched our own this week, which we hope to grow.)

1. The Session

An underground hip-hop podcast. The format for this show appears to be this: they bring in an MC. They talk a bit about his work and they play tracks. The tracks strongly favor the guest MC, but not entirely. In an email from The Session‘s host, Technically Brooklyn learned that the Williamsburg show will be launcing a 24-7, multi-genre online radio channel out of Sunset Park soon.

We liked their conversation with Billy Conahan from November. Conahan killed it during the freestyling part of the show.

2. Outside the Lines with RapGenius

What we like about this podcast is that it complements the spirit of its parent site, the lyrics annotation site we recently profiled, so well. On this podcast, hosted by the site’s editor, you listen for a little sound effect that tells you the website has an annotation for that part of the show, on the site. Featuring a strong format and some light editing, you can tell the producers are trying not to waste listener time.

We dug around and found an interview with this Brooklyn rapper, Sene, who talks about why he left the borough and why he came back.

3. The Todd Barry Podcast

We’d be remiss not including a true comedy podcast on here, and so here’s one from headliner Todd Barry. We’re not sure where he tapes his studio podcasts, but when he does live shows they are often at The Bell House in Gowanus. The format for this show will be familiar to fans of WTF and This Feels Terrible: a comedian talks to someone else on mic, sometimes humor and sometimes insight ensue. Barry’s podcast is part of the Feral Audio network, which is a growing trend in the podcasting business: networking shows so that they share backend costs and, potentially, audiences. In twenty years either networks like these will rival media giants like NBC and Warner Bros. or no media entity will ever be that big again.

4. Welcome to the Night Vale

This is a popular podcast that’s done well enough to secure space in the Topatoco Store (a merchandising concern for weblebrities) and just announced a book deal with Harper-Perennial on their latest episode. It’s a show with a strong format. It’s a sort of “News from Lake Woebegone” for paranormal comedy enthusiasts.

5. How I Learned

Park Slope resident Blaise Allyson Kearsley has been running the How I Learned live show since 2009. The podcast used to get taped in Manhattan, but since its original venue closed, it has become an occasional Brooklyn show. A recent guest was Brooklyn’s technologist and comedian, Baratunde Thurston. (Full disclosure: this writer has appeared on the podcast.)

6. Alcoholic Gamer

This one is run by two comics. It could do with a format, but since it’s run by two comics, the talk seems to be fairly focused. Their conversation about the new XBox versus the new Playstation illustrated the fact that these two spend a lot of times thinking about videogames.

7. Tell the Bartender

Storytelling is starting to rival stand-up for live, one-person theater. This show comes out of that tradition, which is also inspiring lots of podcasts. As stories have beginnings, middle and ends, they have a nice way of instilling a format in an artform that’s still, by and large, a bit too loose. Here’s an episode featuring Gowanus artist Dean Haspiel, the illustrator who won an Emmy for designing the opening sequence for the most Brooklyn show of recent years, Bored to Death.

8. Welcome to Trip City

The podcasting world is also one in which everyone appears on everyone else’s shows to cross-promote, so it’s appropriate that we go from a podcast Haspiel has appeared on to one he cohosts. Welcome to Trip City is a “Brooklyn filtered literary salon.” It’s very multimedia, but one of its channels is a podcast. We really liked their talk with writer and filmmaker Miranda July and also the ep with the prolific Chuck Klosterman.

Companies: Genius
Series: Brooklyn

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