As I've discussed before, I'm addicted to Podcasts. In an era where polemical talk radio dominates the airwaves and in a city like New York where most of us barely listen to radio because we don't drive to work each day, for me, the "Podcast" as an entity has had quite an impact. I've always listened to NPR here and there, but I've never had the chance to listen to some programs (and discover others) as regularly as since discovering podcasts two or three years ago.
One of the best radio shows around is WNYC's Radiolab. If absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, people should be fondest of Radiolab. The hour-long program which uses science to look at a variety of interesting subjects is produced in seasons of only five episodes each. Maybe the amount of time and care taken to produce each hour is why the show is so damn fascinating and phenomenal. I have yet to listen to an episode that hasn't kept me riveted. As I only discovered the show a few months ago, everything is still new to me.
The episodes are rebroadcast on WNYC every two weeks, and then posted as podcasts . I just got around to listening to one episode that was posted at the end of September but originally aired in April 2006. The episode is called "Detective Stories". The episode is summarized on their web site as follows:
Forensics, archeology, genealogy, and genetics are devoted to figuring out what really happened. In this hour, we hear surprising stories of playing detective and finding that what really happened in the past is not at all what you’d expected. We start at a trash dump in Egypt, where we find Jesus, Satan, sissies, and porn. Next, the mystery of why hundreds of old letters written to the same woman were discovered on the side of Route 101. And lastly, a blood sampling tour of Asia reveals a prolific baby-maker and potentially a world conqueror.
The final two stories are particularly fascinating. I found myself laughing out loud in the grocery store last night during parts of "Goat on a Cow," only minutes after being saddened by the central events in the story. And the implications presented in "Genghis Kahn" are no less jaw dropping.
Give Radiolab a try. It's another one of those radio shows that proves why at one time even television was considered to possibly be simply nothing more than a fad that could never completely replace radio. Just like talkies!