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Radio sucks. Old-school AM/FM radio to be precise. It sucks so much that people are actually willing to PAY for satellite radio. People are willing to go through the hassle of downloading music off the internet rather than flip on the radio. Listeners bored with radio talk shows have gone to the effort of producing their own “podcasts” which have become hugely popular. So popular that Apple has already added the free podcasts to iTunes. Which is a good thing too when you think about it – If your iPod can hold 10,000 songs, and they cost about a dollar each – it would cost about $10,000 to fill your iPod. That’s almost as much as it costs to fill up with gas these days!

Now some you Frosh may not have clicked on the podcast button in iTunes yet so consider this a primer. It may be disorienting at first, but the first thing you’ll discover is that there is more to life than sports scores, traffic reports and inaccurate weather forecasts. As for news – you’ll learn that there are other things happening in the world other than shootings, plane crashes, wars and crooked politicians stealing your money. As far as I have seen, this kind of thing has gone on throughout recorded history and I’m sure it’ll keep on going whether we hear it on the news or not.

A good place to start is Adam Curry’s “Daily Source Code”. This former MTV VJ has one of the more polished shows (owing to his MTV experience no doubt). You know you’re in for something a little different when this globetrotter’s podcast starts with his trademark “With Six Million dollars of airplane strapped to my ass…” Because that’s what you are in effect doing when you buckle your seatbelt – strapping and airliner to your ass. It’s all a matter of perspective.

No review of podcasts seems to be complete without mentioning “The Dawn and Drew Show”. This program consists of a real bickering couple and an audio recorder. Oh yes, and they talk about sex a lot. Enough said…

I’m personally quite fond of a daily little 6 minute show called Slate. With titles like “Should I move to Amsterdam”, “Isn’t One Life Sentence Enough” and “Surviving a Lightning Strike”, how can you go wrong. Much more interesting than CBC news stories on Cod fishing disputes and lumber tariffs.

G’Day World is a great show for geeks with an Australian spin. Two belligerent Aussies interview trendsetting techies in a no-holds barred format. The big difference here is that the interviewers are actually smart and funny. Kind of like a Daily Show for nerds – with an accent. Learn all about Wikis, Skype and Australian beer. Not your average morning zoo here.

There are local Toronto based shows to be found as well. Lots of them. I heard one the other day that had three artsies sitting around complaining about the TTC, bad ads and terrible movies they had recently seen. Hey, if you don’t have enough artsy friends – this is almost as good. Or as bad, depending on your point of view. (I might be in trouble with some Excalibur staffers on this one).

Since I don’t have enough technology news delivered to me in the Polish language, I thought I’d do a search – and lo and behold, I found a show that did just that. Luckily I speak Polish so I decided to give it a listen. Well let me tell you, I learned a lot of Polish technology-related vocabulary after one hour-long podcast. So I went back for more. The second episode I listened to had a walking tour of Krakow. Basically this guy walked around Krakow describing what he saw while filling in the less interesting parts with techie-talk. Unique, educational and sure beats hearing about yet another flood. Hey, we’ve had floods since Noah, and a good time before that. And the only thing you’ll ever learn is that people like to build shops and houses where there are lots of floods. And that people will always loot shops and houses after they inevitably get flooded.

So don’t succumb to the manufactured consent that is radio today. Check out the podcasting revolution.

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