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A pentium of podcasts for podwalks or the porch
Recommending a few shows across a variety of topics and genres
If I were David Lynch, I might pitch this article’s title as: “Pacific Northwest Peaks: Pod Walk With Me” with a tad less psychological thrill, and near zero horror. Rather more documentary style – a short story about the podcasts I take on walks across the PNW neighborhoods and trails. Each provides a little sanity, with always a window into learning something new. I refer to them as podwalks. And if a porch is more your listening style, grab a seat and enjoy.
pod’walk | \ ˈpȯd-ˌwȯk \
Definition | a walk constructed of one foot in front of the other while listening to a favored podcast; to come or go easily or readily with recent episode playing in stride.
Synonyms | meanderpod, podmenade, step’n’listen, wanderpod, podambulation
Podcasts – there are so many to choose from. If you like ‘em, you know they come and go. Some are short series. Some ongoing. Some short in length, some long. Some kickstart, then fade away. And recommendations help discover gems that may land in your feed - and stay. Let us saunter up to the virtual watercooler, poor a glass of something hot or cold, and share a few favorites – to keep pace with what interests us.
Below are my top five favorite podwalking shows – each with a sample episode, one bonus show, and a quick hit of three always in my rotation. And if you’ve got one to share, let me know in comments below or on Twitter (@mkashman).
1 | Clockwise
Why I suggest this one: You gotta keep watching the clock on this one. It’s a 30-minute show – no more, no less. It’s about tech, and it’s got a great rotation of guests who come on the show and share their insights on four tech topics. The format is crisp and covers a lot. The hosts engaging, current, and fun.
In their words: “Clockwise is a rapid-fire discussion of current technology issues hosted by Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent and featuring two special guests each week. Four people, four topics--and because we're always watching the clock, no episode is longer than 30 minutes.” SUBSCRIBE
2 | Smartless
Why I suggest this one: This show needs no real nudge other than to say it’s the one with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. It’s so fun to hear them banter and beat up each other verbally – backed by love and friendship over the years – sharing the ups and downs of the Hollywood biz. As you can imagine, they have a great lineup of guests – and the conversation is peer oriented, not interviewer to interviewee. Thus, it’s like you caught them with a hot mic on set and got to hear all the things they talk about between takes. It’s a lot of laughs… a lot!
In their words: “"SmartLess," with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett is a podcast that connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity. A nice surprise: in each episode of SmartLess, one of the hosts reveals his mystery guest to the other two. What ensues is a genuinely improvised and authentic conversation filled with laughter and newfound knowledge to feed the SmartLess mind.” SUBSCRIBE
3 | Windows Weekly
Why I suggest this one: If you’re interested in solid, real takes on what Microsoft is doing, Mary Jo and Paul keep pulse across all business groups and products – good and bad – with their opinions firmly grounded and unedited. I know a lot of what’s going on in the Microsoft 365 world, and I tune into Windows Weekly so I can keep up-to-date on what else is going on across Windows, Azure and more – especially to hear what lands and what doesn’t. Honesty is their main trait, and timeliness the other.
In their words: “A weekly look at all things Microsoft, including Windows, Office, Xbox, and more, from two of the foremost Windows watchers in the world, Paul Thurrott of Thurrott.com and Mary Jo Foley of All About Microsoft; hosted by Leo Leporte” SUBSCRIBE
4 | What a Day
Why I suggest this one: Keeping up on the political world isn’t easy. We’re all busy, and getting a daily dose of what’s going on across the country and throughout the world – that’s why I tune in. This is commonly under 20-minutes, and the lead story is always timely, followed by news and views I can soak up quickly. The wit, too, keeps me coming back. The hosts work well together, always with a sense of depth balanced with an easy way of landing complex issues.
In their words: “Join comedian Akilah Hughes and reporter Gideon Resnick each morning as they break down the biggest news of the day, share important stories you may have missed, and show you what “Fox & Friends” would sound like if it were hosted by two people whose parents read to them as children. What A Day is available Monday through Friday starting at 5 a.m. EST, so you’ll always be caught up – on everything from coronavirus to elections to the latest unhinged tweets from Elon Musk, and all the harrowing and hopeful news in between.” SUBSCRIBE
5 | Twenty Thousand Hertz
Why I suggest this one: This is truly an audible gem. Each show tackles the sounds that surround us, picking apart the root of sound effects, music, how our ears hear and why. It’s fascinating. And each show is very well produced. Not only do you learn the how behind the sounds, but you also get insights about the people who plan for and produce some of the most iconic cultural sounds ever. The host, Dallas Taylor, is a truly audiophile – and his passion pushes you to want to be one, too.
In their words: “A lovingly crafted that reveals the stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds.” SUBSCRIBE
Bonus | The Intrazone
Why I suggest this one: <Warning, start biased opinion> For me, this is an easy one to love. It’s one of the best parts of my job, allowing me to connect with experts across the technology landscape – to hear how they build the tech that touches so many people. And as a way to keep connected to the community, it provides an ongoing discussion – to both share across a bunch of topics, and to get feedback on what people like and don’t like. Each episode starts a dialog, and being a part of that and listening is hugely rewarding. </end biased opinion>
In their (my 😉) words: “The Intrazone, a show about the Microsoft 365 intelligent intranet. This show takes you into the building blocks of your Microsoft 365 intranet. It's about how SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Yammer and more fit into your everyday work life – with the goal being to share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork throughout your organization. Hosted by the Mark Kashman and Chris McNulty of the Microsoft 365 team, along with special guests and experts from both behind the scenes and out in the field, the show covers current news in Microsoft 365, common FAQs from users and partners, highlighted apps, best practices, and upcoming events. Transcripts provided with each episode.” SUBSCRIBE
Three additional shows always in rotation
Sway: This is Kara Swisher from the New York Times doing what she does best – ask hard questions and carry smart conversations with leaders across tech, politics, and culture. I always squirm a little on behalf of her guests– in the best of ways. It’s a quick one that gets right to the heart of it.
Sync Up: There’s a little bias on this one, like The Intrazone, since it’s produced by my peers Ankita Kirti and Jason Moore from the OneDrive team. They always have great guests, fun banter between hosts, and timely thoughts on diversity and inclusion in every episode.
The Moth: True stories told without notes – always a glimpse into the fabric of humanity, told in a way that is meant to share, engage, and expose. If you love listening to others tell stories, The Moth has that right balance of broad voices and granular, powerful topics.
If you’ve got a favorite show, send me a tweet (@mkashman) and let me know which one. I hope we can virtually podwalk together in near real-time. Let’s get our steps in, one episode at a time.
No matter how you listen to podcasts, I hope the above gave you a few suggestions you might like.
Cheers, Mark “Podwalkin’” Kashman
P.S. (Pun Sharing)
Get your eye rolls ready to bake… one pun from me, @mkashman 🙄, and one from the world: