Three MF’in Cheers for The New Yorker Podcasts

new yorker podcastsAs a longtime New Yorker subscriber (that’s right, in print), you’d wonder why I’d bother with the podcasts as well. I can lay any questions to rest here. Each Monday (a few days before the issue lands in my mailbox) there is a lively, informed discussion with New Yorker Web editor Blake Eskin takes place in Out Loud that truly enriches the reading experience — a couple weeks back it was an actual sit-down beer tasting, this week was a personal interview with Zadie Smith, who contributed to the fiction issue.

But the killer, was aurally experiencing Hendrik Hertzberg’s column on Rod Blagojevich in which the narrator practically — blasphemically — acts out the following passage, which is never done justice in bleeps or even unadulterated print:

Blagojevich—who had remarked of the Senate seat, “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing”—was not happy when told that no offers were forthcoming from anyone around “this motherfucker,” as he referred to the President-elect: “Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”

No really, listen to it:

A third great podcast falls haphazardly — it was initially the Campaign Trail and is now titled The Transition. Along with my daily listens (Buzz Out Loud, Rachel Maddow, Slate, etc) these truly awesome podcasts bring serious entertainment and value to my commute. Subscribe in iTunes, Google Reader or your favorite podcatcher via the links at http://www.newyorker.com/services/rss/summary#podcasts.

It’s almost like I don’t miss those New York Times Op-Ed podcasts anymore. Am I the only one who still misses those?

R.I.P. Studs Terkel

studs terkelOne of the greatest radio voices of all time, pioneering storyteller Louis “Studs” Terkel died today. He was 96. What he gave to journalism and radio storytelling has everything to do with my addiction to podcasts, public radio and journalism of the people for the people and to the people.

It goes without saying that Terkel’s unique traveling interview style, best illustrated on 1963’s “This Train” is the model for great audio and visual storytelling of today. While riding the train from Chicago to the civil rights march in Washington D.C., Terkel gathered the voices of anger, joy and ultimately optimism from people of all ages making that historic trip. Just listen to part one of “This Train” below and, suddenly, you won’t think This American Life is the most revolutionary program to hit radio.

Studs was a Chicago guy but his stories had a purely American bent, touching on difficult matters of importance and celebrating life coast to coast. I’m sorry that he will not be around to see Barack Obama become president, although he discussed as much with a Huffington Post scribe in the days before his passing. I’m also sad that the Cubs couldn’t pull it out this year for Terkel and other Cubs fans who’ve waited the better part of 100 years to see a championship.

Studs Terkel was an activist until his dying days, playing a prominent role challenging AT&T’s corroboration in releasing records to the National Security Agency in 2006.

I hope to locate the full audio of this amazing piece to post later. For now, here’s the first 50 minutes of “This Train.”

Video and more below:

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