A shorter work commute means a picky podcast list.

When I changed projects a month ago, my work commute was cut down by about 30 minutes. While that is great, it also means 30 minutes less each day for podcast listening. My backlog started to grow, so I decided to get rid of the least interesting podcasts in my library.

The podcasts I removed turned out to be some of the more popular ones. This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Radiolab were all booted from the playlist. Instead, I’ve made room for a few less-known gems from the podcast jungle. There really are a lot of great podcasts out there. But the because of the shear number of podcasts on the internet, they often drown in the noise.

Darknet Diaries.

Darknet Diaries tells trues stories from the dark side of the internet. Stories about hackers, defenders, threats, malware, botnets, breaches, and privacy. The show is produced by Jack Rhysider, a veteran to the security world. He gained his professional knowledge of security by working in a Security Operations Center, a place to where threats are detected and stopped.

The recent episodes of Darknet Dairies have covered topics like white hat social engineering, the Carna botnet, and an interview with the creator of the SubSeven malware.

The episodes are high quality audio productions, and the interviews Jack does are always interesting. New episodes are posted once or twice a month, and they weigh in about 30 minutes a piece.

A Life Less Wasted.

A Life Less Wasted is an internet radio show about video games, and the people who love them. The show is hosted by Robert Ashley, a freelance radio producer and musician.

The podcast was discontinued, or at least put on indefinite hold, back in 2013. But it’s still worth it to listen through the back catalogue. Being both a professional radio producer, and musician, Ashley puts together some really high quality episodes.

In one episode he explores the world of collectors and archivists. Ashley visits a massive underground collection of video games, and a vintage pinball museum. In another episode, he asks the question “why game?” to random people on the street, and tell their stories of how they became gamers.

Robert Ashley.
Robert Ashley, creator of A Life Less Wasted.

Twenty Thousand Hertz.

Twenty Thousand Hertz tells the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds.

Have you ever wondered how the infamous THX sound came to be, the history of the rise and fall of jingles, or want to learn about the art of slot machine sounds? Twenty Thousand Hertz has you covered.

The podcast is hosted and produced by Dallas Taylor, founder of Defacto Sound. Taylor has led thousands of high-profile projects ranging from blockbuster video game trailers and advertising campaigns, to Sundance award-winning films and major television series.

Jason Scott Talks His Was Out Of It.

Since he was 9 years old, Jason Scott has had a love of computers and technology. Scott runs textfiles.com, a huge collection mid-1980’s textfiles. He is also the creator of the BBS Documentary, Get Lamp, and during the day he works for the Internet Archive.

While he might be good at preserving valuable computer history, he’s not that competent with money, budgets, and taxes. Because of this, he found himself owing a number of organizations a notable amount of funds. This lead to the creation of his podcast, Jason Scott Talks His Way Out Of It.

Each episode lasts 20-30 minutes and provides a combination of thoughts, stories and references that Jason has picked up across his surprisingly interesting life.

Jason Scott, trying to talk his way out of it.
Jason Scott, trying to talk his way out of it.

Crimetown.

Crimetown is a podcast that investigates the culture of crime in a different city. Season 1 focused on organized crime and corruption in Providence, Rhode Island. Even though you might not have any interest in the city, the first season was a thrill to listen to.

The first episode of the show’s second season was just published. In season 2, Crimetown moves to Detroit, Michigan:

Detroit’s a tough town, and its residents are even tougher. They’ve weathered riots, a drug epidemic, political scandal, and innumerable other hardships, but they’re still here—and they have stories to tell.

The previous three podcasts have been labors of love and necessity by creative individuals. Crimtown, on the other hand, is backed by Gimlet Media, one of the podcasts powerhouses. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the production is any better than any of the other three, but it sure as hell ain’t any worse.