David Brent's new podcast.

Slate's audio offerings.
Dec. 2 2005 1:33 PM

Slate's Podcast Roundup

Plus: David Brent's new podcast? It's true.

Advertisement

Before I get to my Pod Pick of the Week, I wanted to offer a little addendum to a piece I wrote recently about bicycling in Los Angeles. One thing I didn't mention was how much podcasting has gotten me back onto my bike after years of letting it rust in the garage.

Andy Bowers Andy Bowers

Andy Bowers is the executive producer of Slate’s podcasts. Follow him on Twitter.

The iPod and similar devices may be one of the greatest boons to exercise since Jack LaLanne. For those of us who exercise because we must, not because we love it, a good distraction is essential. The iPod began by helping people who favor music as their distraction. But podcasting has extended the devices' utility to those of us who prefer to listen to engaging, enraging, and entertaining ideas. I now start every bike-outing by choosing a podcast I've been saving for the ride. Before I know it, the trip is over. (A word of caution—please don't use both earphones on a bike. One is sufficient and leaves you well able to hear what's going on around you.)

And I already know what I'll be listening to on the bike next week. On Monday, Britain's Guardian newspaper will unveil a new weekly comedy program from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Yes, the guys behind the brilliant BBC TV series The Officeand HBO's Extras. The two started on British radio, but now that they've decided to return to the medium, they're doing so in a podcast.

The Guardian quotes Gervais on why he's going online rather than over-the-air: "I want to do a radio show where I can say what I want, when I want, for as long as I want and that's free for anybody who can be bothered to listen, anywhere in the world."

Would you say the creator of the immortal David Brent gets podcasting? Yeah, I'd say so.

Of course, I haven't actually heard the new show yet, but it almost doesn't matter. Gervais and Merchant deserve a big audience based on their past work and on the theory that podcasting should embrace an anti-TV model—it should give talented and promising people time to work out the kinks and build an audience, rather than yanking them off the air after a few weeks.

The Guardian says this Web site  will have the podcast beginning Monday, Dec. 5. If necessary, I'll update that info once the show launches.

In the meantime, here is the week in Slate podcasts. I particularly recommend Timothy Noah's Dec. 1 essay "Someone Else's Book Tour," about serving as the stand-in for his late wife, Marjorie Williams, on the tour for her book of collected writings, The Woman at the Washington Zoo.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.