The Stuff You Should Know podcast explores how things work, from the microscopic to the cosmic and quite a lot in between. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, have a pleasant back and forth approach that introduces a subject and then fills in the details. They keep the information general enough so the laymen among us (like me) don't get dazed and confused. Their off-topic sidebars drive me nuts, but maybe that's their point of differentiation. Twice-weekly, usually about three quarters of an hour in length.
Strangers is a popular storytelling production from Lea Thau, the Peabody Award winning creator of The Moth Radio Hour and The Moth Podcast, the gold standards for modern day storytelling on radio and podcasts. The content of the stories are interesting, compelling and personal. I can't get past Thau's presence in many of the episodes. For whatever reason, I have no interest in her personal life for the episodes that feature her life, and in episodes where she conducts interviews I want her to step out of the narrative and let the subject be the subject. It's a personality thing. Thau is very highly regarded and gets plenty of stellar reviews from high-rolling media outlets including Slate and the New York Times.
Skimming the NYTimes online is enough to satiate my daily news habit. Every Friday I'll take in the New Yorker Political Scene podcast—that's about all the news I can mainline for a week. Executive editor Dorothy Wickenden sets the table and then gets out of the way as a couple of other New Yorker editors weigh in on the week's topic. She moves the conversation along but doesn't feel compelled to give an opinion, simply setting up the next logical inquiry and letting her guests deliver their opinions. Smart, concise and rarely argumentative, this podcast exhibits how complicated subjects ought to be chewed upon.
Designer/illustrator/screen printer Mark Brickey of Hero Design hosts this rambling one-hour-plus bull session that focuses on design and business issues for self-employed creatives. Most episodes feature an established or up and coming designer/illustrator and the discussions delve into the pros and cons of their career choices. It's instructive to hear some very talented people talk not only about their techniques, but also about the choices and sacrifices they've made in order to develop working environments that foster and support their creative output. Brickey's aggressive approach to hosting is an acquired taste, but he is a great advocate for independent designers and his questions for his guests are informed and relevant.
Clocking in at about 5 minutes per helping, The Writer's Almanac combines historic literary facts that happened on the day of broadcast, and then finishes with a poem. From Virgil to William Blake to Mary Oliver and everywhere in between, the poems sometimes glide on by, and on occasion they will be a perfect expression of a thought or feeling that punch me right in the face. Garrison Keillor provides the readings straight with no winks, no pregnant pauses. Just the facts. For an American humorist who is on par with Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain and Will Rogers, Mr. Keillor's restraint and lack of embellishment make for a perfect delivery of the goods.
A quick turnaround for the International Electronic Testing Association. Because there was a lack of visual assets at our disposal we started from scratch and created a simple interpretation of the event title "An Evening with Wolff Vineyards". The graphic was also applied to pull-up banners and hospitality suite signage.