Dec 15, 2013

Preamble to the Top 100 Podcasts of 2013


It has been another impressive year for the podcasting community as new talents have joined the field and the medium continues to gain respect from peers. For the past few years, it has remained an unlimited source of entertainment for me and I enjoy watching those files download with intent on laughing, learning, or grooving. Much like radio, it can serve as either the center of attention or background noise when washing dishes. Podcasts are ideal forms of entertainment and as they become more and more of a commodity, hopefully the world will learn to embrace it.
It has given recognition to performers who otherwise wouldn't be as well known. Whether it be critics or comedians, their voices have become integral to the conversation and hopefully will continue to in the years to come. Podcasts can range anywhere from a minute to several hours and the content selection is limitless. Almost mindset and subgenre of a subgenre has a dedicated host releasing information on a weekly schedule. You just have to look, and tell your friends when you find a great one.
My warning ahead of time is that because it is a growing field, I had conflict compiling this list in a proper respect. In a way, it seems like overkill in hindsight, but my goal of listening to every genre (Failed) and at least one for every letter of the alphabet (missed the letter X) proved to be a challenge unto itself. While I managed to peruse over the 100 shows that I needed to make up a list, there were issues unto the actual ranking of those 100.
Much like everyone else, my opinion differs from general consensus. I cannot just rank the heavy hitters at the top because they are the top dogs. In fact, there are often far superior selections out there. At the same time, there is question on representation of smaller shows with established shows and diversity among categories. As it stands, the list is heavy on comedy and film shows, but has a few other groups scattered throughout. It forced me to make some tough cuts and eventually drop some bigger names.
Then there's just the issue of time. Most shows work as a progressive output, building on top of the last episode and forming a trust with the creators. In fact, most shows rarely start off at their peak. While I make note to revisit them later on, the juggling over over 100 shows means that I forget to listen to a few (The Long Shot Podcast and The Chong and Chong Show) and unfortunately meant I ignored longer shows (The Joe Rogan Experience, Flicksation) simply to conserve time to check out as many shows as I could. Longer shows unfortunately don't play heavy into my rotation and while there are a few "epic" shows, most on this list average under 90 minutes.
It is also hard to get a full grasp of what these shows mean from one or two random listenings. While the entertainment value was judged, the consistency wasn't as much. I did my best to rank them according to impression on how good I felt they were. While most of the top 20 remain weekly listening, the further down the list that they go, the more likely that I listened sparingly. This isn't to say that I wouldn't revisit them, but just that there isn't enough time in a week. Like most of you readers, life is a busy thing and I am surprised that I made it to 100 in the first place.
So I hope that you enjoy the Top 100, as well as the post about "Mini-Podcasts." It is a small entry that I wanted to compile largely because there were shows I enjoyed that didn't make that many episodes. It would seem unfair to degrade them because of that. Also, I have decided to include the names of any affiliated networks for podcasts when necessary, if just to influence you to check out more of their shows (I for one have become a fan of the Feral Audio output). After all, that is a large reason why I undertook this massive challenge (my full list of what I listened to will be made public at the end of the week).
Feel free to let me know what I left off and what I should be checking out. My ranking is based more on instinct than quality. To me, this is more a compilation of highlights than "better than" list, so keep that in mind when considering certain shows placing low. 

Hope that you enjoy them and more than anything, I hope that I have given you a few new shows to enjoy during some downtime. 

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