Podcasts I love: Driveway Moments

Is your brain embiggened from last time when we talked about 60-Second Science? Good, good. Glad to hear it. Take good care of your brain, and it'll take good care of you.

Today, we're turning to one of my favorite old media broadcasters, who have done an outstanding job embracing new media: National Public Radio. NPR offers a huge selection of podcasts, including powerhouses like This American Life[1] and Fresh Air,[2] but since everyone in the universe know about those, today I will share something that never fails to entertain, inform, or inspire me, and is rarely longer than 5 or 6 minutes: NPR's Driveway Moments.

This ingeniously-named podcast is chosen by listeners from NPR stories that are so compelling, they stay in the driveway when they get home and listen to them until they're over.

Some of them are inspiring. Some of them are funny. Some of them are so sad it's hard to listen to them. All of them are incredibly awesome, and make me grateful that NPR embraced podcasting as long ago as they did.

Way back in podcasting's early days, I gushed about the technology and its implications to a good friend of mine who has enjoyed a very long and very successful career in radio. He was unmoved, and figured that, like blogging, "a thousand flowers will bloom, and we'll be left with 999 weeds." He has since changed his tune.

At the time, I thought he was missing the point, but he was correct in a certain sense: radio isn't easy, and not everyone can find success as a broadcaster or producer. I don't know how many podcasts from the early days are still around, and if any of podcasting's early breakout stars are now laughing at us from their private yachts, but the point is, they were there at the beginning, and they helped prove to the world that this on-demand style of radio was viable. Without those pioneers, I don't think the list I'm doing this week would exist. The next time you listen to one of your favorite podcasts, honestly ask yourself: would I make this appointment listening? All the podcasts I'm talking about this week — and they represent just a small percentage of all the ones I listen to — are wonderful, but I wouldn't be able to stop everything I'm doing to listen to them if they weren't available when it was convenient to me. This, I believe, is the future of radio, and even television.

Next time: …i did not know that.

[1] Did you know that I'm a writer because of This American Life? It's true, and is a story I should tell one day. Perhaps on a podcast of my own.

[2] Just in case anyone from either one of these shows sees this: I dream of one day earning the chance to be on your program.

9 thoughts on “Podcasts I love: Driveway Moments”

  1. Wil, Your writing does a lot to inspire a lot of people (at least to me it does).
    You are why I blog now and it has great value to my sanity (cheaper than a psychologist) and your stories are funny when they need to be and serious when the situation calls for it.
    I am glad you write and hope you continue.
    Bill Teeple
    San Jose, CA

  2. yay!!! I could easily spend days on end listening to NPR podcasts (and have spent many moments in my driveway and parking lot at work waiting and wanting to hear the last few moments of this or that segment). I still thing you would be perfect as the “Not My Job” guest on NPR’s “Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”. ….hmmm….I wonder who we talk to about that.

  3. I’ve been getting the Driveway Moments CDs from the library for my iPod. I’m totally loving them. I should add that to my podcast list.
    And seriously, I’m totally diggin’ this series. Rawk. And I’m also gonna agree with adichappo above: contact WWDTM and get on the show!

  4. Whoops. My bad. I knew that, because now I can hear the “P…R…I…” jingle in my memory.
    I listen to TAL on NPR, which would explain the error.

  5. yippee!i can finally finally comment on your blog. i kept forgetting my typepad password but now i can just use my google account.
    so anyway. i live for podcasts. here are some of my faves:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/podcast/ (hilarious disability podcast and you don’t have to be disabled to enjoy it.)
    http://missinglinkpodcast.wordpress.com/ (science related podcasts with cool music)
    http://www.wfmu.org/podcast/CP.xml (the Dusty Show with Clay Pigeon. he can be kind of out there so sometimes it is hard to listen to it.)
    i could totally give up TV and listen to podcasts and the online radio all day.

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