Podcasts I love: Pseudopod

Here's something that you probably don't know about me: Ever since I was a kid listening to KROQ on my Walkman[1] I've wanted to have my own radio show. The idea of playing music for and talking to people across the airwaves remains a dream of mine, and it's why I occasionally do my own Radio Free Burrito podcasts.

I remember when Podcasting was just getting started, back in those 8-bit days when we all thought that our digital watches were a pretty neat idea. I remember feeling really excited about the opportunity to create my own radio show, and gleeful that I lived in the future where that sort of thing was possible.

I don't produce nearly as many podcasts as I want to, but I listen to a bunch, and every day this week I'm going to share one of my favorites with you.

Today's entry is something I love, that probably wouldn't be able to exist in any other medium at any other time: Pseudopod.

Pseudopod "brings you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere" and it's pretty damn awesome. Every week, they release a new short story, entirely for free. The stories hit way more often than they miss (and that's really just because of personal tastes; the readers are all fantastic and the writing is always very, very good) and they range from short, 10-minute distractions to 45-minute journeys to Places Man Was Not Meant To Go.

Some of the stories are very disturbing — this is horror, after all — but I have yet to hear one that's gory for gore's sake, or disturbing for the sake of being disturbing. Some of them, like Clockwork, aren't even scary; they're just cool.

One of my all-time favorites was released last August. It's considered flash, so it's just 8 minutes long, but not a single moment is wasted in a story called Scarecrow, that was unexpectedly powerful and moving. Now that I think of it, that was the story that convinced me to add a Pseudopod subscription to iTunes, so maybe it's a good place for you to start if you're curious.

As I said above, I don't think Pseudopod could exist at any other time, and it showcases something I love about Podcasting, blogging, and other forms of new media: while Pseudopod would have a very hard time drawing enough listeners in one geographic location to maintain a not-in-the-middle-of-the-night slot on old terrestrial radio (not because it's not good, but just because there aren't that many people who want to listen to this sort of thing in a major market like Los Angeles, I'd guess) there are certainly enough people scattered across the planet to make up a huge audience that can support them and make their efforts worthwhile.

Yes, it's pretty awesome to live in the future.

Next time: embiggen your brain in just a minute.

[1] Imagine an iPod that plays cassette tapes and radio stations cloaked in static and you'll have a pretty good idea of what it was, kids.