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 and Fresh Air, 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.
 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.
 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.