Studio: Roman Mars
What It Is
A show about the origins of the design of things that we typically don’t notice the design of or don’t know about, say the stripes on the road or the experimental bubble houses of the 1960s.
The show is under half an hour and drops once a week, typically on Tuesday or Wednesday. For production values, think your typical public radio staple; interstitial music, clever editing, etc. The show has been on since 2010 and funds each new season through Kickstarter. The one hundred most recent episodes are available on iTunes. For the rest (the show’s up to about a hundred & sixty episodes), check out the website.
What About It
I like the show’s wide net; you never really know what the episode is going to be about when you start it. It might be an odd hotel that’s painted purple or maybe the I Heart New York ad campaign or maybe an experimental architecture movement of bubble houses. The premise of the show is a good one; things related to design that we’ve never really thought about. In some cases, we see these things every day but just never think about how they reached that particular form that they’re in now. I like this idea a lot actually. And the show boasts some podcasting luminaries among its fans: Merlin Mann of Back to Work; Jonathan Goldstein of Wire Tap; Jad Abumrad of Radio Lab & Ira Glass of This American Life. But the show isn’t great. It’s generally good and pretty interesting, but this is one of those podcasts that I’d prioritize listening to if only there weren’t already so darn many I was prioritizing. You know what I mean. It’s a fine, solid, good podcast. But with as many podcasts as there are out there, a show needs to be great, not just good.
Um, you like design or . . . something? I dunno.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You’re OCD and will immediately become unable not to notice whatever the topic is.
Best Entry Point
I don’t really have a standout here. I enjoyed 88 – The Broadcast Clock the most, I think, of the ones I’ve heard. It’s an exploration of the way the broadcast clock works, the clock that every radio host watches with an eagle eye.
Next time, one of the most famous news organizations of the world covers an entire continent. And the show has already been mentioned in this thread.