These days, more people than ever work in a job that requires sitting behind a desk at a computer. Whether that’s an office job for data entry or contributing articles to a tech website, a lot of white collar work puts you behind a screen. When you’re stuck there all day, anything helps to relieve the monotony. You see a lot of people wearing headphones and listening to music or podcasts while they work.
While we can’t help you find music (which tends to be highly personal), we can help you find a good podcast or two. If you need something to help you get through the day at work, these audio programs can help. They’re mostly in the realm of technology, video games, and comedy, three of our primary interests, but you can find quality stuff in other genres as well. Here are a few great podcasts you should try during the workday.
Our Favorite Top 10 Podcasts Today
The Game Informer Show
Coming from the eponymous magazine, The Game Informer Show is a weekly program, usually covering new releases and big news within gaming. Although they’ve been busy with E3 lately, the show should resume soon.
The Game Informer Show is worth hearing because of its excellent console coverage. The GI editors focus almost entirely on PlayStation and Xbox games. It’s a nice companion to the PC Gamer podcast.
The GI guys tend to stay on topic while keeping things lighthearted, the ideal for a podcast like this. They always manage to be entertaining and informative. Sometimes it feels like they’re too positive, though. The show sometimes feels like an extended advertisement for certain games.
Still, The Game Informer Show is professionally done and interesting. Those qualities are always what you want in a podcast.
The Tech Guy
Airing on XM Radio, The Tech Guy is a lengthy radio show hosted by Leo Laporte, as he often reminds you. He is fond of saying his name. It’s one of the most well know technology podcast on the web today.
The show tends to wander from topic to topic without any real direction. It covers whatever interests Laporte based on the current news or suggestions and questions from the callers.
The show impresses in its versatility. Laporte can discuss almost any topic within technology knowledgeably. That level of geek cred in an experienced radio host makes a good show.
This American Life
Coming out of National Public Radio, this weekly program features a set of stories connected by a common theme. Some programs focus on political divisions, people doing extraordinary things for love, or the experience of Americans abroad in China.
This American Life excels at finding unusual or fascinating stories about people doing unique things. The production values, editing, and storytelling are all top-notch as well.
The show tends to favor liberal perspectives… but if you’re listening to NPR, you already knew that. We’d recommend this show for people of all political persuasions, though, for its superb content.
This American Life is some of the best “human interest” reporting in the entire news media. Download the latest episode (always free for a week) from their website and see for yourself.
How Did This Get Made?
How Did This Get Made? is a podcast from the brilliant minds of Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and the inimitable Jason Mantzoukas. Scheer and Mantzoukas play Andre and Rafi on the FX comedy The League.
The three (and a rotating cast of celebrity guests like Wyatt Cenac and Kristen Schaal) rip into classic bad movies like Howard the Duck and The Room. They do a great job of ridiculing the poor casting and unfinished plots in these movies.
Scheer is somewhat annoying, but Mantzoukas is absolutely hilarious and more than makes up for him. Anyone who’s seen The League knows how funny he can be. Raphael is also a good addition as she tends to act as a moral counterbalance against the other two’s practiced cynicism.
How Did This Get Made? doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any serious way. It’s nothing that fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 or The Nostalgia Critic haven’t seen before. That said, it’s still entertaining as hell to hear Mantzoukas deadpan, “Guys, I’d like to talk to you about the events of September 11.”
PC Gamer Podcast (US version)
PC Gamer magazine has been around forever. We’ve never read it, but would like to after hearing their podcast. A few editors and whatever interns they can find usually get together to discuss the latest news in PC gaming or what they’ve been playing recently.
They do a good job of balancing gaming content with off-topic discussion. This isn’t like the Giant Bombcast where they discuss random trivia for the first hour. It’s a gaming podcast.
You can tell these guys really know their stuff from their discussions. They talk about computer games at a level that is easily understandable and shows a great deal of expertise. Any serious PC gaming fan should give this podcast a shot.
A Life Well Wasted
This is a weird one. Produced by musician and journalist Robert Ashley, A Life Well Wasted is part trance techno, part This American Life for gaming. Ashley collects interesting stories related to games and strings them together with a theme, similar to TAL.
His podcast differs in that he produces all his own music and often veers into said music. The results are strange but oddly impressive.
There are only seven episodes, and they release infrequently. Ashley went three years between the six and seventh entries. Music production, editing, and chasing down stories takes time.
A Life Well Wasted is a strange experience. It’s not for everyone. But, if you’re looking for something totally unique, this is it.
Doug Loves Movies
Comedian Doug Benson and whatever other guests he gets like to do a roundtable in which they discuss movies, movie trivia, and anything else on their minds.
The highlight of the show, though, is the Leonard Maltin game. That is best described as what happens when comedians compete over movie trivia.
Benson keeps things lighthearted and fun. Listening to funny people compete against each other and swear and one another makes for good programming.
GigaOM Chrome Show
This one might be more of a niche topic, but we liked the GigaOM Chrome Show. It’s relatively a new podcast, with only around 12 episodes so far. It’s just two guys discussing the ins and outs of Google’s new Chrome OS and Chromebooks.
Kevin C. Tofel is an experienced user with a deep understanding of Chrome OS. He brings a good level of technical knowledge to the podcast that makes it more than lay users talking about their Chromebooks. His co-host Chris Albrecht is an easygoing and a good speaker.
The two have good chemistry together. That and a deep understanding of the Google experience make an interesting podcast for those of you interested in all things Chrome.
Unlike the other items on this list, Tekzilla is more of a video show than a podcast. You can listen to it just the audio, but it’s not quite as good. That said, it’s still worth watching. The show covers an interesting grab bag of tech-related topics and produces them in high-quality video.
You may not find some of the topics they cover to be relevant to you, but they’re still covered in a well-done and technical manner. You can’t argue with the show’s advice, as it’s usually good.
Like Tekzilla, this is more of a television show than a straight podcast. However, it has some good content that varies between cool apps for staying organized, hardware reviews, and general looks at technology.
We liked their content slightly more than Tekzilla if only because everything seemed at least a bit relevant to our interests. Then again, that could be chalked up to personal preference.
Geekbeat.tv is worth watching for any technical-minded viewer interested in some different video coverage of the technology stories which we follow.
There you have it – our top picks in Podcasts our readers should listen to. No doubt we’ve missed several dozen other great podcasts aside from our picks. If you’ve got a suggestion – we’d be very interested to know. Let’s continue the discussion in the comments.