I’ll freely admit that I am addicted to my iPod.  I’m not the iPod guy on Apple commercials of yesteryear: the guy rocking out to Death Cab for Cutie while waiting in line for the subway.  No, I’m more of the vanilla commuter style iPod listener: I’m the podcast guy.

I dig me some podcasts.  It’s like talk radio that I can control.  Although I have a pretty wide range of musical selections on my iPod from old-school Geoff Moore and the Distance to Taylor Swift to…yes…even Death Cab for Cutie (just downloaded that so I could sound cool), I rarely listen to music.  Most of the time I’m rocking it out to the voices in my head, via headphones, thank you very much.

But I have to say that not all podcasts are created equal.  There are some truly horrific examples of iTunes abuse that need to be eradicated permanently.  If you’re a podcaster, this is your lucky day, because not only have I never in my life created a podcast, I also consider myself an expert on how to produce one.  So ladies and gentlemen, I give you Danny’s Top Four Rules for Podcasting (Why four rules?  Because five would be silly.):

  1. Find something to say.  I’ll give you the fact that you had me at “Billy Bob’s Red Hot Christian Marriage and Puppy Training” podcast.  But BB, you’re going to have to go beyond saying the same three things over and over, week after week.  If you can’t have a balanced and expansive discussion on your topic of choice, you don’t need a podcast.  You need to write an essay.  Or maybe a pamphlet.
  2. Say it in a compelling way.  Because I am a “finisher,” I refuse to just delete a podcast without first listening to it.  For that reason, I’ll often punish myself because I was foolish enough to download something based on the title alone (see rule #1).  However, that means that I’m stuck with some truly bad hosts that should never be given the light of day, let alone a microphone and a computer.  Right now, for example, I am listening to what may be the World’s Most Boring Podcast Host.  He has all the charm of Toby Flenderson.  I find myself wanting to drive off a cliff just so I can escape his monotonous voice and inane interviewing skills.  But can I kick him to the curb?  Nooo…because I’m a finisher.  (Thankfully, it appears that a lot of other podcast listeners felt that way, because I haven’t seen him upload anything new in months.  I think it’s time to cut the cord.)
  3. Practice what you preach.  One podcast that I actually like has a bumper at the end where a voice-over guy talks about the podcast host’s website.  One thing he promises is “tips on humor.”  I find that humorous because not once has the host said anything remotely funny.  Is he entertaining?  Sure.  But he’s not funny.  Don’t sell me humor, no-laughing-man.  It’s not authentic.
  4. Don’t sell me too much, period.  Yes, I know you need to promote your upcoming conference and you should promote your interviewee’s latest book.  But I tuned in to your podcast so I could hear what you have to say now…not what you’ll have to say if I give you three easy installments of $79.99.

So what are my favorite podcasts?  I’m glad you asked.  Here they are in no particular order (Editor’s note: You idiot.  They’re in alphabetical order.)  Go check ’em out!

Now I want to hear from you: what are your absolute favorite, can’t-live-without-’em podcasts?  Comment below…