I have recently been coverted to the power of podcasts and indeed spoken work radio. I have always been a music radio person, but Christine has been a Radio 4/6/7 listener for some time. Slowly by osmosis and the horrendous Scott Mills effect (that uncontrollable urge to smash any radio that Scott Mills is broadcasting from...) I have been listening more and more to R4. And what a load of reactionary rightwing trash it is too, but thats by-the-by.
However, this introduced me to the wonderous possibilities of Listen Again and thus to the presence of podcasting and finally, as with many things, to the concept of RPG podcasts. Initially I was aghast at the possibilities for these self published pieces of opinion. After all, I have read a number of fanfics that seem to have been written by pseudo-psychotic pre-pubescent loons who use them as a way to channel their burgeoning hormones towards the female characters in some way. The possibilities of one nerd, one mic and a whole of opinion makes Mr Mills looks pleasant.
However, I have been stunning proved wrong - especially as I have been following a very tight 'word of mouth' recommendation regime. So thats what I am going to do! Here are my four current podcasts of choice.
The Sons of Kryos (http://www.sonsofkryos.com/)
Jeff and Judd (and a seemingly never ending cast of guest-stars) crank out a show of around 30-45 minutes every two weeks which is pure gaming gold. This is your hints and tips workshop to listen to and dip into and generally steal from. It's like a great independent RP magazine with three or four features like 'Good Sentences' (where they explore a sentence that might be said at the table) or GM Tools (where they talk about a material thing that can be used in a game). They have a fair smattering of 'industry' interviews as well, which are very interesting. It's just a very cool, laid back show and probably the most technically useful of the four.
Have Games Will Travel (http://havegameswilltravel.libsyn.com/)
Paul Tevis' show started for me as a review show but thats moved on now to a more generic gaming show. I'm not sure the show has really found it's feet since that change, but there are still a load of actual play reports and comments on games and insights into gaming and the industry. Ploughing the archives for old reviews of games which might have only just made it into the UK (and only into Forbidden Planet if you badger like mad) is great stuff.
The Durham Three (http://rpgtalk.net/durham3/weblog/)
First off, these guys have the most American names EVER - 'Clint R Nixon','Remi Treuer' and 'Jason Morningstar' - Secondly, they also have a sidekick that seems to have jumped into the show for the long term, Andy Kitkowski, making it really the Durham Four. Aside from that, the shows are great because they are normal guys talking about normal gaming. The premise of their show is that they play three sessions of a game, talking about each session before and after it is played. Yes, the play session takes place in the interlude in the middle of the podcast. The shows are quite short but they are fun to listen to. Good stuff.
Fear The Boot (http://feartheboot.libsyn.com/)
The newest addition to my list, FTB is four guys in midwest America talking about gaming and developing their own game on air. The shows are split into sections like 'banter', 'advice' and 'Skies of Glass (their game) Q&A' but the divisions aren't particularly marked and there is a lot of banter! I particularly recommend #34 and the description of the 'Death of the Moth God's Over God' diversion as a 'laugh out loud' moment. What makes these podcasts great is that the banter and diversions make it have that slightly amateurish edge that reminds you these are real friends doing real gaming.
Apart from the remarkably high quality of the podcasts, there are two things that sets these people apart from the other stalwart of online broadcasting I once listened to - WoWRadio.
The first is that the broadcasters heads are not rammed firmly up their arses when it comes to the subject matter. These blokes don't go on twenty minute rants about how they have been screwed out of money and happiness. They don't think they are the be-all and end-all of opinion on a topic. They are open and honest and generally pleasant to listen to. Unlike many of the broadcasters on WoW Radio. Which leads nicely onto the second difference - they actually LIKE their hobby. They do. Really. They don't live in a denial-riddled scheme of self-loathing hatred.
And that makes them a good thing. So podcasts - yey!