This Week in Podcasting: Riffing on Michael Douglas

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By Darren Johnson

Campus News

This week in podcasting, I’m going to look at a “Drive-Time Podcast” episode I made a year and a half ago that mostly riffs on movies on Netflix while poking a lot of fun at actor Michael Douglas, then transitions into bad TV commercials from the 1980s and ends with a “Go to the Light” segment, where I encourage a pop culture icon to leave us.

Click above to hear DTP 22.
Click above to hear DTP 22.

“Drive-Time Podcast” was a 63-episode experiment where I brought a microphone with me in the car during my daily commute, exploring various topics in the news and popular thought while also getting annoyed at traffic. You can hear the hum of the car’s engine throughout.

Since then, I don’t commute as much, and I am considering a new podcast format (to start soon), but these older episodes are meant to be a bit evergreen and they still hold up and get downloads.

Find Episode 22, “Michael Douglas and Bad Commercials,” here (click to listen now or right-click to download for later).

You can find all DTP episodes here.


Norm on Carolla
This week, I also listened to a scaled-down version of “The Adam Carolla Show,” where he sits down with comedian Norm MacDonald (podcast link), who is plugging his Pultizer-nominated autobiography.

This episode doesn’t have the usual lightweight sidekicks chiming in and works as an entertaining look at the offbeat comic, who has a gambling addiction, lives with his mom and doesn’t drive a car. Whereas MacDonald is eccentric and quirky, Carolla has much the opposite personality, and is good at reining in MacDonald and getting us concrete details about his life. I’ve heard MacDonald on several shows, but never felt he was letting us know much about him – what makes him tick. Here we learn a good deal about this very singular personality.

Rosen and Carolla, when they'd worked together.
Rosen and Carolla, when they’d worked together.

Rosen Everywhere
I also was pleasantly surprised with the Dr. Drew podcast, “On This Life.” He recently had on former Carolla newscaster Alison Rosen, who, since her announced pregnancy this past summer, has been going on several podcasts to promote her own cheery show, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend.”

I normally hear Dr. Drew on a joint podcast with Carolla, and Drew gets spoken over and disrespected a good deal there. He becomes the beta dog. On his own show, with some smart guests, the conversation is more enlightening, and he takes charge.

Rosen has been very interesting of late, recently revealing a possible date rape she experienced over a decade ago on some “Fitzdawg Radio” shows with Greg Fitzsimmons, as well as when Fitzsimmons is on her own show. Here is a recent example from “Fitzdawg Radio.”

“Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” is a solid semi-weekly listen, as well. On Mondays, she does long-form interviews that are as good as any podcaster’s out there. Her sweet style wears down B-list guests and eventually they start to really reveal themselves. Only Marc Maron, on his “WTF Podcast,” is better at wearing down tough B-list guests.

On Thursdays, Rosen has on a regular team of hipsters and more lighthearted fare, such as trying new junk food in a segment called “Snack Chat,” and they read their awkward teenage diaries in another segment. The show grows on you over time, and has become a frequently checked subscription in my iPhone podcast app.

 

 

Digital Overload“This Week in Podcasting” is an occasional column about this new medium. Darren Johnson is a college Mass Media instructor and owner of Campus News, a newspaper that is distributed to 37 colleges in the Northeast. Write him at darren@cccn.us.

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