When I started my podcast review project last week I stated that one of my reasons for the undertaking is that podcast reviews are relatively rare. The Onion’s A/V club does a weekly podcast review roundup that tends to be dominated by comedy podcasts. I’ve found plenty of other podcast review sites on the ‘net that appear to be only sporadically updated or mostly abandoned. One site I found, named 52 Podcasts, started at the beginning of this year promising a review a week. By July the writer was up to 15 reviews and lamented that, “Not only did I underestimate the time commitment (what else is new!), but I also overestimated the amount of decent podcasts there are out there.” I mention this not to criticize this or other reviewers. I’m only pointing out how spare the reviews are, and how perhaps I’m setting myself up for failure.
But then I was very pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the blog Podthoughts by Colin Marshall, a podcaster himself, hosted by the podcast network Maximum Fun. Marshall doesn’t review individual episodes as I’ve (foolishly) attempted to do, but he does thoroughly assess podcasts as both a listener and a producer, but without the producer side overasserting itself. Although it seems like he only gets in an average of two or three reviews a month, he’s been doing it consistently since 2009.
In each review Marshall gives the reader a very good sense of each ‘cast, in addition to such important (and often overlooked) information as typical episode duration and frequency of release. He has a breezy style that is also personal, and he isn’t afraid to be actually critical. One genre of podcast that often draws Marshall’s ire is what he calls “two twenty/thirtysomething guys who bullshit about culture,” abbreviated as TTWGBAC. One commenter to a review attempting to take him to task for his TTWGBAC critiques provoked a succinct and laugh-out-loud response from Marshall that I won’t spoil for you; read it for yourself.
What I particularly appreciate about Marshall’s reviews is his choice of podcasts. While he doesn’t necessary shy away from some more well known shows like How Was Your Week, he also unearths quite a few podcasts I’ve never heard of, but that also aren’t flashes in the pan with a couple of promising initial episodes and nothing more to hear. Now I have some help to refresh my podcast rut.