Podcasting is a terrific medium for news, information and analysis of issues and a whole lot more.  For listeners, Apple’s iTunes makes subscribing and listening extremely easy, even for those who don’t have or want an actual iPod.  For producers, it’s so easy to master the basic technical issues that almost anyone with a pulse can record and distribute a podcast.

For political listening there are a lot of choices on all sides of the spectrum, and a lot of them are garbage.  But here are several podcasts that we think are best of the best, from our conservative/libertarian point of view.  All of these can be found in the iTunes store or from the respective websites (just click on the pictures), and they’re FREE.

Official Mark Levin Show Audio Rewind

Mark Levin

Levin is an American treasure.  For those of you who listen to his radio show and find him to be a shouter and hanger-upper, you haven’t listened long enough.  Rush Limbaugh has always said you won’t really “get” his (Limbaugh’s) show in less than six weeks,  and that’s true of Levin as well.  Maybe it’s true of all radio hosts with substance. Give them time. They’ll grow on you if their aim is true.

The left tends to dismiss conservative radio hosts as mere “entertainers” (while deifying actual entertainers such as Sean Penn as deep thinkers).  But while Levin is incredibly funny at times, he’s mainly a passionate voice for America who happens to be entertaining.  He’s a constitutional scholar with a Jon Lovitz delivery.  He’s Gilbert Gottfried with a law degree and a deep sense of morality.

Levin is also the head of Landmark Legal Foundation, a group that actually holds government’s feet to the fire on matters of vital constitutional importance.  And he’s the author of Liberty and Tyranny, the brilliant million-selling treatise on the meaning of America.

The podcast is basically Levin’s  radio show (heard 6-9 pm Eastern on WABC in New York and at various times around the country), with most of the commercials removed.  It’s usually added to the podfeed about an hour after the live radio show ends.  It’s well worth the listening, as Levin bemoans our present political situation, not from a strictly partisan viewpoint, but from the point of view of a true patriot who understands in detail the legal and moral framework of America.

Even though the subjects are weighty, Levin is lots of fun to listen to, and while his anger can be palpable at times, so is his compassion for his country and its people.  This is a truly accomplished guy who has the ability to communicate his passion and knowledge in a fun, interesting way.  Spend some time with him.  http://www.marklevinshow.com

KCRW’s Right, Left and Center

Photo from L-R: Matt Miller, Arianna Huffington, Tony Blankley, Robert Scheer

RLC is an NPR show hosted by Matt Miller, who is supposedly a centrist (we respectfully disagree, since he’s a fellow at John Podesta’s decidedly lefty Center for American Progress), with a panel of three: progressive Robert Scheer of Truthdig.com, conservative Tony Blankley from The Washington Times and Arianna Huffington, from The Huffington Post.  Huffington is away from the show a lot (but from our point of view, she’s mentally absent even when she’s present.)

Ok, so it’s NOT a conservative podcast per se, but Dave listens to it every week (the podcast version comes out on Friday, after the NPR show runs).   Blankley is usually alone in his opinions, and plays the role of the articulate smart guy (a la Wm. F. Buckley), to Scheer’s socialistic curmudgeon.  Arianna is there for comic relief — she seemed a lot smarter when she was a conservative — and Matt Miller plays cat-herder to this diverse bunch.

Dave listens for the fun of the arguments, as well as for the fact that (mostly) the participants don’t cut each other off in mid-sentence with weird non sequiturs, etc.  It’s good to hear the opposing points of view, and although it’s not often, Dave even finds himself occasionally agreeing with Scheer.


No Agenda

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

Dave’s current fave, No Agenda, comes from an  outside-the-box,  “makes ya think don’t it?” sensibility that really can’t be pinned down.  The hosts are media veterans Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak.  Curry is the former MTV Vee-Jay who originated the idea of podcasting and is one of the driving forces behind the online media company Mevio.  Dvorak is a longtime tech journalist and podcaster who knows his tech, and apparently, his politics as well.

As Crackpot and Buzzkill (their nicknames, not ours), Curry and Dvorak research stories and angles on stories they believe the the MSM ignore, and if there’s any political “ism” involved it’s “No BS-ism.”  Curry and Dvorak don’t suffer fools or political hacks gladly.  It’s fun and fast-paced, produced by Curry with the same manic panache baby boomers heard in the likes of Murray the K and Larry Lujack.   Dave has to laugh every time Curry hits the “douche-bag” button and, well, you get the idea.

But again, the show isn’t all fun-and-games.  Not by a long shot. Curry and Dvorak ask some serious questions about some very  important issues. For example, in a recent episode they lamented that the media and politicos (on the right AND left) prefer not to discuss the fact that Arizona’s  immigration law is a response to criminal activity that’s far more heinous than just walking across the border.  Just for starters, Arizona is the second-most kidnap-prone place in the world.

While they may not have all the answers, they call things as they see them. Besides the fact that these are both pretty smart guys, what makes the show work is the juxtaposition of personalities — Curry as the conspiracy theorist with an actual point, and Dvorak as the shrewd curmudgeon who cuts through the memes-of-the-moment.

It’s recorded (with live listening possible at mevio.com) Thursday and Sunday mornings, and it’s really great radio conversation.

NOTE: No Agenda does have a bit of crude language, mostly from Curry.  So f***ing get over it.


Robert Scheer