Podcasts

Over the years, I have been a guest on a bunch of podcasts, and have hosted one. Let’s run through some of them. (More guest appearances coming when I get a chance—I’ve been on probably a dozen other shows as a guest, but have to find all those appearances.)

Election Ride Home (Host, 2019-2020)

The Election Ride Home began as the Primary Ride Home during the primary season leading up to the 2020 presidential election in the US. At the time work began (March 2019), there were more than a dozen major candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, and it was frankly confusing to know who was doing what. In the early days it was typical for new candidates to announce and/or drop out on a daily or weekly basis—I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of everybody.

The name change (from “Primary” to “Election”) came after a few months as the Republican primary actually became (briefly) a thing, and the show broadened out to deal with other election-related issues and non-presidential races.

I created this show in partnership with Ride Home Media, which was cofounded by my friend and previous collaborator Brian McCullough. The format of the show was a daily news roundup posted by 5pm Eastern time. Minimum run time 15 minutes (excluding any ads), Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. You can check out the entire archive here. It was the second show on the Ride Home network, after the Techmeme Ride Home (see below for more on that).

I hosted the show from March 2019 through January 2020. The show formally ended about six weeks after I left, when two things became clear: Biden was almost certain to get the nomination and the COVID-19 crisis had utterly destroyed the political news cycle. (Both of these events meant it was difficult to locate 15 minutes of substantive election-related news every day, whereas in the previous year it was hard to trim it down!) It was a good run, and if you ever need someone to give you a crash course on what happened in that 2019 primary, I guess…call me?

Techmeme Ride Home (Fill-in Host & Writer, 2018-2019)

I worked with Brian on the Techmeme Ride Home as a writer and occasional fill-in host when he needed to take vacation or otherwise be away for a day. This work ran from 2018 through early 2019. You can dig through the archives to find me, though frankly “old tech news” might not be the most exciting thing to consume at this point.

Internet History Podcast (2014-2015)

Also in the “podcasting with Brian” department, I appeared as early as 2014 on his excellent Internet History Podcast. The show primarily focused on interviews with tech folks, and would form the basis of Brian’s book How the Internet Happened.

Brian brought me on for a handful of “analysis episodes,” which were more freeform discussion. Check out Analysis Episode 1, Analysis Episode 2 (Early Online Services), and Analysis Episode 4 (“Clutching Pearls”). In addition to on-air work, I did a little behind-the-scenes production stuff and business stuff for the show.

The New Disruptors (2014, 2018)

I appeared as a guest on Glenn Fleishman’s show The New Disruptors twice. First, in 2014 when promoting the cryptocurrency documentary Coined. That one is It’s Like Money You Can’t Hold with Chris Higgins and Adam Cornelius (Episode 80).

I came back in 2018 when Glenn did a small run of shows featuring people whose ancestors made things. My great-grandfather H.L. Spaunberg was an inventor who patented a variety of mechanical items. Although I never knew him (he died before I was born), the legend of H.L. looms large in my family. To prep for this, I interviewed my mother about H.L. and got a huge trove of documents from my folks (including a few patents I hadn’t even heard of before then—a good reason to talk to people about this kind of thing while they’re still around!). This one is Grand Inventions: Counting Gears with Chris Higgins (Episode 105).

How to Do Everything (2012)

I appeared on How to Do Everything to discuss a Mental Floss article I wrote about whether blowing into Nintendo cartridges actually worked. The podcast is Episode 78: Public Toilets, Debate Prep and Nintendo (October 5, 2012). The original blog post is Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? (Note: It appears that Mental Floss no longer has the images for this post, which is a shame; here’s the cache from Archive.org with all the images intact.)

CBC Spark (2008)

Back in the Before Times, I appeared alongside Hugh Crawford and Betsy Reid on CBC’s Spark. This was June 18, 2008. We discussed the story of Jamie Livingston, which I had broken for Mental Floss by accidentally finding Hugh and Betsy’s “not intended for public consumption” website with Jamie’s images. In the decade since then, I’ve finally met and interviewed Hugh, along with many other people in this story. More to come on that at some point, I guess. You can find the episode on Archive.org, as it appears to be gone from the regular Spark podcast feed.