Some Great Environmental Podcasts

(Here’s an explanation of podcasting, and some links to some good environmental podcasts, for the people attending my Saturday workshop at the SEJ conference.)

“Podcasting” (a type of on-demand “radio” delivered for free online and played on portable MP3 players at your convenience) has been taking the media world by storm since it debuted just under a year ago.

Today, thousands of podcasts (audio shows) are available from all over the world, on every conceivable topic and representing every type of perspective. Some are re-issued episodes from established radio shows (such as NPR’s “Living on Earth”), while others are produced by organizations, govt. agencies, companies, institutions, and individuals. Quality and credibility vary widely, of course. Still, much of this programming is surprisingly good.

More info, and links…

WHY LISTEN?

Several podcasts address environmental topics. If you own a portable MP3 player, podcasts can become a useful, convenient, and entertaining addition to your media diet. Like blogs, podcasts also can offer ahead-of-the curve leads and intriguing angles for the environment beat. And consider this: It’s hard to put a blog in your pocket and check it out while jogging!

WHY CREATE YOUR OWN PODCAST?

For reporters, podcasting represents a new way to tell news stories — either as standalone programming, or as special audio complements or supplements to traditional print/broadcast stories. This doesn’t have to be a complex or costly undertaking. Compared to producing broadcast-quality audio, creating and distributing a podcast is technically simple and inexpensive. Much of what you need for this job is actually free.

While the media business model for podcasting is sketchy at this point, the barrier of entry is so low that it’s easy to experiment. It may especially make financial sense for nonprofit-produced programming, since it gives you instant, cheap access to a global audience.

That said, podcasting definitely does not suit every person or organization. The best way to figure out what podcasting might offer you is to start listening to a few shows, and go from there.

RECOMMENDED ENVIRO PODCASTS

To get you started, here’s a preliminary list of recommended environmental podcasts. To find out how to access these shows, first read “How to receive and listen to podcasts

In a nutshell, to listen to podcasts you need software that allows you to subscribe to and automatically download the shows you want. The latest version of iTunes includes this ability, and other free programs are available for all platforms. Also, Odeo is a free web-based service that makes podcasts easy.

The “feed” URL listed for each show is the address you subscribe to in your “podcatcher” software (which automatically downloads the latest shows and stores them so you can move them to your iPod or other MP3 player – see the tutorial mentioned above).

  1. Living on Earth: The popular weekly environment news magazine from NPR. Site and podcast feed
  2. Environment Report: Weekly radio show from the Great Lakes Radio Consortium. Site and podcast feed
  3. Earthwatch Radio: Short (1-2 min.) environmental news and features produced by the Gaylord Nelson Inst. and the Univ. of WI’s Sea Grant. 3-5 episodes weekly. Site and podcast feed
  4. The Watt: Independent (amateur) podcast on energy. Covers markets, technology, industry, envl effects, and more. By Ben Kenney and other graduate students working on energy projects at Queen’s Univ. (Canada). Site and podcast feeds (full weekly show about 30 min/episode, and mini edition about 5 min. summary)
  5. Our Ocean World: Syndicated radio show offering news and information about ocean issues. Host: Marilyn Cooley. Site and podcast feed
  6. News from NOAA: Short reports on NOAA science and research, including environmental topics. Site and podcast feed
  7. The Wildebeat: News and features about environmentally responsible wilderness recreation. Independently produced by Steve Sergeant. Site and podcast feed
  8. EV World Internet Radio: Electric, hybrid, and alternative-fuel vehicle industry interviews and conference presentations. Hosted by Bill Moore. Site and podcast feed
  9. Bird Notes: Magazine show by the Royal Soc. for the Protection of Birds (UK). Features on birds and the environment. Site and podcast feed
  10. Off the Grid Radio: Casual interviews and observations from the owner of a solar-powered ecology lodge in Algonquin Park (northern Ontario, Canada). Not strictly environmental. Site and podcast feed

MY TUTORIAL: What is podcasting, and why should you care? A non-geeky overview for newcomers.