Saturday, 4 February 2012

An Earfull of Podcasts

The world of Podcasting is huge and by no means do I consider myself knowledgeable or an expert on the matter. Honestly, I do not think anyone can be, as much like TV, there aren’t enough minutes in the day in order to consume all that is released in this ever growing format.

Podcasting is an unusual medium in that it breaks the normal barriers of media; much like blogs but obviously in audio form. Many of the more publicised podcasts, the ones you will find on the front page of iTunes are produced by professional media companies and feature those who would usually be classed as celebrities. These are often condensed radio or TV shows, material from comedians or news/sportscasts; but really there are very few barriers of entry to podcasting, so anyone with a computer and a microphone can make and release their own podcast if they have something to talk about (or sometimes even if they don’t). In many ways a podcast could be compared to Public TV in terms of open access; but as it’s much easier to make an audio stream sound professional with simple effects, music overlay and editing than it is with the video format; and this helps to further blur the line between those produced professionally and those that start as a hobby and can grow to become much more.

The term “podcast” originated in 2004 and when Apple added podcast subscription and management to iTunes in 2005 the medium really started to take off. That isn’t to say that podcasts did not exist before these points, there were already internet radio shows that could be listened to either on demand or streamed; this technology just revolutionised their delivery and storage to allow them to be listened to both on demand and while mobile. Actually, I myself (despite my terrible voice) used to have a segment on a wrestling internet radio show back in 1999; nowadays that would be been classed and distributed as a podcast.

I, however, did not start getting involved in listening to podcasts mid late 2006. There were two reasons for this; firstly, I didn’t know of any that I wanted to listen to, but secondly (and mostly), my hatred of Apple at the time (and some still lingering) made me fight against having an iPod and like an idiot I thought you required one of these in order to listen to podcasts (it’s in the name!). Anyway, as I explained in my history with Disney blog, it was in mid 2006 while researching what had happened and why at Walt Disney World that I came across the MouseTunes podcast by Lou Mongello and Nathan Rose; I became a weekly listener straight away and also downloaded some of their older episodes. The mantra for the show was “you keep listening, we’ll keep babbling” and there were many mammothly long shows; but I really enjoyed the casual chatting which was both informative and entertaining. As I still didn’t have an iPod, I had at this point downloaded iTunes in order to get the new and old episodes and I listened to them in the study on the desktop while generally browsing the internet. Eventually, however, I caved and bought my first Apple device and with the ability to listen on the go, and my restarting to commute into the city, on a daily basis, my podcast library began to grow.

So, my podcasting origin story over, here’s a run down of my favourite podcasts in no particular, but at the same time very biased, order.

The Dave Gorman Podcast

I have been a big fan of Dave Gorman’s work for a long time having read all his books (some multiple times) and owning all his DVDs; Googlewhack in particular which since 2004 has remained “the” DVD that is put on in bed when there is nothing on TV. Summer 2009 saw Dave stand in for Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio and I downloaded the podcast versions of those, and later in the year Dave started his own radio show on the station which is live 10am till midday on a Sunday (GMT). Unfortunately, I didn’t know about the show until April the following year, so I spent the best part of two weeks catching up on the first 20 podcasts; I have never laughed out loud on a crowded train so often.

Dave is joined on the podcast by two more comics, Danielle Ward and Martin White; and the three of them have a great rapport. The show has a main topic each week and encourages and in fact thrives on listener interaction through twitter, text or email both live and in retrospect; the retrospect emails being half the content of the podcast extras (taped after the live radio show has ended) and the Someday podcast which is taped at the same time but released “Someday” (usually Thursday after controversy whether Wednesday or Thursday was midweek). Each of the presenters also get their chance to shine as a comic, Dave recites Found Poetry, Danielle presents Ward’s Weekly Word, and Martin writes and sings a song each show based on that week’s listener contributions. Several of the show topics have become full blown features on the show, the most recent to have stuck being Listeners Lexicon which encourages the submission of slang used within a family or friend group that is unique; but in the past there has also been Nicknaming with Attitude and Existential Moments of Self Doubt. And then there is Pun Street; having started as a show where they wanted real shops and services with pun names; this feature has become a beast that cannot be stopped. With the caveat that there can only be one shop or service of any type on the street at one time, there is competition and have been many controversies; the precinct has also been expanded to included Fail Lane, Charming Alley, Creepy Close and Punintention-ally for names that aren’t really puns but need a home. Two of the classics, and my personal favourites, are the dog grooming business “Indiana Bones and the Temple of Groom” and the halall butcher “Halall, is it Meat You’re Looking For?”; remember, these are real places of business. Unfortunately my submission for Fail Lane of “Melissa” which is an electrical supply shop near me never made it to the planning committee stage.

I have however had other entries read out on the live show and podcast, a couple just in passing, but the most prominent was on the 4th September 2011 show where, at 6:20 in, Danielle reads out my text message concerning a very Disney holiday over the summer before questioning if I have a life. At 9mins in, Dave then makes the Disney connection between that text and tweets from someone wearing Mickey ears in their profile picture tweeting from Tesco, and I made it into Martin’s song too.

The WDW Radio Show

In early 2007, pretty much to the surprise of listeners, MouseTunes presenters Lou Mongello and Nathan Rose announced they were going their separate ways. Shortly after Lou launched the WDW Radio show, a one man show which in the years since has grown to have a rather large supporting cast that join Lou for various segments concerning Disney history, current events and, obviously with it in the name, WDW. In the years since its inception, Lou and WDW Radio, along with the website and Lou’s others ventures such as his trivia books, audio guides and Celebrations magazine, have become a cornerstone in the online Disney fan community. The podcast, released Sundays, has evolved over time, at first including news and several segments per show, but now usually being more in depth about one particular subject or interview; with news being covered in a separate mid week Newscast that can be downloaded as a podcast or watched and listened to live as recorded from “The Box”.

Before explaining what “The Box” is, I should say that the WDW Radio Show is not only a community corner stone because of it’s content; but also because of its interaction with the fans; both virtually and in person. WDW Radio has long had meet events both in the parks and also at various Disney conventions and it’s turned strangers into friends and friends into a family where new members are warmly welcomed. In 2009, Lou broadcasted from a Disney fan event via UStream as an experiment and a few months later he did the same from the WDW Radio booth at the inaugural D23 Expo. It was originally thought it would just be for a few hours each day, it ended up being the entire event. For those of us who could not be at the Expo, this was our portal to the event, we chatted with people there, we were taken on trips around the exhibits (as long as the battery and the mobile signal lasted) and we experienced something amazing that we normally would have had no decent live contact with. And for the hundreds of us who watched non stop for 4 days through a webcam interacting with those there and with each other in the accompanying chat box; a real sense of community was developed. That weekend we christened ourselves “The Box People from Lou Mongello’s Basement” although later on it was shortened to just “The Box People”; we even have our own facebook goup. Many of my twitter and facebook Disney friends were met in The Box, and it has only helped contribute to the togetherness world wide of the online Disney fans. If I blame Lou’s MouseTunes podcast for turning me into a smart mark Disney fan, then I have to blame Lou’s WDW Radio Show for making me a member of the much larger fan community on a personal level.

Since then WDW Radio has broadcast from various events to The Box People including a 24hr live broadcast over Star Wars Weekends and a 40hr live broadcast on WDW’s 40th Anniversary. Meanwhile the podcast remains strong, winning the Best Travel Podcast category of the Podcast Awards every year since the show’s inception.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to communicate with Lou on several occasions, during live shows and by email; but in August 2011 I finally got the chance to meet Lou along with many members of the WDW Radio crew/family over several days while at the second D23 Expo. It was also my opportunity, for the first time, to be on the opposite side of the Box and give a wave to those with whom I usually share the virtual space; I made the "I Escaped The Box" stickers that were given to Box attendees at the event. WDW Radio meets have also started in the UK with Lou joining us via Skype, and this winter, I will be joining 500 other WDW Radio fans on the WDW Radio Dream Cruise 2.0; a trip I am really looking forward to.

WEDway Radio

WEDway Radio, hosted by brothers Matt and Nate Parish has been on the air for 3 years now and has been one of the breakout Disney related Podcasts of the past year or so; breaking into the Best Travel Podcast category of last years Podcast Awards. I first found out about WEDway through the BetaMouse podcast in early 2010 and it quickly became one of my favourites to listen to as I made my way through much of its back catalogue.

WEDway Radio, released Sundays, differs from many of the other Disney podcasts as it predominately covers Disney history, whether people, studio, or park based; and so is often informative and a learning experience whilst remaining entertaining. What I think I like most about WEDway though is that its basically a chat, and while Matt and Nate have a decent history with the company and knowledge base to build on, you can tell they have researched each show topic individually and thus they are learning themselves and from each other as the conversation on the show unfolds as well; it makes the show seem very informal and less like a history tutorial.

WEDway Radio has also recently launched a midweek podcast called WEDway NOW which covers this weeks Disney news so they have kept the original show in its niche history offering while having the time to expand their coverage to include the current.

Magical Definition Podcast

After MouseTunes ended, Nathan Rose launched the Magical Definition Podcast, released Sundays, along with Tim Devine and with Jim Hill as a frequent special guest. Soon after the crew was joined by Jackie O, who had been a frequent fan contributor to MouseTunes; but after the initial year the podcast went through some changes and has since become a show where Nathan interviews Jim on current subjects with the occasional historic look back.

What I like about this show is that you hear things here from Jim that many other podcasts either do not talk about or do not know about. It is obvious that Jim, being a member of the press, has a lot of inside connections within the company and while he doesn’t expose secrets that he is not supposed to, he does give a lot of inside sentiment and reaction to events and rumours. Jim is also a realist and looks at the company on a far more financial and business level, and not the rose tinted glasses of a Disney fan, which I find interesting; plainly saying when something like a movie or an event has been a flop or not met expectations.

Inside the Magic

Inside the Magic, hosted by Ricky Brigante, has been broadcasting since April 2005 and has predominantly been a one man hosted show although at various times there have been outside produced segments that Ricky has given air time to. Being a one man show usually without guests, ITM comes across as a newscast type show which usually covers everything that has happened in the last week, with an in-depth look at certain topics, often including audio clips from events or attractions. The show also includes movie, DVD and game reviews and listener email questions. In recent times, ITM has been recorded live with an audio and video stream available allowing chat between fans and with Ricky during recording breaks and outtakes.

ITM’s website is also full of videos and photos that Ricky takes from the parks on regular basis so offers a visual look at what is happening or new attractions. At the D23 Expo, Ricky recorded his encounter with the “B” Mode interactive Mickey Mouse and that of the guests in line after him; the first of which just happened to be Tara and I; so you can see us here.

WDW Today

Starting in the fall of 2005, WDW Today is one of the more prolific podcast releasers, issuing podcasts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The show is one of the few panel Disney podcasts with usual host Matt Hochberg, Mike Newell, Mike Scopa, Len Testa and Annette Owens. WDW Today covers some news, but is mostly geared towards advice concerning visiting the parks. Unfortunately, this means that often the same topics are covered multiple times, especially in listener emails where there is a lot of question repetition or such a small variance that the answer is still the same. That said, there have been some classic topics such as where in Walt Disney World would you want to be in order to give the best chances of surviving the zombie apocalypse (episode 837). If you are looking for advice, I do recommend this podcast, just look through the back episodes to find the subject you are looking for advice on.

WDW Today also has a live call in show once a month that airs on MouseWorld Radio and is released via the podcast stream later in the month; again mostly questions and advice.

Do The Right Thing

Yes, its another non-Disney podcast (That’s two! That’s a collection!). Danielle Ward hosts a panel comedy show that has been recorded in front of an audience; and with it being done for an explicit rated podcast, it’s anything goes. As the name suggests, the premise of the show sees the panellists trying to come up with the right, or sometimes wrong, thing to do when given a certain out of the ordinary situation. Unfortunately there have only been 5 shows recorded to date, but they are well worth a listen for the not easily offended.

Film Fandango

Another Absolute Radio podcast hosted by Danielle Ward (you may be seeing a pattern arising) where she and David Reed, joined by a special guest, review a newly released film which they may or may not have even seen, followed by a film brought in by the special guest which is usually a cult classic. Again often very funny, and I actually prefer the conversations on the cult classic movies than the recent releases.

The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill

A podcast series with 4 episodes so far, Len Testa and Jim Hill roam Walt Disney World talking about what was there, what is there now, what could have been. Much like MDP, this is Jim Hill sharing his immense knowledge of the Disney company and there is always a bunch of tidbits to learn from.


Due to the nature of podcasting, where so many are done by amateurs for fun; there are some podcasts that unfortunately come to an end; usually because of the time demands put on the makers. I have already mentioned MouseTunes, which ended in 2007, but I would like to mention a few others that I thoroughly enjoyed during their runs.

All About The Mouse

AATM was started in April ’07 by Bryan Ripper and from episode 12 onwards co-hosted by Jonathan Dichter. I knew Jonathan from MouseTunes where he would do impressions known as “The Voice”; and it was through him that I started listening to AATM. What was great about AATM was that it never took itself too seriously, it was produced very well but it was fun and informal and such a good time with plenty of humour and jokes made at their own expense. They also instigated the “All About The Mouseketeer” roll call for fans to get their official Mouseketeer numbers; mine was 365. Unfortunately, All About The Mouse came to an end in the summer of 2010 with a live call in show; the sheer number of online Disney community celebrities that either called in or left an audio message showed how much the whole community loved these two.

Lets Talk About Disney

LTAD was actually the first Disney podcast that I listened to which wasn’t by Lou Mongello or Nathan Rose. Starting in 2005, LTAD was presented by Jana and Mike and was a call in show with a sometimes wicked sense of humour and a real sense of community. As it was a call in show, it was always live and would be slightly edited down for podcast release; but it was the one live show that I always made an effort to be there for live (often with a video stream and chat room) even in the middle of the night because it was always so much fun. After the show was finished there would be either an aftershow party or LTAD-X which was not family friendly but was often hysterical as we all just hung out and chatted. If anyone witnessed the New Years Eve live party, it was me that sent Mike the bottle of Goldvasser which the two of us were doing shots of throughout. Sadly throughout the summer of 2008, the notices of a live recording became less and less until the podcast came to an end; but it was great while it lasted.


The geekiest Disney podcast around, BetaMouse was dedicated to technology and how it is used within the Disney universe, either by the company or by the fans. Lasting only 2 years, ending in early 2012, and falling just shy of 100 episode, it was the revolution that brought up terms such as “Amped”, “Jazzed” and “FutureBox”. Hosted by Henry Work, then a programmer for TouringPlans but now working for the mouse, Jeff Chaney, Scott Barertt, Kidani Katie and Nate Parish, from WEDway radio; this was a fun chat session each week focusing on a very niche area. I found out about Betamouse when Lou Mongello was their guest on episode 13; I then went back and listened to the first 12 episodes as I joined the revolution and also starting listening to WEDway Radio though hearing Nate. Betamouse was again fun, and would include recorded bloopers after the outro.

I got the chance to meet Henry several times while at the 2011 D23 Expo; I wish him great success now working within Disney; just as long as he fixes everything that was complained about during the shows.


So that’s my podcast preferences. If you are a Disney fan, then I think all the podcasts I have mentioned are certainly worth a listen; and everyone should listen to the Dave Gorman podcast as anyone should enjoy it. I've mentioned before that Tara and I have had an idea for a podcast of our own for some time; maybe one day this logo will be a reality (until then I have dibs on the name).

Again I do ask that if you like what I have written, please tweet the link out or share it on facebook and help me grow this thing a little.

Speak Soon :)


  1. if you watch the video of us meeting 'B' mode talking Mickey (under the Inside the Magic section) I begin to laugh and stand funny because Mickey's show was on top of the corner of my foot and I could not move! LOL

  2. Wow. Cool memories. Thanks for the mention! There were some I've never heard of in that list. I really miss podcasting and we are thinking of digging out the mics again. Made so many great friends and would like to break out another bottle of Goldvasser soon.

    Mike from LTAD


Please let me know what you think...