Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The best podcasts - Rod Zook's Top Ten

There are about 15 podcasts or videocasts I listen to or watch more or less regularly. In my estimation, the best English subscriptions are:

APM: Marketplace Conversations from the Corner Office

Career Tools and Manager Tools
Manager Tools has been running since about 2005. The hosts have worked together in various capacities for years and have turned their friendship and business / management skills as well as their consulting network into a global audience. For the past year or so they have provided in depth workshops and seminars at numerous locations and have expanded their podcast site to include a range of gratis and premium resources that are often very valuable for students but also for someone who is self-employed.
Several months ago they expanded their focus to include "Career Tools", which targets another audience and therefore a different group of my clients. I routinely suggest the links to students and some of the more advanced of them listen on occasion.
Because they are friends and Americans, their comments can sometimes be a bit melodramatic and chatty, but I then suggest that's an element of cross-cultural communication.
Manager Tools has won numerous web awards and is almost always worth listening to.

KCRW's Left, Right and Center
Left, Right and Center kept me sane through the primaries and presidential campaign and election in 2008. It's my weekly dose of political analysis and consistently goes beyond simple sound bites or confrontation for the sake of confrontation.

Tips from the Top Floor
Tips from the top floor is similar to Manager Tools in that it has gathered a global audience and has lead to workshops and seminars and fan groups on several continents. It's different in that the host is German and based in Tübingen. The content focuses on digital photography and is a welcome diversion from business and politics! I recommend it to students for that reason and to give them a model of a German who has really mastered English. They can too.

New Yorker cartoons
The animated New Yorker cartoons are vintage New Yorker magazine. I enjoy them for their insights and typical American humor. I have tried a few of them in class as warmers or fillers, especially if the learner is a cat or dog lover.
AND last but not least -- perhaps my favorite:

I know it's not English, but it pulls me back to some political reality much like John Steward might on the Daily Show.

Of course, I don't follow them all religiously, but there's some good input there and always available when I feel like it or to help me speak intelligently in some course or group.
But now because the baseball season started yesterday, there's even more competition for my time. I also know the link to MLB.TV and enjoy several games per week. I hope you'll excuse me, but I need to go watch the San Francisco Giants home opener live! It starts in about 30 minutes and I need to get a few things done before that yet!

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