This page collects the Podcasts I listen to, tracking their rise and fall.

2017-02-05 History Podcasts

I’m listening to another podcast while I wait for my wife to get up...

As I’ve listened to nearly all the episodes of Robin Pierson’s History of Byzantium podcast (after listening to all the episodes of Mike Duncan’s History of Rome podcast, naturally) (and all the while listening to all the episodes of Scott C.’s The Ancient World podcast) I’m starting to look for the next podcast with exciting history material to listen to. Currently I’m enjoying the first few episodes of Sharyn Eastaugh’s History of the Crusades. We’re living in a great time for history lectures when we’re walking around town and doing our chores. Yay!

20’000 peasants including women and children walking from Germany to Turkey? Who needs a zombie apocalypse if you can have a starving families apocalypse.

Today, though, I’m listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. I listened to many of Dan’s episodes, but I didn’t go through his entire archive.

I guess I’m fascinated by podcasts that, taken together, form an ongoing narrative from the ancient past to the present.

Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast does just that. The English, American, French and Spanish American revolutions all belong to a continuity. It’s great.

As for another history podcast that doesn’t fit this linear model, I recommend Laszlo Montgomery’s Chinese History Podcast.

(Based on a G+ post.)


Comments on 2017-02-05 History Podcasts

I’ve been listening to ExtraCredits' ExtraHistory playlist. Just finished the Justinian series and its been great.

AlokSingh 2017-02-22 08:47 UTC


– Alex Schroeder 2017-02-22 10:46 UTC

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2016-03-03 Byzantium

I started listening to The History of Byzantium, a podcast dedicated to continuing The History of Rome. Five episodes in and loving it.

I learned about it when I heard the episode on Medieval Podcasters on The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. The other two recommended podcasts where History of the Crusades and The British History Podcast. They were also added to my list but I can’t listen all of them at once and my old iPhone 4 is running out of space, so I’ll get to them later.


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2015-06-22 On Background Music

When I started listening to podcasts, I felt that there was a world of fan made audio content out there, and it was new and exciting, news for the people, by the people, on the topics I cared about. Mostly: gaming.

But then I started noticing that these people were rambling. Editing was poor. People just do not like to cut material, I guess. I felt like I was reading long and rambling blog posts. And I was. How refreshing to have professional radio programs that are live. The need to end at the exact second. And the skill these people have! Thinking Allowed. In Our Time. British progammes by the BBC. I was unhappy. Why was Switzerland not doing something similar? Why did I know more about the Royal Society than about whatever we are doing here in Switzerland?

Later I started to notice the longer podcasts by the American National Public Radio, and the Public Radio Exchange, via podcasts such as This American Life and 99% Invisible. These programs are longer. They are scripted, cut, edited; there are pauses for emphasis; and the emptiness between the words is filled by music. A background music that elevates the mere spoken words to something else. They add poetry. They push the emotional buttons. They add another layer to the stories told. I love those low hums, drones, those electronic blips and bloops. A pause. A zone. A sound.


Comments on 2015-06-22 On Background Music

Thinking Allowed – what a name! But the problem I am having with podcasts is that I cannot concentrate on anything if something interesting is happening in the background. That is, any background noise does not allow me to think about my stuff. So, to me podcasts are not “Background Music“, more like main activity...

How do you handle that? Do you have some secondary brain that you are hiding?

AlexDaniel 2015-06-23 22:09 UTC

Haha, no indeed. I can only listen to podcasts while walking. Walking requires very little brain. I walk to work and back. Each leg takes a bit more than half an hour. I can listen to podcasts while doing household chores, but only when doing repetitive stuff. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-06-24 09:47 UTC

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2015-05-14 Podcasts

The selection of podcasts I listen to has not changed much since last time. History and philosophy podcasts for the win! :)

My favorites:

In Our Time and Thinking Allowed are from BBC4 and one thing I love about them in particular is that they are live and they are short. It’s wonderful to see the moderators care about timing.

These are also good:

The music on Swiss radio sucks except for the two hours on weekday evenings, so I just download their podcast:

Podcasts I just don’t have the time for:

Podcasts that I recommend, even though they’re no longer adding new episodes:


Comments on 2015-05-14 Podcasts

endlich mal wieder deine liste! Habe sie mir kopiert, hehe... Hast du mal was über biografien gefunden? Hatte mal eine radiosendung, dann das handy formatiert, war doggcatcher wieder auf null :-((

– mum 2015-06-07 21:19 UTC

Was ich im Moment sonst noch so höre:

Ansonsten haben mich Biographien nie so sehr interessiert... Der Macher vom WW2 Podcast hat noch einen Podcast über Caesar und einen über Alexander den Grossen, die ich mir noch nicht angehört habe; ich habe mir ein paar Episoden vom Bonaparte Podcast angehört. Das Problem beim Bonaparte Podcasts ist die ausufernde Länge und die fehlende Disziplin. Das Resultat ist mir etwas zu langweilig. Generell bin ich sowieso nicht der Fan von Große Männer machen Geschichte. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-06-08 07:18 UTC

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2014-07-28 Podcasts

I have occasionally linked the podcasts I listen to both as an effort to remember and as an attempt at recommendation. It has been more than a year since my last update. These days, I mainly listen to history and philosophy podcasts, and I download a bit of music via podcasts. No more RPG podcasts.

Podcasts I just don’t have the time for:

Podcasts that I recommend, even though they’re no longer adding new episodes:


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2014-07-11 Reform

Recently, Jürgen Hubert shared a link to a Foreign Policy post and said on Google+ that while the German system wasn’t perfect, at least it worked.

Some people commented and said they agreed. I wrote that from what I heared Germans in Switzerland say, many like it here as well. I love the Swiss system. And the weird thing is: the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 “was influenced by the ideas of the constitution of the United States of America and the French Revolution.” (Emphasis mine.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wholly support efforts by Lawrence Lessig: Rootstrikes.

I just finished listening to the latest bunch of episodes about the American Revolution and the drafting of the United States Constitution, and the List of amendments to the United States Constitution, at the Revolutions Podcast. Excellent material if you’re into podcasts at all.

When I read the FP article, I felt disappointed because of its shallow analysis. What about Exportweltmeister and the price the Germans paid, stagnating wages? What about the discussions of the 5% hurdle after recent elections? What about the historic justifications for the Senate in order to convince smaller entities to join the federation? These can be an important issue in heterogeneous federation like Switzerland (there was a time when each canton had its own currency)—and possibly also of interest for nations after a civil war (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Syria) or countries where so many regions strive for more autonomy and the state is always in fear of breaking apart (Spain, Italy). So yes, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is great. But the US has its United States Bill of Rights, and a Constitutional Court, and that’s great. In contrast, Switzerland allows its citizens to easily amend the constitution, but there is no constitutional court, so sometimes issues linger for years before appropriate laws get passed! So it would seem to me that the US has all the tools it needs. I suspect it has mostly a broken process. Something needs reform, but I’m not sure that the German system is a good place to start looking.


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2013-05-30 Podcast Update

Trajan’s Column by Juan
Francisco Adame Lorite
(CC-BY 3.0)

I have occasionally linked the podcasts I listen to both as an effort to remember and as an attempt at recommendation. It has been more than a year since my last update.

I listen to podcasts while walking. I find walking to be ideally suited to listening because it is neither too strenuous to require much attention nor is it too light to let the mind wander.

Looking at iCatcher! on my phone, I see the following podcasts:

  • Fear the Boot. The last RPG podcast I still listen to; it’s what I go to when I need some light entertainment; Dan is long-winded, I also don’t think there’s anything really new to say on the topic. I still laugh along with their jokes.
  • History of Philosophy “without any gaps”. I’ve listened to all the episodes up to Aristotle and I think I’ll continue listening! ☆
  • In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg. This continues to be the most awesome mix of science, philosophy and history. ☆
  • Musik der Welt. World music on the Swiss radio.
  • Sounds!. Independent music on the Swiss radio.
  • Thinking Allowed. Social science. ☆
  • This American Life. People stories. ☆

Any podcasts you are listening to you’d like to recommend?

Once you have listened to this overview, perhaps you’ll be ready for The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire— there’s an old recording on archive.org, or various readers on librivox.org.

Update: If you’re a podcaster, check out this EFF effort: Help Save Podcasting!


Comments on 2013-05-30 Podcast Update

I enjoy Raumzeit by Tim Pritlove and TankRiot a lot.

Andreas Gohr 2013-05-30 08:52 UTC

Thank you for the recommendation.

I just saw that the author of the History of Philospohy podcast wrote a blog post linking to other history podcasts.

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-30 11:29 UTC

I’ve listened to two podcast series of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History show, the five episodes on the Mongols, “Wrath of the Khans”, and the five episodes on the fall of the Roman Republic, “Death Throws of the Republic”. I enjoyed these so much, I donated $10.

AlexSchroeder 2013-07-16 06:40 UTC

I just donated another $10 to the World War II Podcast.

AlexSchroeder 2013-08-31 21:30 UTC

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2012-04-25 Podcast Appearance


A while ago I read a comment by Wilhelm on my blog. A bit later I saw a comment by Wilhelm on Google+. A few weeks ago I saw a call for gamers from across the globe on his blog. I left a comment and soon enough I made an appearance on one of his English podcast episodes.

“We discuss the Swiss gaming scene, old school gaming, indie games and building gaming communities.” – Avsnitt 14 / Episode 6 – Alex from Switzerland

Check it out if you want to hear my German accent. ;)

Some links for stuff we mentioned:

Games mentioned: Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, M20, Solar System RPG, Western City, FATE, Spirit of the Century, Der Geist Mesopotamiens, Mountain Witch, Kagematsu, Montsegur 1244, Poison’d, Fiasco, Burning Wheel, Zombie Cinema.

OerliCon is the local RPG convention. Spielerzentrale is the old site to find new players. Rollenspiel in Zürich is the Facebook page I created.

What I did not mention is the One Page Dungeon Contest. Gaah! :)


Comments on 2012-04-25 Podcast Appearance

I’ve just listened to the podcast. First of all: I think your accent is negligible.

There were several moments in the interview I really wanted to jump in with an alternative view. For example on “Pirates”, where it was interesting for me as a GM to see that you players were desperately looking for “XP”. And you chose to find that in the “I have sinned” list which led you to do ever new horrible things... That was weird.

Sometimes I feel like there is so much more we could be discussing after play. Even though I try to take my time for that, it never feels enough. sigh.

lior 2012-04-26 07:47 UTC

Feel free to leave comments here or on Wilhelm’s blog and we can continue the conversation. :)

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-26 07:57 UTC

Great to hear your thoughts. I’m not an indie gamer but like to think I’m open to cool innovations wherever they come from. I’ve been surprised how old school D&D, often mocked for its simplicity, actually incorporates lots of different types of play and keeps things interesting. So, while I’m happy these indie designers are creating new things, I’m more likely to want to port their cool ideas back to D&D than play their games themselves.

Telecanter 2012-04-27 01:56 UTC

I just listened to Canon Puncture 127: Jadeclaw GM Tips which was full of interesting ideas that one of the hosts had lifted from indie games and applied to his current, traditional game.

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-27 23:12 UTC

Excellent podcast, Alex and Wilhelm, and thanks for the mention.

Alex, I hope this is the first of many podcasts you will taken part in. You have a natural talent for it :)

greywulf 2012-04-29 16:07 UTC

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2012-03-16 Podcast Update

It has been a year since my last podcast list. I still walk to work and back, each trip taking maybe half an hour. I enjoy listening to podcasts while I walk.



  • The History of Rome – I haven’t listened to the podcast in a long time. There are 61 episodes queued up. :(
  • In Our Time – This continues to be the most awesome mix of science, philosophy and history. ☆
  • Norman Centuries – I love these, even though episodes are rare and short. ☆
  • Thinking Allowed – Social science. ☆


  • Sounds! – Eclectic music, Swiss radio. Win. ☆ ☆ ☆
  • Musik der Welt – World music, Swiss radio. Win. ☆ ☆
  • Parlando – Classical music, Swiss radio. Win. ☆

Any podcasts you are listening to you’d like to recommend?

I’d also like to promote the One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 via podcasts. Should I just mail a host for each of the RPG shows I enjoy and ask them?


Comments on 2012-03-16 Podcast Update

Excellent- thanks for the list. I just started trying to listen to some of these.

Anonymous 2012-03-16 15:19 UTC

http://www.dw.de/dw/0,,5929,00.html bücherwelt.de podcast

früher auch mal waren einige artikel der zeit gratis, aber nun muss man sie zahlen und bis dezember http://www.franceinter.fr/podcasts/liste-des-emissions... aber seit die eine neu app gemacht haben, geht nix mehr :-(

hab mich mal bei bbc eingeklinkt... danke für den tipp:-)

– mom 2012-03-18 21:27 UTC

ooops warum diese komischen buchstaben... schreiben euf ne mac tastatur... ist das der grund?

– mom 2012-03-18 21:27 UTC

Nein, ist wohl ein Bug in der Software! :(

Wenn man die Seite nachbearbeitet, kann man das flicken, was ich nun getan habe. :)

AlexSchroeder 2012-03-18 21:48 UTC

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2012-03-05 The Bane of Character Builds


I want to like Pathfinder. It’s large, it has adventure paths with long stories, it has more traditional modules, it has background material, colorful art – and yet the products are often awfully long. I used to appreciate that, but these days I often think that the material takes me longer to read than to think up myself. I’m still subscribed to their adventure path line, however, and I still listen to 3.5 Private Sanctuary.

In Known Direction 31 they discussed “interesting” encounters and Ryan says: “Basically if every player feels like they have something they can do on their turn, and not just something they can do but something that they’ve put into their character, some part of their character build that they can use, then they’re going to feel better about it.”

I feel torn. On the one hand, I absolutely understand it. On the other hand, this leads to “my precious encounter design” and railroads and quantum ogres (otherwise players will miss on these carefully designed encounters). I prefer games where as a player I have more freedom, where builds are not that important, where encounters can be incluenced by player ingenuity at the table and don’t server to reward choices made during character creation.


Comments on 2012-03-05 The Bane of Character Builds

Not to bother you, but I think you might be talking about a quantum ogre, not a phantom one. http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/search/label/series%20%28Quantum%20Ogre%29

-C 2012-03-06 05:06 UTC

You’re right. I’ll add that link.

AlexSchroeder 2012-03-06 08:00 UTC

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