Discussion: Do you listen to Star Wars podcasts?

I’ve never really been one for podcasts/fan audio, but over the last year or so I’ve given a couple of them a try. They’re still not really my cup of tea, but some of them are (or seem) wildly popular in fandom.

While some of us have had this conversation on Twitter before, I thought I’d ask: What are your favorite podcasts and why? What makes makes a Star Wars podcast appeal to you?

(Be sure not to miss the sidebar poll!)

48 Replies to “Discussion: Do you listen to Star Wars podcasts?”

  1. Yeah, I listen to a few. It’s rare that I listen to a full show, though. 90 minutes of my attention is a lot to ask of.

  2. I do….I LOVE THE STAR WARS ACTION NEWS and the Solo Sound Podcasts are good too.. the main one…the one that seems to be the “official” star wars podcast…dont like them so much

  3. I didn’t listen to any Star Wars podcasts before doing my own. I was a big fan of a podcast for a different franchise, so that’s where my enjoyment and knowledge of podcasts came from. I started to look for some Star Wars podcasts, but none captured my attention. I can really enjoy a few podcasts, but I’m not the kind of person who just has to sit and listen to every episode of every Star Wars show that comes out.

  4. I’m curious as to what a Star Wars podcast needs to have in it to capture someone’s attention. Do you guys prefer a focus on long, in-depth discussions? Humor? Games?

  5. Star Wars podcasts are a great way to hear people who are as passionate as you are talk about a subject that you are passionate of. I listen to a lot of Star Wars podcasts, but for me, the ForceCast will always be the #1 Star Wars podcast on the Internet.

  6. I actually listen to a lot of podcasts, many of which are Star Wars. I listen to all of the Solo Sound podcasts (We Talk Clones, which I host, The EU Review, EUCast, The Bothan Report, etc.), as well as Republic Forces Radio Network, The Galactic Holofeed, and The ForceCast. Occasionally, I’ll check out other Star Wars podcasts too.

  7. I just started listening to SW podcasts. I find that they keep me from falling asleep at work while I do those “mundane” everyday tasks.

    I’ve listened to the guys at the ForceCast but that’s about it.

    I’d be game for some other, entertaining and more female interaction from hosts, podcasts to listen to — to broaden my horizons. :-)

  8. Chris: That’s my main issue… TIME. I have a short commute (20/30 minutes) and don’t really listen to the radio outside of the car… And if I listen elsewhere, I’ll tune out talk so I stick to music.

    The ForceCast is the one I’ve listened to the most. I find the hosts are pretty engaging, but some of their foci are very much not mine so I’m never sure whether an episode will interest me or bore me.

    One of my most frequent complaints (with all of them) is the lack of timestamps. Sometimes I just want to skip over the talk of video games or sound effects or whatever and get right to what I want to hear, and doing it manually is a pain. I don’t expect permalinks, but a ’35:50: Discussion of Brand New Book’ would work.

  9. I listen to 2 regularly, The ForceCast and We Talk Clones. I also listen to the 501st Cast, but I wouldn’t really count that one, because they don’t really cover much Star Wars news, it’s mostly Legion related news. I used to listen to other shows, but I just didn’t like there attitudes.

  10. I think podcasts are great, but I’ve only listened to a few of them. The Solo Sound podcasts are my favorite, probably because the hosts there are awesome people to begin with. The trick is finding time to listen, which is always hard.

  11. I think the lack of timestamps is just laziness on the part of the podcaster. It wouldn’t be hard to do, but after spending several hours editing the podcast, you’re not very motivated to go through it again, trying to find the exact starting points of every different discussion. It’s something that should probably be given more attention and effort though.

  12. Austin: Yeah, I can understand. But I am an unrepentant skimmer, so it’s been one of my sticking points from the first.

  13. Finding timestamps would certainly be a job that can be shared. The actual editing process can get too messy if you try to share the task, but it all depends on the podcast. How many people are there to work, and how many just want to sit and talk? Sometimes the work part comes down to one person.

  14. While I’m not much of a fan of there podcast anymore (aforementioned attitude differences), Star Wars Action News did a really good job with labeling chapters and include reference pictures in there “enhanced” feed. It does seem to be quite the time commitment though

  15. Dunc: Yeah, I feel ya about the timestamps. I have a short commute too, which leaves me only time to listen online – and I can’t really multitask and listen at the same time.

    Bianca: Several of the Solo Sound podcasts (EUCast and The Bothan Report) have female hosts, as does SW Action News. That’s the extent of my “women on SW podcast” knowledge, though, so more may exist!

  16. I’m gonna be the outlier and say I’ve never heard a Star Wars specific podcast. I’ve contributed written reviews of Clone Wars to a TV podcast but they rarely talked about the show.

  17. I generally listen to podcasts in the car, while I’m reading the latest news, or while playing a multiplayer game by myself (i.e. without friends). This lets me get through quite a few podcasts every week.

    Regarding timestamps: I can’t speak for the other podcasts, but We Talk Clones doesn’t include timestamps because there’s not much to, well, stamp. We cover a single topic for the entire episode (intro, announcements, discussion, rating, preview for the next episode, and outro). We can start including them if the listeners would like us to, but it makes more sense for podcasts that cover a variety of topics.

    On a personal note: I do prefer having timestamps. ;)

  18. Devvi: I rarely listen to the single-focus podcasts, but it does make less sense there. But it all depends on how the discussion goes though, I suppose.

  19. I don’t listen to any podcasts, Star Wars or otherwise. Like Dunc I have a short commute so it’s NPR or the radio. And I also tend to tune out talk. I can’t even listen to audio books when I’m doing other things.

  20. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts, but that amount has dwindled recently. I still keep up with several, including the ForceCast (and their Clone Wars roundtables) and EUCast. The ForceCast is genuinely entertaining and I enjoy the hosts, their humor and insights. The Roundtables appeal to me as a Clone Wars viewer, obviously. I like to dissect each episode and their guests usually know their stuff pretty well. EUCast appeals to the EU fan in me that will never die, even though I only really follow the books nowadays, and don’t even read them all.

    The most important thing for me in a podcast is entertainment value, regardless of the content provided. There are a lot of podcasts out there, so just reading the news but not offering anything new or insightful is not going to make me keep listening to your podcast. I also like when a podcast goes through the effort to have bumpers, different segments, issues, and other things that increase the overall production and entertainment value.

  21. Count me in on the “don’t listen to podcasts” group. But I’m interested to see which ones get mentioned most here as it would probably be a nice change from listening to music while sewing.

    But listening to it while doing any other activity? Couldn’t pull it off. It just becomes background noise.

    The few I’ve listened to haven’t really seemed all that edited to me, so I guess I’m surprised that time stamps couldn’t be done, if folks are actually editing. Because really? I could care less about some areas of fandom.

    My other pet peeve with the few I’ve heard? Excessive laughing. Maybe it’s less annoying if you’re a regular listener and get the inside jokes, but most of the time, it just hurts my ears.

  22. What other things do you guys find annoying in the podcasts you listen to or have tried to listen to? Someone mentioned attitude – do you mean too much negativity, or people who don’t really seem to care about what they’re talking about, or something else?

  23. Not much had started on the “What makes a podcast appeal to you” discussion, so I was trying to see if people might share from the other side of the coin. But I’m not asking for insults or specific complaints against certain people. Just in general, what else can turn you off when you switch on a podcast?

  24. I listen to the Order 66 Podcast (found on d20radio.com), which is a great Star Wars podcast… if you play the SW Saga Edition Roleplaying Game, which the ‘cast is dedicated to. If not, most of it probably won’t be of any interest to you. The exception would be the episodes with Sam Witwer (aka Starkiller) as a guest, but Sam is an awesome guy.

    Thing is though, I only listen to it when I have a long journey ahead of me with no one to talk to. At the moment I live 15 minutes from uni and have an even closer work placement, so I rarely actually listen.

    I also listened to the podcast on the official SW website. Remember, that SINGLE episode that they had, and never did again. I wouldn’t have minded more of those, to be honest. Or the Clone Wars HoloNet News ‘casts they did.

    Don’t know whether I would listen to any other SW podcasts. Would probably have to be a general one, since I’m not big into any particular area of Star Wars like books or collecting.

  25. I started listening to podcasts in general about 3 years ago and have been a loyal ForceCast listener ever since. I haven’t had a chance to listen to any other Star Wars pocasts though, mostly because I don’t have time due to my iPod constantly being updated with new episodes from all the other podcasts that I listen to.

  26. I listen to a few, and have mixed feelings:

    1. The forcecast shows are just too long — and lack of chapters, breaks, etc makes it a frustrating experience. I’m sure there is a lot of good info in the show, but I can never make a 90 minute commitment.

    2. From week one, I think SW Action News has been GREAT — well organized, easy to listen to, very fan-friendly and most importantly, they are not self-promoters (like others can be).

    3. I’ve been enjoying some aspects of the solo sound shows, and appreciate the depth they can cover on a topic. i think Nathan Butler is way to much of a self-promoter, and it detracts from the overall positive listening experience.

  27. I’ve not gotten into podcasts, as i tend to prefer to read my content than listen to it. I’ve never tried any SW podcasts, though I have listened to the IndyCast (Indiana Jones) several times and a couple academic podcasts that my wife likes.

    When a show is going to cover multiple topics, I think having timestamp chaptering is great – with the Indycast, I’m not interested in collectibles, so I just try to skip ahead until that segment is over – but not very successfully.

    As for sound effects and bumps and transitions, sometimes too much extra sound effects can be too much (i tend not to like the sound effect antics of radio morning show DJs) – just a simple and SHORT sound/music/dialog snatch to let me know that the topic is changing.

    I guess I would like single topic podcasts more, like lectures or discussions, rather than news-style podcasts that try to cover the latest updates across several different topics. I have friends who work on a gaming podcast, but sadly I don’t listen in that much.

  28. I love listening to Star Wars podcasts and wish I had more time to do it. Here are the ones I listen to in order of priority. The ForceCast and Republic Forces Radio Network are the only ones I listen to every episode.

    The ForceCast – the most professionally run one in my opinion. True fans that know their stuff. I just wish Jason didn’t hate the EU so much. Their Clone Wars roundtables have the best guests and they even have Dave Filoni on sometimes.

    Republic Forces Radio Network – Good Clone Wars discussions. Arnie is funny and Nathan is a wealth of EU knowlege.

    Star Wars Action News – Arnie and Majorie are funny to listen to even though I am not that into collecting.

    The EU Review – Nathan Butler really knows his EU and Andrew Lupi is a genuinely nice guy. I mostly find myself skipping this one though because they review current stuff I am not caught up on and I am afraid of spoilers.

    Fanboys Guide to the Galaxy – this is a pretty new podcast and is still rough around the edges. They have had me on as a guest a few times so I figured I’d give them a shoutout :)

  29. I got into podcasts after I started getting bored of listening to music all day. I have a 6-8 hour workday of repetitive, mundane tasks so I’m able to consume a lot of audio every day.

    Boring Conversation Anyway got me into it first, and through Star Wars Action News I found my favorites: Republic Forces Radio Network, The Bothan Report, The EU Review, and more.

    I like those that go in depth about the stories of Star Wars, covering whether they are entertaining and make sense, and especially how they fit in with everything else. I also like the shows that are well connected to the fan community: the Solo Sound shows, Boring Conversation Anyway, SWAN and its sisters all have those qualities.

  30. I enhance the Star Wars Action News and we do have “Chapters” in our enhanced podcast that are on the ITunes feed as well as a link on the main website

  31. The ForceCast is the only cast I listen to. However, thanks to this forum, I’ll try to check out others. Big fan of throwing on what amounts to an “old tyme” radio show while doing other things. Thanks all for giving me suggestions. Good Luck.

  32. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I even produce one that’s finally gone into a hiatus for a while. The only Star Wars podcasts I have enjoyed listening to are those from the ForceCast family. It’s something about their chemistry that I enjoy tuning in for.

    That said, I do have one critique, which is their lack of feedback. I suppose it’s because they get so much of it, but I don’t think they address their fandom near enough for my tastes or experience.

  33. And, for what it’s worth, I would love to see detailed show notes for the ForceCast produced podcasts. Timestamps on the enhanced podcasts take a little more work, but it’s nothing to take notes and post them in the blog when the episode goes live.

    That and it gives us a chance to follow the same links you do. “[35:05] The Force Unleashed III Release Party” with a hyperlink is so much more useful than a small blurb claiming that somewhere in two hours the topic came up.

    I’ll leave the two cents and take the soapbox. Thanks for the open forum, Dunc. I hope someone out there is listening to the feedback.

  34. Great thread, some great relies and shout outs to some first class podcasts. Now I’ve merged Lightsabre with jedi News we tend to split our efforts in two places. James Burns appears on The Forcecast and co-hosts the Collectors edition (with dan Curto) and I shoot around all the other podcasts as an occasional guest (Dark Empire Radio, Bothan Report, Fanboys Guide to the Galaxy, We Talk Clones, Star Wars Book report etc)
    I’ve really got into the podcast scene this last few months. After co-hosting setnin radio for 2 years back on Lightsabre in 2005-2006 I didn’t listen so much, but now The Forcecast is a weekly listen (as are the Roundtables) and- due to the increasing amount of other shows out there – I listen to other shows at random.
    Dunc, direct question – given your long standing in the SW fan community with Club Jade, haven’t you ever thought of doing a show as well, or appear as a guest on other podcasts?

  35. Interesting discussion here.

    I’m not at all surprised to find Lee Weinberg up there with another anti-Nathan comment or two. That’s the guy who got himself booted from the SW.com forums for calling me a “blowhole,” then again on creating a sock to return, then was booted from The EU Review’s Facebook page for immediately offering more insults as my novella was in preview stages. Best yet: This guy is frequently trying to “friend me” or “poke me” on Facebook. What did I do to earn a cyberstalker, I wonder…?

    Aaron G: I’m curious as to the issue mentioned earlier about timestamps. If The EU Review were to provide a list of the time codes for each discussion for every episode, say on my corresponding blog or somesuch, would that be useful in avoiding those spoilers, or do you (and others) tend to listen where such information wouldn’t be readily available (say, in the car, etc.)? Also, I’d be interested in your thoughts on how Republic Forces Radio Network is doing this year versus in the past. We’ve changed the format with rotating hosts (instead of just “anyone join in” calls) and switching over to Dan from Jerry as the moderator. I’m curious how you think these have affected quality, and if there are things that have declined, what you think might be in order as far as ways to recoup any lost momentum.

    Regarding Star Wars podcasting as a whole, the genre has really grown up in the last few years. When I got into it back in 2002, there were only four others, and two of those weren’t in English (Star Wars Action News and Star Wars: The Cantina from SF-Radio). Once “podcasting” entered the lexicon in 2003 and became a burgeoning technology around 2005 (when Rich Sigfrit began discussing it often in the SW fan audio community), things just ramped up from there. Now, it is mostly impossible to keep up with listening to every show out there.

    I personally listen to a small handful on a regular basis, but it would likely be self-serving to mention them, as I tend to find myself often lucky enough to work with those whose work I personally admire.

    However, I’d say that there’s a side of this discussion that is missing: What about Star Wars fan audio DRAMAS? That genre hasn’t been as active in the last couple of years as it was in the past, but there are some great, standout projects out there, such as Dany Pepin’s “In the Shadows” and Jim Perry’s “Codename: Starkeeper.”

    Has anyone taken the time to listen to any of those? Did people here even know such things exist?

    Helpful self-promoting link: http://www.starwarsfanworks.com/dramas.html

  36. The Forcecast is pretty good. Sometimes it gets a bit long, and the overlap of content between the main ‘cast and the Clone Wars roundtables can be annoying, but Jimmy and Jason are just fun to listen to, and it’s amazing how much access they have to the actors and creative directors of current Star Wars material.

  37. I didn’t realize there were still fan dramas going on. New thread, perhaps?

    Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I might make the effort to try a few of these out and find one I’m interested in.

    And yes. If you can’t do chapters, a list of times would be awesome for avoiding anything spoilery.

  38. I know the costs can be prohibitive, but I’d really like to see some video podcasting — especially around collecting. The SWAN enhanced shows provide great visuals, but a true video show would be AMAZING.

  39. Re: Video podcasting / Vodcasting

    What do you think about supplemental videos? We’ve been doing video reviews our show’s Facebook page, but never as a full-blown episode to replace an episode of the podcast itself. What kind of supplemental videos would people like to see, or is it only a desire for mainstream episodes (like that Star Wars Action News anniversary episode a long time ago) in video form?

    Paula: The audio dramas have definitely been a slower growing genre, probably because they are much, MUCH more work. There were three of us starting such projects back in the earliest “modern” fan audio era for Star Wars (Second Strike, Rise of Nobility, and Smuggler’s Run), and we’ve still tended to only see maybe three or four in a year at the very most, if you count series as one project. On the other hand, recent projects just get better and better. Mixers like Joe Harrison have really raised the bar.

    (Yep, the bar is raised so far that I can’t see myself ever doing another fan audio drama. I’ve mixed nine Star Wars fan audio dramas or series episodes, but I wouldn’t even try in today’s genre. The standard of quality is so high that you really seem to need a Joe Harrision, Steve Fluharty, or Dany Pepin to really nail it.)

  40. Nathan makes a good point, fan audio takes such a lot of effort compared to live, in the studio, non scripted podcasts that they are in short supply. Back in 86-87 when I was doing star wars audio dramas it was far easier-no digital, genuine effects. Just our mouths and the soundtracks. Would be an ambition of mine to get one done in 2011.

  41. Mark: I won’t lie… There’s been brief discussion on a CJ podcast, but it’s all come to nothing. I don’t think any of us really have the time (or experience/knowledge) for that kind of effort. I certainly don’t: I barely have time to blog these days. And I’m not really sure it’s the best format for news.

    Personally, I’ve been asked once – a long time ago – by Rich Sigfrit. But it was an open-ended thing, at a time when I had very little experience w/ podcasts, and I honestly had no idea what I could say so I never took him up on it. Generally, if I have something to ‘say,’ I’ll do it ASAP on the blog or Twitter or LJ. I think I’m just naturally text-based. ;)

    Audio drama is something I have next to no interest in. For one thing, I hate being read out loud to (yes, really: Audiobooks are my bane. I have literally winced when the FC boys do their Audible spiel) and I think that bleeds over into similar formats. (What I’ve heard of the NPR radio dramas has squicked me royally.) Plus the subjects are never anything I’d be interested in. (And if they were, I’d probably nitpick the voicing to death. The voices being ‘off’ bugged me in TCW for quite a bit, and those are the professionals – plus characters I’m not even all that invested in.) There are some folks who do ‘podfics’ – read fanfic out loud – but I’ve never tried them, or even seem them in this fandom. But in any case, it’s probably best I stay far, far away from podcast fiction.

  42. I love the forcecast, always a fun show. My son and I have it on in the car when we drive to school. As for other podcast, I give everything a try. I have found some I really like and others where the host are just too negative. I will not name names, but one show that is geared towards collectors really bothers me when it comes to being negative. The two host do nothing but complain about everything it seems. They also love to talk about how much money they spend on their “high end collectibles” all the time. It’s very annoying.

  43. Nathan P. Butler, as a regular listener of Republic Forces Radio I have come to know your work well. I might not always agree with your opinions on a Clone Wars episode, but I truly appreciate your love and passion for Star Wars. Do you ever listen to SW podcast outside of the starwarsfanworks.com network, and if so what do you like? The forcecast is probably the most downloaded show out there, do you ever listen and if so I would love your thoughts on the show.

    Keep up the good work Nathan, always fun to listen to your Continuity Corner!!!!

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