I think that over the past two years I have listened to almost every knitting podcast out there. And I really like very few of them. Not sure why. Maybe I was lucky to discover Brenda Dayne's Cast On early in the game, and that set the bar really high, so consequently much that followed has been disappointing. Maybe I just don't really like the genre, and I keep trying to find the perfect podcast, but in actuality I just don't like listening to short dis-jointed productions about other folks knitting frustrations.
There are several things I do know about the podcasts that I enjoy. I like single person podcasts. I have tried some that have two participants and I never like them, even though according to iTunes they are extremely popular. I like good music. Not all podcasts have music, but many have music that really sucks. Sticks and Strings, about a bloke who knits from Australia, has great music, as does Cast On, and it has good variety as well.
If I am listening to a knitting podcast I want it to be about knitting. Both Cast on and Sticks and Strings have a lot of knitting content and just enough personal content to make the podcaster human without divulging every deep dark secret about their personal life. I know that David Reidy teaches at a secondary school and has two cats named Tigger and Tiger and I know Brenda Dayne lives in Wales with her partner Tania. Do I need to know more? No, not really. Coincidentally both podcasts often have book recommendations along with knitting content, and I am usually not a fan of their book choices.
I like a podcast that is easy to listen to. It needs good quality sound and a podcaster who can pronounce all the words they are saying. I once, and only once, listened to a podcast by a youngish woman somewhere in the mid-west. It was obvious she never even attempted to find the proper pronunciation of anything. Not only that, she didn't really have a good grasp of the English language. It might have been funny if it had not been so very sad. Though it was excruciatingly awful to listen to, I got as far as the fifth time she used the word "tutoral" for the word "tutorial". This particular episode was about on-line tutorials of knitting processes. It had the potential to be pretty interesting as there are many on-line tutorials and youtube videos, and their quality varies considerably. But I just could not listen to all of it, and I would not have trusted her judgement.
Perhaps my current favorite podcast is Fiber Beat. It is by a guy from California called WonderMike. This guy has it all. Great sound quality, fiber smarts, good connections and knitting videos. He usually interviews some knitting/fiber rockstar and, though the interviews are obviously a bit staged, they are always interesting and fun. And the music is to die for. I do not know how this guy digs up the sound bites that he has on the show, but they are always great.
I need to mention two other podcasts that I listen to regularly; Spin Doctor and The Electric Sheep. Spin Doctor has improved over the past year. The first time I listened I almost said never again... but I persevered and the show quality, sound quality and content has improved. I even joined the Ravelry group and plan to participate in a spinning exploration of rare breeds over the next year. The Electric Sheep is pretty silly. It has some knitting content that is interesting, but it is the voice that I like. This woman was in one of my classes at Knit Camp in Scotland and she just has the voice of an angel; a very refined British accent, crisp and clear and you can bet she never mispronounces anything.
I am not here to tell you about the podcasts that I do not like. Quite honestly one of the things that I dislike about some podcasts is the "reviews" of fiber related items. I think the knitting world is just too small to do that. The person whose fiber or equipment you are reviewing is apt to be listening, and to be really offended if you give it a bad review. I'm not here to "review" podcast, just to tell you about the ones I like. Some of the most popular knitting podcasts are among the ones I like the least. After all "one man's trash is another man's treasure".