A new Skeptical / Atheist / Humanist / Science podcast

For some time I have had this idea roaming around in my mind. This idea for a new podcast.

Now some may say this is an exercise in stroking my own ego, but I’m already so damn good, why would I need to do that? Others may say there is little or nothing can I bring to the podcast world that does not already exist.
And perhaps they are right, but I believe my idea is unique, and worth giving a shot… But who knows?

I expect this idea to morph over time, especially since part of my idea involved collaboration from at least 3 more, as yet unknown, people. Part of the reason I am doing this post in fact, is to have a “memory” of the original idea as it sits in my head now, so that when it comes to fruition, assuming it does, I can see how close to my original vision it has kept.

So in a nutshell, here is a brief outline of my ideas for a new podcast:

The Hosts of the Show:

  • 3 co-hosts minimum (preferably 4-6)
  • Each co-host coming from a separate organization in the DC area (Center For Inquiry, Beltway Atheists, Secular Coalition for America, Washington Area Secular Humanists, National Capitol Area Skeptics, etc…), or be unaffiliated directly with an organization, but be part of the greater “free-thought community”
  • Each of these co-hosts would have a specific “area of expertise” (such as science, public policy, skepticism, atheism, humanism, etc), but should be able to speak intelligently on topics under the other spheres of knowledge
  • Due to the overly male-centric make-up of the community, ideally one or more co-hosts would be female
  • Ideally one or more co-hosts would come from some other minority group within the skeptical community (i.e. at least one NON white, heterosexual, male)
  • Ideally at least two political ideologies would be covered by the co-hosts (based on the demographics of the community it would probably be Liberal(s) and Libertarian(s), but if I could find a Republican that would be great)
  • If possible, at least one co-host would be a “militant atheist” and at least one would be agnostic, or prefer to not be referred to as an atheist
  • All co-hosts should be able to “stand on their own”, but realistically over time it may settle into one host with multiple co-hosts (ala Skeptics Guide)
  • I may be a co-host myself, but if there are others interested who would do a better job than myself, I’m happy to help with the show (in a Thomas Donnelly type of role perhaps) and not be a co-host per-say

The Format of the Show:
(Some of these ideas are “stolen” from other podcasts, but I am hoping to be unique where possible with this podcast and take a new spin on some of the ideas that are “less than original”)

  • Music is important. A good intro song is a must have. Perhaps a different song each week (ala Good Atheist) or perhaps a listener contributed theme song (ala This Week In Science), but music should be interesting and “fun”
  • Each co-host brings their own science/skepticism/humanistic/atheist news stories each week to discuss (ala This Week In Science)
  • Co-host share their stories before recording, so other co-hosts can have time to prepare for discussion of that topic
  • Interviews conducted in a “non-fawning” way. One of my biggest gripes is that most podcast’s interviews don’t go into questioning the interviewee as strongly as I would like. The one podcast host that I think does the best job of questions the push the person being interviewed is Point Of Inquiry, where D.J. Grothe tries to act as “devil’s advocate” when doing his interviews. Ideally this podcast would do this as well, hopefully without pissing off the people being interviewed
  • Each episode (or at least regularly) one co-host will pick another podcast, blog, website, tv show (perhaps one on PBS hosted by a well known astrophysicist), movie, etc to review (possibly interviewing the people related to it at the same time). These should not be only the “big names” (like Pharyngula) but other good, but lesser known, resources that would be of interest to the community
  • Since I am in the DC area, and the show would be based in DC (almost certainly) it seems like the obvious and appropriate idea to focus on the intersection between politics and science/skepticism/etc. This Week In Science used to have a great segment that did this (it was called The Weird From Washington with Dr Micheal Stebbins, but he has to go and get himself hired by the Obama administration and had to “retire” from the gig). This could be as simple as stealing the “Weird From Washington” segment that TWIS used to do, or updates from somebody like Toni Van Pelt on upcoming legislation that would be of interest to listeners, to something more involved such that gives more detailed background on specific issues
  • Calling Bull Shit: A different variation of Totally Bogus (stolen from Scientific American) / Science or Fiction (stolen from Skeptics Guide), where for this version each co-host presents their own story for all other co-hosts to vote on as either real story or made up
  • Quote of the week (stolen directly from Skeptics Guide, but it’s such a great idea, and it’s something I’ve done for years on various online forums, and is just a really cool idea in general)

Other Miscellaneous Show Notes & Ideas:

  • Possible names for podcast (should not be atheism or skepticism or humanism specific, but be more inclusive of the entire community): Critical Thought; Thinking Critically, etc
  • I will need to talk with Derek/Swoopy, D.J. Grothe, and/or other podcast hosts about the technical aspects and/or ideas they may have to make this podcast better
  • Some of the podcasts that I listen to (and enjoy) tend to be a bit dry at times. Ideally this podcast (i.e. the co-hosts) would be able to inject humor into the conversations
  • Will be an “Enhanced Podcast” (like The Naked Scientist), which allows users to forward to individual stories/sections of podcast and see images for each story/section
  • All stories discussed on podcast will have entry on website
  • YouTube channel, so listeners can view videos related to some stories
  • Website will be contributed to by all co-hosts, and may contain stories not discussed on podcast, but which fit in to the concept of the show
  • Occasional guest co-hosts (not just interviewing people, but have people bring their own stories / topics to discuss)

Now obviously this is not the final draft of how the show will be, but hopefully it is enough for me to begin recruiting others who may be interested in working on this type of project, and work on refining it further in a collaboration…


About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
This entry was posted in Politics, Psychology, Religion, Science, Skepticism. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A new Skeptical / Atheist / Humanist / Science podcast

  1. quantum_flux says:

    Sounds like a recipe to me.

  2. Pingback: A brief look at Rodibidably… « Rodibidably

  3. Pingback: How Thinking Critically began… | Thinking Critically

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