June 27th is this Thursday. And it’ll be just another day, right? Just another day where some of us start to close out the work week. Just another day to celebrate some famous birthdays like Ross Perot (1930), J. J. Abrams (1963), and Tobey Maguire (1975). Or maybe you’ll spend this Thursday remembering the founding of the Smithsonian (1829), or the incorporation of Atari (1972), or the United States’s entry into the Korean conflict (1950). Those are all fine reasons to celebrate this Thursday; but here’s one more. This Thursday, June 27, 2013, will go down in history as one of the most celebrated days of all years since the beginning timekeeping, for it marks At the Buzzer‘s 100th podcast!
If you’ve kept up with my blog in even the slightest, you know that over the past year or so I’ve become something of an ATB fan. With time during my commute to listen to podcasts and computer time at work where I often prefer podcasts to music, I have a regular cavalcade of sites bookmarked, including Incoductic, Game Sammich, From Cassettes, Press Start to Start, Plus 10 Damage, Slack Jaw Punks, The Zombros, and, a few others. But At the Buzzer continues to be a regular favorite. I like that it’s both consistent in format and still fresh each week. It’s clear that the three main hosts — Chris, Dave, and Shaun — put a lot of effort into making their shows stand out from other podcasts. They cover a wide breadth of topics but remain relatable in their approaches to them. They welcome listener feedback with open arms, and the occasional sharp tongues, but they are far from egotistical jerks. They’ll be the first to call out their own foibles and laugh at them along with their listeners. As someone who once loved listening to radio shows (before radio turned to crap), ATB fills a soft spot in my heart for human commentary in a sometimes inhuman world.
To honor ATB and celebrate the fact that they’re hitting the big 1-0-0 in podcasting this Thursday (that’s June 27th, 12pm PST, 3pm EST, 8pm GMT), I’m going to run down, chronologically, a few of my favorite episodes of At the Buzzer.
Episode 22: Enter the Buzzkill
The world’s worst Thanksgiving story, the world’s most non-sequiter Thanksgiving story that might have involved a murder, and Dave. And a great breakdown of the Matrix trilogy, which, as they rightly point out, is just one awesome movie and two that truly scrape the bottom of the visual spectacle barrel.
Episode 50: Halfway There
A LIVE show! There was SINGING (courtesy of Chris). This super-sized episode showcased some great conversations around the headlines. And the long portion of the show devoted to listener feedback was so entertaining, though you should probably skip over my embarrassingly long dissertation on women gamers. Oh, it was bad…like, really bad.
Episode 51: Get Off The Phone, Ass
Episode 66: IN THE GROCERY STORE
Throwing in a couple episodes together here, one of the things that Shaun, Chris, and Dave to really well is make even the most mundane subjects interesting. We’ve all had issues with people on cell phones, and we’ve all had to go to a grocery store at some point in our lives. These episodes feature some great discussion about dealing with regular people in the real world, which generally sucks at all times everywhere.
Episode 67: President El-Ters
During the latter half of 2012, I did everything I could to avoid talk of the election. I can’t stand talking about politics in general – the conversations just always seem to take the most awful turns no matter how well-meaning they start out. But the ATB crew handled their election talk in this episode beautifully. Most of it was in the context of headlines and the Buzz Off segment, so it was an hour of keen and interesting discussion rather than an hour of back and forth arguing over Obama’s ears and Ronmey’s hair. Also, will Shaun attempt to run again in 2016? The answer to this question is what the world NEEDS.
Episode 74: ATB Christmas Special II
I like a good holiday episode as much as anyone, and it’s great that ATB acknowledges most of the major holidays in some way. This show offered some big announcements, including the reveal of their best video games ever articles that were featured on their blog throughout January, and great Buzz Off of holiday traditions. Also, the episode featured the Muppets’ version of 12 Days of Christmas. I love that song and the Muppets, so win-win all around here.
Episode 91: Jason is Dying
This episode almost made me spit coffee all over my computer at work. See, the podcast started out normally enough with rational and personal looks at some interesting and wacky headlines (the one about banning apostrophes just made my head hurt) – my coffee was safe then. But the second half of the episode, with the laugh-out-loud antics that went on the Buzz Questions section were some of the best ever on the show. I didn’t actually spit any coffee, though I did choke a little at one point causing a little bit of alarm among my nearby co-workers.
So there you go…and enough with the gushing, right? I mean, it’s not like I’m getting paid for any of this…(sad face). At the Buzzer is a great podcast, period. I, for one, look forward to many more enjoyable hours of listening to them and laughing along with/at the ATB crew.
6/28 update: ATB’s 100th podcast is up and ready for your listening pleasure!