Fine Woodworking - Shop Talk Live (Rating: 5)

I thought I would review some woodworking (and related) podcasts. I often prefer podcasts over music while in the shop or on drives. Previously I reviewed the 360 Woodworking podcast.

Shop Talk Live is a twice monthly, 1 hour, podcast by Fine Woodworking's Tom McKenna, Mike Pekovich, Matt Kenney (It seems they switch this up once in awhile). Mostly they answer listener questions but also have guests and talk about the magazine and woodworking trade shows. I've been a listener since last winter. Technically the audio is very good but it sounds like they are too close to their microphones, certain sounds (like P) create a puffing sound like someone is spitting into the mic (probably a term for that but I don't know it). The audio on the youtube video is the same but sounds muffled, clipped, or something; in any case the YT audio is slightly less good than the itunes version. And for some reason the Youtube version is only 360p which is ridiculous. Popular Woodworking used to do the same thing, upload videos in really low resolution. One very bothersome thing is at least of the guys says, "umm," a lot. Please stop doing that. The woodworking content is excellent. The guys sometimes disagree and that is interesting too as I enjoy getting different perspectives on a technique or solving a problem. When answering listener questions I would suggest they set a time limit for each question because they tend to ramble on after giving an answer, exploring many possible variations of the question and answer with each one taking them farther off topic. I don't mind exploring a topic but the simpler the question the longer they spend on it and I lose interest pretty quickly. There is another podcast I will review soon where they do the same thing. For the most part the guys are personable but their laughter sometimes feels forced and one particular person's humor sometimes has an edge. They openly joke about getting in trouble with advertisers and sometimes I'm surprised they speak as freely as they do but no doubt just as often they are holding back, a side effect of choosing advertising as a revenue stream. Overall it's a very good podcast. The advice is good and I do learn from them.

Update: upgraded to 5 stars, they still tend to over answer questions but the show just keeps getting better.