Gift-wise, this was the Christmas of iPod at our house. Everybody who didn’t have one (everybody except me) got one, and I received a couple of cards to the iTunes store, allowing me to stuff my player with a variety of songs integral to my misspent youth (John Denver…now there was a rebel).
Podcasts are still the best deal out there…most of them are free, and they can connect you to a lot of the best music you probably never hear on the radio, unless you have a pirate station in your backyard or spend a lot of time listening to public radio in the wee hours. One of my favorites is The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast, which presents the best current and classic music in that genre, plus links to where you can get the music cheap or free.
There are plenty of good fiction podcasts available too. There’s a certain pleasure in listening to someone read a good story to you, and you get a connection to the tale that’s very different from what you experience when you read it silently to yourself. Ray Gun Radio and The Drabblecast are a couple of my favorites, and there’s a very cool steampunk Christmas story featured at Escape Pod right now.
So, if you’re getting a little tired of Miley Cyrus and Kid Rock in heavy rotation, try putting something outside the box into your Pod. I think you’ll be glad you did.