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This is really great news. Fresh Air, the public radio interview program brilliantly hosted by Terry Gross, has been added to the iTunes store as a free podcast. Archived episodes have been sold on iTunes for some time via the relationship with Audible, and the show’s so good I’ve bought a few (like this show featuring singer/songwriter Steve Earle). The interviews are almost always interesting, even if the guest isn’t someone I care about. But it’s the reviews at the end of the show – movies, music, TV, books – that are my favorite part of Fresh Air. They always seem to make whatever they’re reviewing seem fascinating, and I’ve discovered (or re-discovered) a lot of great stuff thanks to this show. So I’m perpetually bummed that I don’t get to listen more often.

The problem has always been that Fresh Air isn’t broadcast at a time when it’s convenient to sit down and listen to the radio, which means that I only catch bits and pieces if I happen to be driving somewhere when it’s on. I’ve briefly considered buying a Radio Shark, but just can’t bear the idea of another gadget on my desk. Now I can cross the Radio Shark off my “someday maybe” list forever. Between the podcasts Fresh Air, This American Life, and KQED’s Forum, most of my weekly radio requirements are all taken care of.

And just in case any public radio folks are worried that podcasts will only serve to separate listeners from their radios – and the lucrative pledge drives that only work with a captive audience – I’m here to say that I’ve just made my first contribution to my local station (KQED) in about five years. Heck, I would probably listen to a “Pledge Drive Podcast” if it had interesting enough hosts and guests.

Now let’s all cross our fingers for an All Things Considered podcast.

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