The New Yorker Radio Hour is now available
The New Yorker Radio Hour is now available

Though it's bad form for Americans to use British neologisms, this one particular word is perfectly suited to describing the curious obsessional quality a good podcast inspires. Actually, it doesn't even have to be good, per se. It just has to have a voice or voices that allure you into the feed vault to binge-download as many episodes as your phone will hold. The word is "moreish."

The other day, I reflected on the moreish architecture of the podcast experience as I found myself walking my dog while listening to a series of New Yorker Out Loud episodes dealing with such torn-from-today's-headlines issues as the final episodes of Breaking Bad, the 2012 Winter Olympics, and the new Seattle hiphop group Shabazz Palaces. I was sufficiently enamored of the conversational voices of New Yorker writers and editors that I wanted/needed to hear ALL they had to say, regardless of the currency of their subject matter. It's that way with every good podcast, from WTF to You Must Remember This to the Spalding Gray archive at Howl. Once the voices take hold, they become weirdly indispensable. Moreish.

But TNY has now discontinued Out Loud (au revoir, Amelia Lester's accent...) in favor of the new, longer, more ambitious format The New Yorker Radio Hour, which is exactly what its title promises. This will undoubtedly bum out people who can't handle the familiar moves of public radio programming, but the rest of us can luxuriate in the wit and brains of the people who still unimaginably also manage to put out "the magazine" every week.

So far, the highlights are the recurring presence of editor-in-chief David Remnick, whose interviews with Ta-Nehisi Coates in episode one and Amy Schumer in episode two confirm that he swings masterfully between high and low culture, which is unsurprising given that he is still the only writer who has ever been able to sound convincing on the subject of Bruce Springsteen). But the work-in-progress phone calls of magazine cartoonists, and the Serialesque unfolding of Jill Lepore's story "The Search for Big Brown" are no slouches.

And, as the title suggests, it's an hour, which automatically makes it an improvement on its 15-minute predecessor.

I realize that it's au courant or de rigueur or faute de mieux (bof) to bash The New Yorker, but in an age where the best and smartest publications are increasingly endangered it's also de trop. Anyway, there'll be plenty of room for that in the comments (have at, scum!). The only criticism I have to offer about the Radio Hour thus far is that there aren't yet several years' worth of archives for me to raid. Here's hoping it sticks around long enough to fulfill that quest.