The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tunein Radio App and Mission Log Podcasts

I have just discovered two good things at once. Together they make me happy. The first is the Tunein Radio App, available for the iPad from the Apps Store. This app allows you to tune into 70,000 live radio stations worldwide and 2 million podcasts, concerts, or shows. It all comes in under the magic word I look for in an App (with a few excellent exceptions) and that word is "free." There is a more robust version you pay for ... but at least for now I'm happy with free. One of the things I enjoy about Tunein Radio is it comes with many podcasts already suggested and ready to run, including Radiolab, which I find vastly entertaining and informative. When a podcast is picked, you are also given a list of other podcasts you might like to hear, along with suggestions listed under genres. So far, it seems to be superior to another service I tried that wanted to load previous episodes of the podcasts you selected into your iPad's memory, thereby taking up most of your valuable real estate very quickly. That hasn't happened here and hopefully it won't. I'll let you know if that changes.

On to the podcast my brother clued me into. Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast, created by Gene Roddenberry's son, who goes by "Rod." It's a wonderful podcast for Trekkers of all sorts from the laid back viewers to the hardcore fans. The purpose of the podcast is to cover each episode of all six Star Trek TV series one at a time. Each episode is a "mission log." Ken Ray and John Champion are the hosts. Each has a track record with podcasts and both know their stuff about Star Trek. The episodes provide you with all sorts of trivia to keep you happy. For instance, I've listened to just a few minutes of the "Assignment Earth" episode from the original series featuring the character Gary 7. In that few minutes, I've found out that "Assignment Earth" was a vehicle to possibly launch a spin off series from Star Trek since Star Trek itself wasn't doing all that well with the network. The scenes with Kirk and Spock interacting with Gary 7 were few and could be removed to create a 20 minute promo reel. Also, there was speculation that Gary 7 was directly influenced by Dr. Who, which made our daughter really happy ... Dr. Who fan that she is. The engaging hosts discuss the pros and cons of each episode, pointing out some of the more peculiar moments, but all handled well. At no time does it feel like it's descending into a gripe session in someone's mom's basement, I'm happy to say.

You can also listen to episodes on your computer, whether it will take your voice commands or not. Once it's done "working," find Mission Log at:, beam in, and enjoy yourself. I hope this venture lives long and prospers ... and that you do too!

Update 8/28/13: I update my assessment of Mission Log with considerable regret. Having listened now to several episodes, there is a certain disturbing trend among them. There is a definite bias against religion in the podcasts that is really out of bounds with the inclusive message of Star Trek from the 1960s onward. I say this as someone who is trained as a social scientist and a minister (for me there is no contradiction here). The hosts have characterized religion as a primitive throwback to an earlier age, using "thunder worship" as their basis for all matters of faith and suggesting those who believe are ... well ... social neanderthals. I went from thorough enjoyment to abject annoyance to that feeling as a geeky kid of being picked reluctantly and last for the sports team I really did not want to play on but wanted even less not to be included in. You'd think people broadcasting from the platform would be a bit more sensitive to that feeling. Ah well, I hope that someday Mission Log will see the light and their hosts will become as inclusive as the shows they explore.

For other iPad Apps, see:, and

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