Listening to Hollywood

A pod pick for Oscar week.

Click here for Slate’s Complete Podcast Archive or here to subscribe to Slate’s podcast feed on iTunes.

Maybe it’s because I live in Los Angeles, but I don’t think so. In an era when teens at the mall in Indiana can quote the weekend’s box office grosses (and Slate runs a regular column on Hollywood’s economics), the business of entertainment has become … entertaining.

And one of its most diverting outposts to my ears is the weekly program The Business (Web page here, iTunes feed here), from Santa Monica’s public radio powerhouse KCRW. It’s hosted by the sometimes arch but always amiable former Variety reporter Claude Brodesser, who’s sufficiently fluent in Hollywood-ese to interpret it for the rest of us.

The Business features both entertainment business headlines (and I don’t mean fatuous celebrity gossip, but real industry news … and gossip), as well as in-depth interviews on topics such as how MPAA ratings are doled out and whether the new CW TV network has a prayer.

One of my favorite episodes was a report from last year’s Sundance Film Festival, at which producer Matt Holzman follows the director of The Matador as he tries desperately to sell his movie.

The show was only aired in L.A. at first, and it’s now on in New York as well. But the easiest way to find it is on your computer after you’ve automatically downloaded it each week. (It airs Mondays, and the download is usually available by Tuesday.)

If you’re in search of podcasts to accompany your commute during the rest of the week, here’s what we produced on the Slate podcasts over the last five days:

March 3: The Gabfest Redistricts! (Slate piece)
March 3: Explainer: How United Are the United Arab Emirates? (Slate piece)
March 2: Has Wal-Mart Met Its Match? (Slate piece)
March 1: Anna Nicole and the Nine Justices (Slate piece)
March 1: Explainer: How Can Sunnis and Shiites Tell Each Other Apart? (Slate piece)
Feb. 28: Scooter Libby’s Pledge Drive (Slate piece)
Feb. 28: Explainer: What’s With the Spelling of “Filipino”? (Slate piece)
Feb. 27: Do You Love the 80s? (Slate piece)

Comments? Podcasts@slate.com (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer requests anonymity.)