I‘m a picky listener (and viewer) of news programs and the like, and the same is true for podcasts. I’m a fan of the CBC’s “The Current” (hosted by Tremonti) and unconsciously, that probably sets a standard. For example, I find the works of Laporte and AmberMac boring: the podcast Net@Night reminds of the stages of chewing chewing-gum. Interesting at first, boring at the end.
I discovered that Bill Maher’s weekly show ‘Real Time’ is converted into MP3 files and published into RSS feed (which you can find around here, or you can find it in the iTunes Podcast/TV Shows section). Some portions of the show don’t really translate well to ‘audio-only’ format, but if you’re a fan of Maher’s humour (and snide remarks), you shouldn’t miss his shows.
There are many ‘meta crawlers’ that crawl the ‘best podcasts’ around. Most of these crawlers appear to suggest that the quantity of downloads (or subscribers) somehow translates to quality. The only site I found worth revisiting is earideas, which crawls public stations, science magazines and several newspapers. Don’t expect to find news about the latest ‘gadgets’ and ‘Web 2.0′. A good start for finding podcasts is (you wouldn’t guess it), MetaFilter (or rather, AskMefi).