Comparing Scuba Podcasts: They Surface and Sink

Originally, I thought this article would be a description and comparison of ALL the podcasts out there directly related to diving.  I figured “how many could there possibly be”?  I was truly surprised once I started digging into it.  I have been listening to a couple of scuba podcasts for about two years now. So instead of that lofty goal, what I will do is provide a brief comparison of the podcasts that are current and active at the time of this writing.

I was able to find 37 different podcasts on iTunes alone.  The unfortunate thing about the podcasts appears to be that someone will set one up, do a few episodes, and then just let it go.  There are also several “one of” podcasts or podcast series.  Divers Alert Network has two that are like classroom presentations.  There is one put out by Submerge Productions that is a series of interviews done at a tec diving conference.  Even Discovery Channel put out one season of Shark Week!  These are all very informative and done very professionally.

Of the remaining podcasts I found, the vast majority are two or more years out of date.  If you go to iTunes and search them, they are worth reviewing if for no other reason then a historical perspective.  Most are entertaining and have some value, but again, the information is two years out of date.

Arguably the top of the heap when it comes the number of listeners to a scuba podcast is

Scuba Radio.  It is the podcast feed of an actual “radio show devoted to diving”. It is broadcast on radio stations around the country from studios in the Orlando Florida area.  As a professional radio show, the production value is top of the line.  The host and cast of characters have an excellent chemistry that does provide some entertainment. However, if you are looking for information about actually diving, this is not the podcast for you.  They very rarely mention actually diving.  Most of their time is spent talking about dive travel and the resorts that they go to. If you are looking for exotic travel to dive destinations and enjoy the continuing stereotype of divers as heavy drinkers who like to dive, then this is definitely the podcast for you.

One of the newest on the block that I have found is Scuba Talk.  It is another actual radio broadcast.  This one comes out of the Monterey area of California.  The production is top notch, especially if you like 80’s heavy metal as your bumper music, as I do.  However, the information provided is very local.  If you live or dive in this area, it will definitely benefit you.  For everyone else, I think the value is limited.

If you enjoy high quality underwater video, check out Dive Film HD.  They podcast video clips of their dives.  These are some of the sharpest, highest quality video clips I have ever seen.

Two long running amateur podcasts that are somewhat active are Poddiver Radio and Rebreather Pro.  Rebreather Pro is put out by world renowned diver Jill Heinerth out of North Florida.  Poddiver is put out by Joe Cocozza out of New Jersey.  If you enjoy tec diving then these are definitely for you.  These are the only podcasts that I keep all the episodes for listening to again on long trips.  The production values are top notch.  However, they both seem to put out a new episode only once a year or so of late.

The Michigan area has really stepped up lately with three relatively new entries into the podcast world:  Talking Scuba, Scuba Obsessed, and Diversync.  All three are very entertaining and informative.  However, for the most part, they are very localized to the Michigan/Great Lakes region.  Having grown up in that area, I find the podcasts entertaining.  If you are from this area or planning to go there to dive, then all three of these podcasts would be very useful.  Talking Scuba is a video podcast with very high production values.  The two hosts are knowledgeable but in the beginning, they portrayed the alcoholic diver stereotype far too much for my taste.  However, they have changed this of late.  Scuba Obsessed is put out by two relatively new divers.  I find their enthusiasm refreshing.  The production value leaves a little to be desired as they record it over Skype.  This leads to a lot of “can you hear me now”.  Diversync is put out by a dive instructor/shop owner/owner of White Star Quarry.  He is very knowledgeable and the podcast is produced well.  The podcast is for the most part just the host speaking.  I find a group interaction more appealing myself.

The newest kid on the block is the Decochamber.  It is put out by four dive instructors in Orlando Florida.  Of which, I happen to be one of the four.  So far there has only been two episodes on iTunes and a few videos put out on YouTube.  The videos are of our dives and narrated by one of the hosts who we loving refer to as Mr. Rodgers.  The audio podcasts are for the most part a stream of consciousness of whatever is on our mind at the moment.  We are still new and trying to find our rhythm. (Full disclosure: the author is involved with the Decochamber pod/vidcast.)

The bottom line is if you are a diver and cannot get enough of a surface fix via the TV and movies, there are options out there.  There are plenty of podcasts to fit just about anyone’s taste.  The best place to start is keyword search scuba on iTunes.  It will bring up all the podcasts I have mentioned along with those I did not.  Also, remember the all knowing Google will search for you as well. Just remember, the great thing about podcasts is, if you cannot find one that you like, put out your own.

EDITORS NOTE: We welcome Jerry Henkins to our staff of scuba journalist with this, his first offering.