Merlin Mann

The king of Apple talk radio

February 15, 2011: 6:16 AM ET

Dan Benjamin's 5by5 podcasts are the place to go to hear Mac gurus free associate

Benjamin in his studio

In the middle of a live broadcast discussing Twitter's new president, Google's (GOOG) Android market share and why Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 is a terrible name for an operating system, the guest pauses to ask his co-host: "Speaking of well-hung Wookies, does this show have a sponsor?"

The guest is Daring Fireball's John Gruber, dean of the Apple (AAPL) bloggers. The co-host is Dan Benjamin, a Linux programmer turned talkshow impresario whose 5by5 Internet Broadcast network has become destination listening for hundreds of thousands of Mac and iPhone devotees.

That Gruber, who does a weekly 5by5 podcast called The Talk Show, felt free to leap from a discussion of the latest Nielsen smartphone survey to why Chewbacca was permitted to wander through the George Lucas' Star Wars series without any pants is one of the things that makes Benjamin's talk shows so appealing.

In stark contrast to the rapid-fire, deadline-driven pace of most cable news and drive-time radio, Benjamin gives the impression that his guests have all the time in the world -- which in a sense they do. Any subject that he and his co-hosts can't dispose of in 60 to 90 minutes is simply pushed forward to next week's show.

And what co-hosts they are!

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