Dan Carlin

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This article is about the political commentator Dan Carlin. For the American doctor, see Daniel Carlin.

Dan Carlin is an American political commentator, amateur historian, and podcaster. Once a professional radio host, Carlin eventually took his show to the Internet, and he now hosts two popular independent podcasts: Common Sense and Hardcore History.


Carlin obtained a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado Boulder.[1] He broke into the television news business in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. He has worked as a television news reporter, an author, a columnist, and for the last dozen years, a radio talk show host. No longer broadcasting on terrestrial radio, Carlin has achieved recognition in internet radio, podcasting, and the blogosphere. Currently, he hosts two popular podcasts, both of which are frequently among the highest-ranked podcasts on review sites such as podcastalley and iTunes.

Carlin is the son of Academy Award nominated actress Lynn Carlin and film producer Ed Carlin.


Carlin believes the two main political parties in the United States are a large part of the problem, rather than the solution to the country's governmental and societal dilemmas. His main areas of focus in many of the political podcasts are increasing government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties. He frequently discusses the invasion of personal privacy by the NSA and other government agencies, and what he believes to be an unhealthy level of secrecy and lack of accountability in Washington. Carlin also uses history to help analyze societal and governmental problems and propose solutions.

Common Sense[edit]

Common Sense is similar in scope to several Carlin-hosted radio programs that aired between 1994 and 2004. The shows highlighted his independent political views, his sense of humor, and unique communication style. The podcast riffs on current events and US politics. All sides of the political spectrum are subject to blistering criticism (and occasional praise). He has described his political philosophy as "Neoprudentist" taking a skeptical approach to evaluation of the current political trends and forces. He fosters discussion by developing and presenting self-deprecating ("Martian") but innovative thought experiments on solutions to current problems. The podcasts are said to be broadcast "almost live from the end of runway two here at the Emerald International Airport."

Among his main complaints about US political culture are corruption and money in government, the growth of the federal government and the powers of the President, and partisanship preventing real problems from being addressed. He supports some form of nationalization of health care.

"Common Sense" was nominated for a Podcast Award in the Politics/News category in 2012 and 2013.[2]

Hardcore History[edit]

Carlin’s podcasts are hardly reminiscent of the dry history lectures you might remember from school.
Carlin puts the “hardcore” in Hardcore History by focusing his narratives on the most violent and dramatic moments in
human history, filling his show with colorful anecdotes that were most likely left out of your high school history class.

–Christopher Matthews[3]

Hardcore History is Carlin's forum for exploring topics throughout world history. The focus of each episode varies widely from show to show but they are generally centered around specific historical events and are discussed in a "theater of the mind" style. New episodes are released approximately every two to three months.

In 2012, Hardcore History was nominated for a Stitcher Award in the Best Educational & Learning Podcast category.[4] In addition, Carlin has received the Best Classic Podcast in iTunes’ Best of 2014 awards with more than 3 million downloads.[5]

Other Podcast and Media Appearances[edit]

Carlin has made guest appearances on numerous other podcasts, including Daniele Bolelli's "The Drunken Taoist Podcast",[6] making three appearances on "The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast",[7][8][9] two appearances on "Smells Like Human Spirit" [10][11] and on a "crosscast" podcast on Sam Harris's "Waking Up" [12] In addition, Carlin has served a panelist on CBS This Morning [13] and was invited to speak at the TEDxMtHood Conference on May 2, 2015.[14][15]


  1. ^ Dan Carlin (8 June 2014). "Common Sense Archive: Show 276 - Past Transgressions". http://www.dancarlin.com/ (Podcast). Event occurs at 16 minutes. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "The People's Choice Podcast Awards". The Podcast Award. PodcastAwards.com. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Matthews, Christopher (August 29, 2013). "Despite Being Oh-So 2005, Podcasting Is Drawing Listeners and Advertisers Alike". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The 2012 Stitcher Awards". Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ CIPOLLE, ALEX V. (December 24, 2014). "Q&A with Hardcore History’s Dan Carlin: Print Edition". Eugene Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2015 – via EUGENEWEELY.COM. 
  6. ^ "Dan Carlin, The Man Who Makes History Fun". The Drunken Taoist. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Episode 328". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Episode 378". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Daniele Bolelli, Episode 413". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Dan Carlin Interview". Smells Like Human Spirit Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Episode 153: Dan Carlin on Addiction, Net Neutrality, Edward Snowden, and More!". Smells Like Human Spirit Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Harris, Sam. "Shouldering the Burden of History". Waking Up. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "World War I, A Century Later, June 28, 2014". CBS News This Morning. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Speaker Detail, Dan Carlin". TEDxMtHood. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "The New Media's Coming of Age". YouTube. TEDxMtHood. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 

External links[edit]