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Tech professionals are constantly learning and following what’s ahead. This is especially true for mainframers, as old tech skills are constantly being combined with recent developments.

But keeping up with one more demand is something that pro mainframers probably don’t have much time for—mainframe pros are in high demand and short supply.

This is why podcasts are a great option. There are tons of substantive and entertaining podcasts by industry leaders. Podcasts outshine reading or browsing online forums simply for their on-demand, take-it-with-you accessibility. No longer do you need to dedicate a few hours a week to reading. The podcast format makes it easy breezy to listen while working out, cooking, commuting, over lunch. Anytime, anywhere, podcasts make it easy to stay up to date with industry news.

With the staggering number of podcasts available, there are bound to be a few dedicated to every niche imaginable. In fact, there are currently over 800,000 podcasts available with over 54 million episodes to access. Not surprisingly, tech is one of the more popular podcast categories.

This sheer volume of information—though useful—can sometimes feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate. To help with that, we’ve compiled a list of the best podcasts for mainframers.

(This article is part of our Tech Books & Talks Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)

Best mainframe podcasts

In no particular order, these seven podcasts are uniquely focused on the mainframe, providing a vast amount of information and knowledge about working in the mainframe ecosystem and with mainframe modernization. For each recommendation, we include:

  • Podcast debut
  • Episode release
  • General episode length
  • Hosts
  • The platforms that carry the podcast

Subscribe and listen to as many as you can.

BMC AMI Z Talk

Debut: July 2020
Released:
Twice per month
Length: A quick listen, ranging from 17-32 minutes
Hosts: Jill Perez of BMC
Where to Access: Apple Podcasts, Overcast, SoundCloud

The BMC AMI Z Talk podcast is a new podcast that all mainframers should add to their listening queue. (Don’t worry, we’re only a little biased. 😊)The goal of the podcast is to share the best thought leadership on the mainframe as well as the most relevant guests on the topic. Recent episodes cover key topics like:

Hosted by Jill Perez, BMC AMI Z Talk launched with a must-listen episode discussing the modernization of the mainframe with John McKenny, BMC SVP of Strategy and Innovation for ZSolutions. Listen here:

I Am A Mainframer

Debut: January 2017
Released:
Monthly
Length: around 30 minutes, but range from 18-40 minutes
Host: Steven Dickens of IBM
Where to access: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Overcast, iHeartRADIO, SoundCloud

The I am a Mainframer Podcast is produced by the Open Mainframe Project. It’s currently hosted by Steven Dickens of IBM, who was part of launching the Open Mainframe Project in 2019. The purpose of the podcast is to look at the careers of people in the mainframe ecosystem, and each episode interviews a different mainframe professional.

The podcast covers key topics like the modern mainframe, offers insights into the mainframe industry, and generally offers advice for those working in the mainframe ecosystem.

Mainframe, Performance, Topics

Debut: March 2020
Released:
Frequently
Length: Most clock in around 30 minutes
Hosts: Martin Packer and Marna Walle of IBM
Where to Access: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, iHeartRADIO

Mainframe, Performance, Topics is hosted by two IBM professionals:

  • Martin Packer, a principal Z system investigator
  • Marna Walle, from z/OS development

In their podcast, the two casually talk about whatever z/OS topics that they’re interested in that week. While there’s lots of flexibility from episode to episode, there is one important structural piece. Each episode involves a mainframe item, a performance item, and a few “topics.” It’s a topical podcast that shares helpful insights from leaders in the industry.

Terminal Talk

Debut: June 2017
Released:
Every two weeks
Length: Most are around 30 minutes; others range from 20-50 minutes
Hosts: Jeff Bisti and Frank de Gilio of IBM
Where to Access: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Overcast, iHeartRADIO, SoundCloud

We’d be remiss not to include Terminal Talk, one of the longer-running mainframe podcasts with over 100 episodes available. Hosted by Jeff Bisti and Frank de Gilio, Terminal Talk aims to “take a look at the people, technology, and culture behind one of the world’s most powerful and important computing platforms, the mainframe.”

The episodes, which come out every two weeks, include interviews, discussions, and interesting facts and analysis. While some podcasts include mainframe discussion encompassed in other topics, this one is solely focused on mainframes. In fact, in the initial episode, Bisti said that he anticipated listener complaints of “all they talk about is mainframes.”

Obviously, for those working with mainframes, this is a must-listen.

The Modern Mainframe

Debut: February 2019
Released:
Intermittently
Length: 20-50 minutes, with most somewhere in the middle
Hosts: Varies
Where to Access: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud

The Modern Mainframe is a Compuware podcast aimed at knowledge sharing. The focus of this podcast is exploring why the mainframe is more modern than many people think it is. The Modern Mainframe also explores key topics about ways to transform the mainframe, through culture, process, and tools.

Launched in February 2019, the podcast’s introductory episode was a strong interview with Chris O’Malley, Compuware CEO. This initial discussion on mainstreaming the mainframe sets the tone for this relevant and engaging podcast; listen here:

Z DevOps Talk

Debut: December 2019
Released:
Monthly
Length: Most are around 45 minutes
Hosts: Chris Hoina and Chris Sayles
Where to Access: Spotify, Anchor, Radio Public, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Apple Podcasts

This IBM developer podcast is hosted by Chris Hoina and Chris Sayles. Obviously IBM focused, the podcast looks at ways that the company is working with open source technology to make mainframes more accessible.

Through interviews with industry experts, the podcast explores some key topics, ranging from Z software architecture to the next frontier for mainframe modernization.

The RE: Frame Podcast

Debut: November 2019
Released:
Infrequently
Length: around 30 minutes
Hosts: Lenn Thompson & David Cook of Broadcom
Where to Access: Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud, Anchor, Apple Podcasts

The RE: Frame Podcast’s tagline exclaims:

“What’s NOW and NEXT for the mainframe”

Hosted by Lenn Thompson and David Cook, both of Broadcom, this podcast is helpful for mainframe professionals because it’s focused on where mainframe is and, more importantly, where it’s going. The hosts are committed to making the podcast stand out by being a forward-looking mainframe resource, and so far it’s lived up to that goal.

First launched in October of 2019, the first three episodes of a proposed 10-episode season have been released. So far, the topics include:

  • The People Factor, which looks at the type of professionals that are choosing mainframe careers
  • Machine Learning, which looks at ML on the mainframe
  • Mainframe DevOps, which looks at the tools, techniques, and experiences of mainframe developers

This new podcast, with few available episodes, is still worth the one click to subscribe.

Related reading

At BMC Blogs, we’re always listening to, reading, and creating the best tech content to share knowledge and lead innovation. Get more of our recommendations on what to read, where to listen, and who to follow in our Guide Tech Books & Talks and explore these resources:

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Last updated: 12/02/2020

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

See an error or have a suggestion? Please let us know by emailing blogs@bmc.com.

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About the author

Stephen Watts

Stephen Watts

Stephen Watts (Birmingham, AL) has worked at the intersection of IT and marketing for BMC Software since 2012.

Stephen contributes to a variety of publications including CIO.com, Search Engine Journal, ITSM.Tools, IT Chronicles, DZone, and CompTIA.