Getting stuck on a death march has kept my blog reading to ... well ... none... for about the last three weeks. So I mostly missed the uproar about This American Life on BoingBoing (and elsewhere but summarized nicely there).
It's been easily possible to automate the downloading of TAL episodes since ... well probably since the first time they were posted online.
For a long time they were posted as Real Audio which isn't quite so convenient for us MP3/OGG/WMA device owners. But even that could be converted to MP3 with a few common tools and a short bit of script.
Now that the files are in MP3, it's dead easy to grab the "complete archive page", find the first show listed, read the M3U playlist file to get the MP3 file link and fetch the file. So dead easy that I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader. It took me just over 40 lines of bash script including managing a log of previously downloaded episodes to prevent repeats.