16 Jul “On the pod”
I admit it, I’m obsessed with podcasts. Ever since Serial graced the pod-waves with its episodic, intriguing real-life ‘who dunnit?’ narrative, I’ve been on the search for the next best podcast series. This involves a lot of me scrolling through iTunes’ list of top podcasts, downloading a whole bunch, then deleting a whole bunch more when I discover they’re just not my thing. I thought this week I’d share with you the podcasts which have made it through my *rigorous* podcast approval process.
Serial – WBEZ
Of course, I had to start with Serial. The iconic first season of the series investigates the conviction of Baltimorean Adnan Syed over the 1999 disappearance and murder of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior. Presented by This American Life’s Sarah Koenig, the series is, in my opinion, seriously addictive. When it was released in 2014 (has it really been that long?) I was obsessed with it, and got quite a few of my friends listening to it. Although I was already listening to podcasts, Serial is where my appetite for episodic, intriguing podcasts began.
ABC radio was the soundtrack to my childhood. We had a radio on top of the fridge in our kitchen, and as soon as we were out of bed, the ABC was on. It followed us to school on the car radio, and on many a family holiday. Today I find myself returning to familiar voices and program formats from the broadcaster at various times, with my favourite program being Conversations. Richard is an incredibly adept interviewer and his hour-long conversations with a range of people always surprise and intrigue me. I find that even if I don’t think I’ll be interested in whomever Richard has interviewed that day (the radio show is broadcast and podcast each weekday), he manages to find the right thread that unravels a story or lifetime of stories from the interviewee which are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often educational, and always intriguing.
No Such Thing As A Fish – audioBoom
Obsessed as I am with British television, it’s really no surprise that when I discovered No Such Thing As A Fish I was immediately hooked (ah, the punnery…). The weekly program format involves a group of Qi researchers, Andy, Anna, Dan and James, getting together to talk about their “four favourite facts from the last seven days”. The episodes tend to be 45m-1h in length, and the widely read presenters discuss a myriad of marvelously obscure topics. The dynamic between the presenters is fantastic, and there’s never a boring episode. In fact, I probably listen to this podcast the most of any, and always find myself replaying one when I’m pottering about the house or heading off to bed, as they’re just really easy to listen to, and I always find myself hearing something different with each repeated listen.
Radiolab – WNYC
Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich this US-based National Public Radio show is entertaining and thought-provoking, and often challenges socially-ingrained understandings of ethics, morality, culture and science. Episodes cover a variety of topics, from one guest whose home birth was never registered and therefore legally doesn’t exist, to an in-depth exploration of buttons (which sounds utterly boring but was in fact the complete opposite).
Crooked Media’s stable of podcasts
If you’re interested in Western politics right now – particularly US politics and their current government – then this media company’s stable of podcasts is for you. Founded by former White House staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, Pod Save America, Pod Save the People, Pod Save the World, With Friends Like These, and my personal favourite, Lovett or Leave It, present the perfect blend of humour, satire, optimism, and clear communication about US politics. The founding trio conducted Barack Obama’s last public interview as US President, and they offer a democratically-skewed insight into decisions made by the White House, as well as discuss the implications of these decisions, and encourage active engagement in political issues by everyday people. (Disclaimer: I’ve used one of their catchphrases as the title for this post).
Other great shows I’ve been listening to including: