Long car journeys, housework, chilling on the sofa, insomnia… in my opinion, there is almost no mundane situation which cannot be improved by listening to a good podcast. According to Wikipedia, “A Podcast is a digital medium that consists of a episodic series of audio, video, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed on-line to a computer or mobile device”.
Woah! That sure sounds like fun! Not. According to Eclectic Feel, “Podcasts are nature’s way of taking care of stress and/or boredom. They are nuggets of audio awesomeness, generally lasting 10 minutes to an hour, which you can download and listen to at your leisure”.
As someone who is a) eclectic by nature b) easily bored c) always on the hunt for the interesting and unusual, here are my top 5 recommendations, in no particular order, whether you’re new to podcasts or a podcast fiend like me.
The One With All The Radio Plays:
10-minute quirky plays on almost any subject you can think of – and any subject it would never occur to you to think of. A frequent nocturnal companion to my insomnia. Although I did wake up once in the night with my headphones on slightly believing we’d been invaded by aliens. In my favourite, “Voyager Found”, NASA’s Voyager spacecraft has just landed: Meet the aliens who found it…
The Weird One: Welcome To Night Vale
A twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Great for long car journeys. Introduce to your friends, and watch straight-faced as they steal more and more frequent “WTF” concerned glances at you. Once they get into it, the fun really begins, as you slowly begin to drop references to Old Woman Josie, the angels, and Carlos the Scientist with his perfect, beautiful haircut into daily conversations – much to the bemusement of the uninitiated. A final word of warning: DO NOT APPROACH THE DOG PARK. Here’s how it all started:
The Totally Addictive One: Serial
If you have not seen or heard of Serial, where have you been? It’s only the flippin’ well most exciting thing that’s ever happened to radio. The true story of the 1999 murder of Hai-Min Lee and the guilt or otherwise of her high school boyfriend Adnan Sayed, currently serving time for her murder, is investigated sensitively and respectfully by journalist Sarah Koenig. Did he do it? Why did Jay change his story? What about that flasher in the woods? And the Mischa call? Was there a payphone at the Bestbuy? Those who have listened to Serial will be nodding along in frustration; those who haven’t – get downloading!
The Inspirational One: TED Radio Hour
Aah, TED…regular followers of my blog will know all about my love of TED (read my original post here). Since I wrote that post, I’ve suffered the most horrendous 6 months of my life in terms of pain (shoulder surgery) and work stress. TED is one of the tools I’ve learnt to use to help get me through the most painful, stressful and sleepless nights. The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Hosted by Guy Raz and based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections. Listen to them here.
The One With All The Girly Gossip: Call Your Girlfriend
Periods, football, the royal family…nothing is out of bounds for these two “real-life besties”, on a mission to have a bi-coastal (and sometimes transatlantic) weekly gossip and chance to set the world to rights. Almost as good as having a real-life catch-up with your mates. Oh, and the catchiest theme tune ever…