I have always loved audio. When I was ten I had several incarnations of a Baseball Cap Radio bought from Boots.
It was a basic AM/FM radio sewn into a baseball cap. And I would fall asleep listening to Caesar the Geezer and James Whale on TalkSport. These are probably not healthy influences to be flying around the mind of a primary school kid; but speech radio has always had the power to take me away. A good podcast puts you in the conversation and flows through you. I still love radio but the flexibility of podcasts is great.
The BBC has a great range of podcasts, with more shows being moved over to podcast each week, but I wanted to put some slightly less familiar stuff on here, so here are a few of my favourites, these consistently make it into my phone, and then into my brain.
The Bugle – absolute weekly staple, the best. I have no idea how this possibly worked with regard to their relationship with the Times [ N.B IT DIDN'T WORK IN THE END] but podcast now independent, and still going. It’s satirical, it’s cutting and is responsible for a worrying contribution to my understanding of international affairs. Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver do it better than anyone else, just download it, snort unattractively on the train and make people jealous that your having this much fun.
From off the wall approaches to jokes, to Off the Wall approaches to media. Off The Wall Post is the audio child of some BBC and freelance digital producers and gives a funny, understated, not-taking-itself-too-seriously take on the latest developments in the social and new media. They have a section on Wanky Words, to highlight any dubious wordology that may be floating around the new media world, and often the show itself. Ideapreneur anyone...?
Daniel Ruiz Tizon has been podcasting for around a year now, originally starting under the name Please Don’t Hug Me, the show was recorded on a Blackberry in various hotels and borrowed locations. It’s now recorded on a laptop in Daniel’s flat in Stockwell which changes the shows sound, but not the style. You won’t hear this stuff on mainstream radio. Describing himself as half man half P45, he has sporadically worked as a writer and a temp, and has charted his difficult last year with humour. For a flavour of his style check out his blog post: Moment’s In my life I could’ve done without part 1. This show always ends up on my mp3 player. If you’ve listened to David Sedaris on Radio4, it’s a bit like that, except if David Sedaris lived off the Lambeth Road in SW8, which is a big exception.
NPR Music podcasts. NPR is the closest thing America has to BBC and it puts out some awesome content.
All Songs Considered – All their ‘best of’ shows from the last few years have introduced me to some great music. And as well as the best of’s’ they have a range of different themes, Songs that make you sad, make you happy, Bands you've broken up with, British DJs, electronic music etc...
Tiny Desk Concerts – NPR looks like a fun place to work, they have a series of ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’ basically gigs played in the office. From Tom Jones, to Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, It’s the sort of office-fun I can only taste after forgetting to turn my phone to silent on a Monday morning. Video podcast and audio rips. For a video taster check out - HOME
Radiolab – Science radio with a difference, innovative production style, Radiolab has adjusted to digital audio better than any other science show I can think of. Sometimes it might grate a bit, but it’s the best show for making you think and taking you on a journey. Some of my favourite episodes are Parasites, Detective Stories, War of the Worlds, the full archive can be found here.
So yeah get involved, try out some podcasts, and if you have any other good ones, please share them because I’m always keen to find more. Either that or I might buy another radio hat and try and write a book about my experiences of a year wearing it. I’m banking that idea, publisher’s interested please get in touch.
and me @thomhoffman