There are people who don’t listen to podcasts – often these are the same ones who surprise me by buying and downloading public domain books. It’s like we live in different realities. Parallel universes. So the sad truth is that most of my listening is not to music but I much prefer lectures and podcasts. I cannot listen to music while I run or go to the gym, so I am the one grunting to some obscure point being made by a speaker. And since I was asked what I listen to, I thought that I would make a list. Feel free to recommend stuff to me.
For a shorter podcast try A Point of View it’s just what it says in the title. My recent favorite was Adam Gopnik explaining his indifference to Twitter. But no matter the topic, it’s always worth the 15 minutes. BBC Analysis is an in-depth discussion on a current affairs. An Australian version of this is RN Big Ideas.
The Naked Scientist produced by the University of Cambridge its a light look at whats on in the science world. Big Picture Science is similar light hearted nerdy fun. For more science fun I highly recommend The Infinite Monkey Cage.
Little Atoms is about ideas, Crossing Continents is world affairs with a human touch, From Our Own Correspondent is a personal observation by a foreign correspondent somewhere in the world. The latter is a favorite even if it does overlap crossing continents at times. File on Four is analytical and deeper, really good with the right topic but less so when the subject matter doesn’t connect. The Forum is all about ideas and thinkers and is really worth listening to.
My fiction list includes Drama of the Week which is a classic type of radio theater, Radio 4 Comedy of the Week, Friday Night Comedy (both make lifting heavy weights difficult) and the Swedish witty show Spanarna. While not fiction but the storytelling of This American Life and The Moth seem to fit into this category.
For history I listen to Great Lives where a guest and expert discuss the impact of a historical person, History Extra usually interviews the author of a recent historical work of non-fiction, The History Hour plays interviews of survivors of historical events (both great and obscure), In Our Time is a panel of distinguished academics dissecting an event or concept, and Revolutions has gone through the English Civil War and has now begun on the American War of Independence.
For long distance running, light humor, heavy banter, occasional rants and film reviews Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo’s Film Review is a must have. More or Less looks at statistics gone wrong in the media (more interesting than it sounds), Philosophy Bites is a 15 minute bit of depth, The World Book Club is a long interview with a well established author (always want to go and buy books after this).
The Why Factor looks at the meaning behind everyday objects and, saving the best for last, my absolute favorite podcast is Thinking Allowed sociological discussions of current thoughts and ideas. Brilliant.