In no particular order, here are some of the podcasts that I’m listening to in 2019.
Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (BBC)
Of all the podcasts I subscribe to, this I believe is the one I’ve been listening to the longest. I’m an LTL in Wittertainment speak. I really can’t remember when I started listening but my recollection of Kermodian rants gives me a clue. I can remember the Da Vinci Code rant (Just turn a light on!), and Ice Age 2 (the death of narrative cinema). So they’re both 2006 but I’m sure I started listening before that. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
Travel with Rick Steves
Someone once said that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. I agree. If I’m not travelling, I'm either planning the next trip or listening to travel podcasts for inspiration. One such podcast is Travel with Rick Steves. Rick Steves is an American travel writer who specialises in European destinations. I came across his books when I was planning for the 2012 Europe trip. He’s been my go-to ever since.
There are a bunch of Apple-focused podcasts that I dip in and out of, including Apple Insider, MacBreak Weekly, MacWorld, The Talk Show with John Gruber, Canvas and A Slab of Glass. The CultCast is the one I listen to every week. I just love the interaction between the main presenters. Erfon Elijah is just a naturally funny guy while Leander Kahney brings a wealth of Apple knowledge based on his decades covering Apple as journalist. Plus he’s a British Expat, which is a bonus in my book.
I have to get my news fix. Before the day gets drowned out by Donald Trump and Brexit news it’s good to get the news from Australia’s public broadcaster. Like a lot of ABC content, AM seems to be directly modelled on the BBC’s Today show on Radio 4.
This podcast has changed names and presenters a few times over the years. It’s essentially the podcast version of the BBC Radio Five Live Afternoon Edition show. When I started listening it was hosted by Simon Mayo. Then Richard Bacon took over for a few years. He eventually left for some gig in the US and then Dan Walker and Sarah Brett hosted for a short while. Now it’s hosted by Nihal Arthanayake. This is one of those where I just listen to the episodes depending on who’s being interviewed.
I’m not too keen on the latest host to be honest. A little too sycophantic to his guest for my liking. A little too keen to be pals with the guests and make them laugh. Although, to give him credit, his interviewing has improved over the last year. He’s no Simon Mayo though. Too many interviewers try and make the interview about them. Simon Mayo positively shies away from that.
Another interview-based podcast that is worth a listen - Fresh Air (NPR).
Desert Island Discs (BBC)
Surely this is on everyone’s list? If not, it should be. It has been going forever. You can even delve into the BBC archive and listen to interviews from decades ago. The only problem with the podcast format in this case is that, due to rights reasons, they don’t play the full music tracks. We get a snippet at the beginning and end of the song. If I haven’t heard the music before I just pause the podcast and find it on Apple Music. I’ve discovered some great music over the years thanks to this podcast. I have Michael Caine’s desert island discs to thank for discovering One Day Like This by Elbow.
The West Wing Weekly
The West Wing is my favourite TV show of all time. I’m now on the fourth go round of watching the full 7 season box set. I started watching again for the fourth time simply because this podcast started.
The podcast started from episode 1, season 1, and each week focuses on the next episode in chronological order. It’s not your ordinary fan show. One of the presenters is Joshua Malina who played Will Bailey on the show, and in the course of the podcast they’ve pretty much had every cast member, writer and director (including Aaron Sorkin) on the show.
Slow Burn (Slate)
This podcast does a deep dive on major events. The first series was all about Watergate, and the second series covered the Clinton / Monica Lewinsky affair. The first season in particular was gripping. I’m a big fan of All the President’s Men and like to think I’ve read enough about Watergate over the years to know the basics. Once I started listening to Slow Burn, however, I realised there’s so much I didn’t know.
I’m sure I’m not alone in listening to both the first and second seasons of Slow Burn and drawing parallels with what’s happening in the White House today. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes, so the saying goes.
As a Liverpool FC fan, I subscribe to a few fan podcasts which I dip in and out of, including The Anfield Wrap, LFC Couch, and The Redmen TV. There are plenty of them. Blood Red by the Liverpool Echo is the one I keep coming back to.
I also subscribe to a number of other football podcasts, including Lineker and Baker, That Peter Crouch Podcast (BBC) (which has been excellent and I’m glad it’s returning for a second series), Fighting Talk (BBC), Football Weekly (Guardian), and Football Daily (BBC). The 5 Live Sport Specials podcast is also excellent.
Steve Wright’s Big Guests (BBC)
Short and sweet, consistently funny and with great guest. I grew up listening to Steve Wright on BBC Radio 1, and now he has a long-running radio show on Radio 2. This is my go-to podcast for road trips. I have a Road Trip smart playlist that includes recent unheard shows from this podcast, Desert Island Discs and a few others. I know I can press play and I won’t hear any complaints from my wife or daughter.
For The Many (LBC)
I subscribe to a bunch of political podcasts. My frequency of listening has dipped lately because I’m bored to death of Brexit talk.
One podcast that I have stuck with is For The Many. I just think that the hosts - Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith - are interesting, can be very funny, and balance each other out on the political spectrum. Iain is a well-known right of centre commentator and broadcaster in the UK, whereas Jacqui Smith is a former Labour MP and Home Secretary. Each week the show inevitably goes off on a tangent and gets a bit saucy, but it’s all the better for it!
Other political podcasts that I listen to include The Signal (ABC Australia), and Pod Save America. I’ve also started listening to What Most People Think by Geoff Norcott. Geoff markets himself as Britain’s only right of centre comedian. I try to ensure my political listening crosses the political spectrum so that I don’t get stuck in the echo chamber. Geoff is a breath of fresh air.
Russia, If You’re Listening (ABC)
Modelled on Slow Burn, this podcast has been taking a deep dive looking at all the different dodgy characters and stories in relation to the Mueller investigation. It seems to be on a hiatus at the moment. I hope it returns to wrap up now that the Mueller report has been handed in. It has been fascinating.
The Martin Bailey Photography Podcast
What I like about Martin Bailey’s podcast is his relaxing, quiet demeanour. It’s like listening to a David Attenborough documentary. Even if you’re not interested in photography you could listen to his podcasts and easily enter a zen-like state of contentment.
Mac Power Users (Relay FM)
I could have lumped this in with The CultCast above, but to me this podcast is more focused on productivity than it is Apple technology, despite Mac being in the title. Another productivity and technology focused podcasts that I often listen to alongside this one is Automators.
The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast
Like many others, I became an avid Tim Ferriss follower after reading The Four Hour Work Week. His podcast has become a tour-de-force, with wide-ranging guests including superstar actors, politicians, billionaire entrepreneurs, and world-leading scientists.
If you’ve read Tools of Titans you will know that much of the content from that book is based on his interviews from the podcasts.
How I Built This (NPR)
I love reading and listening to case studies about real-life business success. I’d much rather read a biography about an entrepreneur than a book about business theory from someone like Seth Godin. How I Built This has had some great episodes in the time I’ve been listening. One I recommend to everyone is the interview with Joe Gebbia - founder of AirBnB.
Working in Cyber Security presents a constant challenge to keep up with the latest industry developments - new threats, technology changes, vendor mergers and acquisitions, changes to laws and regulations. It’s never ending.
OMG. How Many?
This isn’t the full list, but it represents the main podcasts I regularly listen to that cover my interests. Obviously there’s no way I can listen to all of these every week. I use the Overcast app with smart playlists and try to check for the latest episodes list daily, then delete any I’m not bothered about. I also download rather than stream so that my podcasts are always available irrespective of network coverage.
The result is I’ve got hundreds of episodes going back more than two years still to play. I really should have a cull.