On Podcasts

I used to watch YouTube videos or Netflix shows while cooking/washing dishes/getting ready, but wanted something that didn’t require looking at a screen. I started looking into podcasts and before I knew it I was listening to them every day. I thought I would share five of my favourites, and would love to hear about any you think particularly stand out or listen to regularly.

(I use the Castbox app on my android phone to listen to Podcasts, and like that I can control my subscriptions and choose which Podcasts I want to automatically download.)

Reasons to be cheerful: This is a podcast with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd. If I had to pick a favourite, this would be it- it’s one podcast where I listen to every episode that comes out almost immediately. I think the best way to describe it would be as a conversation about politics, but friendly. They choose different topics each week, such as the NHS, railways, Prisons and education, then speak to experts about their ideas to improve these things. The podcast always puts a positive spin on things, as they try to focus on how these areas could be made better, and what progress is currently being made. It feels like a conversation with friends and I always learn something new. I think it’s good to be able to talk about these often heavy issues in a positive way, and this podcast is always very enjoyable and cheering to listen to.

Penguin Podcast: This one is made by the publisher Penguin and has a similar feel to Desert Island discs by the BBC. They usually interview one author over the course of an episode, who brings in 5 objects significant to their current book. I find it really interesting to hear about the ideas that led to a book, and you get to know a bit more about the author and their writing process than you usually would. It feels more intimate than a written interview or article, and can sometimes lead you to different books. A standout episode for me was the one with Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West, which I thought gave me a better understanding of the themes of the novel. He spoke a lot about borders and the way technology collapses the physical distance between people, which I found quite thought provoking.

Feel Better, Live more: This is by Dr Rangan Chatterjee, who is an NHS GP and also presents some health shows on the BBC. I stumbled across this podcast randomly, and it surprised me to find that a podcast about health could keep me engaged just as much as one about politics or books. The general format is an interview between Dr Chatterjee and a health expert/consultant/scientist, discussing an area of health and wellbeing. I find it really motivating, and quite often will learn something that I can easily implement in my own life, or which sends me down the rabbit hole of finding out more. I think what makes this so interesting is that you never feel like they are coming from a place of judgment, and they never tell you that doing one thing will definitely change everything or cure you- they review the current evidence in a measured way and give tips on how you might incorporate the findings into different lifestyles. It’s quite a relaxed and informative podcast, and I find it can give me a boost when my own health issues are getting the better of me.

The Guilty Feminist: This is a comedy panel podcast that features mainly women. They talk about big issues affecting women but the tone is usually light and fun. I like that this podcast can challenge me or make me think, without coming across as too serious or judgemental. Often, I don’t agree with absolutely everything that a panellist might think, but they tend to have a good balance of different views represented and it makes for really insightful conversation. This for me is the podcast equivalent of ‘Have I got news for you’ except more fresh and diverse. It makes me smile, or sometimes even laugh when I’m listening, and highlights the progress women are making in different areas, which I think is important when the news seems to be mainly focused on negativity. It’s also nice to hear women speaking about feminism in a normal, balanced way. Too often it’s associated with extreme views and bitterness or anger, or with people completely dismissing it. This podcast in a way reclaims the word, and I think the best thing about it is how tolerant all the panellists and audience are of each other’s opinions and beliefs.

I’m not being funny but: This podcast is hosted by Youtuber Leena Norms. It’s all about getting to know people who hold different views or associate themselves as part of different groups. Her interviews centre around questions that people might have thought of, but would have been too shy to ask. For example she speaks to a Brexit voter about why they chose to vote leave, and a friend who had a mentally ill parent about what that was like growing up. It’s an extension of her video series, ‘Stupid questions with Leena’, and while there aren’t many episodes at the moment, I’m looking forward to hearing more. I think it’s important to step out of our comfort zones and listen to perspectives that are different to ours as much as possible, to prevent us from staying in a bubble or developing an ‘us vs them’ mentality. This is a thoughtful and sensitive podcast, and always leaves me with a sense that the world is bigger than it sometimes feels.What are your favourite podcasts? Do you listen to every episode of a series or just pick out the topics that interest you? I would love to discuss!

This podcast is hosted by Youtuber Leena Norms. It’s all about getting to know people who hold different views or associate themselves as part of different groups. Her interviews centre around questions that people might have thought of, but would have been too shy to ask. For example she speaks to a Brexit voter about why they chose to vote leave, and a friend who had a mentally ill parent about what that was like growing up. It’s an extension of her video series, ‘Stupid questions with Leena’, and while there aren’t many episodes at the moment, I’m looking forward to hearing more. I think it’s important to step out of our comfort zones and listen to perspectives that are different to ours as much as possible, to prevent us from staying in a bubble or developing an ‘us vs them’ mentality. This is a thoughtful and sensitive podcast, and always leaves me with a sense that the world is bigger than it sometimes feels.What are your favourite podcasts? Do you listen to every episode of a series or just pick out the topics that interest you? I would love to discuss!

What are your favourite podcasts? Do you listen to every episode of a series or just pick out the topics that interest you? I would love to discuss!

2 thoughts on “On Podcasts

  1. I’ve only just started listening to podcasts this week! I’ve only just discovered a few podcast shows that I’ve been enjoying. I really enjoy The Daily Boost, Girl Boss and FiveThirtyEight Politics. I will definitely check out the podcasts you’ve mentioned in this post.

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