Podcasts used to get me through my commute home to the JQ. From where I work near Birmingham Airport, I could stick on a good 45-60 minute podcast, and get so absorbed that I would hardly notice the M6 traffic. Since we moved to Coleshill, the commute is a lot shorter, so I’ve started to delve into those shorter <30 mins podcasts, saving the longer ones from working from home days. And just recently, thanks to COVID-19, all my days have been working from home days. So I thought I’d share you with you a list of some of my favourite podcasts to get you through the day.
Advocate of a multi-hyphen career, Emma Gannon discusses living and working in an increasingly online world with interesting and insightful guests. She speaks to authors, activists, life coaches and broadcasters, and each episode looks at life from a different perspective.
Created by Sarah Millican as a response to vacuous women’s magazines, the Standard Issue online magazine is no more but continues as an informational, educational, sometimes sweary, frequently funny podcast. It’s a mix of chat, news, interviews, life stories, entertainment and sport, all geared towards a female perspective. The live gigcasts are wonderful, and have had me inappropriately laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
Thankfully back from a four month sabbatical, Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton talk recent events, discuss light-hearted news, and give excellent watching and reading recommendations. Always increases my to-be-read list tenfold after each episode.
If The High Low is presented by millennials, then Fortunately is definitely more in the Gen X category. This may be a BBC podcast, but Jane Garvey shrugs off her Women’s Hour mantle for this frank, razor-sharp witty chat with Fi Glover and assorted guests. Rather than the usual sleekness of a radio podcast, Fortunately is broadcast from the BBC piazza, and has a gentle (but never distracting) background noise of clinking coffee cups and scraping chairs. They’ve recently discussed (and quizzed guests) on gateway vegetables, bad waxworks and eyelash perming.
Continuing on the gently-sailing-into-middle-age theme, we have journalists Annabel Rivkin and Emilie McMeekin telling us that they are “absolutely fine, but…”. Growing up is sometime glamorous, and sometimes ridiculous and this podcast is hugely relatable. They’ve recently had guests such as hormone specialist Dr Martin Galy, talking about the menopause, and addictions therapist Mandy Sagliari. During lockdown, it’s been just been Annabel & Emilie chatting from their respective homes about how they are coping with the current situation.
Travel journalist Holly Rubenstein follows a tried and tested format of asking globetrotting guests about the travel experiences and destinations that have shaped their lives. Recent episodes include Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, historian and broadcaster Dan Snow and foodie royalty Rick Stein. Great destinations from the far-flung and exotic to the familiar and homegrown to inspire wanderlust.
Each episode, Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington guide a listener throughout their creative challenges, be it finding motivation, making a business happen or building an online community. Jen and Sara gently provide encouragement, advice and support, using the lessons they have learned in building their own successful businesses. And even if you’re not a creative or an entrepreneur, it’s just a lovely and supportive place to hang out, with tips that are transferable whatever you do.
Elizabeth is a calm, soothing interviewer who gets her guests to confess to their failures, whilst discussing how this has led to their success. Elizabeth has recently spoken to philosopher Alain De Botton, Ella Mills (aka Deliciously Ella), Eniola Aluka and the wonderful Marian Keyes
Positivity oozes from Fearne Cotton as she chats to inspirational people and celebrities about their mental health and what happiness means to them. Recent episodes have featured Dynamo, Myls & Giles from Mindful Chef and PE teacher of the moment Joe Wicks
And finally something a little educational. If only for the kind of odd facts that can be spouted out at a dinner party. This weekly podcast is from the researchers behind QI, so it’s a bit geeky but the facts are often so outlandish that you can excuse the occasional lapse into nerdishness. They’ve recently re-released loads of old episodes so there are plenty to get your teeth into during lockdown.
A podcast is pre-recorded content, a radio show on the internet. In fact, some live radio shows often record their “best bits” and publish them out as a podcast afterwards. But the idea is that you can listen at your leisure. Podcasts can be educational, informative or humorous, and may take the form of an interview, a panel or simply a solo presenter. You can find podcasts in most niches, whether you enjoy politics, culture, travel, true crime or comedy. Some are professional productions, in a studio with all the proper equipment. Others are much more informal, after all, anyone can set themselves up as a podcaster with the right equipment. Although you’re unlikely to hear my dulcet Brummie tones in your ears any time soon.
Podcasts are free, and there are many different ways to listen. You can access via your web browser, and I’ve linked to the relevant websites above where this is possible. You can listen online (streaming) or download to listen later. Or you can download a free podcast player app. I use Podbean but there are plenty of other options available for both iPhone and Android users.
There will be plenty of suggestions if you want to browse, or you can use the search function. Once you’ve chosen a podcast to listen to, there will usually be a list of the most recent episodes. With some of my favourites I’ve gone all the way back into the archives and downloaded episodes. If you like what you hear, you can then subscribe to that podcast.
Found a podcast you like? Most podcast websites or apps have a Subscribe or Follow button. You can often choose an auto-download option, which means that your favourite content will – well – automatically download onto to your chosen device.