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19-12-2017

The Golden Age of Podcasting

Although I have subscriptions to Netflix, HBO, Spotify and iTunes, my favourite form of entertainment is still, without doubt, podcasts! They’re fabulous, they’re free, and I can’t live without them! In bed, in the car, while I cook, iron, or walk… I’m always listening to them. I know I’ve written about them before, but it’s been a while, and if I can convert any more of you to the delights of these audio-radio-internet shows, then that will make me very happy.

If you still haven’t discovered them, a podcast is, according to Google, “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically”. Sounds boring… but they’re anything but!

Whatever your interests, whatever mood you are in, there’s a podcast to satisfy you. If you like literature, you’ll love “The Moth” and “Selected Shorts”, both of which feature brilliant narrators reading amazing stories that you would never discover anywhere else. Like quiz shows? Try “Ask me another” or “International Waters”. Want to laugh your socks off, try “Mortified” or “Judge John Hodgman”, or learn about the law and laugh at the same time listening to “Opening Arguments”. Like weird cults? Heaven’s Gate is fascinating. Trying to understand what President T is up to? Trumpcast is the one for you, or hear true stories from prisoners behind bars in San Quentin penitentiary in California from Ear Hustle.

To get started, you’ll need to get an app that manages podcasts on your tablet or mobile phone, although you can also log onto the podcast websites and listen there. I mainly use the Podcast app on my iPhone, but I also have Overcast, and you can also get podcasts easily on the excellent Tunein radio app, which releases many titles a week early. You’ll need this if you get hooked on “Criminal”, you will hardly be able to wait for the next episode, it is so addictive. Subscribe, download and listen.

Some podcast producers have formed collectives. Three excellent ones are Maximum Fun, Radiotopia, the BBC and the Earwolf Podcast networks. I recommend you visit their websites and check out their shows.

Podcasts are so popular now that they go on tour and produce their shows in front of live audiencea. I really like the idea of this… It makes me think of what it must have been like when orchestras and performers would broadcast live radio broadcasts from concert halls and studios in the Golden Age of radio. I would love to go and see one of these shows, but… I live in a Spain, so I would have to go to London, or maybe to the Netherlands or Germany, where US podcasters also tour.

And when it’s time to sleep, just click on Sleep with Me, and Scooter will send you off to the Land of Nod, with his deliberately boring stories. Happy listening!


Juliet Anne Allaway

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