The latest figures show that 28% of digital audio listeners in Ireland listened to Podcasts in 2019 (Source RedC Poll 2019) I actually thought this would be higher but nonetheless the number and variety of podcasts have exploded in the last few years. For me podcasts are really the only thing I listen to when walking or in the car. They give me an opportunity to learn something I didn’t know and / or listen to a different view on a topic. Plus when the whole world can be talking about one topic such as Brexit or Covid-19 you can choose to listen to something different. I am going to break down the podcasts I listen to into different categories and give you my favourites. Some of them I may have mentioned before in other blogs and some will be brand new. Either way they tie in nicely to other blogs I have written as I tend to check out the books that are mentioned in the episodes.
The World This Week (France 24) and Conflict Zone (Deutsche Welle)
I wanted to get some different viewpoints on the various events going on around the world and these podcasts spend time analysing the issues from their perspective. What may be perceived as important in Ireland and the UK can be viewed differently in Europe and the US. These two are videocasts and come out weekly. If you have time check out Bertie Ahern’s appearance on Conflict Zone.
Documentary on One (RTE) and The Documentary (BBC)
Both of these are excellent and cover a range of topics that you would never have heard of. RTE in particular cover the unsung heroes of Ireland. Special mention must go to RTE’s 6 episode Anatomy of an Irish Serial Killer which was very well produced. BBC offers stories from all over the world with analysis behind the headlines.
David McWilliams and Freakonomics
They have slightly contrasting styles but these podcasts offer a different perspective on economics and how these decisions affect our lives. It’s not just the presenters that are interesting but also the guests they have on. You can also sign up for McWilliams economics course that he gives to MBA students.
Current Affairs / General Interest
Revisionist History (Malcolm Gladwell), Cautionary Tales (Tim Harford) and Intelligence Squared
All of these podcasts bar Intelligence Squared tell a story about an event from the past but come at it from a different viewpoint and ultimately it ends with a lesson or advice about what should happen in the future. My favourite would have been Revisionist History but I find this season is not as good as previous seasons. Tim Harford’s podcast has found its stride now. Intelligence Squared features some insightful discussion and debate, if you get a chance check out the debate between Boris Johnson and Mary Beard, a friend recommended it to me and well worth checking out.
Finally there is The Blindboy Podcast, I find it very hard to categorise it as it covers so many different topics from “Hot Takes” to interviews with Physicists to episodes devoted to the history of disco I always find it enjoyable. It is not for everybody but if you want a break from the everyday check him out.