Should you be listening to podcasts?
Yes, yes you should. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about why. Warning, opinion ahead: South African radio is kak. It's largely made up of shit music, punctuated by shit ads and accompanied by excruciatingly banal conversation. If you can't live without music, you could substitute radio with a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music, but for me, podcasts are the answer.
Podcasts can be long, they can be short, they can be about science, they can be about art, the limitations on podcasts are really only that you have to listen to them. The beauty of them, though is that you can listen to them practically anywhere. During your daily commute, sitting at your desk, on a run, at the gym, washing the dishes, sweeping your home, or just sitting on the floor rubbing your dogs belly (I do this a lot).
In light of this, I thought it would only fair for to give you, good people, a couple of recommendations on what podcasts you should be listening to.
A tiny radio show about design hosted by Roman Mars. Probably my favourite podcast out there.
A podcast that about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.
A show devoted to all things space and is hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He often has guest comedians and scientists. It regularly features interviews with public figures from science and pop culture.
A show about language, hosted by Helen Zaltzman that delivers fascinating etymological stories and explores the way we use language as a species.
I think the best way to describe this is "two dudes talking". This show is a highly entertaining bi-weekly discussion between Brady Haran and CGP Grey, two youtubers who happen to be wildly interesting guys.
A technology show hosted Editor in Chief of The Verge Nilay Patel and featuring a panel of guests who discuss the week's big tech news.
Veteran blogger John Gruber interviews a guest every week. Sometimes it's a discussion between John and another journalist, other times he has incredible guests like Apple's Phil Schiller or Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue.
Cortex is a discussion between Hello Internet's CGP Grey and RelayFM's Myke Hurley. They talk about the technology they use to do their work and how their workflows and routines affect them.
Editor in Chief of The Verge, Nilay Patel, makes another appearance, this time in his two-person show with veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg in which they discuss a pertinent issue that Walt has usually written a column about.
This is a podcast hosted by Farhad Manjoo, technology columnist at the New York Times and Jay Yarow, Digital Editor at CNBC. They usually focus on the business side of tech. They are regularly joined by expert guests who are particularly qualified to talk about their given topic.
Another podcast from The Verge. Hosted by Chris Plante, What's Tech? is a beginner's guide to everything technology. He is usually joined by a staff member from The Verge to help explain different tech categories, i.e. Drones, encryption, streaming music, etc.
A magazine-style podcast hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, which gives advice, recipes and general discussion about food and eating.
A guide to the latest food news, restaurant recommendations and the politics of consumption.
If you haven't heard about Serial by now, I don't know what to say to you. Season 1 was excellent, season 2 has been pretty good so far. Get involved.
Criminal is a podcast about crime. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Hosted by Phoebe Judge.
Sword and Scale covers the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions.
Lore is hosted by author Aaron Mahnke and exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.
I hope this article has nudged you in the direction of consuming podcasts and if you already did, I hope I was able to recommend a couple new podcasts for you to try. If I can highly recommend just a couple from the above list that I think anyone could enjoy, it'd have to be 99% Invisible, Radiolab, The Allusionist and Lore. Pro tip: If you can, get yourself a decent pair of headphones. The sound design on some podcasts can only be truly appreciated through good headphones. Also, if you use an iPhone, download Overcast to manage and listen to your podcasts. If you're on Android, I'd recommend Pocket Casts.
One thing that you may have noticed about this list is that it's largely made up of American or British podcasts. I'm really trying to find some good South African podcasts to listen to, if you know of any that I should be listening to, please leave a comment below.