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Podcasts That You Definitely Should Be Listening To

Mike Scamell By Mike Scamell

Not listened to any podcasts before and want some to get you started? Are your ears itching for this phenomenon?

Podcasts are great for allowing us to fill those mundane periods of time in our life, such as getting stuck in traffic or doing/pretending to do those house chores. They can be with you all the time: in your pocket, on your smartphone. It’s not a fantastic experience watching videos on such small screens, but listening? Well people have been doing that for a long time with Walkmans and mp3 players.

So, with no further adieu, here are some of our favourite podcasts… You lucky ducky.

1. Serial

Ok so lets start with the obvious big boy on the block, Serial. It is THE podcast that pushed podcasting into the mainstream in 2014/15. Serial is a spin-off from This American Life, a weekly radio show and popular podcast in its own right. It is twelve hourly episodes of tantalising drama around a ‘who dunnit' style storyline.

It’s explores the murder of, American school girl, Hae Min Lee. You can find out a lot about this case online (probably thanks to Serial) but, in short, back in 1999, Adnan Syed (Hae’s ex-boyfriend) was sent to prison for murdering the popular school girl. The story takes loads of twists and turns, which often leaves us with the question, “Did Adnan really commit the crime?”

We won’t say too much more about it- we don’t want to ruin any of it, but why not come back once you’ve listened and tell me, do you think he did it?

Find Serial here

2. Radiolab

Radiolab has been described as “a show about curiosity”. Trust us, you certainly will be curious after hearing one of these fascinating episodes. A recent episode took a look at genetic manipulation and how it could actually make a pig fly in the future. I’ll listen to that podcast when pigs fly har-har.

The show is presented in a clear and pleasant way by the hosts Jad and Robert. This helps a lot with the scientific episodes, like the aforementioned. They also make good use of music and sound effects. The episodes get released at random times and vary in length but that makes them all the more enticing.

Find Radiolab here

3. The Football Ramble

Hate football? Skip this and go to Number 4 (or maybe not). This podcast is (roughly) an hour of hilarity based on the latest football news and results. What stands out for me are the four Englishman who present the show; Marcus, Luke, Jim and Pete.

The constant mocking, insulting and self-deprecation make you feel like you’re down the pub with your mates. It could be the constant digs at Pete for Newcastle’s poor results or Marcus retelling one of his ‘charming’ stories about what he gets up to at the football. There’s something for everyone. This is a podcast aimed at men in their 20s and 30s but it doesn’t stop it being funny for everyone else.

4. Science VS

Got a spare 15-20mins? Need to do the hoovering or washing up? Need to perm the cat? Well, while you work on making those sublime curls, why not throw on Science VS? It’s a weekly podcast that tries to separate fact from fiction, regarding the latest fads in the world.

Host, Wendy Zuckerman, dissects information and gives interviews, all the while keeping everything light and fun. Some favourites amongst the group have been "The Paleo Diet" and "Happiness". At the end of every episode, Zuckerman weighs up the results and decides whether science or the fad in question wins, loses or are tied. The first batch of episodes have just finished so there’s a good few to get stuck into (and it is perfect pick up and play material).

Find Science VS here

5. (The long forgotten daddy of them all) The Ricky Gervais Podcast

People seem to think that Serial made podcasting mainstream. We would just say it made it more popular. The podcast that truly kicked everything off was The Ricky Gervais Podcast.

Starring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, the episodes all revolve around Ricky and Steve’s fascination with Karl- or more likely, Karl’s interesting mind. The podcasts kicked off in 2001 when Ricky, Steve and Karl presented a weekly show on XFM. This was available to download but just through the website and not the traditional podcast way like through an app or on a store.

According to Wikipedia, as of March 2011 the show has been downloaded 300 million times! And why? It’s all because of Karl. His thoughts and musings provide ample comedy material for Ricky and Steve. Along with Ricky’s infectious laugh, you’re sure to be chuckling constantly for the length of the show. Early episodes were quite random with only a very loose format. Later podcasts were based around subjects like “Medicine” or “Society”. These are not in depth and thought provoking insights into the subjects but rather a look at Karl’s opinions on them (after being interrogated by Ricky and Steve, of course).

Unfortunately the podcasts have now stopped but don’t let that dishearten you from going and downloading the mass of content that is still available. You won’t regret it.

Wait, there’s more!

There are plenty of other great podcasts that we wanted to include, such as:

Material

Planet Money

The Tim Ferriss Show

Topical

The Jay Ferruggia Show

Reply All

StartUp

The Bugle

Fragmented Podcast

Android Central

Criminal

Invisibilia

Mystery Show

TL; DR

... And even more. But we'll let you discover them yourself. Enjoy and happy listening!

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