Seventeen years ago when this medium launched, if you told your neighbour you liked podcasting, they probably thought you enjoyed standing in your garden throwing unshelled peas into a bucket.
But in lockdowns most have sought new ways to keep themselves sane and consequently the popularity of podcasting has rocketed.
In 2020 15.6 million people in the UK listened to podcasts weekly. However there are just over 68 million Britons so that means more than 3 out 4 of us don’t. Plus men and women over 50 are the least likely to listen – and in that men dominate.
I can only describe it as like listening to the radio without censorship, more in tune with you and when you’re ready for it. Like the wireless, some have ads, some don’t. Subscribing doesn’t generally mean paying, just that you want to hear more.
So, although I risk patronising the backside off you I feel we should start with what a podcast is.
Oxford Languages defines it as “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.”
Anyone can do it. Whether you’re a rock-star, housewife, pensioner or World leader you can put it out there. Like the internet, podcasts are generally ungoverned and consequently they can be sweary and controversial. Naughty words alert! That’s not to say people are not watching what you say, rather the reverse. A bit like Twitter, you have to be responsible or it will bite you.
When there’s so much out there, where do you start? In no particular order I thought I’d recommend ten you might like to try. Oh, and all British. Starting the ball rolling is:
1. Fortunately with Fi and Jane
Funny and self-deprecating, these former Woman’s Hour presenters have a guest on each episode and, as both have enviable address books, it’s a guaranteed entertaining listen. LINK
2. Gardening with the RHS
In the last year, we’ve all come to love our gardens more. Whether you have wide acres or a window-box, the experts at the RHS are here to help lift your spirits. If you love nature I cannot recommend their podcasts highly enough. LINK
3. Desert Island Dishes
Next up is Margie Nomura, a chef, food writer and host of this popular weekly series. Interesting guests are asked to choose their favourite dishes to take to a desert island. Just so much to like. LINK
4. Older & Wider
Presented by Jenny Éclair and Judith Holder, the writers of TV smash Grumpy Old Women. Featuring news and gossip from the menopausal front and beyond, it’s a podcast “worth getting your ears syringed for”. LINK
5. Grounded with Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux uses his approachability to allow others to open up to him in a way very few other interviewers can. The honesty is often refreshing, sometimes raw and always a riveting listen. Be sure to catch No.21, the bonus episode where his interviewees get to turn the tables and ask a question back. LINK
Paul Boross presents Humourology which he defines as “a critical psychological defence against the stresses of everyday life, the source of our resilience and the secret weapon of all successful leaders”. Check out Paul chatting to copper-bottomed national treasure Dilly Keane of Fascinating Aida on the edition dated 8 Feb ’21 called “Laughter is the lubricant of life”. LINK
Hoovering is not about cleaning and being saintly, it’s about eating. Jessica Fostekew talks gobbling, nibbling, scoffing, devouring and wolfing – in a word, hoovering. There are over 150 episodes currently. Warning: Calorific. LINK
8. Ruthie – The Lockdown Sessions
“Washed-up” broadcaster Martin Kelner discusses life, lockdown and the generation gap with his 19 year old daughter Ruthie. With Uni on hold and Ruthie stuck at home with her parents, she has the unenviable task of explaining teenage life to her patient but deeply unfashionable Dad. LINK
9. The Guilty Feminist
Named by Apple as one of the best listens of 2019, The Guilty Feminist is hosted by comedian and scriptwriter Deborah-Francis White. She and her guests discuss “lifestyle and culture whilst confessing the insecurities, hypocrisies and fears all 21st century feminists agree on”. LINK
Did I forget something? Oh yes.
You’re Never Too Old To…
They celebrate their 2nd anniversary of casting that pod on 20 March this year. Like many, theirs are infrequent but have the same feel-good factor you get from catching up with old friends. Always a joy. LINK