These days, a lot of the most exciting things are happening away from our field of vision. Whilst gaming, technology and films continue to rely on the visual sphere as a means to share ideas, there is a whole subsection of creative and innovative collaboration happening right under our noses, though we cannot see them. Podcasts are fast becoming the interactive communication device du jour; ask any interesting, innovative company what platform they’re most excited about and they will undoubtedly answer you with “podcasts”. Breaking into the interactive radio world, however, is not as simple as it seems and unless you’ve got something really share-worthy to create, people simply won’t be interested.
You can create a podcast in practically any setting that you choose, as long as you have your own equipment. Interactive radio is very much a product of the digital nomad workforce coming into power and as long as you’re suited and booted, you can work anywhere that you choose in the world. What’s more, podcasts are a great digital tool to carry with you as you go; not too large, endlessly entertaining, they have fast become the modern mode of communication and entertainment. Made with the multi-tasker in mind, it seems that you really can have it all, with a podcast in your pocket. Whilst there truly is a podcast out there for everyone, if you’re new to the world of portable radio, you might want to consider these shows for a little light entertainment on the move.
If you’re going to take the whole podcasting thing seriously, then you’re going to want to do it properly. Radiolab was one of the first podcasts that I began subscribing to and has been responsible for a large amount of my radio listening ever since. Part science radio, part storytelling, Radiolab focuses on some of the most interesting social, natural and political stories to have happened throughout history. Sound and music play a particularly strong part in the storytelling too, so if you’re a musicophile, you will love what they have to offer. A great place to start is via their extended live edition, Apocalyptical, which tells a number of ending stories with utter gusto. You can also watch the show live on Youtube so if you want an easy way in, you might consider getting to know Jad and Robert on film first. Radiolab is now released sporadically so try not to exhaust their back catalogue too quickly. You will get hooked and you will be left wanting more.
Having recently released its pilot season of 6 (only 6!) episodes, Invisibilia is a podcast very much in the same vein as Radiolab, sharing human interest stories with a difference. The show looks at the invisible forces which shape humanity and whilst Radiolab takes a little more of a science approach to human nature, Invisibilia is a little more concerned with the people themselves. Presented by Lulu and Alix, you will warm to the show as quickly as it takes you to confuse the two presenter’s very similar voices. When you can tell them apart, you will have earned your place as a die-hard fan.
Whereas podcasts are typically non-fictional and focused on a specific issue or interest in culture, The Truth promises to publish “movies for you ears” and in a way, it does. The Truth takes fictional radio and amps it up to 500; the stories they tell are strange and twisted and before you know it, you will find your head filled with the fictional truths that you have been listening to. For a focus on great storytelling which is unafraid of going a little off-grid from time to time, The Truth is a constant delight.
Much like Invisibilia, which looks at the invisible forces which make up human nature, 99% Invisible looks at the invisible parts of design which create our entire world. Regarding topics as diverse as Penn Station, technological sound design, the look of money and palm reading, 99% Invisible shows you a part of life that you had no idea even existed. Consistently pushing innovative thinking and ground-breaking design in any format, 99% Invisible is genuinely eye-opening.
Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review
If you’re a film fan of any description, you’re probably already well aware of the entire world of Wittertainment. For those not in the know, the Film Review is a weekly podcast of a BBC Radio 5 show in which a film critic and presenter talk about film. Except, of course, it’s not really about film. From Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s constant bickering, to the reams of in jokes, to the podcasts playlist, the Film Review is a great introduction to the world of film from a pair who are clearly passionate. If you want to become a member of the most exclusive and bizarre podcast fan club in the world, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review is for you.
A podcast from the giant Monocle empire, The Urbanist looks at how we are going about making cities better. Championing the latest and greatest technology, innovation and city planning, The Urbanist is a must for any discerning city-dweller, brought to you from the makers of sartorial taste and design. Truly, any podcast brought to you by Monocle 24 is worth a listening and if urban living isn’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty on offer in its place. For the latest in design and lifestyle, Monocle 24 is the way to turn.
Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there which are doing great things and more often than not, the problem is not finding content but sourcing enough memory space to subscribe to them all. Oh well. Here’s hoping that one day, phone manufacturers take the podcast mentality on board and release a product with only engaging listening in mind. Until then, we can juggle and jump between the podcast trains, subscribing to each and every one in turn and filling our brains with only the most innovative thinking.