A really good listen. My current favourite podcast episodes
Back in the mists of time, I used to present a daily radio show which was a mix of chat, interviews, phone-in discussions and music. Pretty much my dream combination. And actually, on reflection, not so very different from what’s happening here at These Are The Heydays, albeit on screen and minus the music. Though if you read the posts with the radio playing you can pretty much recreate the whole experience. You’re welcome.
I love how the whole listening experience has broadened out since the days when I was broadcasting. Then, if you missed a programme, tough. It was gone for good. Now there are a myriad of ways to ensure you hear your favourite shows, either live or later. And better still, a whole new genre of audible feasts has emerged with the explosion of podcasts.
Whatever your interest, whether it’s fashion or football, health or humour, technology or tea, there’s a podcast to entertain, inform and/or inspire you. The only problem is finding the time to listen to them all.
I’m constantly discovering new podcasts, most of which I try because of personal recommendation. So as it’s been six months since my last podcast suggestions (check them out here), I’m delighted to share the podcast treats I’ve sampled since then. This time around, just to be a bit different (and make it harder for myself because, why not?), I’ve suggested a particular episode for you to try, but in every case, any episode of these terrific podcasts series is worth your listening time.
You know when you’re at a restaurant and there are a couple of women on the table next to you having such a hilarious and entertaining conversation you wish you could move to sit with them? Well that pretty much sums up Fortunately…with Fi and Jane. Except you are sitting at the table, almost literally. Their apparently aimless but never less than wildly entertaining podcast is recorded at a table in the cafe in the piazza of BBC Broadcasting House and almost always features the two of them consuming some kind of cake along with their hilarious and brilliantly uncensored conversation.
They do have a guest every week, and the interviews are often insightful and revealing, as well as downright irreverent. Almost impossible to choose just one episode because really every one is an absolute gem, but I’ve selected the one with Anneka Rice simply because I learnt so much about her and what it’s like to be a waxwork, that I didn’t know.
Be warned though, once you listen to one episode, you’ll be hooked for good. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Struggling to find a way to combat serious medical issues in her teens, Ella Woodward, now Mills, turned the dietary discoveries that transformed her health, centred around natural, plant based recipes, into a hugely successful food blog, Deliciously Ella. She grew the brand with best-selling recipe books, delis and more recently a range of Deliciously Ella snacks. Her newest enterprise is a series of podcasts which she presents with her husband and business partner, Matthew Mills. Whilst their broadcasting style can be a little wide-eyed and breathy (they’re always SO excited about everything), the content of the episodes is always interesting and informative. I’ve chosen the interview they did with Holly Tucker, the founder of Not On The High Street, (and a force of nature if ever there was one. Her nickname is Holly Hurricane for good reason) talking about resilience, imposter syndrome and overcoming hurdles. It’s inspiring stuff.
The interviewees in each episode of Media Masters are with people “at the top of their game in the media industry”. Covering everything from newspapers, to TV, to publishing, to radio, each episode is insightful, revealing and enlightening. These conversations aren’t just of interest to people working in media, they’re a fascinating window into the opinions, challenges and working lives of the people who control so much of the information we consume. As absorbing as I find every episode I listen to, the one with the BBC’s Europe Editor, Katya Adler, stands out. If you think it’s difficult to keep up with the twists and turns of the Brexit negotiations, imagine what it must be like to report on them. And to keep your reporting as even-handed, comprehensible, oh and short, as possible. After listening to this podcast with this intensely thoughtful (but never earnest), talented (she speaks five languages) and dedicated journalist, you’ll see the role of the news editor in a whole new light.
Here’s another podcast that appeals to a wider audience than it’s title suggests. Sara Tasker left her job as an NHS speech therapist to pursue her passion for the internet and see if she could turn it into a business. Turns out she could. She posts, writes, gives talks, leads courses (one of which I’m currently doing) and creates eminently listenable-to podcasts on subjects as wide ranging as owning your own opinions, making, saving and losing money, building courage and stopping the glorification of ‘busy’. See what I mean about you not necessarily having to be creative to enjoy them? The episode I’ve chosen to introduce you to the Hashtag Authentic vibe is the one with Lucy Sheridan, currently the world’s only Comparison Coach. Essentially what Lucy does life coaching but with a focus on comparison and envy and how to free yourself from their clutches. Something I could certainly do with being better at.
Before I begin this final recommendation let me hold my hand up to the fact that I think Clare Balding is a broadcasting genius. I honestly believe if she just read the telephone directory she’d still be more watchable than practically any other broadcaster. So it goes without saying really that I love listening to her rambling (the walking sort) through the countryside and rambling (the chatting sort) with her guests. But the episode where she joins American author and comedian David Sedaris for what she thinks is going to be a stroll on the South Downs, turns into something quite else altogether. To say David is obsessed with litter collection would be an understatement. And what he gets Clare doing as part of his one-man campaign to clean the roadside verges of Pulborough where he lives, makes this very different from your average episode of Ramblings that’s for sure, but one that you won’t forget in a hurry.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions. Do let me know what you think. And I’d love to know what you’re listening to and enjoying at the moment.
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