Podcasts To Tune Into

Ever since the world had a love affair with Serial (the investigative journalism podcast), I've been on the hunt for a couple of podcasts to listen to on an evening, when I'm winding down for the day. 

I've never been much into the "listening" element of entertainment, because if it doesn't involve music in the car, I'd generally rather be reading or watching something to keep myself occupied. I have to say though, it's been fun to try and find a couple of podcasts that I genuinely enjoy, and I think I've found some that I really love. 

You can pretty much find a podcast about anything and everything - if, like me, you're not an Apple user, just search for a podcast app and you should be able to access all of the ones I've mentioned below. Apple users of course, just have a look at iTunes.

(FYI, I use the Podcast Addict app on Android).


Dan Carlin's Hardcore History & Common Sense

Most of you will probably know of Dan Carlin already - he's been around since around 2005, hosting two podcasts. Hardcore History covers, you've guessed it, history, and Common Sense covers current affairs and politics. 

I won't lie; one of the main reasons I love Dan's shows is due to their length. There aren't very many podcasts at all that have shows of 2-3 hours long, and which really spend time delving into the nitty gritty of the subject. Dan covers everything, and I certainly don't agree with him on everything he says, but that's the joy of it! I love learning new things and exploring topics previously unknown to me which the history show does very well.

On the political show, it's nice to have someone calmly talk through why they think what they think and analyse current affairs as they happen. Because Dan is American and I am a British listener, I find this is a good way of hearing a viewpoint from across the ocean, from an ordinary, everyday American, without the foo-fah of huge personalities getting in the way of the good stuff. 

Oh, and his voice is very soothing. If you're looking to listen to something before bed, this could well be the one for you!


In Our Time - BBC Radio 4

Speaking of learning new things, this one's a doozy. For someone in her mid-20's, I adore Radio 4. There are so many fabulous programs that I think young people are missing out on because we're too busy with Capital FM, but I promise, give it a go. Have a scroll through their website and find something that piques your interest and tune in; you can always listen online if that's easier.

Unlike Dan's podcasts above, In Our Time focuses on anything and everything. Episodes cover history, politics, biology, marine biology, revolutionaries, literary figures and soooo much more. You'd be hard pressed not to find at least one episode that interests you. 

The format is a little different. Each episode involves the host Melvyn Bragg, providing a brief intro to the topic. He then turns it over to 3 guests who are experts in the particular topic and asks questions and lets the whole thing bounce back and forth. 

The length is a little shorter at 1 hour long, but these are great, chunky episodes to get you stuck into something new without committing to endless reams of it, and having guests keeps it fresh, as does the significant variation in topics so you can easily dip in and out as you please. 


Justice In America

This is a new podcast with only 2 episodes at the time of writing. I found this one thanks to Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) whose tweets I follow with great interest. He and Josie Duffy Rice host this show which focuses on the criminal justice system in America. 

I know, some people wonder why I'm so fascinated by the American system given the whole thing with me being a Brit, but honestly? It's as simple as the fact that I was raised on a weekly diet of watching all the most popular American crime-related TV shows. I would plonk myself in front of the TV most nights at 9pm and watch everything from all the CSI variants to all the Law & Order variants and all the other stuff in between. I was obsessed, I kid you not. The crime aspect of the whole thing didn't particularly interest me, but what happened afterwards and how the team would get to a guilty verdict was so endlessly intriguing for my young mind. 

And then I grew older and I realised that actually, the world doesn't work in quite the way that Law & Order had me believing and there were actually problems in the system. Combine that with my fascination with politics and political influence on the Law, as well as my own study of English Law, and I think it was inevitable that I was waiting for a show like Justice in America to come along. 

Seriously, listen to it. It's awesome. The episodes are typically 1 hour long and the hosts also host a guest each time, as they delve deeper into different aspects of the system. 


Welcome to Night Vale

I'm not even sure why I'm mentioning this one considering it's possibly one of the most popular podcasts out there, having gone mainstream with books and all sorts. But it's damn good, so here goes. 

I was introduced to Night Vale by a former colleague and in a word, it was weird. And I mean weird. I remember listening to the first episode and thinking, 'I'm not sure what just happened there, but I'm not sure I liked it.'  It takes a while to wrap your head around it and understand what you're listening to but once you get into it, it's strangely addictive. 

Night Vale is a fictional story podcast essentially with each episode a new chapter. I don't want to say much about it because spoilers, but if you're into the slightly kooky and are looking for something that messes with your head a little, have a listen and see what you think.


Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Once again, my obsession with the American legal system makes itself known. This one is a two host podcast discussing a wide variety of legal topics and legal news.

Some episodes focus on the big things e.g. Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring from the Supreme Court and opening up a spot for Trump to appoint someone, whereas others delve into historical legal happenings. 

The main reason I like this show though, is that it makes me feel like I'm back in Law school once again. I am a total geek for things like this and as much as I love everything else I discuss on this blog, Law and jurisprudence will always have a special place in my heart. John Grisham's books probably have a lot to answer for with the amount of time I spend poring over what's happening in the US over the UK!

Enjoy and let me know what you're listening to.